July 29, 2014

Grief work

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Lately I have been seeing Jackson.  Not for real, really, but just an image.  It's strange...how I know what he would have looked like, even though he was never outside of my tummy.  I see him as a toddler, maybe age 2 ish...he's toddling around in my visions with white blond hair and big blue eyes like Dave's.  He's got a lot of me in his face though, the shape and the lips and cheeks.  It's totally crazy.  But it's him, and I will know him when I get to Heaven.

If I get better at painting, I may try to paint this vision.

It's harder to see Lily.  Since we don't really even know if she was a she, and we only had her for 8 short weeks.  But I'm sure she would have been blond too.

I am doing things that I call "grief work".  I find that if I don't give into some outlets of grief, then it builds and becomes way too painful to live.  So, I know that if I just want to lay around in bed and think about how much life sucks, I need to find an outlet to put my grief into.  It's actual work.

A lot of the time, it's just praying and thinking about how God can use me in this, and how He is allowing me to learn and strengthen myself through this.  Sometimes I just sit and talk to Him about it, and work through the pain with Him.

Actively working through the grief helps me.  What are some other things that I do for grief work?  Reading helps a ton.  Whether it's reading other stories about moms and dads that have been through a stillbirth, or reading one of my 100s of novels I have here at home, I love getting into other lives and worlds and taking the information and working it into my life.  After every story, after every book, my world changes just a bit to integrate these new experiences into my life.

I've started painting too.  I LOOOOOOVE painting.  It's such a great creative outlet, even though I am not really that great at it.  I painted this sweet picture the other day and it ended up meaning so much to me, look...

This was just a beach scene I wanted to paint.  I found a painter that I really love and the colors she uses really speak to me, and I wanted to try to recreate that.  She uses water colors but I like acrylics, so I just used her paintings as a muse and did my own thing.  I painted the scene and started adding people and towards the end I realized that the two children I added to the picture, shown closer on the right, are my Jackson and Lily, playing in the sand.  I 100% did NOT consciously paint them, they just sort of appeared.  After I realized it was them, I added Dave and I to the chairs behind them.  Ash is laying by the ocean with a friend.

Isn't that crazy?  I didn't go into this little painting thinking of them or my sadness or anything, I just wanted to paint a beach scene with pretty colors that we could hang in our house.  BAM!  The babies made their way from my heart to the painting.  I can't wait to see what other ways they work themselves into my art!

Obviously, writing is a big part of my grief work.  I love writing about them.  It's how I share them with the world - since I can't post cute pictures and let you hold them, like a normal mom would do.  I talk about them.  I want to keep writing about them, although I think I'll get back to some of my normal posts about life and decor and DIY and the house and cooking and all that fun stuff.  I know life has to go on, and I can't keep beating the subject down.  It just hurts to move on from anything but my pain.  It hurts to leave my babies in the past.

I have an argument with myself everyday.  It sorta goes like this,

"Tina...it's not THAT big of a deal you lost your baby.  Babies.  It happens all the time to people and you just have to move the H on."

And then, "Ugh, no, life isn't supposed to go this way.  I am supposed to be pregnant still!  It IS a big deal!!  It's the saddest thing that has ever happened to me, I won't ever get over it!  I want Jackson here!!  I want Lily here too!!  Why did this have to happen to me?!!!"

But still, "I have been living life so normally these past few weeks, going out and being social and getting things done, losing Jackson couldn't have been that hard if I am out of bed at all...it must not be a huge thing?!?"

And the worse one, "No one wants to be around a sad, bereaved mom.  They all want you to move on already.  Just do it."

I'm trying to find some sort of middle ground between these two state of beings.  Extreme, painful grief, and get-the-heck-over-it-already.  I know that I am putting all the expectations and pressure on myself.  No one is making me feel like I have to get over this fast, or move on or stop talking about it.  It's all in my own mind.  But I am scared of the day when someone may say "move on" or be annoyed that I am so sad or dazed, or they forget that what has happened to be has changed me permanently.  I don't want people to tiptoe around me, but I also want people in the world to be compassionate in general in situations like mine, for the sake of all bereaved moms out there.  Creating awareness and breaking silence and hopefully helping people is a big part of my grief work.  I wish I could do more.  I thought about just parking at the hospital at random times and praying for any woman in there that could be going through the same thing.  If there are any, I wish I could talk to them.  Sit with them.  Cry with them.  It wouldn't ever be enough.  20 babies.  UCMC says out of the 1000 babies they deliver every year, 20 of us will walk out of the hospital without our child.  That doesn't include miscarriages either, only moms that have to give birth.  20.  So 19 other women have or will endure this pain this year and I have to help them, somehow!

I do grief work in other ways too.  Normal things are now part of grief work.  I cook new things, or write in a journal about my thoughts or questions or fears or particular feelings, I get on Pinterest, I plan things for the house, I paint my nails, etc.  Each thing that I do, I think about Jackson, I think about my sadness and feeling of loss and work towards it, giving each activity meaning and depth and getting some happiness out of it all.  I'm not sure if that makes much sense, but there it is.  My whole life revolves around doing each activity for my "angel" babies.

The truth is, that each day that goes by doesn't take me further away from Jackson and Lily.  Each day that goes by gets me closer to them.  One day, we all will be together again.  It's heartbreaking right now, that my broken family won't ever be complete.  I'll never, ever have a "complete" family photo.  But, there will be a day when we are all together and complete.  Sometimes if I am having a hard moment or hour or day or week, I think that as time moves forward, it's carrying me closer to that day.  I really can't wait for that day, but I know that God has plans for me and it's just not time yet.  I wonder what is in store for me?  What could I possibly do, after losing two babies and living with a broken heart so painful that I can't breathe, that is so important?  I can't wait to find out.

Thanks for listening:)