Tuesday, January 18, 2011

For Better or For Worse

My husband and I met just about 5 years ago in Florida.  I have to be honest, I do not even remember our very first meeting, although he says he does.  It wasn't a noteworthy meeting.  A casual hello, nice to meet you, as I filled out an application for a job at a restaurant on the water in Port Orange, FL.  I was so involved in my own life and business of moving that I barely paid any attention to that moment.  Had I known that fast forward 5 years later he would be my husband, I would have paid better attention.  I would have wanted to remember that moment.  He will tell you that he 'knew' that he was going to marry me from when he first saw me.  I love when he tells this story, because it reminds me of a romantic movie or book. I had always thought that things like that only happened in the movies.  While early in the relationship I found it hard to understand his blissful romantic view of the world, I later came to appreciate it.  I had long lost that idealism to a more cynical attitude.  I thought he was crazy when he first told me of his revelation of our marriage.  But, later I found myself admiring and wishing I had the same idealistic nature about me.  Well, after 5 years together, we have found that life is not idealistic.

Early into our life together we experienced our first misfortune, our first miscarriage. It hit us hard, especially my husband. Growing up I always dreamt about my grown up life. I expected to one day fall in love, get married and eventually have kids.  Never did I daydream about having a miscarriage.  That is not something we tell children; the hardships of life and the unexpected let downs.  So, when I had my miscarriage I was so dismayed.  You get pregnant you have a baby, right?.  What is this nonsense about miscarriages? I sorrowfully accepted the reality.  My husband on the other hand wasn't so accepting.  He was angry, very angry.  It took him sometime to come to terms with the situation.  But, even though our heartache, I could see our potential to be a great team.  We pulled together in a way I never expected. We became closer. 

We were challenged again with a second miscarriage.  We could not believe it happened to us again, more bad luck?   How much worse could it get we thought to ourselves? We obviously had no clue.  Our third pregnancy, brought to us one of the biggest joys in our lives, our son.  Finally, success, we are a family.  We knew right away we wanted more kids.  Very often, I have thought that our purpose together, our purpose in life was to have a family together.  It was one of the things we both felt strongly about and I believe brought us together. Being 35 at the birth of my son, we knew we would want to have them close together.  Six months later, we were pregnant again.

My pregnancy with Gabriella was a surprise.  We didn't expect to get pregnant so quickly.  It took me a while to absorb that I was pregnant again, three months ahead of our schedule.  Even as I type the words 'our schedule' I realize how silly it is and how it looks.  'Our schedule' as though we are in control of anything.  Control is really an illusion when it comes to matters of creation.  I had no control over my first two miscarriages, I had no control over the successful pregnancy and birth of my son, so to think I had any control over Gabriella's creation and life is absurd.  I had no control.  She was a plan from God. A plan I didn't understand, and still don't understand. As I accepted her conception in my life and thanked God for such a blessing.  I personally believe if we are to take the good from God, we must too accept the bad, I accept his will to take her from us too soon.  I don't understand it. I don't need to understand it, I just have to accept it and have faith that the 'plan' is a greater force than I am.

All the same, when we were faced with the truth, the truth about our baby girl, we were devastated.  My first thoughts were, we can get through this, and thank God we have my son.  I remember in the first few moment of holding my husband, while I sat in the hospital bed and the cold screen of the ultrasound machine next to us, thinking, 'We have Dominic. We have a beautiful, healthy son, some people don't even have that much.'  I don't know what gave me the clarity to see things in such a way so soon.  The only thing I can think of is the grace of God.

When you get married, or at least when I got married, you expect there to be hard times.  But, mainly I fantasized about the good times to come. My husband and I have been through ups and downs like any couple.  Together we have lost our jobs, moved across states, made bad business decisions, restarting educations, humbled ourselves to accept help from others, dealt with the skeletons in our closets. We faced the disappointments of the two miscarriages.  Never, not once in a million years, when we stood in front of our friends and family, that beautiful, sunny day, beach side in Daytona Beach, did we ever, ever imagine that when we said the words for better and for worse, that this might be our worse.  We believed the bad luck, in regards to our pregnancies were behind us.  We expected that one day, we would have to deal with the loss of  loved ones.  That is life, and remember after all, he is a funeral director.  We were not nieve to the realities of mortality. But, we could have never imagined that we would have to muster up the strength and love it takes to meet our daughter under these circumstances.

For better or for worse, real words that can be taken for granted.  We look forward to the good and ignore the fact the there will be hard times, unbearable times.  In a marriage, you want to shield each other from harm, shield your children from harm.  But, there are just somethings you can not prepare for, somethings you can not shield each other from.  Sometimes, you have to bear the burdens together, there is no hiding, there is no protecting.  You have to be strong for each other.  We have good moments, and we have bad moments.  Everyday is a rollercoaster for us now.  Sometimes, I am down when he is up and sometimes it is vice versa.  Sometimes, we are both down, those times are hard. Sometimes we can escape for a few moments and laugh together about something, those times are the nicest. 

I have fallen in love with my husband all over again. Strange to think, that at a time like this, I am falling in love.  When this happened to us, the layer of the everyday stresses and minutia were stripped away.  We were raw, raw emotions is all you have when you suffer such a great loss.  In that rawness, I saw and see our truest selfs.  I see the amazing qualities he posesses, the ones I orginially fell in love with, the ones that made me say "yes" when he asked me to marry him.  He always tells me I am his soul mate.  I didn't think I believed in soulmates, so I wouldn't really say much to this declaritive.  I now know, soul mates do exist, and I married mine.  My precious little daughter, my Gabriella, gave me the greatest gift.  If it weren't for her, would I have ever been able to see this truth?  I feel so inferior to this little person, she gives and gives, even in death she gives.  I admire her.  I wonder if I have been able in my 36 years on this earth, if I have had the same impact as she has with nothing but 33 weeks.  I have said it before, but, it is worth repeating, what a beautiful life.

Gabriella, I love you, I will always love you and I thank you for all you have given me.  You are a precious gift from God.

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