Pattern

It had been months since I last sewed, and I wasn’t even sure I was going to remember how.

I lift the machine cover and stare at the buttons, trying to recall what they all mean. My face is splotchy from crying and my eyes are swollen and hot. I run my finger along the right side of the sewing machine and they remember instinctively where the power switch is. The lights flash on but I sit paralyzed.

Because it’s all a mess.

The whole thing.

I can’t hear him anymore and he can’t hear me. I’ll just sew…I think. And then I’ll feel like myself again. I wind white thread into the bobbin and I’m a little surprised at how easy it comes back to me.

I thought it would be harder.

Now that I have it threaded, I reach for the pieces of fabric I left sitting months ago.

Or was it more?

They still smell laundry-fresh and I wonder how that happens. I hold them up tentatively, trying to remember which is the front and which is the back. I slip three pins out and separate the material, but it’s not coming back to me. I should remember. I’m so sad I don’t.

It would have been beautiful if I had just paid attention when it was new, and now I’m left with the pieces.

I am like that, and I know it. I start things ambitiously and I believe I will finish them, but I usually don’t. I love the fresh journal, the creases in a new pattern, the way a book looks on my shelf. But then the pieces pile up and my heart breaks and I feel it all over again.

You’re a failure.

I reach for the pattern because I’m not going to leave it, along with all the other half-finished skirts and dresses in the third drawer down. It can still be right. She hasn’t grown out of it just yet, and if I concentrate she will have it before the summer sun comes up again.

There’s a knock at the door and I know why.

Because he is splotchy-red too and we’re both holding pieces.

“Can I come in?”

I nod, but don’t dare to speak because I don’t know what will fall out. My hands are busy and I like it better that way. I look down at what they are doing and I pretend to be indifferent. I’m not, and he knows it.

“Working on her dress?”

I nod again.

I can’t help but think it looks like a movie scene, with me fumbling my way and him fumbling his.

“I just felt like I needed to sew again.” It means more than needles, and he sees through my small talk.

There is silence while I unfold the paper carefully. It bends this way and that and if it isn’t done just right the whole thing will tear apart and then where will we be?

I realize I’m missing a piece, and I say so.

“So what do we do?” He asks.

And the naked truth is this.

I have no idea.

I tell him I have to cut a new one and he tells me he wants to help. It’s easier to do it myself, but that’s the problem. I’m stitching and mending and thinking I can do it all and I can’t. He doesn’t wait for an answer, but reaches for the fabric and takes it from me.

“It smells like laundry soap.” He whispers.

I don’t say a word, but I reach past him for the scissors, and show him what needs to be done. He smiles because he loves me when I create, and he wants to remember what it’s like to be in my world. It’s been a long time since I opened the door.

He learns quickly, and I smile because he is a grown man with a three day old beard and flannel pajamas, but he looks like a boy while he cuts.

Out of nowhere, I feel the sting of sadness.

“Have we made a mess of it?”

He doesn’t answer before the tears come. My hands go to my face to cover the hurt before he fully sees me, but I can’t. I never could.

I just wanted to sew, I think to myself.

But it wasn’t the fabric I loved.

It wasn’t even the finished product.

It was watching the needle and knowing that it was working all the time to mend, even as it pierced.

It looks like it’s dangerous, and as if it’s wounding. It tears through layers and even through skin. I’m convinced it will come away flawed and torn, and then I see the beauty of it all.

And the hum of the sewing machine reminds me again what it looks like to allow yourself to be wounded because you believe in what will one day come of it all.

And while the tears come fresh, he holds me, even with the scissors still in his hand, and he tells me he loves me and will fight for it to be beautiful again. I believe him and I cry because there aren’t words that say what I want them to.

There are only patterns and dreams, and the way he came to knock on the door because he loved me more than his own pride.

We stay up late. Too late, actually. And we laugh because we have all these babies that won’t wait for us to sleep in tomorrow, and it will be time to stitch some more.

The dial spins around and the motor is warm to the touch when we leave.

It’s good to remember.

I still haven’t finished the dress, because there was too much sadness in the memory of her. I had thought it might be good to give it to her sister, but the truth was it was better left undone.

I folded it neatly and slipped it into her drawer, even as it was.

Not in this life, love…

Maybe one day I will take it out again and marvel at how it still smells like fresh life, even though it has been years since I saw it last.

Oh, how I miss her.

But there in front of me is the rest of it, and I so long to love it well.

I won’t forget the way we welcomed that midnight hour, crumpled on the floor in pajamas, laughing and crying because we didn’t know what else to do.

I have stopped resenting the third drawer down, because I believe that one day-

Well, I hope you know.

He’s going to make it beautiful again.


