Before I move into the events of 2013, I want to back up to an event that happened in October 2012. This one event is not easy for me to write about. In fact, I think this is the first time I have spoken about this, only Mary and I knew, and we never shared.
Life is a journey. Finding success. Experiencing failure. Reconciliation and finding victory in the face of failure.
There are some pains which are so private one wants to keep them private. As I was praying about writing “My Story” I wanted to maintain my silence on what I am about to share. Privacy is where I would like to have kept it, but prayers would not permit me to keep it private.
I have written about my internal struggle, my wrestling with this marital concept. I look back and I find it amazing that 2012 contains so much.
But what I am about to share is one of the things that persuaded me to believe that what happened and the life I am to lead is proper. For me, to disavow what I am about to write is to disavow the entirety of the events, to disavow the entirety of the events is to disavow what I am about to write about. I will NOT disavow either. In other words, to claim the one is to claim the other. I claim both.
My journal contains, in part, the following entry from October 21, 2012:
[This morning] I shared with Mary details that happened to me during the night. I knew yesterday that things were moving forward to become reality. I was having trouble falling to sleep, I just felt good, full of energy. But I was praying and asking God if there was anything else between He/me/Mary and He gently made me aware of something tragic. This is what I shared with Mary [this morning].
[Upon learning that from God] my pain was very real, deep inside. I, last night, offered my apologies to the Father, but how does one repay? It cannot be done.
I cried heavy sobs as I told Mary, told her I am sorry. We comforted each other. And she said whoever gets to heaven first can name [the boy and the girl that we lost while using birth control], then the names that came to my mind were Joy and Simcha (Hebrew for Joy, but more masculine [sounding]). I agreed with Mary.
But now is the very difficult part: My children, forgive my ignorance and selfishness, may the Father give me the ability to see you and comfort you even though things went terribly wrong. I love you.
The day has been filled with so much emotional reconciliation I cannot even describe it. …I simply want to be pure and do what God wants, I want to be a beautiful example. I want what God wants to give me and Mary … I want to feel peace, joy, calmness, wholeness….
What is not included in my journal is that as I prayed, I was given an image. It was like God gently raised his hand revealing two fingers. But it is the awareness that fell into my being that I cannot escape.
When I was shown the two fingers, my internal person, my spirit if one will, knew what the two fingers represented. The knowledge was immediate, without question. I knew right then, I was the father of four children, two residing in heavenly places.
Is it any wonder that I immediately prayed having remorse?
While parenting is not easy, children are a blessing, a precious gift from above. So when one loses a child, the pain is unique.
Mary and I have not experienced that kind of pain, nor do we want to. In no way am I comparing our learning of the loss of our two children to the pain other parents feel. No. I could not be that calloused.
Yet, there is a unique pain learning that we lost two children.
In our youth, in our inexperience, we listened to birth control advocates. Several years after using birth control, we learned that the type of birth control we used worked because it prevented the newly joined sperm and egg from becoming viable.
We lived our life. We had a daughter. About two years later, we had a son. We continued on with our life. We continued having no knowledge, but upon learning about the results of that birth control, we stopped using it.
We arrived in 2012. We learn. What a difference a lifetime makes?
Heartbreaking is what it was, makes me ache writing about it. I have expressed my sorrow and my apologies several times to my son, Simcha, and to my daughter, Joy.
But the anguish resides. Something that should have been, wasn’t. And it was because of our choices.
Everyone has advice. Everyone has their preference. But when one learns of what their choices caused, few can understand the internal crumbling that takes place in one’s spirit.
So I still ask: how does one repay?
Truth told it cannot be repaid. Yet, restitution is one of the hallmarks of the foundation of the Bible.
I clearly remember that Mary and I decided to wait until one of us met our children before we presented them with their names. But that didn’t set well with me.
One Sunday, around the time we learned about this, Mary and I were eating at a local restaurant. We were talking about it, and we named them right then and there. Odd location, but with matters like this, location becomes irrelevant.
The names had to be special. The names had to have meaning.
I chose Joy for our daughter.
I chose Simcha for our son.
In Hebrew, Simcha means joy. For those wondering, in Hebrew Simcha is actually a feminine word, but when I gave him this name I had become aware that there are instances of men who have been given that name.
So I named both of our children Joy, an English name for our daughter, a Hebrew name for our son. In the midst of sorrow, joy, simcha, was and were found. And for that I will always be grateful.
For this Installment, I will speak of no other details about “My Story”. I have dedicated this Installment to them, those two children are the focus, because Joy and Simcha matter.
Simply know this, as unlikely as it may seem to some, my prayer life led me to have knowledge about something precious. During the early years of my life, in listening to the advice of others, I lost two children. During these years of my life, I take my own advice – what was lost has been found, and I will not lose my son or my daughter again.
Blessings and Shalom