Saturday, May 3, 2014


This started out as a Five Minute Friday.  But then I didn't have five whole minutes free on Friday.  Seriously. Not five minutes.  So it was written in a minute here and a minute there over the course of two days, probably equaling probably ten times five minutes, but I wrote on the prompt, so can I still get a cookie?

I noticed recently that the cleaner my home is, the better I handle messes.  If Lucia strews the contents of her toy box about our otherwise tidy townhouse, I know that it's only a matter of 10 or 20 minutes keeping me from order.  And if I need a break from the mess, I only have to walk into another room to get a reprieve.  But when my entire home is out of sorts, any one mess seems like it might be the one that sends me over the edge.  It's just one more thing on my already overwhelming to-do list.

That realization didn't stop there though.  My interior life is much the same.  If I face a hardship during a time where I am otherwise in a place of peace, it seems manageable.  I can let it wreak a bit of havoc knowing that calm is just a little while away.  But when the same suffering arrives into a life already burdened by sorrows, it knocks me off my feet.

So it was with my miscarriages.  We were just coming out of a year of unemployment/underemployment for my husband, our fourth out of state move in four years, and several stressful months of trying to conceive.  It looked like the sun was just starting to come out and we were anxious for some time to heal from the pain of the previous year.  And then we lost a child.  Three months later, we found out we were pregnant again, but the outcome of that pregnancy looked grim from the start.  We lost that child a month later.

Looking back, I don't feel like I dealt with either of those miscarriages particularly well.  I know that there is not any one way one should grieve, but I can see that so much of my struggles with the grieving process were caused by everything else compounded with the losses.  I just wasn't in a very good place to weather any tough blows and two miscarriages in four month really shook an already rocky foundation.

Over the past few months, I've made a lot of efforts to take care of the everything elses of my life - eating healthy, exercising, sleeping more, deepening my prayer life, spending quality time with my husband, reading literature and spiritual works, nurturing friendships, and focusing on being present to my Lucia.  In addition, several of the factors out of our control just seemed to fix themselves - we recently got an answer to our financial stress, David's job has turned out to be a perfect fit for him, and we've settled into our new home. 

We're coming up on the due date of the first child we lost, who we named Francis Michael.  I would be 39 weeks (and two days, but who's counting?) right now.  If things has been different, I might have a baby in my arms right now.  I fully expected this to be a difficult time, but the past week I've felt nothing but joy. 

I have done some specific things to heal from our losses - reading books on pregnancy loss, attending counseling and a support group, etc - but I truly feel like it's the cleaning up of all the other messes in my life and putting my health and soul in order that has made this healing possible.  Making the best of life as it is laid a foundation in which I have the freedom to focus on grief.

At the same time it's made me realize how good my life is now - today - and stop pining for the life it could have been with another child.  Truly, I can't imagine what it would be like to have a baby or me anticipating labor right now.  That life seems so far away, so distant.  Although I'll always wish to have those two children we lost in our family instead of just in our hearts, I know that the today of reality is not any worse than the today that might of been.  Just different. 
Enjoying the good life, my friends.

This post could have taken a very different twist, in which I wrote about the mess that a trip to the beach causes. We're still finding sand everywhere.

Five Minute Friday 



  1. Hi Mandi, visiting from FmF. I'm so sorry reading about your loss. Loosing children are heartbreaking. I lost my daughter eight years ago in a car accident. She was fifteen. I understand your loss. As for our lives being messy, well rather messy and adventurous than boring.
    Take care. Ciao.

  2. Mandi, I am so sorry for your losses. Life can be so messy. It is hard. We hopefully learn and grow and find out things about ourselves. I think you are amazing, and strong. You do have to live in today. it is filled with blessings and love if we just focus on finding and recognizing them. Love your thoughts.

  3. This is beautiful. I'm so glad you've found a place of joy in the midst of so much hard. I was just at a retreat yesterday where the focus was "called to joy" and the priest reminded us that Jesus came to give us life and *life to the fullest*. You remain in my prayers as we each walk this road of loss and fertility struggles. God bless you with a peaceful, joy-filled day :)

  4. I have found as well that if things are tidy I deal with them better..
    I am so glad I read this post today. You are such an amazing person, and resilient. Embrace the joy!!

  5. This is really beautiful, Mandi. Thank you for sharing this reflection.


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