Sunday, June 21, 2009

Forgotten Fathers

I remember the way that he looked that night. I'd never seen it before.
I'll never forget the pain in his eyes- the hurt-

He couldn't speak that night.

His only words were our son's name.
And then silence.

For hours-
No sound.
Silence.
Silence and tears.

I remember having made the phone calls that night- to our friends our family- he had no voice.

He was grieving that night for our son- a son who was given the name he dreamed of- a son who was supposed to be here.

But he was also grieving for his wife. Someone he loved so much- and someone he saw hurting and he knew that despite his best efforts- everything he had- there was nothing he could do- nothing he could say to help.

He felt helpless.
He lost his breath.
He was broken.

But he was the 'man'-
He was the strength.
Men don't cry.
Men don't hurt.
Do they?

And as the days passed, weeks, months, years- People have asked me how I was doing- how I was feeling- but so often he was forgotten. I have seen people ask him about me. But not about him. Was he forgotten? Not supposed to grieve? Not in need of the comfort I had received?

He was the man.
He was the strength.

We talked about him sometimes. But only us. He didn't talk about him with others.

But he wrote about him.
He visited his garden alone.
His guitar played for him.
He grieved.

Forgotten.

When five years later we lost our baby- I saw it again. We pulled over- he couldn't drive- gripped again by that sudden loss of control- again- he couldn't fix things- not this. I remember watching him slump- and cry and I hadn't seen that. Not in five years.

He hides it.
He's a man.
He's so very strong.
He's my husband.
He's the love of my life.
He's the father of my children.
My best friend.

But he's also been forgotten.

Perhaps he prefers it that way- to fade in the background- keep his hurts hidden- keep them guarded- safe. Safe like he has kept his family.

My husband is forgotten.

But I remember. I remember his strength.
The strength that has gotten me through my darkest days- when I didn't think I would- or could- he got me through. He held me. He listened. He carried me. He is the only person who knows exactly what we went through that night. He is the person who held my hand when we learned we had children-
Children in heaven.

I remember him today. And I know that he has children in heaven who are so proud of who their father is. And I am so very proud. Proud of him.

His love.

They feel it still because he remembers. He remembers them.
Thank you my love for being so strong.
And when the weight has brought you to your knees sometimes I wonder if you want to be forgotten or if you'd want someone to ask you... Want me to ask you...

I haven't asked enough.
Been there enough.
For you.
Perhaps I will ask today.
Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day- to the Fathers who have gotten us through- been our strength- carried us.
Happy Father's Day to the Forgotten Fathers.
I remember.
and thank you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Why? But Why Not?

When Andrew died, and then I lost Baby E- I remember thinking, "Why?" "Why me?" "Why did you do this to me?" Sometimes I would think about it- Other times I would scream it! Scream it at Him! "God Why? I love you! Why ME?"

Children are a blessing from God- there is no doubt about it- but they are not rewards for how we live our lives- As a teacher I know of children who are abused, neglected- and often times are surrounded by a house full of siblings and it breaks my heart-

And then I have dear friends who should have a home full of children- Who would be amazing parents- and they have no one. I don't understand it? Why?

But children are not a reward nor are they a punishment if we do not have them- or they are taken too soon. But still I wonder why?

"Why?" was a question that I asked often when I thought of my childhood friend.

When I was pregnant with my little girl, she was pregnant with her little boy- her first- Our children were due three days apart from each other-

My friend.
My sweet friend.
A person who clearly the sun shone on.
She is grace. She is beauty. She is kindness.

Her son came early. Too early. But he hung on.

She learned early that tomorrow was unknown. Tomorrow. I wondered about her tomorrows. For two years she lived that- unsure- unknowing what tomorrow would bring.

He fought, and though he was not healthy and it was so hard- he lived- he lived and he was loved. He was beautiful and no one saw that more than my dear friend. No one loved him more. I'd watch her with him- loving him- gazing at him and I'd wonder- "Why?" "Why her?"

I was in awe of her. How she could live each day not knowing if this would be the day he would be called home. The day the suffering would end- She lived each day and was the best, most wonderful mom to her son for as long as she could be- and she continues to be- an amazing mom.

When he passed I spent days and weeks and months thinking about them. Wondering. Imagining the empty house. The murmur of the oxygen tank gone. I felt pain for them. I ached for them and I wondered, "Why?"

And it wasn't long into my wonderings and my journaling that I found the answer. I think that God had a very special boy who deserved two very special parents. The question of "Why?" suddenly became, "Why not?" What better choice for this boy than his amazing parents who loved him and honored him from the day he was born until the day he took his last breath- and beyond. He was chosen for them. A special boy for two very special people.

As angel parents we have a choice- we can say "Why me?" and I would gather that the majority of us have asked that question- I know I have... (many times)

But now ask yourself "why not?" If you're reading this, perhaps there is someone's memory that you're keeping alive, or thinking about- right now.
Someone who came into your life for a purpose-
Someone who touched your life so that you could touch others.

