The man at my miscarriage wasn’t my husband

by +CrystalThieringer    @cdthieringer

The pinch happened when I moved a ziploc bag filled with coins from the top of the dresser into the drawer. I frowned. Rubbed my side. Continued the preparations for our trip.

The memory of that pinch stayed with me on the flight, but there were no other sensations. We landed in Toronto. Picked up a rental car and navigated to Etobicoke.

“Welcome to our home,” said my college buddy Eldon, giving me a brotherly hug as he met us at the door.  I introduced my then-husband toMe and J him and his gracious wife presented their infant, swaddled in pink as she slept. How beautiful she was. (How lovely she is.)  I snapped a photo of Eldon, his face bent close to this tiny creature.

Quintessential fatherhood. It remains among the most nearly perfect moments I’ve witnessed.

We shared our news. Their little girl woke in our rejoicing.

A smattering of bright red on my underwear tempered all that. I whispered the words to his wife. “Should I be concerned?”

My feet were lifted on the sofa, and I reclined. “It’s been a long flight,” she said, instructing Eldon to tug a blanket around my ankles while she settled to nurse their daughter.

“Just relax,” he said.

We shared college-day stories with our spouses, talked about the music we once played together. I tried to focus but my attention drifted as I counted the second-hand revolutions of my watch between the shearing of one pain and the shattering of the next. Eldon was the first to ask if I was okay.

We decided a trip to emergency was necessary. I went to the bathroom, but the sensation was different than ever before. There was a slithering, a slipperiness, a something wrong. The water reflected gradient shades of pink and someone screamed.

The hospital was crowded with robotic people. We were moved to a private room. Eldon watched, and then left and when he returned someone gave me a shot. Eldon pulled my then-husband aside, and explained contractions to him, hope-stealing thieves that they were.

After surgery, I sat in a wheelchair, alone-yet-not-alone in a room. Another woman wouldn’t stop screeching, “Hand me my baby. Where is he? Give me my baby!” I desperately wanted  to give her a punch in the face instead. I was wheeled to a different room, continuing the hour of recovery, and I was now alone-yes-all-alone, a closed door blocking out her cries.

photoBack at Eldon’s home, I crouched on the floor of the shower and let the water pour over me. When the shower had melted the icicles from my body, I joined the others in the living room. Eldon was comforting his daughter.

“May I hold her?” I asked.

“Are you sure?”

“If I don’t…”

He handed her to me. I studied her nose, and marvelled at how she wrapped all of her fingers around one of mine.

Eldon wasn’t my husband. He was, and still is, my friend.


1000 speak 4



This post was written as part of the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, for the theme of Connection. Though I don’t see my friend often (in fact, I’m trying to figure out if I’ve seen him since), I know these wisps in time have bound us together forever. We can’t always know how profoundly our actions connect us, one to the other. Sometimes the tiniest threads are made of the strongest steel.

Recently we spoke about this loss. I know he remembers. I love him for it.

Perhaps you have an Eldon in your life. Share your story in the comments, won’t you?


25 thoughts on “The man at my miscarriage wasn’t my husband

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. I wrote about my miscarriage too for this Connection topic. I am blessed to have had a group of Eldons. Beautiful post.

    1. Oh Jackie, I’m equally sad for you. I’ll go look for your post. The beautiful thing is that our Eldons and the people like them surrounded us with their love. We spent time with Lynn and Joan afterwards, and I could not have been more cared for. I won’t forget them either–they helped me move away from the edges of despair. It is a lovely thing, now, to peek in on Eldon’s daughter every now and again, and imagine what might-have-been. May your memories treat you kindly, and may God provide healing to you. Thank you for stopping by.

      1. Thank you Crystal. I know what you mean…it’s bittersweet when I imagine what might-have-been when I see my friends’ children who were either in utero or just born when I was pregnant so long ago. The group of friends I made during my loss taught me that something good always comes from the something bad we experience. We just have to be willing to see it. Thanks to the friends I made, I was able to heal and move forward and to realize that God had a different plan for me.

        1. Yes. Different. It’s not better, and it’s not worse. It’s different, and filled with unique blessings of its own.

  2. Powerful post. My heart is in my throat over this one. I’m so sad this happened and so grateful Eldon was there for you.

    1. He–and his beautiful wife–were so kind, as were the couple who cared for us afterwards. But it was the kind of day that never lets go, that’s for sure. We’re connected. We always will be.

    1. Thank you Shelah. I’m sorry too. I’m also grateful for the blessings of a friendship that is deep and true and longstanding. That’s no small thing, and it’s changed me.

  3. Your sense of loss and connection to Eldon came through vividly. I’m sorry for your loss. I know time may ease your initial grief but the question of “what if” never really goes away.

    The connections to people who are present at critical moments can bind us for eternity. I will never forget Duane, the man behind the counter at my local auto repair shop on the morning of September 11, 2001. He and I spent three hours in shocked silence together that morning, glued to the TV. Whenever we see each other now, we still hug and ask about our loved ones who miraculously did not show up where they should have that day.

    1. Denise, you’re right–time does ease the initial grief–it’s been so long now. And the question of “what if” never really goes away. My niece for example, is a mother now. Might I be a grandmother? Yes, that’s probable. But I’m not, and it’s all okay.

