Monday, June 22, 2009

A wedding...trying not to make it about me.

This past saturday, Mitch, Travis and I were able to attend the wedding of some friends of ours from church. *sidebar: it was travis' first wedding and he did a pretty good job. The fact that it was our home church made things easier on him/us, i think. Anyways, I was a basket case. I started out good. I was just happy to be in a dress and fancy shoes. It had been a while. Mitch called it "another pregnancy dress." To which i responded with "WHAT???" grabbing my belly and thinking he meant "you look pregnant" or "you can wear that when you're pregnant." But what he meant was the last two times we went to a wedding, we got pregnant. I guess that's a compliment. :)
Ahem, i was saying, i started out good. But as soon as i saw that beautiful bride walk down the aisle, i lost it. And it was again..the most overused descriptive word of my year, "bittersweet."

A flood of emotions filled my heart and eyes. (yes, emotions can fill your eyes.) I kept it together for the most part..not wanting to make it about me. I have shared in the past that i feel closest to my daughter IN mass or in our church...unified with her as we receive communion..Christ's own body and we worship in union with all the saints and angels. But this is a wedding. "This is THEIR beginning. Don't make it about you, Chris. Surrender. Sacrifice. Shut it down. Do whatever you need to do to keep it together." So i did. And i think i've gotten pretty good at compartmentalizing this grief. I only let it out with certain people. *thank you, you know who you are. i love you.

What i am able to express about how i felt goes like this:
never would i wish what we've experienced on anyone. But i remember our wedding day. I remember the optimism, the hope, the joy. And's so hard to pull up that memory without the taste of death. I know that's just par for the course and let me tell SUCKS. But it's our reality now. And some days I receive it with joy and obedience. And some days i want to flip every one off. The anger is natural. yes. But i feel like i'm somehow failing God when i get angry or impatient with our healing. Somehow, i feel like if God has asked us to carry this cross, and someone who may not know the joy of the Lord comes into my path, and it's an angry day, or hour or minute, then somehow i've let God down in glorifying him.

So i don't wish this newlywed couple to ever know the sorrow of losing your child. But a part of me looks at them and longs for the naive wedding day we had. Before we knew of Oct. 9th, 7:45 pm.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hey Chief! What's happenin...?

If you know me, you know that I'm pretty good at articulating my feelings. So i myself find it so strange that i've yet to post just a regular blog on how we are doing on this journey of grief and loss. Maybe that's cause the few of you who actually read this already know and i didn't want to bore you with repetition and sadness. But i've just gotta...

The days leading up to Mitch and Travis' bdays were odd. Mitch and I were pretty distant, unable to express any emotions or even get a grasp on how to handle (or not handle) them. It wasn't until a week or so after that weekend that we kind of realized how angry we were and the reasons for it.

I was looking at the pictures of the birthday party. There was a family shot. And it was kind of the first one i didn't mind posting of myself. (hard on myself with the baby(s) weight) But i sat there and just let it wash over me that our family of 4 is only visible to US. When you look at a family pic of us, you might say "oh how sweet." or even "oh..that would have been nice..if she didn't have icing in her teeth." But i look at it and say "one of us is missing..." And i wonder now...will i ALWAYS feel that way? Will i ever, for the rest of my life, ever look at a family shot of us and not immediately think of the one who isn't there? And then comes the anger....

When we have the birthdays, the gatherings, the what should have been HER firsts...when i think about this year (oct9,08 - 0ct9,09)...when i think about it being almost 8 months, i LONG for that 1 year anniversary. I LONG for this FIRST year to be OVER. I want it to be the day after the one year anniversary. I want to be done with these firsts. They SUCK. In the past, i didn't want any time to pass because it meant it was one more day since i'd held her in my arms. It meant it was further away from her. But now, i just want this year to be done. Made it threw year one, check. Next....

Most of my friends who were pregnant with me for baby #1...have had or are having their #2's. So i feel like i'm missing out on the conversations and sharing on how hard it is to juggle two now. Or watching my friends walk out with their babies in the stroller and their firsts tagging along behind. I wonder how travis would be with his little sister. I wonder if he knows he's a big brother. The reason i wonder this is because my friend Kathy came over yesterday with her #2, a baby girl - Naomi Jane. She is, so far, the only baby GIRL i've held...will hold. So far. So travis has been asking about her a LOT. When i mention going to play with the kids, he always asks if 'baby nomi" will be there. So when Kathy laid Naomi on the couch, travis crawled pretty much over kathy, to perch up on top of baby Naomi and just say, over and over again "hi baby girl...hi...hi baby girl.." It was gut wrenching and glorious all at once. Even later, when Mitch got home, and i asked travis to tell daddy what he said to the little girl that was here, he repeated it just the same.

Last night, i went to my little sisters dance recital. Allissa is almost 7. This is, i believe, her 4th recital. But i always go. I'd never miss it. But this year...was almost painful. I wasn't feeling particularly sad that day. I didn't feel like i'd been holding back or anything. But when i saw all those little girls dancing, and all the family that gathered around to praise the girls and oooh and aww over hit me that i might not ever get to be a mommy to a baby girl here on earth. What if Cana was my only? What if years down the road, when i have all boys, someone asks me "so do you want to try for a girl?" and i want to shout "but i HAVE a girl!" (this happened to a girl in my support group.)

All in all, we still don't have anger towards God for this..but i realize that if we are angry with PEOPLE, then aren't we angry with God? I don't want to be angry, but in our trying to find hope in people, we've just been so let down. How do you have hope without expectation? We are still learning. Still growing. Still grieving. Please don't stop asking us how we are. And if you haven't asked us because you are afraid we'll "get sad," please be assured that we LOVE sharing about her. We LOVE when people ask. Or when people share a thought they had of her, esp. out of the blue. We love knowing she might have had an impact on your life. It really does make it better, even if just for that moment.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Travis' 2nd bday (oh and Mitch's bday too!)

A little something to make the family happy..some pics of our memorial weekend,which fell on Travis' 2nd and Mitch's 37th bday's.
We enjoyed a small gathering at the house on friday, 22nd, and then the rest of the weekend, we basically just hung around here enjoying all the fun new toys and the beautiful weather.

Travis got some much needed new clothes and a pretty decent start up collection of match box cars. We also treated him to a water table and a sand table. He likes to mix the two. Mom doesn't like the clean up of that neat trick. But my OCD is learning to take a backseat to the fun in the mess. I'm finding the joy in just watching him get messy. And wrigley likes the fact that she now has a giant water bowl that she doesn't have to bend down to drink from.

We also had a play date here at the house last friday. Bethany and her boys, Tye (2.5) and Jax (4 mo's) , Jamie and her boys Asher (2+) and Jude (10 mo's). They were a blast! Most of the time, it's independent play, but every once in a while, they'd scuffle over who gets to hold the birthday balloons still floating around. I, however, am enamored with Jude (my dude) and he is just as in love with me. The best part about us is that he doesn't mind that I haven't lost the baby weight yet, and i don't mind that he hasn't.