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  • http://www.misswisabus.com/ Elizabeth

    Beautiful, Angie, and a blessing this evening. Thank you for opening up your heart.

  • http://thepartythatneverquits.blogspot.com Jen

    Oh my.

  • http://amishandtheirsmoothies.tumblr.com/ Samantha

    This was beyond beautiful, I really needed to know that it’s ok to be honest and open about things tonight. Thank you for showing me the way.
    He WILL make everything beautiful again.

  • http://www.thegypsymama.com thegypsymama

    Oh Ang, you sew with words and we all see the pattern. This is the good, hard, beautiful stuff. Thank you for sharing it.

    ~Lisa-Jo

  • alwaysalleluia

    Oh Angie. No words. Just prayers. And tears.

  • Sidda316

    Oh….. heart sank to stomach, tears, so touched by this post.  

  • VickiT

    Many prayers being sent your way.  This was so beautiful and honest.  Thanks for sharing with us.

  • http://heedinghisvoice.blogspot.com/ Michelle

    Tears.  Thank you for such beautiful transparency.

  • Kaira

    I just knew you were talking about her dress. It’s nice to see you blogging about heart stuff again. Beautiful post, Ang.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LY4X34YZEUZ7WYD4ZCTKYJXF2Y Alecia

    Angie, 
       Thank you so much for your transparency.  Your words paint such a vivid picture of what ongoing grief is.  I miscarried almost four years ago now and even though I have my two healthy kids, I still have these moments when the overwhelming grief hits me, when I look at my kids and think “something is missing.”   I try to tell myself it’s OK and “normal”, but Satan always uses those times to try and tell me I’m “crazy” or I need to “get over it.”  Mother’s Day sent me into one of those funks yesterday and I so needed this reminder today that it is OK to grieve.  

  • Erinlbuente

    I miss her for you. And oh, how many things I have sitting around my house that I can’t seem to finish that relate to losing my Christian. Thank you for this. He will make all things new.

  • marlen816

    It’s posts like this that had me coming back to your blog all those years ago. Thank you for writing so beautifully, even in the pain and sadness. ((Hugs))

  • Cameron H Hayes

    Our little girls are playing together in Heaven right now. It is beautiful for them. And, one day soon, it will be beautiful for us again, too.

  • Kristin Smith

    Angie
      Thanks for your willingness to be transparent…even in the dark and difficult times God light shines through you. You honor your girl well here. He will make it beautiful again!!

  • http://taminprogress.com/ tam

    oh my, angie. i don’t know what to say. just…i love ya.

  • melakamin

    oh my gravy … so lovely and heartbreakingly wide open – what a gift you have

  • hart_larissa

    Tears.  Once again my heart cries out to make things all better for you … I am struggling through your first book atm, not because it is a difficult read … but because it is a difficult read, lol!  My heart breaks for the struggles you’ve had to face over these years, and rejoices that you have remained strong in the Lord throughout it all!   {Hugs}

  • Heather

    So sorry for the loss of Audrey. My son was born April 7 as well (also my husbands birthday). He passed April 20 of last year. He was diagnosed with PKD, polycystic kidney disease. I just bought your book and was shocked to read Audrey also had polycystic kidneys. Knowing what I know now it is so rare. I also started to blog and came across Francessca who is going to help me redesign my blog as well. You just keep popping into my life for some reason! I am looking forward to reading your book. Praying for you. God bless. Heather G. http://Www.writingwithbowen.blogspot.com.

  • http://www.thegrommom.com/ monica

    Oh my that was beautiful.  Had my stomach all in knots reading it…and loved your heart all the way through.
    Bless you!

  • Katyreitz

    your writings are jaw dropping, you clearly have a gift and a love for writing.  your words create pictures in the readers mind & you envelope your audience through your words.  

    i love to sew….. sew you had me at pattern.

    continued prayers as you continue to put one foot in front of the other each & every day…… 

  • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com/ Southern Gal

    There’s really nothing I can say, only that I hurt for you and will  pray for you both.  Forgive me for not doing that lately.  

  • walkinginhisplan.blogspot.com

    You’re amazing, that’s all there is to it. Even when you don’t feel it and speak through your brokenness, your beauty doesn’t chance

    • Cathie

      i mean change

  • samantha

    that was awesome and beautiful!!!

  • Coby

    “It was watching the needle and knowing it was working all the time to mend, even as it pierced.”

    Amen, even through the pain of the piercing.  Amen.  Thank you for sharing your heart.

  • Sheila

    Oh Angie, sometimes I think I want to feel the grief I keep pushing away, pretending it’s not there.  But I don’t because I’m scared of feeling it again and will I be able to get back up this time?  Thank you for reminding me there is laughter in the tears.  In God’s Love, sheila

  • http://www.thepoppinslife.blogspot.com/ Trisharush

    It would be just so hopeless without Him. I honestly don’t know how people go through this without the hope of beauty in our future. Thank you for helping me cry today. I need to do it more. I just miss him so….

