Friday, May 2, 2014

Note to self

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."


Genesis 50:20


Read this today. Have so much to say on this subject, and so little time.


This is just a small note to remind myself to address this at a later point in time.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Stuff

I haven't been writing regularly here for a while. When I do write it's in fits and starts- and mostly when I have been frustrated at some aspect of normal life that intrudes on my abnormal, inner life. I feel a need to unload some emotional baggage and here is where I come to let go.

When I'm happy- I don't write... I take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

I have grasped the concept that writing here is a continuos ebb and flow. That I will always be writing about grief and anger (which is a large part of my personal grief- I lost so many people in the three years since Beatrix's death- and I am angry.) But- this isn't all of it. And I think that floundering was a part of the joy trying to push through the negative feelings. And sometimes, you have to choose joy even when it's not the most comfortable suit. 

That being said- I am not setting up any plans here, but I have begun to work out some ideas that will bring honor to my sweet Beatrix's memory- I already know what I would like to do for both her fourth and fifth birthdays. I'm really excited, because after she died, I had goals which included using her name to bring joy to others. I haven't fulfilled any of those goals.

I hope that, becaus I am not setting a bar for myself, I can work around some unrealistic expectations. 

I will say that a little change is going to come in the form of the "after-after" of the grieving process. Because I'm there- I've gone through the after-loss. And now it's the after-after stage. I want to keep writing, because it's cathartic, and because so many people stop when the initial grief begins to fade. I want to keep going- and I'm so happy to be actually planning a course that will focus more on the Joy that she brought.

Because I don't want to set a bar, I can't promise that I won't ever write about the dark stuff, or the angry stuff- but I will try to make more of an effort to write about the happy stuff. I want to share our journey- and the happy parts of it, whether that's through continuing to write here or sharing images of that happiness manifest in our everyday lives.

I will be sharing a bit more about our rainbow baby- because it is true, they do help to heal broken hearts. Another thing- not writing about my feelings in parenting her was a big mistake. I know now, looking back, that how I parented her- how I made it through the worrisome parts of post-loss parenting- was important. It's part of the journey that I undertook when I said "yes" to carrying Beatrix. I just want to put that out there- that there will be a little more sharing of new life- because new life is part of my post loss existence. 

This is our reality now:


And it's such a beautiful reality. I can't hold it under the sadness any longer. 

One last note:


Thank you, if you have read my tiny thoughts about my tiny daughter. I don't think that you can know how much it means to me to see that little viewing box at the right side of my entries, filled up with far away places. Each time that changes, it means that someone new has heard about my Beatrix. That somewhere out there, today- she has been on someone's mind. She is always, and always will be, on my mind. Every second of every day, I remember her. Again, thank you for remembering her with me.




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Carry Your Grief With Me

Because of social media, much of what would have been hidden at one time is now open. I myself am able to see an outsiders perspective of child loss... But with an insiders knowledge.

I can not claim that I understand how another parent feels when they suffer loss- because as different as each individual child is, so must the grief be.

We are not mourning the loss of a general "someone", a stranger- we are mourning the loss of a unique individual. One who has never before been here and one who never will be here again. One who had different habits, needs, and created different memories with the mourner.  

I do, however, feel such weight when I see another family suffering. And it is a physical weight. 

It's a deep, in the muscles and sinews weight. In my shoulders and under my skin.

I can honestly say that in some ways, I carry your grief with me. And I mean this with the upmost respect- a respect that acknowledges that in saying this I am not trying to step into your sacred space. I am not claiming your sorrow. I am not trying to interject myself into your situation. 

But I see you- and I carry your grief on top of mine. And because I carry your grief on top of mine, it is always- and always will be- with me.

I hope that for some people, the help in others carrying their grief is seen for what it is- a mourning of your child. 

I carry your grief with me.

I carry it up high on my shoulders. It makes me stoop, bends my knees. 

I carry your grief with me.

I sometimes feel that last touch- as vividly as if I were inhabiting your body. My fingertips itch with the feel of that soft flesh under my skin. That reality of "last time" sets in, in my own mind and it is incomprehensible. As incomprehensible as it was for my "last time."

I carry your grief with me.

I can not fathom the loss you bear- but I will bear it with you if you'd let me- shouldering your burden on top of mine. Holding it aloft so that once in a while, you get the opportunity to breath. 

I carry your grief with me.

I mourn the loss of birthdays, of sweaty feet in sandles, of tangled hair and smudged up noses. I mourn the loss of sweet good nights and of too-early good mornings. I mourn the loss of your innocence- both emotional and tangible. 

I carry your grief with me. 

I see the cruelty of an earth where your sweet child does not breathe any longer. I see sadness and terrible stories of abuse and neglect on the news- stories that make you shake at the unfairness of it all- and I shake with you. 

I carry your grief with me.

