Shari stared at the stone not sure how to feel. The stone memorial, placed there by a local organization, marked the small mass grave of several fetuses that never made it to full term. One of those babies, plucked from Shari, had died after settling in Shari’s Fallopian Tube. Sudden, uncontrollable bleeding, an unplanned trip to the doctor resulting a visit to the Emergency Delivery Room. One day Shari knew she was carrying a child and the next day the child was gone. Before Shari even had a chance to rejoice in new life, it was snatched away leaving a deep despairing chasm Shari was not even aware existed until that point.
The baby had not been planned. It was not expected. Shari and her husband were leading a full, busy life and the thought of a baby never even had time to cross their minds. When Shari discovered the pregnancy she was not sure if joy was the word she would have described it. She was surprised…. maybe a little shocked. That evening, after sharing the news with her husband, they both retreated to their prospective corners trying to make sense of the news. Shari was still trying to process it the next day when the bleeding started. It was over quickly physically but the process still reigned supreme in Shari’s mind. The same woman who could multitask several clients at one time while balancing a home life could not resolve this. While she attended the mass funeral of other miscarried babies, she numbly viewed all of the other moms and some dads sobbing over their unborn lives they lost, she wondered why she could not cry. She did not feel glad or sad. She simply felt nothing and the emptiness was eating away at her. Her husband returned to his normal routine leaving Shari to wonder if it even affected him.
Over the next weeks and months she buried herself in mindless tasks she could perform in her sleep hoping to forget but like an untreated wound, it only manifested itself growing deeper and more painful. As the day the baby would have been born approached, Shari’s despair deepened. What would the baby have looked like? Was it a boy or a girl? What would have it been like to hold it and have it suckle milk from her? A older co-worker found her one day in her office, tears cascading down her face. Between sobs, Shari finally told someone about her pain. The co-worker gently took her in her arms and told her own story of unborn life lost. She told Shari how she gave the child a name, of how the pain eventually lessened and how what Shari was feeling was perfectly normal. She assured Shari of the shoulder that woul always be there and Shari thanked her for her kindness.
And now she sat with her legs pulled tightly next to the grave and cried tears of sorrow of what could have been…of what she never even knew she wanted until she lost it. She fingered the stone lovingly and then was suddenly aware of a presence behind her. Startled, she turned to face her husband. He pointed to the ground next to her and asked, “May I sit beside you?” Numbly, she nodded and suddenly he was there holding her. “I see the teddy bear is still there.” He pointed to a brown bear beside the grave.
Astonished, she turned to him, “You’ve been here before?”
“Yes,” he sheepishly nodded, “I’ve come a few times.”
“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” She questioned. “I thought you didn’t care.”
“But I did care, Shari.” He tightened her in an embrace. “I just didn’t want to upset you especially since you never talked about it.”
Shari gazed at him a few seconds before turning back to the grave. She snuggled into his ams an they sat there in silence. After several minutes Shari announced, “I want to try for a baby.” Her husband tightened his embrace and Shari barely heard his whispered reply, “I was hoping you would want that.” Tears were flowing down both cheeks and after another long space of quiet, Shari’s husband helped her off the ground. As they turned to walk away, she placed her hand on his arm to stop him, “I am naming the baby Jordan.” Her husband nodded and then led her out of the memorial garden toward a future together.