Monday, October 24, 2011

In a good place... Sometimes...

Today I was sitting at my daughter's dance class listening to the mom's talk (as I often do). I had written about it here once before... the mom who was pregnant and she and the other moms were sharing their pregnancy stories as I, quietly smiled and eaves dropped...

I feel like I need to do a follow-up to that post. That woman went on to have her babies... yes babies... twins! They have been at the studio since the fall dance classes began and she has had them with her always. Clearly they were quite premature (they are very tiny still). I have overheard many conversations... on how hard it was... The boy was sick... But mostly I hear about how amazing it is- how there was 'something in the water' and how busy life is with these new twins and her now family of four. Her friends ooh and aaah over the babies (as is normal) and still I hate it.

Having been on this road for eight years, I can usually push back feelings of jealousy- but who am I kidding?? Feelings are feelings and as much as I'd love to say that I am this wonderful person with an amazing outlook- above such childish emotions as jealousy- the fact of the matter is that I am extremely jealous! And while it was mentioned that I too have four kids at home (I wanted some recognition)- she had "something in the water" to have those twins...

Well, I once had a sip of that water too... but I didn't dare say it. I mentioned something about having a twin pregnancy but no one said anything to me- asking me about it- and I quickly stopped myself from adding any more and realized that I was going into territory that made my palms sweaty and my heart race. And so I did what I always have when I start to feel jealous, angry or just sad... I breathe in and out... and in and out... until I can turn the page.

A friend who has no living children mentioned that her friend was pregnant... how she is happy for her friend, but more sad for herself and wondered if it ever got any easier. I would like to say that Yes. It does. But... Sometimes it can rip you up inside still. I have no reason to feel this jealousy. After all, I am in that good place... I really am...

But still today I thought- I could have done that too. I could have taken care of two babies- I could have done without the sleep and taken them out to places. That could have been me...

But it wasn't.

So today I felt a little sorry for myself. And with four healthy children living in my house I am more than ashamed to be admitting it.

But today I felt a little sorry for myself. And with two in heaven, I think that I will allow myself that and not be ashamed for admitting it.

I don't think I'm alone.

After all... I am in a good place.
Sometimes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Remember Us.

I have been thinking~
And when I've been thinking, I usually need to come here.

October 15th has been set aside as a national day of remembrance- To remember people like me and our babies who we lost either through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss. If you are driving near a hospital and see balloons of pinks, blues and whites flying into the air, chances are that you are witnessing a balloon release. And those balloons you see... they represent the life of someone who was wanted so very, very much. Each balloon was held by someone with hopes and dreams for a child, who- like the balloon- they couldn't hold on to.

The words I write here of course are of my opinion and I do not claim to represent nor speak for everyone in this secret society. The truth is that we are all very different- as unique as our losses. Some long for you to remember and some may want you to forget (or at least act that way).

I have recently seen many posts on facebook about October 15th, and how important it is to remember people (like me) who have had a loss. I like seeing them. One struck me recently though. She wrote that when she asked people to remember October 15th- to remember her child- the only people who mentioned her baby or commented on her posts were people of this (loss) community. That made me pause and wonder and ask myself... why?

I wondered- because that hasn't been my experience. When I woke up on September 15th, and checked my email, my facebook, my phone messages, my mailbox... I had loads of messages from friends remembering my son. And while they wrote such kind things that had me in (happy) tears, what I really treasured was that they wrote (or said) the one thing that mattered to me ~his name~. There is something about hearing the name of someone you thought everyone else forgot that can lift you. Make you pause. Bring (happy) tears to your eyes because they remembered!

Of course many of the people I heard from were friends I know from this community- but there were a large number who have never had a loss- or had a child- or even wanted one. I wondered why it would be that my friends would (and do) acknowledge my Andrew and E, while other people's friends do not. And while I may say that it is because I have the best friends out there... (I think I do), I know that that is not the case. Everyone in this life has someone out there who loves them, cares for them, and remembers. So why don't they wake up with the same sweet messages in their inboxes on the anniversaries? On October 15ths? I am no more special than anyone else- Why haven't my friends 'forgotten' like others have?

And then I got to thinking, I don't think that their friends forgot. I think that perhaps the difference is, I have a big mouth. I have said Andrew's name so much (especially in those early days, months, years) that people who know me and know my living children are able to recall his name just as easily as the children who they see each day. They remember though not just because I speak his name, but because I have given them permission. I have told them what I want from them. What I need from them. I need them to say his name. I need them to remember, for when they do~ it matters. It matters more than I could ever express.