I make no mistake- your grief is wholly your own. You feel the sharp sting of your loss like I never could- but I carry your tender heart in the palm of my hand, guarding my words and actions in order to create a sacred space for you and your child.

I carry your grief with me.

When you can't sleep, going over the "if onlys", I am awake too. I am in my questioning place- and we can walk through those rooms together, if you'd like. 

I carry your grief with me.

When each and every pregnancy announcement is projected into your sphere. When it seems like everyone else is out there having a great time, while you are just trying to breathe- I carry that too. 

I carry your grief with me.

I keep it in a sacred space. A place where each and every tear is recognized. A place where there is an understanding that a calendar is not just a book of days, but a record of what will always be missing. 

Only a parent who has lost a child can comprehend how intimidating a calendar can be.

I carry your grief with me.

The years of longing- of groaning under the silence because of your tact. The grief you feel when those around you try to "fix" you. Offering platitudes and reasons and books and stories of what "so-and-so" did in the same situation and all sorts of things that just won't make your child come back. 

I carry your grief with me.

In the middle of the day, when you are doing a mundane task- and the reality of what happened hits you for the hundredth (thousandth... Millionth) time.

Today.


I carry your grief with me.

When you open that box. 

And you take out those clothes.

And you crush them to your face, in hopes that some scent has remained.

And for a moment you are transported back to a place where no one could help you carry that grief. 

And then, when you close that box and return to normalcy. That letting go, door-shutting action does not go unnoticed. I carry that too. 

Because that is an altogether different type of grief, and one that deserves close-watching and accolades. 

Not everyone makes it through this.

I carry your grief with me. 

Out into the world, I take it with me like I take my own skin- attached and breathing, alive.

My own grief has gained such a foothold in me, that it would be remiss if I treated it as anything other than a vital organ. It has situated itself into my own heart, deep, like a thorn. It is there that I carry your grief with me. Embedded deeply within. Part of my ever-evolving parts.

I carry your grief with me.

And when the mourning is through, I will remember your child. 

When your mourning is through, and you can see the sunshine again and the world becomes a beautiful place, once more- and that it's ok to love fiercely and let go at the same time- I'll carry your grief with me then, too.

For all the days that pass I will carry your grief with me. 

I will remember her name.

I will remember her life.

And most of all, I will remember your love. 

That love that cherished and protected a most precious gem.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to carry your grief with me.




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fixed

I don't need to be fixed.

I used to think that I was broken- that there was something irreparable about me. 

I'm not. 

I bend under pressure sometimes, and sometimes I have terribly sad days. 

But I'm not broken.

So please stop trying to fix me.

I don't need a platitude.
I don't need advice.
I don't need anything.

Honestly- you couldn't give me what my heart aches for, on those sad, sad days.

Because my heart is aching for her.

Please don't try to mitigate my grief because you- you who have never experienced what it is to be lying in a physician's office and hear the words "incompatible with life"- you have no idea what this is like.

I am not broken.

I am, however, defiant.

I will continue to speak her name loudly and clearly. She is my child. I am her mother. Not a day will ever go by where I do not say her name.

I understand you more than you think- much more than you understand me. I know that you truly believe that you are helping. I have been you- but you have never been me.

You believe that I am somehow stuck. 

That somehow, you have the magic pill that will make me say, "A-ha!" That I'll wake up one day and be able to put this behind me. 

You don't. 

So stop.

I would like to continue on this vein, but I'll go with this, to cover everything that you (essentially) said:

In reference to God's plan:

My daughter's death was not part of God's plan- God's plan was for all of us to be perfect and in perfect communion with Him. 

Death was never part of the plan.

My daughter's death was a result of sin- suffering and pain and misery and all of those things that we were never meant to partake in.

This next part is going to sound prideful- but it's not, it's a humbling thing. 

I carried around the entire story of the creation and the Fall in my body for 34 weeks- and you're going to try to tell me about God's plan?

Explain to me again, how sin and death entered the world, and how every person is the recipient of Adam's faulty decision making. Now put it in the context of my Beatrix- maybe your mind will just touch on the reality of what really happened. 

Maybe.

Have you been forced down to your knees by a hand so strong that it was able to steal the breathe from your child's body, before that child had even begun to live?

Have you ever held your infant child, with her internal organs located on the outside of her body, as she died- have you had to make the decision to remove life support from a baby who had just begun her life?
Removed IV lines and stickers from heart monitors from your dead child because you didn't want her body discolored? Did you try to see what color her eyes were, only to learn that at death the pupils of the eye expand to such an extent that the color of the iris is completely covered?


They say that God doesn't give you anything that you can't handle. 

That's not true- I've said it before and I'll say it again: God gives you much, much more than you will handle. More than 1000,000,000x what you could handle.

When you have experienced this-bloody and bruised, when you are so weak that you can't stand, when you have lost the will to live- because yes, there was a time when I lost the will to live- then you can come back and explain to me how I'm supposed to be feeling right now. 