  • Kristie Goulet

    Just beautiful Angie!!!  Love you friend!  

  • Chellé

    My favorite of all of your posts, Angie. Thank you for sharing your heart. I do believe God used it to rustle up things In my heart that need addressed…

  • Erin

    Some people shine Jesus.  Some people glimmer Jesus.  You, my friend, exude Jesus like a lighthouse in the dark.  Audrey’s legacy continues to reach people through your amazing ability to share your heart. 

  • http://smallbirdstudios.com/ Franchesca

    (((Angie))) Thank you dear friend. Your words resonate deeply with my heart today. He will make it beautiful one day. And what a day that will be.

  • http://twitter.com/BFGOmelissa Melissa Irwin

    I’m in tears.  God bless you.

  • Amanda_keeney

    I too feel the ache of your mother’s heart Angie. My Gavin was born on the same day as your Audrey in 2008. Though it has been four years, I still miss him every day and ache for that spot that he would fill in our family. The spot that is only his. Hugs to you, thank you for sharing your heart.

    Blessings,
    Amanda

  • Beth

    That was some of the most captivating and beautiful writing I have ever read.  

  • Carmel

    There is an unfinished blanket, amongst so many unfinished other things (because yes, I start lots of things I don’t finish). I started it that day, because knitting even while in my heart of hearts I ‘knew’, gave me some kind of hope.  I didn’t remember that blanket until I read your post.
    There are moments when I think that there couldn’t be much more that my earthly beloved and I can take, and am almost too afraid to ask “How much more Lord?”  And the ‘us’ now and the ‘us’ before, is so very different. The innocence is lost. There are edges and sharp corners that were not there before.  But there are deeper places that have been touched which, perhaps, would have remained untouched?
    He does make all things beautiful…in HIS time.
    ‘Til then, love and blessings and thanks to you and yours.

  • Sharon O

    SO incredibly beautiful… so real and so raw and that is how life is sometimes. I am glad you have each other.

  • http://twitter.com/stacey29lincoln Stacey29lincoln

    I am so glad you wrote this Angie.  Really.  Really blessed beyond words. 

  • Diana

    Bless your heart.  I loved this for how geniune it was and for making me remember things that I have tried to push deep down.  That hurt is so hard to visit, yet I want to and feel I have to, to keep it real.  To make sure I don’t forget, to make sure they are not forgotten.  It happened and I don’t want to forget.  That pain that made my heart and soul ache, I HAVE to revisit it and feel it….so they are not forgotten.  I loved what you wrote, because you put into words, what many of us can’t.  I call you “my Angie” when I tell my friends your stories.  I love your heart and I hope to meet you one day and tell you face to face how sorry I am about your Audrey, and thank you for being one of Gods instruments in healing of my heart. You are precious and wonderful!  Diana

  • Amanda

    Oh Angie, may God continue to bless you.   Thank you for your honesty and raw emotion.  What a priviledge to be allowed into your life.  I am lifting you and your family up in prayer as I write.

  • http://themakingofmom.blogspot.com/ TheBeaverBunch

    Oh the sadness. So fresh and still so old. Thank you for sharing sweet one. Your story comes fresh to my mind as I pray over a very dear friend who delivered her little boy, way too many weeks early, on Mother’s Day. God is good but sometimes, it’s hard to see that in the face of tragedy, isn’t it?

  • Michele Annibal

    Your words – they break and warm my heart at the same time.  Thanks so much. 

  • Kaye

    Love you…..hugs and prayers,
    Kaye
    Psalm 46:10

  • http://saamusings.blogspot.com/ Annie28

    I love this, Angie. It’s evidence He brings beauty from the raw, broken places.

  • Michael Warren

    Your words always fill me with equal parts sadness and hope.  Lovely as always

  • Diannecstone

    I’m just reeling from the beauty of this post, and frankly, your heart. And I’m in awe of what God is already doing … thank you friend for reaching deep to give life to feelings and emotions that some of us have tried to bury under layers of numb. Thank you for helping the Lord guide me through my grief through your own raw pain. God’s Glory could not be shining brighter through the life of you and Todd’s sweet one. 

  • CynthiaJSwenson

    Believing with you Angie, in my mess. He makes ALL things beautiful in His time.Bless you for willing to be transparent, that says humility to me. Jesus says,”Blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”I’m thinking it’s a good thing to realize we are a mess because then we know we need Him. He loves us so much! Love & prayers, in Jesus,Cynthia

  • http://www.wesandbailey.blogspot.com/ Jamie

    this. was. amazing. so amazing. all of it. wow! It was so raw and so beautiful and perfect. 

