I, Universe

What my miscarriage helped me see about my place in the cosmos. /

I knew the facts. It wasn’t my fault. I hadn’t snorted coke or done any of the other unlikely things that could have caused my baby to stop growing. I had ignorantly gone on living without him one day into what would have been a second trimester if we’d had the gift of three more months (to say nothing of six). But the information was hard not to receive as a humiliation and a rebuke. How could it have happened without my knowing? I could have been worrying about it or praying about it in the very moment it happened. But I didn’t feel it in my pregnant body or maternal soul. Sensation and intuition failed. My baby died alone, and I was there the whole time.

It was a horror to me. I was his universe, and I had noticed and cared as little as this universe will take notice or care when I die. The news of his death had been only of the most local somatic interest, not worth bothering my consciousness about. Even when I, the universe, was notified, I was powerless to effect any universal action. The universe first did not know, and then could not help. The universe was an indifferent gob of matter, or a useless idiot.

Nearly two weeks after the death no one had witnessed, one week after the body was discovered, the victim was evicted. His remains could not remain. Local interest gave way to local action, and finally the universe groaned in a way that meant something. The universe cared and labored not according to its own idea of rightness, but by its Creator’s laws. I did not make my body, and I cannot control its natural operations. I can only be the kind of creature I am. I did not make our baby, and I could not control what happened to him. I could only be the universe to him, for as much and as ...

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Also in this Issue

Issue 44 / March 17, 2016
  1. Editor’s Note

    Issue 44: Walking Spain’s Camino, miscarriage and the universe, and a Good Friday groan. /

  2. Walk This Way

    Notes from a journey on the Camino de Santiago. /

  3. Good Friday Blues

    The devastating, wordless groaning of one of the greatest songs of all time. /

  4. The Donkey

    “I keep my secret still” /

  5. Wonder on the Web

    Issue 44: Links to amazing stuff.

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