Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Sorrows of Mary

My intentions of starting this blog was just to document the happenings of our family. Never did I dream of anything like this happening to us, so I never thought of this blog going in any other direction. It has always been mostly for me and for Jason.

This is still mostly for us, but it also seems to be more than that now. My hopes are that no one else ever has to search for "anencephaly blogs", but if they do, I hope they appreciate our honesty, our willingness to be open and to be vulnerable. I hope they learn that every single emotion is normal. There is no right way to do this. I have found hope in other people's stories and I hope that I can do the same for someone else.

But, there are times I feel utterly hopeless. There are moments where my grief turns to anger and all I want to do is cry and scream. That's when the "why's" take over and I know how dangerous those "why's" can be.

Why is this happening to us? Why me and not them? Why does the person who never wanted a child get a healthy one? Why does this happen to someone who desires a large family? Why, when I have waited so long to have children, would this happen to me? Why would God allow this to happen to me?

And the answer is so simple and I hate it. Why? It doesn't matter why, so why keep asking? If I knew the reason for the why's, would it change anything? Would it take away the aching in my heart? Would it take away my longing to keep Lily here? Would it make me feel any better? No, because the answer to any of those questions doesn't make any of this go away. 

When my sorrow and grief turns to anger it takes over. In those moments of feeling completely helpless and weak, I beg God to take Lily now. I beg him to not make me bear this for the next 4 months and beyond. Just as I start to feel so much guilt for even thinking this, I then start to panic because I fear my wish is coming true. I worry that I haven't felt her move in awhile. I am full of grief thinking I am losing her now.

But then something truly amazing happens. Lily reassures her mom that for now everything is okay. She lets me know that she is strong and that she is still with me and I am truly grateful. She will spend the next hour rolling, kicking and punching me. When Ted is sitting on my lap and reading a story, she likes to let us know she is with us too. I can't wait for her kicks to be strong enough for Ted to feel. I can't wait to tell him all about his sister Lily and how every single time he sat with me, she would start kicking.

Jason and I started praying and meditating on the Seven Sorrows of Mary (There are lots of websites with the sorrows, but we liked this one best). I am not one to pray devotions. I know, I know...what kind of Catholic am I? ;) A friend recommended it to me and Jason and I wanted to do something. We've obviously been praying, but it's nice to have some type of focus when you pray. So, we are starting with these seven sorrows. 

The first sorrow is The Holy Prophecy of Simeon.

The Blessed Virgin, filled with joy, presented her only son in the temple. How her heart must have broken to hear the prophetic words of Simeon as he foretold the suffering of the Savior and His mother.

For the first time in my life, I felt like I had a glimpse into Mary's life and suffering. During this prayer time, Jason and I relived the day we learned of Lily's condition. We relived that moment when we learned that we have to live the next five months knowing that our greatest fear will come true. I am sure Mary felt the joy and pride of presenting her beloved child, just like we felt the joy and anticipation of seeing our child in the ultrasound. And all in a single moment time stands still and you learn that every dream you have for that sweet little soul has been shattered.

I often think of Mary's "yes". Would she still have said yes if she knew what her Son would go through? I like to think so, although I will never know for sure. All I know is that my yes to life has not changed. As painful as this is and I hope and pray we don't ever have to endure it again, I would still say yes to life. With absolute certainty I would say yes to Lily's life again and again. 

Despite our suffering, we still find joy in each and every day. We had a wonderful Father's Day celebrating Jason with pizza and watching Ted at the Splash Pad.


  1. Your post is the THIRD time today that I have come across the Seven Sorrows Rosary. I had never heard about it before today. I think Someone above is telling me I should start praying this Rosary. You and your family are in my continues thoughts and prayers. May God Bless and comfort you and bring you peace during the difficult days ahead.

  2. It's so good that you and your husband are able to pray together. As I understand it, there is a belief that in the moment the Blessed Mother said "yes" she saw the entirety of what she was saying yes to. So amazing. So humbling. You and your family are in my prayers. I'm so sorry you are on this journey. I hope you can find joy in celebrating Lily's life along the way.