July 2, 2014

Good grief

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Grief is a terrible friend to have these days.  Never in my life have I ever felt this terrible.  And there is nothing, nothing, that can change it.  Actually, that isn't right.  The ONLY thing that can change it is to go through it.

Journey through the pain of unfathomable loss.

What is grief like?  I am not sure I can describe it.

Grief is like a deep, deep hole.  I am stuck in the hole.  Actually I think the hole is just getting deeper and deeper.  I keep sinking in it!

Grief is like being stuck.  I am stuck in one spot.  Everyone around me, even my family, has started moving again.  Everyone and everything keeps getting further away from me.  The world still revolves.  The sun still comes up everyday.  There is still a beautiful blue sky this summer, and winds that keep blowing over me...everything keeps moving forward.  But not me.  I am just stuck.  I want to scream at the top of my lungs, "HELLO?!?!  STOP!!!"  My heart is so, so broken, why is the world still moving??

Grief is not wanting to be separated from the pain.  Because to be "ok" means that I am separated from him.  I can't get better because doesn't that mean I will have forgotten him?  I can't ever forget him.  I don't want to be separated from him anymore than I am already forced to.  And you know, the separation between us is so wide...I feel that I am going to drown in it.

Grief is like drowning.  You feel like you can't ever get the air you need to live.

Grief is knowing that I have no choice but to move forward in life.  I have to live on.  The world does keep moving, and I am forced to go with it!  It pulls me, sometimes very unwillingly, away from that day, away from him.

Of course, I grieve for Baby A, Lily, as well.  But sometimes the pain is just reserved for Jackson, because I knew him well, felt him moving in my belly, and saw his sweet little face and body, and every single one of my hopes and dreams was just for him.  Mainly because I never knew about Lily, and then she was gone.  I never had time to dream about her.  That is where my sadness starts for her...

Anyways, grief is not a very good friend.  But I have learned so much about it in this past 3 weeks.  I learned that even when your heart has been ripped from you, you can still live.  It seems inhumane at first, that you can actually to live without your heart, but it is possible.

God fills in for your heart for a while, and then, slowly, it grows back.  I remember those first few days where I just couldn't feel life...it felt so cruel that the pain didn't kill me.   Not the same pain of child birth, no...as painful as it was for me, I'd go through that again.  I'd go through it everyday, instead of the feelings that came after.  I couldn't feel anything but this weird, excruciating but hollow pain that came from the core of who I am.  It washed over me and held me hostage and I couldn't see, I couldn't breathe.   You can live through that, you know.  I am proof.

That pain hasn't gone away.  I'm not sure it ever will?  But it's true, what "they" say about grief.  You learn to live around it.  Each day that goes by gets a little easier, somehow.  I pray everyday.  I pray that God helps me live through each moment, helps me get out of bed, and do normal things, all the while still feeling the pain, I give it to Him constantly.  Every hour.  Sometimes every minute.  After a while, I can look back and see that it helps.  I think, "hey, I am still here!!" and it's a miracle.  It's a miracle that the pain of losing a baby doesn't actually kill you.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to die.  Of course not!  I am just in awe of the ability to feel so much emotional and mental and spiritual and physical pain, no...agony, all at once and still be standing.  The human body is a miracle.  God getting me through something like this, is a true miracle.

I remember reading about a few stories of stillbirth, before all this happened.  I remembered thinking how strong those moms seemed, and how I couldn't imagine going through something like that and then sharing it, reliving it, and moving on with life.  Now I totally understand them.  We want our babies to be remembered.  We want their stories, their lives, to be heard and felt.  We want to help other moms get through it.  Remember, it's a special club that no one wants to be a part of, but when you join it, you just HAVE to do something about it.  It helps.

I read somewhere that refusing to read sad stories about stillbirth doesn't keep it from happening to you.  It can happen.  Whether you read about it or not.  Some moms skip over that chapter in our "What to expect" books.  I read the whole thing.  I remember thinking, "yeah...that is true.  I am not immune.  I need to read about it because it could happen to me, and if it does, this could help me be ready."  So I am very thankful that read I about the "what could happens" and the stories, this one in particular (WARNING!  It's sad story, sort of like mine, and she has pictures.)

