River.

I sat editing photos, while my children slept and my house was quiet. I listened to a beautiful song about what it is to love completely, with no strings attached, and the tears flowed down my cheeks.

I was supposed to be holding a sweet baby right about now. I was supposed to be recovering from birth and nursing a baby and being sleep deprived but snuggling a sweet one.

Yesterday is the first time that Amelie got to place her hand on my belly and feel the sweet baby move who’s currently growing inside of me.

My prenatal records show 4 pregnancies, and 2 living children.
When a sweet friend says something like, ‘congratulations on your third,’
I can’t seem to find the language to reconcile this being the third child our family will welcome into the world, while we still all want to hold space for River. I cried. I wrote about River a little bit, which I’ve done a few times.

Today, I sat on the couch, with Amelie reading us a book and Justice snuggling next to me – he held and rubbed the river stone tear drop necklace I wear, it was made by my grandfather many years ago and given to me by my dad after we lost River. Justice sat holding it and rubbing the stone, snuggled against me, and just quietly said over and over again, “we miss you, River. I miss you, River.”

The kids will talk about River out of nowhere sometimes and it always takes me by surprise. Our culture does its best to remove us from grief, to distract us and make it disappear. But the kids know better. They know how to grieve. They’re okay with remembering and risking making other people uncomfortable by being honest and raw.

The kids say River’s name. They still tell strangers sometimes, with the same knowing and pride and joy and authenticity that they share about the new baby who’s growing now.

I don’t talk about River much anymore. Sometimes, I find that friends I missed out on talking to for awhile didn’t know we miscarried, and it’s so odd to me. This distinct point on the timeline of our lives. This marker of a moment in time, this being, that changed my world.

River.
The third baby Roquemore.

We wanted you. We’re sad we lost you.

LENT. 18.

“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.”
– Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

I love that this quote calls out our laziness when it comes to truly learning about the oppression of racism – this is simply yet another sign of our white privilege.

(Also, I didn’t know this quote before I read what Andre Henry recently wrote about his lent challenge for white people and it’s so good – I’m so glad he shared it.) 

Anti racism for Lent. #18.

White Fragility.

Last year, I almost went to a class called White Fragility, it was hosted by a church, which made it that much more appealing to me. See, I’ve spent a lot of time in churches and church sponsored environments throughout my life, and while I have heard the word justice used a lot, I’ve rarely seen it enacted, lived out, or truly, practically preached about. So I was shocked, and so excited to go possibly see the church having conversations I’d never seen them have before.

The class actually ended up changing names before the event. It was something much less ‘offensive,’ after the name change. I had already planned to go, and hoped the content would remain the same despite the name change. I am glad I went… I heard lots of things, some of which I had never heard before, particularly about racial reconciliation. I sat in a room full of people who were clearly eager to learn and grow. I took a lot of notes. I asked questions after, and wrote a list of recommended books, podcasts, and movies, and I got to work, slowly but surely, opening my mind and letting my paradigm shift.

I have to say that white fragility seems to the hardest topic to actually, practically talk about. Especially when I know that I’m primarily writing to a white audience, as a white person. I am sure I don’t even fully see my own white privilege (“white undeserved advantages.”) It has been an interesting process (to say the least) for me to identify my own unconscious bias, and to take a hard look at my own fragility.

I think that the suggestions of the last 17 days have really given each of you about a zillion starting points to choose from, and that’s good, because I’ve only got two for this one.

FIRST:
Read this post – “The Sugar-coated Language of White Fragility.”

SECOND:
I try to check myself in my daily life – here’s my metric:
If I find myself getting defensive, mentally, verbally, or even with my body language… Or if I find that I’m really quick to respond with some ready made answer defending my position about something (even only within my own mind) I do an immediate reevaluation…. here is a small sampling of questions I ask myself:
Why am I responding this way? Do I feel threatened?
What about me is being called into question? Is there a real threat?
What truth am I possibly missing?
Am I really listening to the other person/perspective?
Or am I focused on protecting my own beliefs regardless of what might be true?