A Baby Blessingway

a virtual celebration for our friend, reverendmother, and the much anticipated reverendbaby

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Crossing Sacred Paths

I'd always planned for my children to be much closer in age. Although friends told me I was crazy, I wanted them to be about two years apart. As my son turned 18 months, then two, then two and a half, we were sad that this was not going to be the case, but determined to grow our little family nevertheless, even though month after month it seemed less and less likely.

In late 1989 we nearly gave up our hope of having another child, and went back to a love-life that did not revolve around calendars and thermometers.

On January 12, 1990 the unthinkable happened. After coming back from a shopping trip in preparation to go to Indianapolis for my mother-in-law's wedding, we got a frantic phone call from my father-in-law telling us that my brother was desperate to get a hold of us. I called my brother, and was told the devastating news: "Grandma's dead."

I remember throwing the phone down (luckily it was a corded phone), screaming, and flinging myself into my husband's arms. In an instant, the happy weekend of wedding festivities became the trip I never wanted to take: home to bury the woman who was my touchstone.

Many of the details of that weekend are a blur; we went to the wedding, and held off on telling my mother-in-law and her new husband about my grandmother's death until we were leaving the reception. Kindly we did not want to ruin their day, although for me many, many days would pass before a day would not be ruined.

Many people I encountered in the next days did not understand the depth of my grief for a woman who lived a satisfying 86 years. But to me she was my kindred spirit; the only person in my adoptive family who treated me as if I was "normal" somehow. Grandma grew up in an orphanage in Arkansas; she was the only person I knew who was like me: unwanted on some level. There was a shorthand to our relationship.

Looking back I can say that I fairly wallowed in my grief. For days my waking thought, and my last thought of the day were "Grandma's dead."

How is this an uplifting story of birth or transformation, you ask? Well, something happened on January 31, which happened to be day 19 of my cycle, since I had also gotten the undeniable signal of another month not pregnant on the day of my grandmother's death.

But on January 31, desperate to feel something--anything other than grief-- I reached out to the only person who could lift me from the depths. My husband had waited patiently for me to find my way back to life, and on that day, hopelessly too late for getting pregnant, I reached for him in the way that I hoped would lift us both up. It was a cry for comfort and for hope. It was a baby-step back to our marriage, our son, my work, our life.

Plainly put, a miracle happened that day. That miracle was our daughter, my lovely WonderGirl. I call her my miracle because women don't get pregnant on day 19. Trust me, I worked in family planning for ten years. Two weeks later I stood in the lab at work and did a pregnancy test out of habit, certain that it would again disappoint me. But I saw that lovely dot, faint at first, then dark blue: unmistakable.

My daughter is now fifteen; strong, wise,outspoken, independent, bold, articulate, brave. All the things I loved and admired about my beloved grandmother, the woman she never met on this earth and shares no DNA with. It's as if my grandmother, knowing that she could not be with me forever, sent me an ambassador from above to teach me and learn from me on this journey. I joke to my daughter that she and great-grandma crossed paths long enough to high-five as she was coming down and grandma was going up. Some day when she is a little older I will tell her this story.


  • At 5:48 PM, Anonymous tharvey87@yahoo.com said…

    that story that miracle reminded me off the passing of my grandmother EMELINDA EDWARDS who to this dayalmost six years later still mourn her at times.for exactly a monyh after her death i gave birth to my first son and i to share the feeling of her and him high fiveing each other one the way you have touch my heart with your story may you and your family be oh soo happy..Camille.

  • At 11:29 AM, Blogger ToBeRev said…

    I love this story. I am way behind in reading your blog and I am reading it backwards. We'll have to talk more sometime -- I was so close to my gramma HANNA ERICKSON and she told my adoptive mother she could never love me as much as her "real" grandchildren -- and that turned out not to be true! I'm so glad my oldest overlapped on this earth with my gramma by 5 mos. The sight of them sharing the same space for a time was inspirational. Thanks for your words today!


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