In a way, doing that reading ahead of time has helped me on this side of things.  Life is not always butterflies and rainbows, you know.  Reading about it all, before this whole thing happened, helped me learn that we can't go through life thinking we have a "get out of jail free" card for tragedy.  There is no that-can't-happen-to-us bubble.  I've learn to appreciate life NOW, and be content with what I have NOW, because lightening can strike twice, loved ones do die, car accidents happen, babies are born still...bad things do happen. And I am not immune.  Even now, I am still not immune.

What helps me through my grief?  There are a TON of things that do help, and I am so thankful for each and every one of them...

Jesus.  I can't imagine walking through this terrible valley without Him.  He reminds me that there is HOPE, and that I can live through this sadness, and that He will be my strength when I am not strong, He will carry me through it when I am too tired.  If you are going through something like this, and don't have Jesus, email me and I will help you.  It'll be the best thing you EVER choose to do.  I promise!

Dave.  My husband is amazing. Sure, he is going through his own thing, but he is much stronger than I am.  He makes sure I get up, and makes sure I eat, and reminds me that I can't hide from life forever.  He cooks, and cleans, and drives me around, and takes care of Ashley...because honestly I can't do much of that right now.  He is my life!

My family.  They check on me, and get me out to eat or to shop or swim.  They grieve with me and tell me it's ok to be sad.  Love them.

Friends.  My friends that have texted me, or called me and left messages (it's still so hard to talk on the phone...I will call ALL of you back, soon!) or left cards or dinners or gift cards.  Friends who have sent flowers, or wine, or just sweet words of love and encouragement.  Friends that invite me over to be creative and get in touch with my deeper self.  You help me, so much, on this journey to life after loss.

Big Bang Theory.  Because it makes me laugh, a lot.  It's comforting.  Thanks Sheldon;)

Summer time.  I wish this didn't have to happen and darken my sunny days, but at least I don't have to miss work, or worry about going back just yet and facing everyone.  I have a good long stretch of built-in leave to grieve and heal.  And the sunny days do help!  I can sit out on my deck and soak up warmth and sun and sometimes it feels ok that the world is still standing, even though I am not.  Thank you Jesus, your timing is always perfect, no matter the situation.

Writing.  Thanks for letting me rant and cry and grieve right here, in front of all of you!

Other things that help?  Chocolate, wine, shopping, FRODO, Harry Potter (I read all 7 of them in about a week, right after we got home), reading in general, looking at the sky, making my bed, hot baths, chicken soup, Bounotempos, shopping and Pinterest. So many things that do help me feel happy again.  Well, I don't know about happy, it may be too soon for happy, but better.  All these things help me feel better.

Some things about me are coming back around.  I can see myself again, I can feel my dreams and goals coming back.  It's slow, but it's happening.  I'm starting to plan my projects for the house this summer.  DIYing and cleaning, and painting...I LOVE doing that stuff!!  I was even able to steam clean the carpet in the hallway and the "nursery" today.  Just because we aren't having a baby anymore, doesn't mean those carpets shouldn't get cleaned, right?!?!  And you know what?  One day we WILL have a baby to live in that room, and the carpet wont smell on that day;)

No, the grief doesn't go away.  As they say in "The Fault in Our Stars"...

Pain demands to be felt.

Well, I am feeling it.  Grief is the price of love.  If we love, we know that at some point, we may lose.  I'd rather love and grieve, instead of not loving at all, you know what I mean?  I love Jackson.  And I love Lily.  And my love for them has changed me.  They made me a MOM!  That is happy, and wonderful.  And my grief is the price of that.  But I'll pay it.  And I'll learn to live with it.  I'll let Jesus get me through it when it's hard, and it will get hard, but I will get through it.

I refuse to live here in the grief.  I refuse to dwell in it.  I refuse to let it take over my life or take away my hope.