I am barely holding my shit together today. Why? Because I just had 12 consecutive days with the kids and I had no idea coming back to work would be this difficult. It’s like returning to work after maternity leave all over again. Tears well up in my eyes unexpectedly. But this afternoon? This afternoon I get to go home to them.

Our pastor’s niece and nephew will not see their child today. They lost their child last week. She was 8 months pregnant. And so some of the tears I have today are for them, too. I cannot imagine that kind of loss. And I feel guilty for feeling so grateful for Harper & Mateo when that gratefulness is amplified due to another’s loss.

Loss like that experienced by a woman named Molly. On July 2, 2008, she wrote a post about their child naming philosophy, and answering the question of whether her child’s name was a family name or not. It piqued my interest because around that time, we were getting that question a lot, too. Not about her Orison, but about our Harper & Mateo, 11 weeks old at the time. She went on to write how they named their second child, a daughter, Felicity, a noun meaning intense happiness. Molly said “She was born into the arms of Jesus, so that means that her name is true.”

That statement stood me still.

Then I read more backstory about Felicity and the recounting of those events by her father-in-law.

And I wept.

Usually, I wouldn’t ask permission to link to posts or blogs. Public is public, right? But the loss of a child is so personal, even if it is discussed on the world wide web. So I felt compelled to ask Molly if I could mention her on my blog.

She gave me the go ahead in July and I’ve been meaning to introduce Molly ever since. Her story and the telling of her stories have touched me in a profound way. She is alarmingly witty, steadfastly faithful, and disarming in her honesty. They’re the kind of family I’d love to know in person and have the gift of calling them friends.

I am not too familiar with the territory where Love and Loss and Grief thrash against each other. But I do know that our earthly beings are finite, living amongst one another on borrowed time. My co-worker and friend lost his dad unexpectedly to a massive heart attack last June. His memorial service was the same day that Jennifer adopted Harper & Mateo. So in a way, his dad will always be with me, too, even though I never met him.

In Molly’s reply to my request she said there is often a “conspiracy of silence” after the loss of a Loved one. Something she read in a book about stillbirth, but as she said, applies to all loss, really. This stuck with me, and upon my return from maternity leave, I made a point to give my co-worker a hug, look him in the eye, and ask how he was doing. I was nervous and it was uncomfortable in the way that things are nervous and uncomfortable when you don’t know what kind of emotions might come spilling out of someone. He was glad someone verbalized it. And I would guess it is the reason he feels comfortable this several months later expressing his sorrow about the difficulty he’s had over these first holidays without his dad.

So the three things I ask of you?

1. Visit Molly’s blog, The Pipers, especially the series she wrote in the midst of her own grief, in the months after Felicity’s death, a series called How To Help A Grieving Friend.

2. Keep Christopher and Jennifer, the niece and nephew of our pastor, and their family in your prayers as they grieve the loss of a child unborn.

3. Don’t perpetuate the conspiracy of silence. Get on the phone or email or even better in person and tell the people you know that have or are experiencing loss that they are on your mind. Tell them what reminded you of them. And then shut up and listen, even if all you’re listening to is the sound of silence understood. The friend who had a miscarriage. The neighbor mourning their pet. The friend who’s dad died. The co-worker who lost their significant other. And if you need virtual encouragement for your own loss, let me know how I can pray for you.