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it didn’t hurt to see her. I must confess I thought it would, but it didn’t.

when kate, who is less than 1 month away from giving birth walked into Blacksmith Coffee, I exhaled the anxiety and inhaled gratitude that the flood gates did not break. I saw her unexpectedly exactly a week before coming out of a bookstore across the street as I sat at the Blacksmith Coffee bar with another dear friend, and it hurt. hit me fast and hard that day. right there in that coffee shop an emotional land mine went off. thankfully that time Cleve was only a couple of bar stools away. it is always easier to make it through the explosions when he is near. this time, however, he was not and I was going to have to receive these moments on my own.

good news though… no explosion.

God knows, I did not want to cry up in that coffee shop again. I had, with some doubt, sent out two S.O.S. prayer requests before entering into the space. I was determined not to privilege that space with my tears again… I did not want to appear weak or out of control. strange the responsibility I often feel these days to sound or act as though I am ok or not often overcome with sorrow.

but that day, I was ok. I even found myself a bit giddy when she came close, reaching for her oval belly almost forgetting how invasive the act of robbing a woman’s stomach without invitation can be.

dang… I almost forgot.

it was all good though, and for that I am relieved. Kate is super cool and I really needed time with her wise beautiful soul. she is one of the women whose bullshit radar is just as keen as my own, so our time was filled with moments of transparency and truth. I crave that.

to be honest, I have never been good with small talk. Lately though, even 2-minutes of small talk drains me and if it goes on too long I find myself getting angry or at best frustrated.

but no small talk at Blacksmith that afternoon. we talked about normal things… health, pregnancy, work, routines, dreams, longings, house renovations, college plans, our loves and weight.

oh yes, the weight…

I told her about an encounter with someone at work the week before. I had walked into the work and was greeted by a staff member with lots of love, “Hello! How are you? When is the baby due?”

she had not gotten the memo.

shit, I thought in my head, but out of my mouth came “Oh, I loss the baby on December 4. She was born and died shortly after. So, no future due date.”

I could see the compassion in her eyes, regret and loads of discomfort. I was able to filter through my hurt quickly to recognize she meant love. I was not surprised by the quick sting that came with the reminder that I once moved around the halls of the BOL bearing a life within me. that sting has become normal, though not any less painful.

but I was surprised by the embarrassment and discomfort that hit me at the thought that I must still look like a person who could be pregnant. yet another battle I need to conquer for more reasons than vanity and health.

anyway… I told Kate about that encounter and jokingly she suggested I might want to carry a placard around with me that states:

“Before you speak, I am not pregnant anymore and here are all the things I have learned are not really helpful or encouraging to me…”

I had been thinking about the need for a placard, a sign on my forehead or something letting people know “Take Caution, please!.” I have actually been keeping a journal list of things that, though the motivation is good, are just not that helpful. Here are a couple, in no particular order and no commentary:

Oh, so sorry to hear that. Well, at least you still have your husband.

God was just needed her to be home with Him.

Sorry to hear about your baby. But hey, make another one. Try again.

When is the baby due?

Don’t cry, God has a plan.

the list goes on and on. just yesterday I added a comment.

death and loss is just one of those realities of life where our words will for the most part fall short. I have accepted that and it helps me listen with grace and most time gratitude. I get it, but it still doesn’t make the comments sting, piss me off or even hurt sometimes. each one takes my mind down a rabbit hole, only to get back to it is the fact it is all apart of getting through.

one thing my time received with Kate made evident, is that I am indeed getting through. our coffee time was a gift and one more step on this life-long journey. I look forward to more time with her and their little one due to enter the world next month. I am thankful for that. I am also extremely thankful that when I saw her walk through the door Monday, it didn’t hurt.

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