Inhabiting the Absence

I was supposed to be having a baby around this time.

If it was a girl, her name would be Ember.

We still have not come to any decisions. Our adoption is still on hold. We are not trying to get pregnant.

Sometimes I feel like I am stuck, standing still, eternally waiting, while my entire life rushes by me. I close my eyes and can still hear all the noise. I can hear the alarm clocks and the ringing phones and the microwave beeping. I can hear the low roar of the garage door opening when Steven comes home. I can hear my children stomping down the stairs. I can hear their breaths in the middle of the night.

But I can’t hear my own heart beating.

Is it that noise, that sound of myself, that I seek, or is it silence?

Maybe silence is what I want to wash over me, to drown out the noise, to leave me cleansed, new. Like some sort of baptism in which I come out of the waters drenched in the belief that I am whole even when I am not strong.

I tend to try to be strong. But I think it is time for me to embrace the emptiness. The heartache. The inability. The failure. The quiet.

It is time to inhabit the absence. The absence of a baby, the absence of a Thai child, the absence of words, the absence of feelings, the absence of all those dreams I held so tightly to. I think, in that absence, in that place where I allow myself to be weak and broken, that’s where I’ll find wholeness again.


  1. None of us can judge another’s pain. But I hope you can move past any feelings of “failure” and “emptiness.” You are an accomplished young woman, a teacher, a writer, with two precious children. May you find peace and fullness your circumstances, or may God grant your desires for another child. Either way, you have a blessed family. Thanks for sharing those intimate feelings.

  2. kksorrell says:

    Susan, thanks for the encouragement. I am truly not uber depressed right now. But I have been thinking a lot about that idea of inhabiting absence. For example, sometimes when writing, I sit for a long time and only get a few words written. But I think it’s good for me to show up every day at my desk at my writing time to try, and there’s something important about being okay with that almost blank page, with that absence of words sometimes.

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