IMG_2101Graham was just a small embryo the last time I stepped foot in a dentist’s office. I still felt nauseous in the mornings but the constant yuckiness was slowly disappearing as he grew larger and stronger within me.  I waited my turn in the lobby, my stomach slowly churning in response to the dental odors wafting through the air. I wished I had thought to postpone the routine appointment altogether – I wasn’t sure I’d make it through without ralphing. Despite my queasy stomach, I did have fun chit-chatting about the small little joy within me and I remember declining the x-rays with a sense of happiness and pride.

When I stopped by the reception desk on my way out, the kind woman behind the counter encouraged me to schedule my next appointment.  I wavered, knowing 6 months later life would surely be more hectic, but the future seemed so far away, so unreal yet… I scheduled my next dentist appointment for March 8th 2013.

To be honest, it didn’t cross my mind again until the moments between the puffy breaths and deeps moans of child-birth. I have a fuzzy memory of the cell phone ringing and Evan stepping away from the action of labor to answer it. “Um, no.  She won’t be making her dentist appointment today… she’s, well.. indisposed at the moment.”

I laughed then, and I cant help but chuckle now.  Indisposed.

The thing is, I never rescheduled. I never went back.

Suddenly I had a squirmy newborn, a goofy toddler, and a rambunctious preschooler.  I had a full-time job and endless loads of laundry… as the months tumbled by, I just didn’t find the time to get my teeth cleaned. Another day, I figured – I’d make it back when life wasn’t so full!

And then of course, Graham died and a place that was never really about him was suddenly all about him. I just couldn’t stomach the thought. I couldn’t imagine going through the motions… the waiting room and the polishing paste… the x-rays.

After three years, I finally made an appointment to see a dentist. Much like waves of nausea, I can feel the rolling power of grief off-center me.  The churning may indeed be subsiding to manageable levels… but even so, I think I might throw up.


7 thoughts on “Churning

  1. Stacey May 28, 2016 / 8:28 pm

    My heart aches for you. Graham is beautiful. I just lost my 7 mth old nephew Logan, on May 4th and we are all broken… Sad, angry, frustrated, and just heart broken. Thanks for sharing your story.


    • drwengel May 28, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      Oh Stacey, I’m sorry. So very sorry. Glad you found your way here, praying for deep peace and hope for your family.


      • Stacey May 28, 2016 / 10:41 pm

        Thank you.. At this point its hard to believe things will ever be okay… She put him down to sleep around 9pm went to check on him not even an hour later and he wasnt breathing… Did CPR on him.. Ambulance came they got his heart beating again but he was ny breathing for too long…once they took all the tubes out he passed within the hour. I dont understand why. 7mths old you think Sids is so unlikely, 11 mths old is insane… Like completely healthy babies taken from us. Worst thing in the world becomes a reality. It was her first child and he was perfect, she was such an amazing mom.


  2. drwengel May 29, 2016 / 8:39 am

    Yes. Your words feel familiar. It won’t ever be okay, ever again. I suppose the truth is, it never really was – but now we carry that truth within us – forever. Grief and living develops and adjusts, things won’t always be like they are right now. But it will never be okay.


    • Stacey May 29, 2016 / 9:27 am

      I have hope that it will get better than this… That my sister will be happy again one day and not be too scared to have more children. Ive read so many blogs and stories and its almost discouraging because everybody seems so broken and not fixable. Breaks my heart for my sister and brother in law and everyone else that has endured such pain and tragedy… How have your daughters been with all of this? Has time healed them at all? My heart breaks for them too.


      • drwengel May 29, 2016 / 9:55 am

        Oh, there is great hope! We have adapted and learn to live with loss, everyday brings a new kind of peace. There is great joy and deep richness in our lives and through our relationships, Comfort when the longing pain is overwhelming. But fixed, healed, back to normal just don’t ring true. Still somehow there is great goodness in living broken, but like anything good it is very hard. Fear is a big issue for grievers to wrestle with, and control… Resentment and anger often rear up to. The battles are normal, endurance is exhausting, but there are so many moments for joy to find growing room. Our girls are living the journey alonside us they are happy and Full of love giving wonderment but they know sadness and the darkeness of truth differently then most of their peers. It has fostered great compassion and gentleness in them. But it is often hard work and it is excruciating standing as witness to pain within my child that I can not fix. These are the moments I have to lean into the rescue of Jesus and trust and hope for the final redemption of heaven… Nothing in this world will be good enough!


  3. Stacey May 29, 2016 / 9:13 pm

    Thank you for that message… It was beautiful. Where do you live? We live in Toronto. Have you read “I am not dead I am different?” Its a good read if you havent. If you ever have any advice, or come across anything that you think would be helpful to us please dont hesitate to email me and Ill do the same. Prayers to get through another day ❤


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