I knew that we would have many practical tasks to handle once we found out that our embryo transfer had failed. A failed transfer meant that our family was complete (as far as we know), which allowed us to begin to empty our garage of baby things and the dozen or so totes of Tori’s clothing (which we had saved for our potential future daughters).
We got the news of the failed transfer just one week before everything began shutting down due to COVID-19. I thought we could use this time to sort through her clothing and choose what to consign, donate, give away, etc. However, as I considered which option would be the easiest given the volume of clothing we had, none felt right.
When I considered consigning (to help us buy clothes for the boys) I thought about how so much of Tori’s clothing was given to us and felt bad about trying to sell it (not to mention the huge amount of work required to prepare for consignment). When I thought about donating it I thought about how much of it was unworn and therefore could bring in some extra money. When I thought about giving it away, I wasn’t sure that was the best option, either, but I couldn’t put words to it. No option brought me peace.
Yesterday I realized what has kept me from wanting to get rid of it in any form: I think it’s grief.
Sometimes grief doesn’t look like weeping. Sometimes it looks like clothing you just can’t let go of even though you don’t need it.
A friend of mine is expecting a girl in July so I texted her and asked if she’d like to go through the clothes. She said yes, so Brennan loaded up the van today and I dropped the totes off in her garage.
Even now, as I type this, the finality of that action hurts my heart. I want them back, which bothers me because it’s irrational. I don’t need them. That struggle indicates to me that it’s about more than clothes.
Letting go of those clothes doesn’t just mean that Tori is gone and has been gone; it is a reminder that we won’t have another daughter here on earth (unless God has other plans).
Letting go of those clothes represents the end of our hope for another pregnancy.
Letting go of those clothes feels like an act of surrender I didn’t see coming, the next step of me trusting the Lord and believing that He is good despite my failed embryo transfer.
I didn’t expect this to be a struggle.
Rational me is glad that these barely used clothes are going to be worn by my friend’s daughter instead of being stored any longer, and I’m so thankful that we can bless them in this way. But, part of me still feels torn about the whole thing and wants to find a solution that brings me peace, a solution I know will never come. The only solution would be for me to be pregnant with a daughter or two, and that wasn’t God’s plan.
I’m sure if I waited until tomorrow I could collect my thoughts and write this more clearly, but, as I did while Tori was here, I wanted it to be fresh and raw, even if it’s not as clearly articulated as I’d like. Essentially, all I have to say is this: Yesterday I learned that grief, for me, is rarely tears. Instead, it’s these unexpected – and difficult – moments of letting go when I didn’t realize anything was wrong.
3 thoughts on “Sometimes Grief Looks Like Clothing”
Beautifully written. Grief comes in many forms.
Thank you for sharing
You seem pretty clear in your thoughts. Never apologize for your grief. Rejoice in the joy of your child and the twins. God has plans we don’t understand but should accept. From a mother who adopted. The grief of not having a child grow in me is still there 32 years later but the beautiful daughter I have and the 2 grandchildren make my heart happy.
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I was reminded of the song “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again” sung by Danny Goeky. God is with you. Be encouraged that in the sharing of your grief journey, God is glorifying Himself.
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