From a mother with empty arms

September 29, 2015

Dear Carla,

Nothing in your life will prepare you for the fall of 2007 – for that span of time when your heart enters a griefdeeperthanwords.

On October 1, the sky will be gray and dark, and it will drizzle a mist-like rain – just enough to cover your tears. That day you will give birth. It won’t be your first time giving birth, so you will know what to expect.

And yet, you won’t.

That day you will give birth, but no birth certificate will be written and no death certificate will be signed. That day you will give birth in labor and in pain and in stillness.

On your door will be a small postcard-sized sign with a single rose in the center of a black background, a tear falling down the petal of the rose. The card will ensure that no one will enter your room; you will be assigned one nurse who will be by your bedside for the next twelve hours – or longer if necessary. The usual bevy of hospital personnel will not be seen in this room: No nursing assistants, no doctors, no housekeepers, and no food service. Stillness will be everywhere.

No one will speak in the outside world, and inside your body, stillness also will reign. No little one will be moving or breathing, no tiny heart will be pumping blood to its transit system of arteries and veins.

You will swirl somewhere in an eerie silent place on that day, your own heart still and lifeless.

I have only a few words to speak into your life.

Please do not fear the stillness…

Friends will leave you because they cannot bear the silence. You will discover who your true friends are and your life will be richer for it.

Please don’t pay attention to what anyone says about the “stages of grief”…

Sorrow is fluid and cannot be determined in concrete, linear form. Each day there will be an ebb and flow of heartbreak that may be as brief as the blink of an eye or as long as the daylight hours. No green road side sign will tell you how many more miles until you arrive at the destination of State of Non-Grief.

Please remember grief has no polar opposite…

In fact, you won’t even know what the opposite of grief is later in your life. Is it contentment? Happiness? Joy? Peace? You will experience all those things simultaneously with crippling grief – the kind that will suck the air out of your lungs and leave you gasping in the middle of a work meeting or at the grocery store or at another child’s football game.

Please know now that you will discover things about yourself that you will not know or recognize…

The urge to run will be great, but I encourage you now to sit in the fear and pain. You will understand why C.S. Lewis penned the words, “No one ever told me that grief looked so much like fear.”

Pleasepleaseplease take heart that you will survive even though critical relationships in your life won’t.

For a season, you will stop talking with people. You will pull out of life and into your shell. The silence of withdrawal will be both deafening and comforting. There be those who will judge you, who won’t understand, and who will tell you that you need to “get over it”. You will be surprised by those who choose to let you go rather than give you space to work through the pain.

Please don’t fear this space of uncertainty…

You will survive. Your empathy will expand exponentially as you share your story and listen to the stories of countless women who have also endured a griefdeeperthanwords.

Please don’t let the stigma of loss and grief frighten you into silence…

Choose instead to listen. Listen to the silence and read the unspoken words between the lines as other women share their stories with you.

Just listen.

Embrace the darkness.

Sit in the silence.



Run into the arms of Jesus.

“Rinse and repeat.”

Tell your story even when you don’t want to share it (like now).

Share your heart even when it is bleeding with remembrance (like now).

Remember that at the end of your own dark griefdeeperthanwords, you will see a glimmer of hope (like now).

Today, may you remember with all the love of your mother’s heart David Carl Jordan, born in stillness – but still born – on October 1, 2007.

You are precious. You are loved. And your story is God’s story.


Your future self