A lesson in grieving…

•September 19, 2011 • 2 Comments

I admit it, I’m a control freak, which is precisely why this roller-coaster-of-a-ride grieving process stinks!  Most days I feel fine, in control of my feelings, accepting of my fate… then bam, something or someone sets me off and it takes me days to get out of my funk.  For example, one of the hardest things I’ve had to come to terms with is/are family/friends who (to this day) have never said a word to me about Lily’s passing.  It’s not at all pity I’m looking for, simply acknowledgement, that Lily was very much part of my life for 35 weeks.  At first I thought I was mentally mad, but I soon found this to be a common sentiment only those in baby loss blog land could identify with.  I even went so far as to research the percentage of marriages that break up after the loss of a child, as there has been this unspoken-Lily-silence within my marriage the past few months, a silence that makes me want to scream, “Please don’t forget about her, please!”  (If that isn’t padded room material, I don’t know what is!)

Another admission… my husband is often right when it comes to my well-being.  He’s quick to remind me that some people just don’t know what to say, it’s nothing to be offended by.  And though I make it difficult some days, he reminds me he has my back, accepts that grieving is a process and takes time, time I need to allow myself.  (What a great guy, I know!)

My lesson in grieving — As someone who loves God with all her heart, someone who has tremendous faith, I’m ashamed to admit I have off days, days when my personal funk overrides my leaning on Him.  It isn’t that I don’t want to pray, it’s just that I feel so self-absorbed at the time and therefore unworthy, like why would He want to listen to a wretch like me?  As I write this, a word comes to me from 1 Peter: “Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.”   How comforting it is to recall God does want to listen to me despite my wretchedness!  May I remember that only He can fill that void in my life, Lily’s absence, only He can bring me that peace I’m longing for.

A lesson in seizing the day…

•September 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Baby loss blog land, a place I never knew existed until now, a place where people like me find ourselves if only to stay sane.  Who knew there were so many of us, so many aching hearts!  Am so thankful for my faith today, couldn’t do this without Him.

My lesson today… carpe diem — Appreciate the people in my life, those who are with me now.  Lily will be waiting for me someday, as will all the other parents/stories in baby loss blog land.  I’m off to join my husband and daughter, tail between my legs.

Letter to Lily_September 3

•September 4, 2011 • 1 Comment

Dear Lily,

It’s 1:30 in the morning, just woke from the most intense dream!  I was out hiking and there were these dazzling white birds fluttering all about, their songs a welcome distraction from my climb.  But suddenly they swooped down towards me, their chirping getting louder and louder, piercing my ears to the point… I woke up, only to find (of course) the battery needs changing in the smoke detector.  Your dad slept right through it, imagine that!  Anyway, now I’m wide awake and alone and thinking of you, typical for this hour.

Did you meet Grandma Edie?  Your sister and I recently watched the family video from her funeral service, couldn’t help but think how lucky she was to be in Heaven with you now!  Alex had a much different take.  “Mom, I don’t want to die like Lily and Grandma Edie.  I’m going to eat more carrots!”  I just love the way her beautiful mind reasons!

Oh, I finally filled out the application to launch a Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope support group here.  You make me want to be a better person, Lily, and I need to find ways to support others who might be hurting.  Thank you for all the ways you inspire me!

Goodnight Sweetie, will be in touch soon.

Mom

Cheers to my 4 moms!

•August 29, 2011 • 2 Comments

Dear Mom — Thank you for accepting Lily into your heart and making me so excited for her arrival!  Thank you for buying me not one, but three food processing machines in an effort to take care of Lily’s nutritional needs, an extension of your love for her.  May you find comfort knowing Lily is bringing me closer to God, a relationship you stirred long ago in me.  I know I don’t say it often enough, but I love you so very much!

Dear Cat — You definitely missed your calling as a midwife!  Thank you for never giving up on me and Lily, for being so present, available and downright honest throughout my entire pregnancy and birth.  The image of you and Lily makes me smile, am so happy you got to be part of that experience! 