      As you say, the connections are the critical thing. Like you, I remember the key people on September 11. Strong threads in our life-tapestries. Days when we learned what we might be made of.

  4. I lost a baby seven years ago almost exactly. I can’t believe it’s been that long. The pain never goes away completely. I’m sorry that happened to you but glad you had a friend like Eldon to comfort you.

    1. We never forget the babies, Leslie. I’m sorry you have experienced that pain. But you’re right. We never forget the friends either. May you be comforted as you remember.

  5. this brought me a connection to my own losses. It must have been difficult to write. I’m glad that you were able to find a connection and some comfort. Hugs.

    1. I’m sorry for you losses. It’s interesting, though, how only understanding brings understanding? You’ve been where I’ve been, and so we are connected. I’ve been where you’ve been, and so we are connected. And Eldon recognized what what happening, and so we are connected. As for being difficult to write…yes, on many levels it was. And on others, there was some healing there. Thanks for stopping by, Liv BySurprise. I appreciate it!

  6. I think my dear friend Eldon is also your friend ☺
    On Sept.5, 1988 I lost my twins halfway through the pregnancy. Nearly 27 years and 5 amazing children later, my heart still aches at times for those precious little ones I never knew, especially every Sept. 5. A mother never forgets. When we moved to Toronto and were so blessed with the friendship of Eldon and Florence, it was fitting to find out that their wedding anniversary was Sept.5. Finally a reason to celebrate on a day that had always brought sadness! Even though Florence has passed on to be with the Lord, Sept.5 is still a day when I thank God for her and for Eldon and their children and I am so thankful for the way my pain was somehow healed in that sacred bond of friendship.
    Thank you for your post and for the thoughts it has brought to light. May you be blessed today!

    1. Yes, Lillian, your friend is my friend. And Florence too. They cared for us both. I follow their children’s lives with interest, rejoice in the people they have become. They are a beautiful family. We never saw them often enough and I realize now it is in part because there was pain there, for me. It’s okay, I know Eldon understands. It is a precious, precious friendship.

      I think in grieving, it isn’t always acute pain, though it always simmers somehow. And as always, there is healing, no matter how slow it is. Thank you for stopping by. I wonder who your twins would have become. I’m so sorry you never had the chance to see that here.

  7. What a traumatic time it must have been. I’m so sorry for your loss but glad that you had loving people to take care of you at that time!

    1. Thank you Roshni. Yes, it was traumatic, and there is actually much that remains blurry, even after all this time. The things I’ve written are the things that remain very clear. I was truly blessed to have these people, and also the couple that cared for us immediately afterwards. The connection is strong, and it’s the kind of thing I’ve tried to pay forward. That’s grace, don’t you think? Thank you for stopping by.

  8. This brought tears to my eyes, friend. Not only for your loss but also because of the faithful love that you received from your precious friend (s).

    I think that we sometimes forget that we are allowed the opportunity to be God’s hands and feet. Compassion Thank you for yet another reminder.

    1. We do forget, Melinda, all the time. Eldon and his wife were definitely Compassion for me that day, and such a gift it was.

  9. The concept of Empathy is difficult enough for adults to grasp, so you can imagine the thoughts running through teachers’ heads as we sat through an after-school in-service about teaching children to be empathic students. It takes me a whole day to ‘forgive’ a child for hurting the feelings of another child intentionally especially when aspects of weight, language or lack of social skills are involved. That takes me back to my pig-tailed, jumper-clad, over-weight days from Grade Three to Five as my peers judged what I looked like and what I could do or couldn’t do. So what did I do back then to feel better? Bullied, teased and tormented younger children just to show my ‘friends’ I could be like them. That was the kids’ version of paying the deed forward. I can understand, then, how your loss becomes once again fresh when you think about it. It’s become part of you and who you are. Good that you recognize this for what it is instead of pretending it didn’t happen. I’m certain you’ve paid Eldon’s good deed forward many times because that’s just the kind of person you are. I’m so enjoying being your friend (you know, the ship that passes in the coffee shop friend…). Take care.

    1. Pat, teachers have such a tough time, and I don’t know how you do it, really. The bullying you endured and participated in (I adore your honesty) continues today in even more horrendous ways. Digital media provides a false wall of security in my opinion, that unfortunately is not limited to the kids’ version of paying the deed forward. Adults sometimes take it on as well–and call it business.

      But, as you point out, there are more human ways to pay it forward and I hope I have learned some of Eldon’s compassion and empathy. His kindness has been imprinted on my heart, and hopefully, some of that has been seen by my long-time friends like you. And can I just say the thought of you in pigtails absolutely delights me? Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Oh, Crystal, the pinch and pink and ensuing pain–all so familiar. I’m so sorry you’ve experienced such loss and hope, that wherever you are in the grieving process, you have found some measure of healing.

    I hope that for us all.

    Under the same sky,

    1. Dani, I’m sorry you have too. Actually, I’m in a good place. I’m writing a book, which perhaps has brought some of this to the foreground for me lately but mostly, I’m in a good place And healing has been slow in coming–but it does come. I hope so for you as well. Thank you for visiting. Crystal

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