Friday, June 24, 2011


By Rose Carlson

I will love the light for it shows me the way,
yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.
~Eskimo Proverb

For those of you who may be new to reading our Share blog, you probably don’t know that I am a quote collector. I have been since high school when I wrote them in spiral notebooks and on scraps of paper. I seem to have some strange yet special radar for noticing quotes that are meaningful or speak to me for some reason; I’ve written about some of them here on this blog in the past. I also am the person who chooses the quote to write about each week on the Share Facebook page. Some weeks, it is challenging and I have a difficult time finding just the right quote as well as just the right words to write about the quote, but I really enjoy doing it because I know that many other people, besides me, relate to and seek out quotes that are meaningful to their lives.

That all said, the quote above evoked many different thoughts and feelings for me when I read it. First of all, it made me immediately think of parents grieving the death of their beloved baby. Throughout my almost 10 years at Share, I have met and talked to many different people from all walks of life and from many different circumstances and backgrounds. So often, I am awed by the support and care and love that some bereaved parents receive, and I am often just as dumbfounded by the lack of support and care and love others experience. I have also been amazed by the serendipitous times I just happen to be the right person at the right time to be there for someone else. Numerous times, I have been privileged and honored to be told the most heartwarming, touching stories--stories about support and care that came from someone completely unexpected. When I hear such stories, I know how much that support will mean to parents for years to come.

When I read that quote, I also thought of how in times of great tragedy, we can often be taken by surprise at just how kind and loving some people can be. I thought of how many times, someone who may have been a casual acquaintance suddenly becomes the one person who is there offering a meal or a shoulder to cry on. Times of tragedy are often a turning point in close relationships, and sometimes, a person we thought we could rely on becomes “unavailable” and we re-evaluate that relationship. Yet, just as often, someone comes into our life that we weren’t expecting and brings with them hope and love.

The above quote also brought to my mind an old friend who was an unexpected yet welcome source of support after I had my last two miscarriages. Melanie and I met in an American History class at a local community college, and we were probably an unlikely pair. She was newly married, much younger than me, had no kids, worked full time while attending college, and I was a stay at home mom of a one year old. For some reason, we hit it off. We studied together over cups of coffee, and we eventually introduced our husbands, who hit it off as well. Just a few months after Melanie and I became friends, I became pregnant and eventually miscarried. A few months later, I became pregnant and miscarried again. I remember being so confused and shocked by my old friends and family members who should have been there for me, but sadly were not. Melanie was the only person I knew who did not even once say things like “it’s for the best,” or “be thankful it happened early,” or “just be glad you have a child already.” She didn’t have children, but somehow, she understood that those losses were hard for me, and she spent many hours just listening to me. If she had feelings of frustration or thoughts that I should be moving on, she never showed them to me. Less than a year after we met, she moved several states away, and while we eventually lost touch for many years, I have never forgotten her kindness and support. We did reconnect a few years ago, she now has children of her own, and I have told her several times how much her care and support meant to me.

My point is this. When you have lived through the tragic death of a baby, it often seems as if life will forever be dark and gloomy with no bright stars in sight. You may be disillusioned and disheartened by your loved ones. However, you may also be pleasantly and unexpectedly surprised by those who reach out with a helping, loving hand that you didn’t expect. Those people are the stars in your dark night. When you are able to find stars among the darkest skies and gloomiest clouds, treasure them. Embrace them. Be thankful for them. And make sure to let them know how important in your life their shining light is.

Do you have a star in the dark night story?


Kathy said...

Don and Pennie, who are old enough to be my parents, have been very supportive. Don also happens to be the pastor of my church.

When I found out I'd lost my then-genderless daughter at 23 weeks, I went to Don's "office hours" and asked him some very tough questions. He said, "I don't know why this happened to you, but I do know that God loves you. I think of him as crying with you." His honesty (I don't know how many pastors would admit that they don't know) meant the world to me, as did the image of God crying right along side me.

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