I reconnected with a friend today. A friend who, after years apart, had me laughing before she even closed my front door. She’s the kind of friend who makes years apart seem like they were only minutes. She is also a friend who, in our time apart, has known her own pain, heartbreak, and grief.
So we talked, we admired each others children, and when it was time to clean up the lunch dishes, we caught each other up. While our children were being entertained by my husband in the living room, she turned to me and said “Who goes first?” It was time to tell our stories.
As she helped load my dishwasher, she shared her story with the incredible grace and wit I’ve always admired. Then it was my turn. I walked her through my preeclampsia diagnosis, those initial days of bed rest in the hospital, and the night that silence overtook my world. I recounted the pain and distress my body endured. I shared about my delivery and then I stopped. I always stop at this point in our story, because it’s right before I say out loud what it felt like to hold my first born daughter. This is the part where I cry. Every time I try to describe what it was like to see Dorothy for my first and last time, I can only cry.
Sometimes, I still think that I will be able to tell our whole story without shedding a tear. It is in my imagination that I will be able to stoically share about our experience. But I can’t. I can almost make it, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to say all of my words out loud without a single tear.
I used to worry that these tears were a sign of my weakness. But, ultimately, I know that they are an expression of my love. They showcase all that my family has endured. And today, when I looked back over at my friend, she was crying. She almost made it too.