I have had more compliments on my nails the past summer than ever before! “Oh, I love your nail color, is so bright and cheerful!” Or even a lot of people noticing that I haven’t changed the color in 4 ½ months “Wow, you really love blue, don’t you?” Funny thing is, I have never worn blue nail polish in my life before this past April.
When a mother is pregnant, then the baby comes out of her womb, said mother is supposed to take that baby home in her arms. The problem with a miscarriage is that the baby leaves the womb and the mother who had been dreaming, planning, and hoping for all the wonderful life moments with that child is left with empty arms, as well as the prematurely empty womb.
When we lost Timothy Luke my body was not rejecting the pregnancy per normal, and I was far enough along, my doctor felt a surgical procedure was needed to safely take care of me. Part of my instructions for surgery prep was to “remove all toe and nail polish”. For no particular reason, this ticked me off. I did it. I honored the hospital instructions and removed all my polish. But peering down at my “naked” toe and finger nails just reminded me of how vulnerable this whole thing was, and how angry I was to have to go through it- all of it.
The day after my procedure, I was crying (in part) because I was angry that my nails were all bare and I couldn’t bend over to fix the issue. Brett took me to the nearest nail salon and told me to splurge and pamper myself by letting them take care of it for me (this is a special treat as I usually do all my mani/pedis myself at home). While the woman proceeded to do my pedicure, I quietly contemplated the previous days and wept silently. When she began my manicure, she asked me in broken english if I was okay. No, I wasn’t okay. My womb and my arms were empty. My heart was broken and I had nothing to show for the son I had loved so deeply. No one will get to meet him this side of Heaven. Very few people will know his name, and that really upset me.
While I was picking out nail polish at the salon that day, the bright blue was highlighted. This same bright blue had been highlighted to me as a bit of comfort from the Comforter many times that week. So although it’s not typically my choice color, it felt like a way to recognize and remember his life. A tribute of sorts.
As the nail polish wore and chipped, I couldn’t bring myself to change the color. I went on a hunt to find the same bright blue that had been highlighted to us so many times. We found it at Target and I was elated. It was my nonsensical way to continue to memorialize my son even though he is not here.
I repaint my nails, on average, every two weeks or so. With every application, it was a moment to check and see where I am with my grief. A time to ask, “how am I really feeling?” A heart check if you will. Also, every time someone commented on my nails, it highlighted my son to me in my heart. Only recently have I been more vocal about the fact that it is for Timothy Luke. Probably because I am feeling myself getting closer to feeling ready to change the color. But as each friend and stranger pointed out my nails, it blessed my heart to feel like (without knowing it) they were acknowledging my son. Does this make sense logically? No, not really. But to my heart it made all the sense in the world. It’s been my own private grieving color/experience/process.
That’s the tricky thing about grief. It doesn’t make sense. It’s never the same for two people or even two losses. I haven’t been able to fully explain the nail polish, nor have I felt a need to. As I journaled and asked Jesus about it, He would simply smile and say “I love you Shailey”. It’s been 20 weeks that I have worn this color. I don’t yet know how much longer I’ll wear it. But I want to encourage all of you who have gone through, and will go through, mourning- it doesn’t have to look any one way. It doesn’t have to make sense to our heads if it matters to our hearts. We can talk about it, or we don’t always have to. I’ve mostly kept this part of my grief to myself until now. And even as I write this, it’s only because Jesus asked me to when I woke up today. That, my friends, is the one thing I can guarantee to you in your grief. You CAN trust Jesus in the process. He is a professional Comforter, Counselor, and Friend. When He asks you for something, you can absolutely trust that it’s for your benefit to give it to Him. He is, after all, the master at exchanges and upgrades.