When you have held your child, cold and dead, in your arms. Then you can advise me on my grief.

She was dead. I felt her heart stop beating under my fingertips. 

Have you ever seen death up close? 

If no- stop trying to tell me how to behave.

Held it in your hands? If no, stop trying to fix me.

For an extended period? When changes begin to happen? No? Then don't give me advice on how to cope.

Was it someone you loved? Your child? No? Why are you still attempting to "help" me?

Stop. Just, stop.

You have nothing to say to me about this subject.

Some of us are given such glorious illustrations of the power of God- the necessary acknowledgement that while we believe that we control everything, the smallest part of the smallest part of everything on this earth is His domain.

So please, don't tell me about God's plan. 

I know about it. 

The real plan. 

Not some schmarmy idea of good feelings and unbroken hearts- by the way, a little off subject, but along the same lines: please, for the love of all that is good, stop referring to my daughter as an angel. Not only is that theologically incorrect (not one religious body on this earth teaches that humans become angels), but it also makes her seem less than real. It makes her seem separate, but she wasn't. She was whole and red-blooded, flesh and bone. She came into the earth in pain and suffering (mine) and left cold and silent- not angelic, but completely and beautifully human.

So, the next time that you see something that I post and feel like you need to give me advice- don't. 

Really.

Don't.

I'm fine, except when I'm not fine.

And you, nor any idea that you may present me, will have any power to change that "not fine" feeling. 

Just be my friend. Let me be passionate about what I am passionate about... Which is my children. All of my children.

And don't view my situation as something that needs fixed. 

(And I fully understand that while reading this you are clucking about my anger in your head. Just to clarify- I am angry. I am angry that anyone who had journeyed with me over the last three years dares to attempt to offer me a solution.)

I don't want your help recovering- because not only do I not believe that child-loss is something anyone recovers from, but because I don't want to recover. 

I'm fine with me. Where I am. This is a part of me. If you dislike it, there's really not much I can do about that.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Enough

Did I do everything that I could have?
Did I do everything that I could have?
Did I do everything that I could have?
Did I do everything that I could have?
Did I do everything that I could have?
Did I do everything that I could have?
Did I do everything that I could have?
Did I do everything that I could have?

I thought I would get to the point. 

I had lots to say. Loads of flowery explanations and phrases and stuff to fill this post with meaty ideas.

But this just about sums it up.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

...

Today is a tough day.

Really.

One of those out of the blue days where my heart is ripped open and laid bare and I wonder and am angry and am humbled all at once.

One of those days that doesn't come too often anymore.

One of those days that I thought were somewhat behind me, where I would love to crawl into the back of my closet and sleep for a week.

One of those days where the tears are fresh on my eyelashes and my nose has that tingling feeling- that "I am poised to cry, so please be gentle with me" feeling.

One of those days where missing her is a physical ache- where my body aches for her and my arms can not be satisfied with anything less than her weight.

Only someone who knows this ache can take seriously the claim that every muscle in my body- every cell- cries out for relief. 

And the only relief would be her, alive.

Here.

Sometimes, even though I am where I am, it's difficult not to be where I was.






Saturday, March 1, 2014

Be fruitful and multiply

About that.

My husband and I were talking about M's future. Her life, as we imagined it. We talked about her children, and our hopes that if she chose, she would be able to mother them without the same heartache that had befallen us. 

Imagine that- having a baby who may one day be a mother. 

I have two older sons, and while they may one day be parents- they were not born with the capability for life already in place.

My daughter has the seeds for countless generations already in place and waiting inside of her body.

And those seeds were, at one time, in my infant body (so to speak), and in my mother's body- and so on for countless generations. 

I look at this sweet tiny girl, toddling around on her unsteady legs and I am awed that her generations are already in place. 

My Beatrix had many anomalies that affected many parts of her body- but her reproductive organs were smashingly perfect. She had two minuscule ovaries full of her own generations, and a small womb. 

I remember the sadness with which I heard the words- "here are her ovaries", from one of the physicians as they looked over test results- fetal MRI, I believe. 

That was one of those moments when I became fully aware of all that would be lost- that an entire piece of my family was being wiped out in one fell swoop. And it was a messy cut- a slap in the face.

Her future intended would love, marry, and create a family with some other mother's daughter. 

Her children would remain unnamed. All of those lovely children, half of whose genetic makeup was already present in her body- gone. 

Can you imagine? She was the end of her own family line.

It's difficult to contemplate- that missing future.

Sometimes the sadness isn't because of what was, but what will never be. 

The potential unfulfilled. 

I can't forget the way that her heart beat under my fingertips- I have that forever, and my pulse will match that discordant rhythm at the end of my life.

But I will never hold her own newborn daughter in my arms.





 
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