I have only been married for a decade but I learned early on that though I'd like to think my husband can read my mind and know what I am thinking, the truth is... he can't. If something matters to me- if I need something- I need to say it. Tell him. Similarly, I think that we in this community- if we truly want our friends to remember- need to guide them, tell them what we need. They want to help us, sometimes they just can't read our minds- and we need to forgive them for that...

All of this has reminded me of that beautiful quote I have referenced before:
"If you know someone who has lost a child or lost anyone that is important to them, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died~ They didn't forget that they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived and that is a great, great gift."
Elizabeth Edwards

Share with your friends. Tell them what you need. Tell them what you want.
I just did.
Remember.
And say their name(s).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

8

September 15th took a lot out of me this year.
It wasn't actually September 15th itself, but also the days leading up to it.
And the days that followed.

It had been a rough week. A little girl was in the hospital with heart trouble, another baby was given mere weeks to live. I was caught up in the wonderings... what would 8 have been like? What would he have been like?

Three days before September 15th, we were saying prayers in our daughter's room when Jonasen said, "God, I just don't understand why you had to let my brother die." I opened my eyes and looked at him. I wanted to say something- put a bandaid on it- make it better but I had nothing. My mouth hung open and time stood still.

I followed Joe back to his room. I searched for words- I wanted to give him an answer, give him a reason, but I couldn't...
because I don't quite know the reasons.
While so many blessings have come from Andrew's death- they hardly feel like enough.

He's 8.
He's 8 and asking questions I don't have the answers to.

He said to me, "Mom. I don't know what he looks like. I don't remember being with him. I don't know if I'll recognize him. Will he know me? Will he be a baby?"

I tried my best. I took my breath.

The truth is that I don't remember what he looks like. The discolored pictures that are framed in my room are not the images I once had of that boy who was pulled from me pink and beautiful, a sleeping babe.

I don't remember those hours we spent together. Not like I should. I can picture him in my arms, in their arms as we looked at our sons- but that memory too is faded and blurry and try as I may, I can't get it to focus.

I think I will recognize him.

I know he will recognize me.

I don't think he'll be a baby and that comforts me and hurts me all at the same time. I want to talk to him when I get there. Ask him- but I still want to know what he looked like- what he was like at 2... 5...
8...

I didn't have answers- and the ones swimming in my head weren't ready for an 8 year old boy who wondered about his twin. And so I held him and whether he knew I was crying or not- I don't know. I told him I loved him. That Andrew did too. And that one thing that I was certain of was that God loved him very much and dying in this world, means living forever in heaven.

Wow.
I dropped it.
I failed big. The woman with so many words fumbled through it all- there was no pause just a quick search for answers. A silence that I wanted to fill- instead of living in it- Answers to questions that I have no answers to...

He's 8.
And more questions will come.
I just pray that somehow the answers will come with them...
Though somehow I know that there are no
answers.


October we remember babies all of the world who flew away too soon. Today I joined families from my local hospital at the annual Walk to Remember. This year we let lanterns fly to the heavens. Below are some pictures from the day.

To watch them on Youtube, click HERE.
I was touched when my husband (who never attends the walks- too painful) suggested the song to set them too. Though it is from the 80s, it is perfect. Here are the Lyrics:

I feel the chill of Autumn's wind
seasons changing once again
And every moment's best,
still one moment less we spend
Together my friend
I can't hold back these tears in my eyes
this time I won't even try
For time has come and gone, now we must move on
I'll admit I don't know why

Chorus:
Now we must say good-bye
to find our road ahead
Destiny leads us on to another place
but I'll meet you there someday

We chase the future into past
only to find it never lasts
And by the time it's gone, the pain is so strong in the end
But listen my friend
Although we've lost what was before
forever will bring us the chance once more
And in that time we'll see, what was meant to be
A special moment to cherish for all of our lives
and we'll know in time

Chorus:
Why we must say good-bye
to find our road ahead
Destiny leads us on to another place
but I'll meet you there
From the lives we all leave behind
we find there's much more ahead
The Father will lead us on to a better place
And I'll meet you there someday
I'll meet you there someday
I'll meet you there someday