I recently read Vessels: A Love Story, which tells the story of author Daniel Raeburn and his wife Bekah, who suffered devastating multiple miscarriages before and after the stillbirth of their daughter Irene. Naturally, this is predominantly a story of their loss, a loss that shaped and changed these two human beings, but it is also just a story of two people, so uniquely different, finding their way to each other and then experiencing tragedies which pushed them to almost breaking point and then ultimately, their struggle back to each other as a couple, as loss parents and as new parents.
We tried to be strong, but if I cracked a joke, I laughed while our only child was dead. If she went out to see a friend, she abandoned me. By trying to be strong for each other we hurt each other, and by trying to be normal, we grew numb. Talking about grief might add to it, so I kept quiet. So did she. We became closer to or baby, the thing we had in common, than to each other. Like all new parents. —Daniel Raeburn
We all, like Daniel and Bekah have these stories; it binds us here on Glow. We read and live these sad stories, every day, and we weep together, we understand the heaviness and we understand the grief all too well. When I finished this book I found myself reflecting on more than just the loss of Zia. I reflected on my life with my husband B, our life with our living son, and in a lot of ways Daniel and his wife were a reminder of that. I reflected on the impact of losing Zia on my family unit and more importantly, on my marriage. This book took me back to those other parts of my life that I sometimes forget to include a chapter about.
Daniel and Bekah met at a backyard barbeque and loved each other passionately. He writes: "Years later a friend asked, How’d you know Bekah was the one? I didn’t know how, I just knew. I told my friend, of all the women I’ve ever met; she’s the one who felt like family."
A lot of who we were is what makes us who we are. It is often what we once shared as a couple, that provides that extra blanket during the coldness of grief. This book spoke to me of the excruciating pain of losing but also of love and romance and living, of everything that existed before and during the sadness, it the basis of why this story is so important and the reason I felt compelled to share.
Like this couple, B and I struggled to find any sort of silver lining after losing Zia, truth be told there wasn't one, but we knew we must survive despite that, together or apart, we had to hope for better, so we did, together. But it was not an easy road; there were times when neither of us even understood what the other was going through, which is why I could relate so much to this story. This isn't a story for any one specific person; it’s a story for us all.
How has your marriage or relationship with your partner transformed since your loss/es? Have you grown closer? How have you best communicated and shared with your partner as you grieved separately and together?