We brought our two day old baby girl home from the hospital today.
Daphne June was born on Friday, December 14, 2012, at 12:51 PM, weighing in at 8lbs 5oz and measuring 19 inches. We finalized my C-section date (and her birth day) back in November – it was an easy choice, considering it was my dad’s birthday and very close to my due date (December 15).
You may be able to schedule birth but it’s much more difficult to schedule death, and so it seemed utterly cruel to receive the news exactly one week ago today that my dad had passed away. I didn’t want to think about delivering his granddaughter on his birthday mere days after his death. I didn’t see how it could be possible, how I could make it through such emotional overload.
Just a couple of hours before my C-section, I got hooked up to my IV and the monitors and turned to my phone to read the news and was blasted with the news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre. I made myself not read much but I saw enough to know that what the world desperately needed that day was the promise of new life.
And so Daphne was born, five days after her grandfather’s death, on what would have been his 67th birthday, on what will go down in American history as the day when 26 human beings (20 of whom were impossibly young children) were senselessly slaughtered. She was born and I cried, with no thoughts of sadness or tragedy in my head, only visions of her and the life that awaits her.
We are home now, where it’s much easier to rest and heal. We are home now with our brand new baby girl and her two boisterous big brothers. We are home now with my mother-in-law taking care of us. We are home now and it’s very comfortable and welcoming with smells of homemade chicken soup and the coolness of my grandma’s quilt on our bed. We are home now where Christmas still awaits us and there will be lots of laughing and joy. There will also be some tears, I know this. It’s part of this whole life and death thing. This full circle thing.
I’ve been rewatching Six Feet Under and one of the common themes is that everybody dies. It’s true. Everybody does die. And so it’s important that we live to the best of our ability, whatever that looks like, that we face our suffering with love, because our suffering contains great meaning. I will continue to struggle, I know, to face the impossible task of grieving my dad’s death, but I’m grateful for it, because it means that I experienced the gift of loving him. To have his death intertwined with Daphne’s birth and Christmas and the Sandy Hook massacre feels almost appropriate somehow, and my heart is both broken and full with the richness of all this life and death. And this love.
In a world where nothing makes sense, love is the only thing that makes sense.