Friday, August 28, 2009

Seven Years Ago . . .

I awoke to the sound of the phone ringing.
"The baby's gone."
"They can't find the heartbeat. Savannah's gone."

There are a million things that go through your mind at that moment, and none of them belong there or make sense. There is an overwhelming urge to "do something" - call for help, scream, pray, negotiate, demand. None of which feels like the appropriate response.

Jennifer had gotten up early to go to the Doctor's office. 36 weeks, this was most likely the last visit before the delivery. Everything had been normal during the visit; they'd talked about the delivery date and everything.

"Do you want to hear the heartbeat before you go?"

Such an innocent question. What mother wouldn't jump at any chance to hear their baby's heartbeat. In hindsight, such an ironic question. We would have given anything, everything we had to hear that heart beating before we left that office.

There was no "movie scene" of weeping and wailing. There was surprisingly little emotional reaction. We were numb. This wasn't happening. What were we supposed to do next? The delivery was scheduled for two days later. Two days! Two days of shambling around like zombies looking for something we were supposed to do.

We weren't supposed to be doing any of it. We were supposed to be finishing her room, planning the Labor Day festivities, getting the boys ready to take care of their little sister; Not talking to funeral homes; Not buying burial plots; Not going through a full delivery with no expectation of joy - our Savannah Joy.

Oddly enough there were some lighter moments during this difficult time. My sister Angie asked our, then 86 year old, father, "Why are you crying? You'll see her before any of the rest of do!" Our neighbor Susan, a maternity nurse, gave us such good advice to preserve Savannah's memory. The Inkley's Photo manager who sacrificed her time on a Holiday weekend so that we could have photographs of Savannah at the graveside service. My friends I sang with, now singing for us, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand." Our church leader introducing himself as "Savannah's Bishop" at the funeral.

Grief is like a sad movie that makes you cry every time you watch it. If you watch it enough times, you cry less even though the movie is still sad. We gather every year at her grave and release balloons to remind us that she isn't in the grave but up in heaven, watching us, and waiting for that joyful reunion when our family will be whole again.

In Loving Memory


Megan Rees said...

Thanks for posting this, Rusty. Sounds like Jen isn't the only accomplished writer in your house. I made the mistake of reading it during 6th period while my kids are working, and it's hard not to cry. What a relief to know we will all see her again one day!

Trevor said...

I never heard this before, Rusty. Now that i am a father, I cried when I read it. I think of my own mom when she lost my brother Craig shortly after he was born. I need to be reminded of things eternal every now and again. Thank you.

marky said...

Hey. I was coming on to leave a quick happy holiday’s message. I didn't even know you'd posted. I'm sorry I left it so late to comment, but better late than never I suppose.

My heart goes out to you, sir. God bless you and yours. You are one brave man.

Happy Thanksgiving, I hope all is well.