Friday, March 09, 2007

Faces (one year later)

One year ago today is when it all started to happen. I remember having lunch with Brooke that day, a year ago. It's strange to think about it.

Tomorrow we will mark the day with friends and family and a memorial at the cemetery. I think it will be a good thing. A way to look back, remember, and continue to move forward.

As I was looking for another post to recycle this week (by the way, look forward to new posts next week), I knew this was the one. It is fitting.

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I was greatly affected by the faces of the people I encountered on March 9 and 10. I remember them clearly.

The first face I remember is Brooke. Sitting on our couch and looking into her eyes, I could tell she was worried. She told me something had changed – “could this be a problem?” I remember Amy’s worried face as she and Aaron were right beside us.

Later, I spoke with Amanda on the phone. I couldn't see her face but her words pierced me. I can still hear her saying, “oh, Adam,” after I told her our concerns. Her emotion revealed to me her unspoken reaction, “this can’t be true.”

We went to the hospital and our fears were soon confirmed. We were losing our baby. It was only a matter of time. When Dr. Becker arrived at the hospital I could see his face change as he realized who we were and immediately remembered our story. I had spoken with him on the phone earlier but I don’t think he had connected our names with our faces. It didn’t take him long when he walked into our room. By his facial expression I could tell he recalled our situation and remembered this was a much longed for baby. Our doctor was hurting for us – his face gave it away.

Soon after, Brooke’s parents arrived at the hospital. I can still see Jan running to her precious daughter’s side. There were tears and I knew both Jan and Richard were aching for this loss. Their faces were full of tears and heartbreak. They were hurting for the loss of their first grandchild and for the pain they knew their own first-born child was going through.

After an initial sonogram we learned it would likely be a long day. I decided to go and see our friends who had come to the hospital and were in the waiting room supporting us. I was having a hard time holding myself together. I needed to let them know what was going on and that they should probably leave until more happened. I remember seeing another group in the waiting room – presumably there to rejoice over the birth of a new grandchild, niece, cousin, etc. Their faces were excited. I almost lost it when I looked over and saw Amy, Amanda, Jeff, and Nan. Amy’s face was red and full of tears. So was Amanda’s. Jeff and Nan’s faces revealed hurt as well - but also a look of experience. They had been here before in their own lives, not this particular experience, but others like it. Their faces showed it – in some small way, they understood the pain. The faces of these four probably affected me more than any other (besides Brooke). I knew they were hurting for us and with us. Suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly I knew we were not alone.

Our expectation of a long day of labor quickly proved incorrect. Soon after a second sonogram, Brooke unpredictably began to experience some intense labor pains. At the time neither of us really knew what was going on – even the nurse and our doctor were quite surprised that this was it – the baby was coming, now. Closing my eyes right now, I can see Brooke in more pain than she had ever experienced before. Her face revealed physical pain, emotional shock, and much fear of what was happening. My beloved was going through something terrible and there was little I could do. While looking into her face and trying to be present for her, I was hurting for my beautiful wife. Our baby was about to be born without any life in him.

Later, after the birth, and after Brooke was doing much better physically, I walked outside our room and saw Kim. She gave me a much-needed hug as she spoke words of disbelief through her own tears. This dear friend’s face revealed the same confusion and shock I was experiencing. I remember going back into our room and feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the love and care I had seen in her face and felt in her arms. Again, I knew we were not alone. Even in the midst of my own complete shock, searing pain, and overwhelming fear, in that brief moment, as in the other similar moments of this terrible day, I was strengthened in a way I desperately needed.

There were many other encounters with loved-ones during the rest of that day, and in the following days and weeks, but the other one that significantly impacted me that particular morning was seeing my dearest friend, Rishi. Rishi is an emotional person. I am typically not. When I saw Rishi I could tell he was trying not too look into my face. I knew if he did, he would completely lose it. His face showed that he was trying his very best to hold back the tears that were wanting to come. It didn’t take long before we were both crying. This brother was not just hurting for me. He did not just feel bad about this situation. He was truly hurting with me in a way I will never forget.

In each of the situations I have described, the faces of these individuals communicated to me A Great Love that somehow sustained me during this torturous day. I do not know how I (we) made it through that day or the weeks that have followed (and I'm not real sure how we are going to continue to make it), but I do know that looking into those precious faces is something I hope to never forget.

I (we) still need these faces. We have a long way to go. I am still hurting. I am still afraid. I need to see faces that remind me I am not alone. Faces that remind me I am loved.

(original entry - March 29, 2006)

5 comments:

Catherine said...

Though you and Brooke can not see my face, I hope you know that I am thinking of you and wishing you peace.

Amy said...

I was actually coming to your site to look in your archives for this post.

We remember, too, and we still mourn the loss of little Zach.

Larry said...

Meghan and I were talking about y'all on Thursday. Your Minglewood community is still here and remembering with you.

David said...

Adam
Whatever words I write they will not be right or fit. That stinks. Thanks for sharing your story.

reneegrace said...

Feb 21 is our day to remember... thank you for sharing. Many don't, and its comforting to those of us who carry loss along side you.

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