This is a post long in coming. It is the post that tempted me mightily to break my Lenten Fast, but ultimately I decided to wait and post it for today.
You see, today is Gregory's due date. Gregory is the beloved 6th child, 3rd son of Michelle (and her DH of course) at Endless Strength.
Gregory is C's and my godson.
Only, Gregory is already with God and we are asking him to intercede for us instead of us praying for him.
Michelle was one of the 3 people I went to when I wanted someone to tell me the "truth" about NFP. I wanted to know how many of her babies (4 at the time) had been "accidents." (Yes, I cringe at the use of that word now too.) She kindly shared her experiences with NFP and helped to make me feel less scared about it.
The first time I met Michelle, she was traveling with all 4 kids and we met for dinner at a restaurant right across the parking lot from their hotel. I noticed when she didn't order a glass of wine and almost asked if she was pregnant, but didn't. She was pregnant. With baby #5, Vincent.
And so we've built this friendship. With so much in common: divorced parents; conversion of hearts from contraception to NFP that lead to an entirely new experience of being Catholic; NFP; love of sports (albeit different sports); and strong personalities. And yet, there is one thing that is different, very different: fertility.
We've both shared with one another how the other's experience is so foreign to us. And I love that about our friendship - our ability to share our experiences with one another even though they are so different. Michelle has always tried to find those "right" words; she's always offered prayers; and she's always realized it's just different. She is one of the best fertile friends an infertile gal can have. I've spent many hours marveling over how she does it; being in awe of her ability to parent 5 children while working full time.
And then Gregory. I was so excited and honored when Michelle asked us to be godparents. I was even happily planning to miss the home-opener for WVU's football season to head to Kansas for his baptism (I know!).
And then, the day she was going for her ultrasound to find out if, as she suspected, she was having another boy, I kept meaning to text her. I kept meaning to tell her I couldn't wait to hear if we were going to be godparents to a 3rd girl or a 1st boy. And yet, I didn't. And I felt awful. And then I saw I had a voicemail from her. And I worried, but my glass half-full self hoped she was just so excited she wanted to make our Skype date so she and her DH could tell us (and ask C to be godfather, he didn't know yet).
And I heard her voice.
And I knew.
And calling her back was the hardest and easiest thing I've ever done. I wanted to tell my friend I loved her and how sorry I was, but I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want her to have to say it.
On March 1, 2013, Gregory was born into God's arms. The day of his funeral, I prayed a rosary in the chapel at the time the Mass was to start, seeking a way to be with Michelle and her family even though I was so far away.
And in the days that followed, I sought words and tried to be as good a friend to Michelle as she is to me. I tried to understand as best I could while knowing I couldn't understand at all.
And then, the anger came. Yes, I was angry that God had taken Gregory, but I was more angry at what that meant for Michelle. She had had this beautiful innocence surrounding babies. For her (most of the time), sex on a fertile day meant a healthy baby 9 months later. She knew this. She knew of her innocence. She strove for compassion toward those who experienced differently (and you succeeded dear friend). And now it was gone. And this anger struck me; surprised me. So often as an infertile I want others to "understand"; to realize that it doesn't always work out perfectly. And now, as my friend was realizing this, in the worst way possible, I wanted to take it from her. (I know she realized it, she reads my blog :), but now she was living it.) (And I don't know where else to put this, but I am in no way saying that losing a baby and infertility are exactly the same, I know they are not. I am saying that both involve a loss of innocence regarding children, their creation and birth, and the gift of life.)
And so, in these months, I've offered this anger up for my friend. For her suffering. I've asked Gregory to intercede for his momma and daddy.
I am honored to be this sweet boy's godmother.
So today, a day I would've for sure been texting Michelle - either to ask "when is that baby coming?!?!" or to offer encouragement to her as a mom to 6 because he'd already arrived - I am instead writing this. Sharing this. Asking you all to pray for Michelle and her family.
Asking Gregory to pray for us.