A month or so ago I read this article on Scary Mommy. I felt every word of it. Though I am not facing a hysterectomy, my husband and I consider our family of three sons and one daughter to be complete. And yet... it isn't complete. At least not for me.
You see, I have three sisters who are the most hilarious, fun, faithful, and kind women you could ever hope to meet. We share our lives with each other in one continuous text conversation that regularly causes me to cry with hilarity. I wish everyone could have sisters like them. Including my daughter.
But, she is the only girl. And she'll be the only girl. I know this, and I accept this, and yet, it's still hard.
So when I read through the dozens of comments trailing Scary Mommy's Facebook post, many of them searing and judgmental, I felt their impact deeply. "What are you complaining about? You have three sons!" said one woman. "You should be more grateful for what you have!" said another.
And I thought, how have we come to this? How can someone share the vulnerability of their deepest longings only to have their grief brushed aside as if it belongs in the trash bin? The fact is, the loss of a dream is still a loss. And no sadness is correctly judged by someone else's Pain Assessment Scale.
The Book of Mormon prophet, Alma, taught that those who desired to join the church of Christ must be willing to bear each other's burdens, mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. No qualifiers. No exceptions. He didn't say to mourn only with those who, in your personal estimation, have good reason to mourn, or to comfort only those whose personal decisions you agree with or whom you consider deserving of your charity. Mourn with those who mourn. Comfort those who need comfort. Even if -- especially if -- you don't understand why they feel the way they do.
If years of infertility and grueling treatments taught me anything, it's that buried grief can turn in on itself and cause a person to grow bitter and cold. But grief that is allowed the sunlight of a listening ear can blossom into something beautiful, because grief that is allowed to be can become. It can transform into love and understanding. It can change into empathy and compassion. It can grow tall as a noble tree whose branches can provide shelter for the broken and aching hearts of others.
So be that listening ear. Be that kind word. Be that diamond of compassion glistening in the landfill of harsh internet judgment. Reach out to serve and love and support. We are all children of God, and we all deserve to feel His love.
No qualifiers, no exceptions.