The Faces of Pain

Posted on | May 5, 2016 | 3 Comments

I woke up around 2:00 am this morning.

Everything hurt and I couldn’t get the image out of my mind of that ridiculous chart hanging on the wall at the hospital. I lay awake for four hours before I got up to cry over a long-awaited cup of coffee, wondering how to circle the way I felt, wondering how I could characterize the feeling of curling in a ball beside your sleeping husband and weeping onto his shoulder until, even in his sleep he pulls you to him for comfort. I wondered how I would respond if someone asked me, on a scale of ten, what is your pain like? What does it feel like to rest your hand on a still swollen belly and know it is empty? What does it do to your heart to know that the plans you made for first Christmases and first birthdays are all gone in one brief instant of physical agony.


The whole time I was waiting in the hospital I just stared at that chart… because, how can you estimate the pain of loss? How can anyone point to any number or a face and say “This. This is the face I make when I learn I’ve lost someone I care about.” How do I quantify what it means to hear nothing where there should be a heartbeat?

The cramping was worse this morning than last night and I took one of the Ibuprofen they gave me, still refusing to numb any of this with something stronger. It feels dishonest, I guess, to minimize the pain of losing something so precious. It’s the same reason I find myself here, un-showered, and wondering if I’ll feel able to stand and wash away the remnants of the child that never was.

I don’t know.

I don’t know when I’ll not feel guilty for smiling, for sharing a laugh with my son, for showering away the weight of some of these emotions that just. won’t. abate. I don’t know when I’ll stop feeling guilty, as though it were something I did wrong that caused all of this.

And still I think of that chart. And I wonder if because my body is healing, it means I’m no longer a 10 on their faces of pain.


3 Responses to “The Faces of Pain”

  1. Michelle A Meazell
    May 5th, 2016 @ 9:49 am

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 You will heal. You will never forget but you will heal. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  2. Lara
    May 5th, 2016 @ 3:54 pm

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your prescious baby. It really sucks! I wish I had words to heal your broken heart. Go easy on yourself and keep your expectations low as you go into what will surely be a difficult weekend. Lifting you up in prayer for healing and strength.

    I think Laura Bush says it well: “The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only ā€œIā€™m sorry for your loss.ā€ But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?”

  3. Lola M.
    May 6th, 2016 @ 12:13 pm

    I just want you to know that I am sorry and that I feel your pain. I went through it twice and neither got easier … the pain in my body and heart was sharp. So glad you have support and that you can use writing to help you through this!

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