Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, (in the midst of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.) Today, I honor the memory of my sweet baby girl, who was gone way too soon, as well as my other 2 babes I never got to meet.
Although this month I am mainly highlighting Domestic Abuse Awareness month, this other loss is important to honor also. Grief comes in many varieties.
I remember in the beginning of my divorce, from an adulterous, abusive, arrogant man, that I learned that the grief of losing your marriage can be 100 times worse than the grief of the death of a loved one. One of the main reasons is that there is no real closure. It is the end of the relationship that defined your life, but not the end of a life itself. The marriage is dead and buried, but the persons remains, and many times the abuser continues to abuse and cause more grief in other ways.
I remember telling one of my grown children, in the beginning of the process, that having gone through both, it is at least a 100 times harder grief. Regardless of the degree of grief felt, both are grieving processes that we have to go through, and everyone will process each in their own timetable and way. Leaving an abusive marriage is usually more of a grieving the loss of the marriage itself, the loss of the hopes and dreams for the future, rather than grieving the loss of the abuser in your daily life.
Another key reason the grief can be harder in divorce is that there isn’t loving, caring support. When you lose a loved one, support comes out of the woodwork. People you haven’t spoke to for decades call, bring casseroles, send financial and other gifts. When you end an abusive marriage, your closest friends and family and church may desert you. There are no calls, no support, no casseroles. No streams of caring souls just sitting with you to let you talk and process the loss. Just dead silence. For me, and many, the ending of a decades long marriage, hit harder.
But thankfully, the grief from the ending of a destructive marriage can be processed into something else, the reality of freedom. Freedom from domestic abuse brings a gift and light, that is not a part of grieving the loss of a child. There is no joy of freedom when you lose to death, only the hope of seeing them later in glory. Freedom from domestic abuse can go from grief to joy though. It is the rebirth of a butterfly, from a seemingly dead cocoon. The beginning of a new and beautiful life.
These thoughts have strayed a winding path. But the grief of losing my infant daughter is a grief that was healed long ago. I still think of her often and miss her life.
The grief of losing my marriage, or rather what I’d prayed and hoped it would be–but it wasn’t, has also healed. Destruction was replaced by freedom. I don’t miss what was.
Liberty ~ freely whole