Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here. ~ Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
I was recently afforded the privilege of spending the afternoon with an old friend who is in the midst of grieving and processing a miscarriage in her second trimester of pregnancy. As we sat on her couch in her cozy and charming little mountain house, warm drinks in hand, we opened up the storybooks of our lives to one another. The trauma and loss related to her miscarriage was still so fresh. I listened to how she was beginning to understand and make meaning out of her experience. I watched as she grappled with the bizarre nature of life moving forward even though death had found its way into her own womb. Such wanderings through the territory of loss led us naturally to the re-opening of my own archived story of miscarriage.
I was 11 weeks along when we discovered that what we thought would be our third child was not thriving as an embryo over a decade ago. I had not walked through that narrative in quite some time. I was often reminded of it throughout my entire pregnancy with Briella. The D&C procedure that the miscarriage necessitated was listed on all of my medical charts as it was seen as a possible contributor to my risk for placenta accreta. Most of my charts would indicate that Briella was my 5th pregnancy but my 4th child. So strange now to think of that part of my life story being reduced to a number on a chart, just a little blip on my medical record.
As I sat there in the midst of our mutual story-gifting and story-receiving, I realized that whenever we invite others into our stories we are asking them to become a memory-keeper on our behalf. We need each other to hold the fullness of our stories, to help us discover and attribute meaning so that our stories never become little blips across the pages of our lives. We need each other to remember that our stories continue to live on through us even though time travels right on by.