Forever Funeral

Before our therapy trip to Portugal, our world was black on black. Everyone kept dying. In a short span of time we lost relatives, beloved grandparents, and a remarkable friend who died horrifically. Each loss knocked us down just as we’d start to rise up from the last. Each loss hit closer and closer to home. Then after a year of casually trying, I found out I was pregnant.  “Hallelujah!” At last, something to celebrate! The news was a welcomed interlude to break up our awful encore of death. We were over the moon.

I cherish those days. The happy buzz surrounding those early days of pregnancy was euphoric. There was the anticipation, the giddy smiles, and all the dinner conversations when Clay and I would list off the most outlandish baby names; like Fawn Evergreen Brinks, or Darko Ceasar Brinks. There was also that instant, indescribable love that seemed to multiply every day. And the quiet joy of having a 24-7 companion with me as I did the dishes or went for a walk.

Our excitement was hard to contain. I wanted to spill the beans and tell everyone I bumped elbows with, but I also loved that no one else knew our happy little secret. It was just the three of us in our private bliss and I wanted to keep it that way as long as I could. 

Just as things were looking up, the other shoe dropped. Something changed. Something wasn’t right. Later, an appointment at the doctor’s office officially confirmed my dread; I wasn’t pregnant anymore. There would be no Fawn, no Darko. The interlude had ended. The devastation had resumed. Fade to black. 

That miscarriage tsunami was the last disaster to hit that season. In the wake of all of the loss, I was a shell. Gutted. I had nothing left to give and hardly had it in me to pretend like I did. I spent my ‘free time’ laying on the couch, bawling hour after hour, day after day. The only time I managed to fake a smile was at my retail job where I was paid to do so (in a sense). Around that time that my main prayer had gone from “I’m still hanging on, help!” to “please take me. I don’t want to be here.” Not in a suicidal way, but more of a grief-stricken, heartbroken, ‘everything hurts’ way. I wasn’t prepared to take my own life, but I wasn’t shy about begging for death by broken heart either. Like Jonah chapter 4 or Philippians 1:23, sort of. “Please, please, please God. I don’t want to be here anymore. All I want is to evaporate into the heavens.”

This deep depression went on and on until Portugal stepped in and resuscitated us. Colors, tastes, sights, all of our senses eventually whirled back to life. When I put on my therapist hat and psychoanalyze my inability to answer Fernanda’s simple question, it makes sense. To my subconscious, Portugal was color, life; Grand Rapids was grey, death. Sooo…no, I was not homesick for that. And if I continue to psychoanalyze, perhaps I didn’t want to leave Portugal because I didn’t want to go back to being a shell. 

Of course, that’s not how it works. We left Grand Rapids as grief-stricken zombies, but that doesn’t mean that we’ll revert back to those people whenever we’re there. 

Grand Rapids isn’t death, but right now in this season, for us, Grand Rapids isn’t our wellspring of life either. And after spending all those days broken on the couch, after all the funerals, after the rock-bottom heaviness and heartbreak–– we found ourselves so so desperate for the wellspring.