Dear Terry — I can’t begin to thank you enough for sharing in my faith, my belief that all children are of God and therefore deserving of a chance at life!  Little do you know how often I leaned on your words of compassion, always knowing you were in my corner and eagerly awaiting Lily’s arrival.  Your son’s support of me and Lily was, in essence, a reflection of you, and for that I love you even more!

Dear Connie — You are church mother extraordinaire!  Thank you so much for connecting me with the right people at the right times, for praying over me and Lily and our future together.  Thank you for reminding me that God’s plans are to prosper me, not to harm me.  You are most definitely a woman of integrity, one I aspire to!

Cheers to Sherrie, Kathryn, Christy M and Charise!

•August 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

May you each know how much your friendship means to me!  I feel so blessed to have such women of integrity in my life, those who keep me grounded, those who make me smile even on my worst days.  I just felt the need to say thank you, for being there for me from the beginning, for giving me a safe place to lay down my fears and rest.  Ya’ll are the best friends a girl could ever wish for!

Cheers to Sharon, Lynn, Laurie and Christy E!

•August 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I just want each of you to know how grateful I am for your friendship, for your kindness during my pregnancy.  As mothers of special needs children, you taught me that “special needs” is nothing to fear, it’s just a label that really requires no explanation.  I am humbled by the love each of you has for your child, a love that knows no bounds and sees you through every challenge life brings your way.  I am inspired by your integrity and wisdom and am so thankful God brought you into my life!

A lesson in acceptance…

•August 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’m ashamed to admit it wasn’t the hole in Lily’s heart that initially caused me the most grief… it was the Down Syndrome.  My ignorance about this disorder painted a very unpleasant portrait for me about Lily’s arrival into our family.  Up until this point in my life, I had never been around anyone with special needs, which in my opinion “disqualified” me from God’s list of chosen moms (read as, I’m not qualified God!).  And having always been somewhat of a misfit, I tend to get very offended by people who ridicule, those who think themselves so much bigger than me (I know, refer to Matthew 7:3, Angela!).  Already I was picturing myself glaring at people who so much as looked at Lily wrong, or grabbing kids by the collar and lecturing them on why we don’t make fun of people’s handicaps, a lesson I felt certain I was going to have to give my own 4-year old.  And speaking of Alex, who was going to take care of Lily when my husband and I passed?  This was not a burden I felt she should have to take on, nor was I comfortable sticking Lily in some kind of home only to be forgotten.  Just writing that breaks my heart!  Perhaps my greatest concern, though, had to do with the survival of my marriage.  Often I’d daydream about taking Lily to Denver for the Special Olympics, and never once did I picture my husband in the bleachers holding a big “Go Lily!” sign.  Don’t get me wrong, my husband is the glue that keeps this family together!  He has proven time and time again how much he loves me.  But would we both be able to rise to the challenge and embrace Lily’s presence with every fiber of our being?  Would we both be okay possibly caring for her long after other kids left their nests?  Would the financial toll of a heart surgery and lifelong care with only one income break our spirits?  I suppose we won’t ever know…

My lesson in acceptance — Immediately upon returning from Denver , I made my way to the local library to begin my research, intent on reading every single book on Down Syndrome to help banish my fears.  Thank the Lord for small towns!  As I typed Down Syndrome into the library’s computer system, only one book came up, Angel Unaware by Dale Evans Rogers.  I can remember pulling it from the shelf thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me, this is all they’ve got?  Note to self: Go to Durango tomorrow!”  I kid you not, two hours of my time and 94 pages later and this is the only book I ever needed to read on the subject of Downs.  The following is an exerpt from the book and the day I was able to let go of most of the above anxiety and accept Lily fully into my heart:  “Well, that’s it, Father.  That’s what happened Down There.  That’s how I delivered your message, and I’m sure they got it.  They learned, for one thing, that there are many mansions, or “rooms,” in your earthly house – that there’s a room for the strong and a room for the sick, a room for the healthy and a room for the weak, a room for those born with ten talents and a room for those with only one, a room for the rich and a room for the poor.  A room for everyone and something for them to do in that room for you.  In your house Down There are many rooms, where we study and teach and get ready to move into your big light room Up Here.”