I've heard your stories at meetings and been changed-
I've read your blogs and been changed.
You have been given a gift- to share your gift- share the love you had- and still have.

Who is your someone?

Don't keep them to yourself-
Share your story-
Share them-
Share your lessons and remember that each life is a blessing-
Each life has a story-
Each life has a purpose-

Will you share it?
I hope so!
Why?
Why not?

You were chosen- and for it you will be stronger- you will be wiser- you will be blessed.
You will see it-
One day.
If you haven't felt it yet- I pray one day you will- In the quiet moments I pray it will find you- tiptoe silently into your thoughts- in quiet moments I hope you will pause and say, "thank you." Thank you for choosing me- A special parent- for a special and precious life.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sweet Relief- and Fear

This is not my memory talking now.
This is my here.
This is my now.

I found myself driving to my appointment and when I learned my husband wouldn't be able to make it I could feel myself begin to tremble. Didn't he know that this was the big ultrasound? This was the one where so many of my friends had gotten the news- something was wrong- what they had dreamed and thought would happen had suddenly changed? This was the day they went down the other road- the path I've traveled- I didn't want that! I wanted to stay on course!

I began to tremble and I began to think...
And perhaps that's why I haven't thought- and haven't dreamed.

When I found myself pregnant six months after I lost Andrew, I thought that I had put my pregnancy out of my mind- but the truth was I hadn't. I was angry at God- but still in love with my baby and praying that my heart wouldn't be taken from me again.
And it wasn't.
It grew!

Two years after that- pregnant again and it was a little easier- my heart grew again.

And then E came and left- and we were broken- back to square one.
Afraid to be pregnant, afraid not to be.

And so my belly has been growing, and people have been asking- but not me. I don't talk too much about it. I don't think about it- I consume myself with thoughts of work, family, friends and the happenings of the day- not the kicks that I feel- not my lack of energy- my expanding waistline-

Am I protecting myself again?
I'm sure of it.

But my guard is down- my armor stripped-

And so today when I was told- 'perfect' and I saw a little foot upon the screen, and heard the strong heartbeat- I tried to fight the lump in my throat- but it was no use- the tears came-
like floods-

Sweet relief.
And fear.

Now it is real. Now it could happen. A perfectly healthy baby-

But a perfectly healthy baby was who he was-
albeit a cord-
the very thing that gave him life, took it away.

So please- keep my baby F in your prayers- keep me in your prayers-

It's officially begun.

I'm pregnant
I'm in love
and I'm terrified.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Phone Stopped Ringing-

Over 40 people came to the hospital.

Over the first few weeks our home was a-buzz with people.
People bringing food.
People listening.
People crying with us.
People asking.

And then the visits got fewer and the phone didn't ring so much-
And when it did ring it was about the new baby full of life, the movies in the theatre, but he was forgotten.
It was about the happenings of the day, the plans for the weekend- They talked about everything and anything... except him.

Where had they gone?
Where were all the people who sent the cards, made the calls, came for visits?
Was our time up? Did this mean that the world started spinning again? Work would start soon and the past was in the past- Our grief had passed?

I watched the people walk by. I heard the conversations around me. But all I saw was him and my grief and how all of that was invisible now, yet it was the only thing that I saw. The world was spinning, moving at an incredible speed and I was stuck.

Where had they gone?
They thought I was better.
They spoke of babies, and twins and pregnancies.
They laughed.

My time was up. But I wasn't ready- I wanted them back- I needed to talk more- to say his name- to hear them say his name-

But the phone stopped ringing, the mail contained only bills, and it was quiet.
I hated the noise of the silence.

When his wife died I was so sad. What made me the most sad was I knew that in a few weeks his home- which was a flurry of visitors- would be empty. Silent. And I hated that.

So each week I sat down, and penned a card. Sometimes telling about my everyday happenings, but managing to slip in her name, as if to say, I remember.

Each week.

Sometimes a line, sometimes a page but always a remembrance. Always a little butterfly tucked in there somewhere- to show I remembered.

I saw him one day- months later. He told me how he was worried he wouldn't get a card that week, but then he had- and I knew it mattered. I knew that remembering mattered. -Although I hadn't heard from him- it mattered.

So now I wait- I wait until the days when you think I've forgotten. The days that you slip into my head- The days you think I've forgotten- and then I send it. The card that says, "I remember. I'm thinking of you. I'm remembering." I send it because I remember- and they probably do too. But perhaps they think the time has passed and by remembering they would be hurting you- removing the scab that had grown over your horribly broken heart.

I know that when my time was up- they were scared. Scared to say his name and make me sad again. Scared to bring up someone at a moment when I appeared o.k.- and I was o.k.

What I know now is that even in my laughter- if you bring him up- say his name- it does not make me sad. It makes me smile. It makes me pause. It makes me happy. You remembered. You remembered the boy that is only a whisper away- close to my heart- You remembered my invisible boy.

For that- that act of pure kindness I will always remember. And thank you.