May 6, 2011

The Day I Went To the Dentist

[april 15, 2011]

I knew the dentist I was about to see. I remembered him from three years before, when he examined my teeth and told me a crown was probably needed.

He looks to be in his late fifties. Gray hair, but full and coarse. He’s tall and slender and has the appearance of old wealth. A few wrinkles dart across his face. His smile shows average teeth, which makes him seem trustworthy. I remember his gentle spirit, the way he gracefully moved the utensils around my mouth, the way he carried himself in and out of the room. I was drawn to his sense of calm and paternal concern.

I was a different person way back in 2008 when I saw him last. It was, as I’ve come to think of it, the Before Margot time in my life (It’s strange to think that six weeks ago was also the Before Margot time in my life). Kari was five months pregnant with Stella and we were blissfully happy. After finishing his examination, he gently explained that I needed $1500 worth of work done in my mouth. I may be the only person who smiled contently after such news. Well, it’s better now than after she’s born, I told him happily. Let’s do it, I exclaimed.

That was back when I thought being pregnant would automatically lead to having a baby.

Today I slip into the chair and wait, with wet eyes, in the After Margot era of my life. In this moment, all I want to do is tell him what happened. That I just lost my baby. That she weighed 7 pounds, twelve ounces and that her name was Margot June. That she was just as gorgeous as my first born, with her big cheeks and blue eyes. I want to tell him that I feel sad.

I can’t seem to understand this desire to tell him, or to tell others who I think might empathize, as if their pity will somehow validate my pain, give meaning to my sadness. Perhaps telling strangers is some form of acceptance, acknowledging out loud that this tragedy did happen. And any little trace of acceptance that creeps out of my heart feels good these days.

Good morning, Josh, he says casually. How are you?


Anonymous said...

Josh and Kari...My heart aches for you. We lost a baby at 16 weeks and I was devastated thought that it would never happen to me. I cannot imagine what you are going through but please know that you have been in our thoughts and prayers. The only thing that got us through was knowing that they were "dancing with Jesus." May God richly bless you. Blessings! Erin (Inman) Weber

Amanda said...

"That was back when I thought being pregnant would automatically lead to having a baby." Powerful, powerful sentiment.

It's so interesting how strangers can illicit the most personal, intense parts of our lives.

Gwen Jackson said...

I shared of our loss this morning with a female doctor who I have never met. This stranger who examined my lungs and took my temp had tears forming in her eyes as my story set in.

She told me how stressful situations lower the immune system, that it wasn't surprising that I was sick. She was so empathetic, sitting at her desk pondering our loss, asking questions, and taking time to listen. So sweet.

Josh Jackson said...

Erin, I'm sorry for your loss. There is so much healing in the shared grief of others.

Thanks for the kind words Mandy. Your comments always put a smile on my face and a lump in my throat.

That is sweet Mom. Thanks for sharing our story with others seems to work the same as me sharing. There is a strange acceptance that forms.

Anonymous said...

"Sometimes a grief is so great that it has to be borne by strangers"

I am a stranger in LA that is sharing your pain. I think about your family constantly. I have shed tears at your moving reflection. I think of our little girl who turned 2 yesterday. I think of my sweet husband who is such an amazing father to his namesake. I think of beautiful Margot June. I think of how blessed her soul is to have you. And the tears prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

Still sending love and light to you and your beauiful family. I check in regularly and till this day still moved by the love in your heart and the pain in your chest.
You are not alone.

Beck said...

Your raw honesty broadens the perspectives of those of us listening and praying, Josh.

glo said...

It is Mothers Day and I needed to stop by and tell you both that you have been in my thoughts and prayers and on my heart throughout the day. My guess is Stella has worked her way today and helped to put a smile on your faces and in your hearts even with the grief that I am sure also weighs in on you today. Love and prayers for both of you.

Anonymous said...

Josh, You say words, for all these many years... since my Geri Ann moved to Heaven...have been muted in my heart.
"I can’t seem to understand this desire to tell him, or to tell others who I think might empathize, as if their pity will somehow validate my pain, give meaning to my sadness."
Your words here say so much! And really for me, it's not so much their pity, I realized this much later, it's wanting them to know that "she is/was". Margot June and Geri Ann, who never breathed a breath of air here, but still we held them in our arms and forever in our hearts. Remembering them, is the cherished moments we need to share...and will for as long as we live. When we say their names and hear others echo it back to us, it resounds through our total being,and there is a "quenching" of our need.
So much of me wants to "prepare" you of future experiences to when you picked up Margot June's ashes...I knew the emptiness in those walls of the funeral home..the pain of phasing it out and wanting to be in her nursery to "pick her up"...that's where I should have been. But it is your journey, and all I can do is pray..He is with you and Kari every step of the way.
As Stella grows into a young woman, as my other daughters have, she will amaze you with her "sibling" insight of Margot June. The connection that siblings share is so vast...They use her name as a password or include her in our special events by lighting candles, letting balloons float to Heaven in a special release, they even have a tatoo they designed, and had the ink set in on a "sister retreat" in her honor.
Remember too, that we will see them again...Easter is His promise!

claire said...

For years after my most impactful loss I felt like everyone I met needed to hear about what happened to me. As if they couldn't know me at all unless they know about the huge hole in my life. Half of sharing was grasping at straws hoping I'd stumble on to some magical person that would say just the right thing to take all the pain away. The other half was trying to cure the lonely feeling death brought me. Others were grieving but I was so isolated and alone, no one could possibly know how horrible I felt.

Almost 4 years later I have my sadness tucked in my pocket. I feel it every now and then but rarely take it out anymore. I used to almost wear my grief, I told everybody, it was there all day, everyday. Many people have shared, not taking the pain away but giving me hope and understanding. The lonliness hasn't been cured but knowing what others have been through has put me in beautiful company, knowing that while someone might not relate, they understand.

Thank you and Kari so much for sharing because you really have helped me with my losses. Thinking about them, honoring them, putting them in perspective and finding more peace with less lonliness! More peace with less lonliness! I like it, thank you.

Josh Jackson said...

Thanks to the anons for your continued support. We appreciate every comment left.

Claire, thanks for taking time to share your own story as well as the kind words about this blog. I often feel like my words seem trite and wonder if they are worth dumping onto those who read this blog. So I'm glad when they help a little. I like more peace too.

Artie said...

mmm, I had an anxiety attack just reading that.
you are beautiful. keep doing what you're doing. you are touching lives...mostly...your own.

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