I've spent April thinking about Home. What it means, what it feels like, what I want it to be for my family and for me. I've realized, perhaps unsurprisingly, that Home is an idea with many layers, one that underpins so much of the thinking and writing I do. In retrospect, it feels more than fitting that I chose it (rather arbitrarily, mind you) as the first focus of my HERE Year.
It strikes me that the month is winding down. May will be upon us before we know it. But before it is, I have some things to share. One is a note I got from a loyal reader last week. I read this note and felt overcome with emotion. Read on and you will see why. As my friend and mentor Dani Shapiro said on Friday night, "it is a gift to reveal ourselves." How true this is. Revealing ourselves is not unlike inviting others into our home and saying, I trust you. Come on in. This is who I am. Take a look around. Make yourselves comfortable. Here is the message that popped into my Inbox:
I think it was about a year and a half ago that you wrote a blog post, and then a Huff Post article, about the miscarriage you suffered when you were pregnant with your first child. I read both and at the time I remember thinking how brave it was of you to share your story and how lovely and heartbreaking the writing was. And I remember reading through all of the comments - the stories that other women shared about their own experiences with this kind of loss. And I also remember thinking that if I had suffered a miscarriage of my own, your story - and all the stories shared in the comments - would bring so much comfort to me. At the time we were just starting to think about having kids of our own, and I filed your post and your article away in the back of my mind, hoping that I would never need that kind of comfort, but wanting to save them in case I did.
Fast forward 18 months. About 6 weeks ago I found out I was pregnant for the first time. Getting there wasn't the easiest road, but it was also so much easier than so many people, so we considered ourselves lucky and while we were pretty cautious, we were also incredibly excited. I had an early ultrasound and everything looked good. At 7 weeks I went in and we heard the heart beat and we felt like we could stop being cautious and start planning for what would be when the baby was born. I told my 2 closest friends and my sisters that I was pregnant, and was so happy to be able to share the news with the most important women in my life. I went in for my 10 week appointment confident that everything was fine because everything had been fine. But everything wasn't fine. My OB looked at the ultrasound and quietly told me that she didn't see a heartbeat. That the baby had stopped growing a week or so before. I think, I really think, it was the worst moment of my entire life.
And while she explained to me the procedure that I would need to have, and what to expect next, I remembered your blog post and your article. And when I left the office I pulled out my phone and on the corner of 57th and 8th I stood in the middle of the crush of rush hour commuters and through a haze of tears I was trying desperately to hold in until I got home, I read both, and all of the comments, again. And then again. And I was sad, devastatingly so, but I was also lifted up by the fact that I was now a part of this sisterhood of women who have suffered loss but who have picked themselves up and moved on. I swear I felt their arms around me. I felt like if they, and you, could be strong and resilient in facing loss and moving forward, then so could I. And I will be.
So I wanted to thank you. For sharing your story and for encouraging others to share theirs. For creating a community of women who have had this experience so that no one has to feel alone. For reminding us all that we are stronger than we think we are and that where there is darkness there is also light. Your words have made this time a little easier and a little less lonely for me, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.
This note? It was a timely reminder of why I blog, why I write, why I choose to share bits of myself with all of you. It's not because I'm vain or narcissistic (though I confess to being both of these things to an extent). It's not because I believe my life is all that unique or interesting. It's because I think there is an immense and ineffable power in sharing our stories, maybe particularly the hardest ones. How meaningful really is life if we never invite anyone in?
Do you have any words of encouragement for my dear reader who wrote the note? Do you believe there is a power in telling our stories and revealing ourselves (as long as we are thoughtful about the ways in which we do this)? And in case you missed it, also leave a comment HERE for a chance to win 14 books.