Throughout the journey of losing my child, I have never asked myself, Why me?
Honestly, it’s just not a question I ask. Not because I wonder but won’t let myself ask. But because I could just as easily ask, Why not me? And because I already know the answer(s).
Why me? Because Tikva needed me as her mother, to love and hold her on her BIG journey.
Why me? Because there was a part deep inside me that was calling out – even if I didn’t know it – to be cracked open, stretched and expanded in this way.
Why me? Because even when I doubted it, Life knew I could do this.
Why me? Because I have boundless love and compassion – for my children, my family, my friends, in supporting others.
Why me? Because only through this could I become more fully me.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t trade it all in for a healthy, living Tikva toddling around me right now, nudging me off the computer and into a game of blocks with her. I would’ve been quite fine continuing on my way a bit less stretched, my soul less expanded, less fully myself.
But those are not the cards I got, and I want to remain in the game. So I’m making the best of the hand I’m holding now. As it turns out, I’ve got better cards than I thought.
I have wondered a lot if it’s all just about outlook, the color of the lenses on the glasses we choose to put on each day.
It’s easy when you’ve lost a child to go to that place of feeling like the person who got hit by lightning. What are the odds? In my case, they were somewhere between 1 in 2,500 and 1 in 5,000. That’s how often a child is born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Me, I’m the one. 2,500 to 5,000 times more likely to be the majority, but this time I was the one. ONE.
It struck me sometime after Tikva died just how lucky I was that Dahlia, my first child, was born healthy and with no complications. What are the odds of that? One in how many? And my second pregnancy, which ended in miscarriage at 10 weeks – 1 in 4. Pretty high odds, but at the time I was utterly dumbstruck. Me? This happened to ME? I had to laugh about that when I learned that I’d made 1 in 5,000.
Back to outlook… I could look at that in so many different ways:
I must be the most unlucky mother in the whole world.
Someone out there must think really highly of me to be paying so much attention to my little self and giving me so many *$%@#! challenges.
What did I do to deserve this? Did I do something wrong?
The odds could be even smaller, I could be one in ten million.
The Universe is a random place, and shit happens.
Somebody has to be the one.
There is so much ego in this business of making sense of loss. So much ME in it all. So much of my busy mind trying to rationalize the irrational, comprehend the incomprehensible. Trying to fit something messy and confusing into a neat little container that can be shut and put away on a shelf, retrieved and reopened as needed.
I don’t think it works that way, though. I can put all of Tikva’s things – the physical reminders of her existence – in boxes in a beautiful wooden chest and keep it close by. But the meaning of it all – the WHY – isn’t so cooperative. And the answers don’t seem to come from my busy mind. From my ego.
Sometimes I ask Tikva…
Why me, Tikva? Because I needed you to hold me and look into my eyes and speak to me and kiss me, to lift me up.
Why me, Tikva? Because you are special, Mama.
Why me, Tikva? Because others will need your help.
Why me, Tikva? I don’t know, Mama, but I’m glad it was you.
I sat in a park in Jerusalem with Dave, just weeks before Tikva was conceived. It was sunny and warm and we lay in the grass under a tree.
I said to him, “I want to get pregnant.”
“When?” he asked.
“Now. Soon. This month.” It was just before Rosh Hashanah.
I was absolutely and completely sure. Ready. I had no idea why, but I was sure. Maybe Tikva was whispering in my ear. Maybe there was a part of me that was calling out, unknowing, for the journey ahead. It took us only one try.
If we had waited another month, would it have been Tikva? Would our child have been healthy? We didn’t wait another month. I don’t believe we could have.
Why me? Because this is my story. Tikva is my child. The only child I could have created in that moment in time.
It’s just not a question I ask myself, maybe because if it hadn’t been me, I would never have had a child like Tikva. And I would never have learned to love in quite the same way.
What are the questions you ask? Do you have answers? Where do the answers come from? How would you lost child(ren) answer your questions?