Whatever could it be / that has brought me to this loss?
December 3, 2016 12:36 PM   Subscribe

In a year full of grief, I’m searching for music, writing, and art to get me through. Please share what was meaningful for you in working through your own grief.

This was me. I was thrilled to find out two weeks ago that I was pregnant again. I found out yesterday at the doctor that it looks like I am miscarrying again. It’s awful. (We’ll keep trying, but of course I worry that this will keep happening.)

This year has been very tough, for obvious reasons, not to mention family illness, an exciting but sometimes disorienting cross-country move/new job, and the results of last month’s US presidential election (and all the madness around the US and the world). In many ways it has felt like a really dark time.

I am lucky to have a strong support system, but I would be most grateful, MeFites, for recommendations of songs, books, poems, artwork, movies, rituals, phrases, anything that has affirmed your grief and struggle and helped carry you through, on any of the following themes (or any others):

1) Dealing with the pain of miscarriage (I voraciously read other women’s stories the first time I miscarried, and found great comfort and companionship in them)
2) Losing someone beloved or something that you wanted very much
3) Striving toward a goal that you worry you may never achieve
4) Finding the strength to keep moving forward through disappointment and uncertainty

I’m not necessarily looking for reassurance about how everything will all work out in the end (I hope it will, but it might not) or how everything happens for some cosmic reason (because I don’t believe this). I am still hopeful but I am grieving, and I’m okay with sitting in this sad space for a while.

In case it matters, I am not religious or spiritual, but used to be, and would be happy to hear ideas from religious/spiritual sources if they are meaningful to you.

Thank you in advance. I’m not a prolific poster, but have been reading here daily for years - I’ve learned so much from this wonderful community and I’m grateful for your wisdom.
posted by Synesthesia to Human Relations (10 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My condolences.

These were helpful to me:

1. An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination By Elizabeth McCracken
2. Glow in the Woods (a blog, of sorts, about pregnancy loss with multiple authors of different perspective - including my own)
3. Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep:
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
4. Timshel, Mumford and Sons
5. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel
6. Breathe Me, Sia
7. This one the most. You Want a Physicist to Speak at your Funeral:


You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen.
posted by teamnap at 1:30 PM on December 3, 2016 [34 favorites]

Best answer: Also, please memail me if you'd like to talk. I've had multiple losses myself. It's a dark place to be in. Hugs to you.
posted by teamnap at 1:32 PM on December 3, 2016

Best answer: One more. This article which tells us that the cells of our babies still circulate in our body.

posted by teamnap at 1:35 PM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Music has carried me through some incredibly crappy times. Frank Turner is my spirit animal, more or less. He's referred to as "punk rock country music" but I usually say it's "Punk rock for adults."

A limited list for you (all Spotify links):

Faithful Son
I Still Believe
I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous
The Way I Tend to Be
Get Better
Broken Piano

There's a lot more, obviously. I hope any of this helps.
posted by Medieval Maven at 3:00 PM on December 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: These panels from the Sandman have often been my go-to in times of grief. The words by themselves are powerful, but knowing the whole context of the images helps. Morpheus is recounting advice he gave long ago to his son, after washing the blood from his hands helping his son pass on, after aeons spent ignoring his pain and the consequences of his behaviour that lead to his son's death. The Sandman series is wise, thoughtful, poignant and human in a way I haven't found other graphic novels, or even other Gaiman novels, to be, and it's well worth a read.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:39 PM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Can't Live with the World by Laura Mvula
posted by winterportage at 9:27 PM on December 3, 2016

Best answer: I am so, so sorry for your losses. I have had two pregnancy losses and no living children, and it has been a heartbreaking and consuming experience. I wish I could give you a big hug.

One book that really seemed to get grief right was The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Bloom. I found it a comforting read.

We also have put two small stone figures in our garden, one for each baby. That helped, to have a private ritual and observance after the loss of each one, with my partner and me bearing witness.

I will be thinking of you.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:24 AM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Poor Your Soul, by Mira Ptacin

Quoting description: At twenty-eight, Mira Ptacin discovered she was pregnant. Though it was unplanned, she embraced the idea of starting a family and became engaged to Andrew, the father. Five months later, an ultrasound revealed that her child would be born with a constellation of birth defects and no chance of survival outside the womb. Mira was given three options: terminate the pregnancy, induce early delivery, or wait and inevitably miscarry. Mira’s story is paired with that of her mother, who also experienced grievous loss. These deftly interwoven stories offer a picture of mother and daughter finding strength in themselves and each other in the face of tragedy.
posted by sideofwry at 8:23 AM on December 4, 2016

Best answer: I've found some solace in this beautiful video pairing the Jane Sibery song Calling All Angels with a montage of clips from the film Wings of Desire:
And every day you gaze upon the sunset
With such love and intensity
Why it's almost as if, if you could only crack the code
Then you'd finally understand
What this all means

Ah, but if you could
Do you think you would
Trade in all the pain and suffering?
Ah, but then you'd miss
The beauty of the light upon this earth
And the sweetness of believing...

Calling all angels, calling all angels
Walk me through this one
Don't leave me alone
Calling all angels, calling all angels
We're tryin' and we're hopin'
But we're not sure why...
posted by Bron at 2:13 PM on December 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all so very, very much.
posted by Synesthesia at 7:58 PM on December 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

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