Thursday, September 6, 2012

I don't believe in coincidences.

So I no longer believe in coincidences, I just don't.  Not the big ones at least.  I believe God's finger stirs the pot and orchestrates a lot of those coincidences.

The raw pain of grief has made me so vulnerable this summer.  I think people typically deal with grief in one of two ways (and both can be healthy), either by becoming quite private with your grief or quite open.  Clearly, I am of the open variety.  Being so open with my grief I have found it vital to talk about, cry about, smile about, swear about what happened.  God has shown me mercy this summer, by sending me someone or something to reassure me that I am not alone, that he and Jesus are in fact carrying me during my darkest hour.

Check these out...

As I will write about in another post, the nurses and personal care assistants who cared for me and Ethan when I was on the high-risk maternity ward mean more to me than I can say.  They had become my support network 24 hours/day for 10 days.  When I became septic in a matter of 2 hours on the morning of Ethan's birth, I was removed from their care and transitioned to other departments (L&D, Post-Partum) and had no chance to say goodbye to these amazing people who had loved Ethan right along with me.  One night in July I was playing outside of my house with my kids and one of my overnight nurses from The Brigham drove right by.  I'm not making this up.  She lives just outside of Boston and clearly works in Boston.  Yet I live in a tiny town in NH, at the top of a dead end street.  Apparently her cousin is my neighbor.  She had me for just 1 overnight shift, never even saw me awake all that much, let alone with the light on.  Yet she recognized me, remembered my name and Ethan's name/story.  Terry and I stood on the side of the road and cried and hugged as we talked about it all for a half an hour.

One day in June I was about town taking care of an errand that Josh had forgotten to do with the fog we had all been living under.  Just so happened that I ran into an acquaintance in the process of getting the errand done, who knew what had happened.  We started crying together and then she shared that someone close to her had lost a baby too recently.  I gave her my email address and the rest is history.  We have become friends & supports to each other along this shitty road of grief.

My sister-in-law Mel was at a church service for a class assignment with a fellow student.  Just so happened that the sermon that day was by a chaplain from The Brigham and was about living life after a terrible loss.  Mel shared with her fellow student about Ethan's death, and it turned out that that student had her son die in exactly the same way a number of years ago.  And there is another support for me.

Even small things, like receiving a letter from Dr. Van Marter (the doctor who saved Ethan's life that first night) the day after I prayed for additional support are not accidental.  It was months after Ethan died, and her letter apologized for this coming so late.  No apology necessary Dr. Van Marter, I received your letter on exactly the day I was supposed to.  And the books that Caroline, Jackson and Ryan chose to read to Ethan on our day at Appledore.  Things about that day were "fitting."  They happened that way for a reason.

And my favorite for last.

Josh and I had made the decision to take Ethan off of life support.  We were alone in the conference room outside of the NICU, and I walked through the NICU lobby to find Dr. Larue and let him know our decision.  A man, a stranger to me, approached me asking me if I was Mrs. Gray.  Yes, I said.  He went on to introduce himself as Rev. Richard Slater, Josh's colleague here in NH.  I remember that he had spoken with Josh the day before offering to come to the hospital for a pastoral visitation, and that Josh had politely declined because I was supposed to be discharged that day.  "It's alright if you don't want me to stay, but God told to come here now."  Now, I had just asked Josh 2 minutes before this to try and baptize Ethan himself.  He had agreed to try, but was unsure if he would be able to given the gravity of the emotion.  Rev. Slater joined us in that NICU back room (I think it was actually a large closet they had cleared storage out of for us) and baptized Ethan with us.  A few days later he called Josh and shared that his daughter had had a baby die under similar circumstances just a few months ago.

No, there are no coincidences.  Open your eyes to divine intervention.  It's there, I promise.


  1. Oh, Annie. You are amazing. Such strength you have...

  2. Beautiful, thank you for sharing.

  3. I fully agree with you about circumstances. Hang in there darlin' you are doing great!