Precious Moments was the title to one of many classes offered at a Sunday School conference I was attending. I thought maybe it was about those cute little tear drop eyed figurines, I began hearing about them shortly after family moved to Joplin, Missouri (close to Carthage, Missouri where Precious Moments Chapel is located.) I was not sure how it would tie into teaching children, but the name had me hooked. I attended the class and was shocked when it was on miscarriages. I thought about getting up and leaving the class quietly since I was not married and did not believe that a miscarriage would be happening to me. I had prayed about which classes to attend and I had been excited about this one; I decided there must be something I could learn from this class. This was the first time I was introduced to the steps of grieving.
Steps to Grieving
Shock and denial - just breathe - take it moment by moment
Pain and guilt - take it minute by minute - pain and guilt come after the shock wears off - Give yourself permission to grieve
Anger and bargaining - take it hour by hour - Frustration gives way to anger - Why me? - Blaming yourself and others
Depression, reflection and loneliness - loss of direction and purpose - take it one day at a time - keep yourself busy do not dwell on the loss.
Upward turn - Find a safe place in your heart and possibly a safe person
Reconstruction and working through - choose life - take it one week at a time
Acceptance and hope - Take it one month at a time - connect with others that are hurting
This is just a list, they can happen out of order, switch back and forth, and you may wonder how long does each one last. There is no exact science to grieving. Each person does it their own way and in their own time. Some stages may last only a few weeks and some may last years. It depend on whether you embrace the grieving process or if you just avoid the pain. Molly Fumia said this about grieving ‘It may be postponed, but it will not be denied.” It needs to be said again, “Give yourself permission to grieve.” It is an excruciating and almost unbearable pain, express it - scream, yell, punch a pillow, cry, go for a run, whatever helps you release the pain. No harm should be come to yourself or others. You can be angry. The only boundary is to sin not.
After the class a young lady who was teaching Royal Rangers and Missionettes in our church and I ate lunch together. It was over lunch that she recounted her numerous miscarriages and sadness, as we both cried. I prayed with her, we agreed together that God would give her a child. A short time later I went overseas and I have not seen her again. It was three years or so later when I received a Christmas card telling me she was pregnant with twins. The next year there was a picture of the twins, one boy and one girl. I thought this was the reason God has allowed me to learn the steps of grieving, to pray with my friend and experience His miracle.
In 1993 another reason why I was to attend that class arrived on the scene. My sister and her family were expecting their second child. My sister carried the baby full term and as long as she was inside of her momma she was alive. When she was delivered she died. This was early in the understanding of the RH factor. I used the steps of grieving myself. I did tell my sister about the class and the steps. At the anger and bargaining stage I had to really work at not scaring every pregnant mother I saw into a panic. I wanted to let them know what could happen if for some reason they had not heard about the RH factor.
In 1994 I met a young lady while living in Germany. A couple of years after we met she moved to Denmark, met the love of her life and married. They were married a couple of years and she too had several miscarriages. I told her the story of the class, my friend, the twins, and we agreed together that God would give them a baby. They chose to try artificial insemination. The first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. A year passes and they try artificial inseminating again. This time she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. A year later they had a handsome baby boy naturally. The success with the couple with twins gave me hope that it would happen again. Another reason for attending that Precious Moments Class was beneficial.
The question keeps coming up, “Why attend funerals?” They feel the person is gone and will never know if you attend. I believe that funerals are also a part of the grieving process. I attend funerals because I personally need the closure. I believe you attend funerals to express love to those left behind and allow them to grieve just a short while with you. I then hear “I never know what to say.” You don’t have to say anything. I believe it is actually better to say nothing. Just give the ones who have lost someone a hug. That hug will say it all.
Later, when life took my parents those steps of grieving were priceless to me personally. I have never regretted that class that took all of 45 minute out of my life. And yes, those Precious Moments when my sister, I and our family held their beautiful baby girl. We miss you Mallary Hope.