Our almost three-year-old sat at the table unfolding a paper snowflake I had cut out for her. Once unfolded, she sat it on the table, unimpressed. I picked up the snowflake and showed her how we'd hang it in our house as a decoration for Christmas, waving the snowflake with enthusiasm in hopes that she'd suddenly realize the game plan and be excited too.
It was a few days before December, and while I never decorated for Christmas that soon, I was desperate to keep my mind off the horrific events surrounding our miscarriage, which you can read about here: I’ve Never Experienced Anything More Difficult Than Losing a Life From Within.
My girl didn't get excited about the paper snowflake. Instead, she looked down at the table and picked up the leftover snowflake clippings. She raised them high and let them fall. Her eyes danced with the tiny circles and diamonds as they fell to the table, and then she looked at me and said, "Look, Mommy, a pretty mess!"
My grief showed up in quiet tears as I placed the snowflake on the table and walked over to the chair next to my daughter. I sat down and she pushed some clippings my way and said "I love this pretty mess, Mommy. Do you?"
"Yes, baby, I do," I said, picking up the pieces she had given me.
Meanwhile, God was working on my heart.
Yes, my miscarriage was a mess, but was I willing to look at the mess like my daughter looked at the clippings and instead see something pretty like circles and diamonds that she could let fall and dance around her?
I lifted my hand and let the clippings fall.
Nearly three years later, my girl is now 5 and still points out pretty messes and I'm in the process of publishing a book called "Every Little Life: process your grief at your pace and in one place." It's an interactive book that includes coloring pages and journaling pages with vignettes written during and shortly after miscarrying.
I'm aware that the book itself is the snowflake, but more than waving the book around with great enthusiasm, I hope to direct those who read the book to the clippings, to the pretty mess as they process their own grief in light of God's word and my raw words as I fought through grief to see God as good again.
The pretty mess is your own story. It's circles and diamonds that perhaps you want to discard just so grief will just go away, but while you feel broken and hurt and angry, I promise there's beauty to be found if you're willing to press in and grieve well.
Every Little Life releases November 16th, 2020. It is my hope to gift this book to those who've experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility. If you know of an organization that would be interested in purchasing Every Little Life to gift to bereaved women, please share this link with them or let me know so I can contact them. You can find more details at shelbylhughes.com/book.