4 AM

It’s dark at 4 AM.

At 8 AM I remember my child is in heaven. At 4 AM I wonder where she is. I wonder where Innocent is. I worry about them crying and not being held. My heart aches. My useless, empty arms ache.

I fell asleep reading last night at 8:00. Father stayed awake as long as he could, afraid I would wake up alone. When I woke up, I wasn’t sleepy. I said the Jesus prayer. I remembered the wonderful woman in Tasmania who promised to keep a candle burning all day every day there until I delivered my baby, because it’s nighttime here when it’s daytime there. That way, if I woke up in the middle of the night I would feel someone praying. It’s true. It was comforting.

At 4:30 I hunted around and found my book light and tried to read. Horrible grief sat at my shoulder, tapping insistently as I read frantically. There’s only so long you can push it away as it gnaws into your spine.

Before 5:00 I gave up and cried. Father woke up.

Thank you, God, for my husband, who held me while I cried, who didn’t offer idle rationalizations, who said, “I know,” when I cried, “It isn’t fair!” Who assured me my babies were happy, had never known one moment of fear, pain, hunger, sadness. I know that, I just need to hear it. A mother’s heart is hard to comfort.

I cried myself out by dawn. Father went back to sleep. I read about children freezing on the prairie in 1888 in one of the worst blizzards in history. Pickles got me up to get him breakfast after 8:00.

My eyes are burning. They haven’t felt right in 2 days. Someone changed the calendar from November to December in the kitchen. I feel like I fell through a time-warp. I read the emails accumulated from last night. I have so many to respond to. I’m grateful for the time each person spent sending them and leaving comments. I remind myself when I note that I’ve lost blog subscribers since Thursday that some people don’t have any more room for pain in their life. I can understand that. I don’t feel like I have room myself.

The day stretches out like eternity. Will I eat today? I don’t know. Father will probably spoon something in if I refuse. He was alarmed when he realized how little I had to drink yesterday and the day before. The knowledge that I could have caffeine out the wazoo is so depressing.

I will probably make the blankets today. I made the gown and bonnet yesterday, can make the blankets today and then…a casket? What am I going to do for the next 9 days? I can’t make diapers, I can’t crochet a layette. I can’t get a bassinet ready.

Waiting is so hard. But I would have cheerfully waited for a different outcome, not this.

23 thoughts on “4 AM

  1. You are waiting, and it is hard, but you are not waiting alone. We who keep checking in here, to see how you are doing, are keeping vigil with you, dear Matushka, and crying with you and for you.

    Prayers continue.

    (another) Elizabeth


  2. The mornings were and are always the worst for me after the loss. It smacks you in the face the moment you realize you are not sleeping anymore. I am praying for you and hoping that god gives you the strength to get thru this in one piece.



  3. Oh Meg, I wish I were closer. I'd bring a big pot of soup, cozy socks and movies for you and games for the children. I'm so sorry for the pain that is all too familiar to you. I hope you find a little peace and rest today. Sending hugs to you, Ben and your 7 precious ones.


  4. Praying for you many times a day and many times during each night. The question of having room for more pain is a serious one. My spiritual Father is gravely ill, and in my sleepless nights and days filled with agony, you and your family and your babies keep coming to mind , and through pain, and through sleepless nights, i'm trying to learn to pray and to make my heart wide enough for Christ to be born inside it so that He may bring inside my heart the light of His ressurection and eternal life. I 'm so distressed that you are in pain. I cannot say anything but i pray with all my heart for God to comfort you.


  5. It is hard, but it is also a spiritual labor. Enduring without giving up, without losing faith, is a spiritual labor. So this time that you are giving to God, you can be sure will be paid back many times over in spiritual dividends. Just hang in there, Matushka. Continuing to pray for you, your family, and the little one.


  6. Loved Maria's comments-I have prayed so much and for so long that I am exhausted, but the benefits of being so close to the warmth of God are more comforting that anything-“He will not leave or forsake us.”


  7. I will think of you tonight when my 2 week old and 2 year old are both awake at 4 in the morning. Hopefully you will be sleeping. A friend of mine had a baby right before I miscarried, and it was comforting to me to know that she was praying for me when she was up in the night with her newborn. People who are happy can seem so smug when you are grieving, but her little bit of kindness made me feel less alone, so I will try to pass it on.
    I also read Holy the Firm by Annie Dillard around that time. In place of the things people say to make you feel better that don't I needed the reminder that there are no reasons. If there is a purpose for this kind of suffering, it is simply that we be made no longer creatures of dust, but creatures of flame.


  8. Reading through all these comments – it's helps to know we're all hurting for you together… we're all praying – all carrying you through as much as we can… You are so loved…

    One moment at a time…
    with prayers as always…


  9. I am so sorry you grieve so! I am thankful for your support and may the Lord guide you, hold you and show you His peace and grace through this grief. I lost 3 babies to miscarriage, but never grieved as deeply as you are. I cried, yes, but I knew my babies were in Heaven, even though none of their bodies were recovered. God gave me such peace. He is in control. He knew this would happen to my babies. He allowed me to be the vessel to conceive and grow these miracles until He took them. I had amazing support. My SIL has lost 5 babies to miscarriage. One was 15 weeks. I am not saying your grief is too much or out of place because it isn't! I am just saying that I hope, during your time of mourning the Lord blesses you with the peace He gave me, yes even a Joy! My heart leaps at the thought that I have 3 children with our Savior right now! He is our Comfort.


  10. Your sweet husband, to stay awake for you so you would not wake alone. I've been lighting a candle for you (and for others having hard times at present) in front of my icon of the Theotokos in my kitchen. Prayers continue….


  11. I'm so sorry for your loss, Matushka. You and your family are in my prayers. You should know that your words have helped me grieve, for the first time, the miscarriage of my own child, 20 years ago.


  12. I know that middle of the night grief that washes over you. So glad you have a loving husband to hold and offer support. The waiting is so hard. I waited nine days. You are in my prayers.


  13. It's ten PM here in Greece and I'm going next door to our neighborhood church for a vigil, the chapel is dedicated to St. Sava (his feast is tomorrow). I just wanted to say I'm also here praying for you, checking in on you, and crying for you. You are not alone in your grief. I'll light a candle for you, the baby, and your family.


  14. I am so sorry for your loss. Memory Eternal! I read through your loss of baby Innocent earlier this year also. I don't know how you can handle two such losses in one year. My prayers are with you. I had a miscarriage myself back in 2004 at 10 weeks (baby 9 to 9.5 weeks) – no heartbeat. We weren't Orthodox yet and I didn't even know I had the option of keeping the body. I had a D & C and now I can't bear thinking of it. I am so glad that you were able to bury Innocent and hopefully this one, too. Our angels are together in heaven!


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