  • Melody Johnson

    Oh Angie, I can relate so much to what you just wrote here.  Thank you for sharing these precious thoughts with us.  One day it will all be beautiful again, you are right.  He will make all things new.  I can hardly wait for that day for me and for you…you’ll be with your Audrey again, and I’ll be with my little Solveig.  I’m only almost 12 weeks out from my loss of her, and some days are so good…but then something strikes and it feels like it’s real and fresh all over again.  I’ve been inspired by you and your writing and have found such healing through writing on my own blog.  Your books were such a providential preparation for what was to come in my life.  Little did I know when I read them that I would one day experience the loss of a baby too.

    Praying for you today, dear one.
    Love,
    Melody from MN

  • Jenkins Aly

    I love you Angie.

  • https://aftermath1014.wordpress.com/ Andrea

    Thank you.  This resonated in more ways than I can describe.  Hope.  

  • hallesmom

    Wow!  I needed to read this today.  I started weeping while buying my husband a Father’s Day card yesterday from his daughter.  Because I should have been buying one from his daughter and SON.  We lost our Elliott in October and I just told my husband last night that I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.  Not fully.  Not until I’m in heaven with him and his three siblings I lost before.  This is so hard.  Thank you for being transparent.  I so appreciated it.  

  • Pingback: The Bravest Daddy I Know. «

  • Kat

    Angie, thanks for writing this post.  The day you wrote this post is the day that I learned my daughter no longer had a heartbeat.  My husband and I went into the hospital that night and I delivered her on Thursday, May 17.  I miss her so much and some days are harder than others.  Today is one of those days.  I came to your blog looking for hope and I read this post.  I believe that one day He will make it beautiful again and it helped so much to hear you say that as you walk through your own process.  Thanks for the reminder.

  • SandraVM

    Angie,
    Thank you for your courage and sharing all this.  I lost my daughter about four months ago.  My daughter was diagnosed with multicystic kidneys and did not survive.  I delivered her at 22 weeks back in February and there isn’t a day that goes by that I do not think of her.  I was supposed to deliver a healthy baby in July and instead have only her ashes to hold on to.  I had hope every day after we got the diagnosis while we sought out specialists and opinion after opinion.  However, there was no hope…. only Faith that the Lord knew what he was doing and that we were chosen to be our baby’s parents for a reason greater than anything we can ever understand.  Our little Faith went to heaven on February 24th but she warms us every day with a gentle reminder that beautiful can exist even at the worst of times.  Thank you for being a voice for mothers everywhere and for giving merit and weight to the experience of children like Audrey and Faith. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/missabeaver Melissa Fewell Beaver

    Angie, I am a sewing fanatic! But I had stopped for a while when our Foster Daughter that we had with us for 3 years, and were starting the process to adopt, was given back to her Mother. I read this and tears ran down my face because just like you, I had an un-finished dress in a drawer too. Just this last July I took it out and finished it and sent it to her Mother (who we have a good relationship with now because of a lot of work and prayer.)
    I remember sitting at my chair thinking of my sweet Rhiana and trying to focus on the needle with tears welled up in my eyes. Well I finished her dress and sent it on. It was very healing for me to finish the dress. I couldn’t believe it when I read your blog and felt your pain as my own.
    Thank you so much for sharing. I actually heard about you from a very special friend of mine from Church that told me about you at a Bible Study.
    May the Lord continue to give you peace.
    Melissa’ Bartlett, TN

  • Sarah

    Angie, I devoured your book this weekend. Cried my way through is more like it. Our story so similar, and your words so true. I have wanted for years to get up the courage to write what you did so beautifully so soon after losing your girl. Your stories, truth words, realness cut a hole into that place and I just thought after a few chapters “This book is going to destroy me”…Yet there was that beautiful dance between grief and joy, between the ones we have and the ones weve lost, and the choice for gratefulness today, and the relief of remembering and being ok in the midst. My house smells of perfume, I needed to spray it over every door this afternoon, a reminder of the fragrance of worship, the choice to worship. The acknowledment that I still do not know, do not understand, but choose to trust. The sweetness to come when it is all finally redeemed some day. Thank you for putting to words the hearts of all of us who have “been chosen to carry these losses”, and tell our stories in real authentic ways. Love you girl!

  • Erica

    Thank you, Angie, for writing this. I’m so thankful God placed it on my heart to look at your blog tonight, something I have not done in months. I needed to hear this tonight. I’m so thankful for little moments like this reassure me God has his hand on us and is taking care of us and loves us, while we miss our baby girl. God is using you tremendously!