November is the month in between.
First it was the month that came before; then, it was the month that came after.
Yet, November is the month of thanks.
How do I say thank you for the blessing of broken? I am learning.
It was December, and I saw her in my dreams. I saw her on our bed looking up at her father and me. My husband’s long curly red hair brushing her face and blending in with her own. I saw her, and I begged the doctors to let her stay. She was healthy and happy, but they said it was too soon.
The dream was so real, too real.
I miscarried shortly after.
Not a year later, I prayed for faith. I bought a diaper bag and onesies as an act of claiming this baby would stay.
That diaper bag taunted me, mocked me, and broke me when I found it tucked away in a closet as I cleaned because my womb had been scraped and emptied of the life that did not come to be. It was October.
November, are you the break between grief? Are you the breath of air begging me to inhale deeply? How do I thank when I don’t have them to hold? How do I thank when the promise of life is broken?
Don’t forget, November, you too contain great grief. In fact, it was my first grief. You are the first introduction to life cut short without rhyme or reason. You are my uncle’s head hit too hard. You are my faith cracking at the seams.
Yet, you beckon me to thanks.
You draw me to raise empty hands and broken dreams, so I do.
I thank you for mother’s day with it’s bitter sweet celebration. Its memories of loss and observance of life’s greatest joy. Its nearness to the ripping away of my cousin and her infant child.
Where do I begin? Where do I start to give thanks for the broken?
Do I look to end of summer, before the leaves fall… to the moment of standing in a small church to say goodbye to Donny, who would no longer play cards with us on late nights? Is it here my soul can begin to give thanks?
I thank you, God. I do.
I start not with the broken, but with the small and mundane. I thank you for the leaves’ lazy decent to earth, the air fresh, and the children laughing. I thank you for sick days spent snuggling on the couch in the warmth of a home beyond my dreams. These are things I thank you for daily. It comes easily off my tongue because it leaps from my heart.
But now, I thank you with the things I don’t say. I thank you for the blessings of grief.
I thank you for making me a woman who sees the world through eyes of understanding. I thank you for giving me the gift of tears to cry for and with those who need to not be alone. I thank you for the loss so bitter that life tastes ever so sweet.
I thank you for teaching me your love is unfailing. You held me though I ranted, raged, and ran against you as I failed to cope with death’s heavy weight.
November, my heart is muddled and weary in your season, but it is grateful. I am grateful.
Thanksgiving is giving. God, I give you thanks for all the giving.
You did not take these lives from me. You gave me grief to understand how all of life is blessing.
These are the things I do not say for fear my gratitude may slip away in the giving.