Friday, March 15, 2013

Going back...

Adam had an appointment in Ann Arbor today, and I accompanied him. Going back to Ann Arbor was hard only the first time after Grace died, when we went back 2 months later but after that I never had a hard time. Until today. Being in Ann Arbor today was not easy for me. It was too similar. It's March and cold. Last March, was sunny and warm, even hot. The March when Grace was born was cold and dreary, just like it is now. It just stung. Passing the hospital and remembering, how we'd walk in the cold morning, hours before the sun rose, from the Ronald McDonald House, to the NICU and stay until the sun had long set, in the cold. Keeping it together, I've gotten pretty good at that, but coming around the curve of the road and there's the helicopter...and the tears flow. It isn't fair..I miss her..My boys marveled at the fact that their baby sister was only a few hours old and had gotten to ride on a helicopter, how lucky they thought! Everytime they see one now, "is that Grace's helicopter?!" It seemed like almost every single time they went to the cafeteria with us, they got to see it land... It's still all so unreal sometimes.

The other day, I read I beautiful account of a baby's passing, from a parents blog. It was much like most of the babies who pass, something along the lines of "s/he passed in our arms, we surrounded her/him with love and s/he felt nothing but love as s/he passed" etc. The love for that baby is always so evident and it's always beautiful. But each time, it guts me.
My daughter died alone. In a baby swing. I wasn't there. Her father wasn't there. Nobody held her. She wasn't surrounded by our love. I don't have a single clue what the last words spoken to her were. Was the last thing she heard, pleasant? Beautiful and kind? I couldn't tell you. I was an hour away. Her daddy, was close to 2 hours away. I hear/read accounts of other babies last days, I don't have a cluse what her last day on this earth was like. I checked on her around 9 am and she was supposedly fine. I felt like I was being a bother so I resisted my urges to check back around lunchtime, 11 or 12 and was heading for the phone to check on her finally around 2 when I got the call. I don't have a clue.I don't even know what she was wearing. Did she have a good day? Was she fussy? Did anyone at all hold my baby girl that day? Probably not, since she was in her swing. These are the things I don't get to know. The things that I can't yet let go of.
The guilt, why didn't I do what kept nagging me. I kept thinking all morning, that maybe I'd call my mom, see if she wanted to go up with me and the boys and then Adam could come and pick all of them up and switch cars after work. Why did I listen when someone told me that I really needed to stay home wiht my boys more often, why did I feel so bad asking people to stay with them. I missed so much with her. I know they needed me, but so did she and I chose them that day, and she died. I don't think that if I had been there, she wouldn't have died, I know that really and truly, I couldn't have saved her, I just wish I'd have been there for her.

A friend, another beautiful angel mama shared this song on Facebook a few months back. I'd never heard it before, but from that day on it has become one of my "greif helpers" I guess. The tears readily flow and slowly, oh so slowly it helps..

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March again..

It is March again. I can hardly believe it. Two years ago, I was so excited for March. Couldn't wait for it. I was going to meet my baby girl in March, I couldn't wait. Now March comes and I don't know what to think or feel. She is woven into the changing of the seasons.. When the days begin to be just a bit warmer and spring is so close you can almost taste it, I am right back to anticipating her. When Easter baskets, eggs and bunnies line the store shelves, or more painful the beautiful easter dresses and bonnets, I am right back to remembering how I stood in the store wondering how I was to pick her first Easter dress out of SO many, I loved them all, and then deciding that I'd wait until she arrived because she would be 4 weeks old at Easter and it would be easier to choose once I saw her. When the weather is suddenly so chilly after being nice, I am reminded again of how COLD it was the night she was born. Of how the whole day, I kept wondering if the small cramps I was feeling might be contractions and maybe if I went for a long walk, they would kick into full gear, but it was just so cold. It seems impossible that 2 years have passed. I cannot account for most of the last two years. I know Grace lived, and died, I had a miscarriage and gave birth to my fourth son. My children and myself and husband all aged two years, I know all of this but it just seems impossible. I feel like I have missed so much. My boys were 7, 4, and 2 when she was born. Somehow I now have a 9,6 and 4 year old. That fact makes me so sad, children grow so fast and I missed so much. And really I am not, and never will be who I used to be so I will continue to miss so much. Grief is constantly sneaking up on me and distracting me. For the next 5 months, grief isn't going to leave me alone. I'll be going along and I'll realize what day it is, and my mind will say "hey, this is the day Grace came off of ECMO" or "hey, two years ago, she was in your arms for the first time" etc etc etc. and the memories will be good, because there were so many good things. Of course many will be very sad memories of really bad days, but even the good memories fade into sadness over the fact that I will never experience another memory made with her, I will never get any of it back.
I'm still trying to learn how to live with this, truly. Honestly I'm sure most people cannot see my grief. I look like any old mother to most. I'm still trying to find my comfort level with strangers. "Oh you have (whatever number happen to be with me) boys!" or "you have all boys!" because even though she is dead, I will always always always have a daughter and to not include her, hurts me. So, I will just smile or say "Oh actually I have 4 boys and 1 girl" which is usually enough. Sometimes that 1 girl sparks an interest. "OH! How old is your girl?" and then I feel dumb for saying anything, like the crazy woman who tells strangers that her baby is dead.." Oh...she would be amost 2 but she passed away" awkward silence... "I am so sorry" and then another awkward silence. But sometimes my ugly side wants to come out, and thankfully I am pretty good about keeping it under wraps. At least to strangers.. Today at the zoo a man said to me as we walked by him " got enough kids?!" and he wasn't really rude about it, it was said with a chuckle, so I bit my tongue because my snarky side kick wanted to say "actually nope, because one of them is dead" But then I'd be the crazy lady whose baby died. I'm proud of her, I love her, I want to talk about her but I don't really want to be the crazy lady..
I do know this, that even though it is so hard to live, my life will always have been made better by having her. Even though we are still dealing with messes that stem from her life and her death and they are hard and so trying, her life will always make mine better. If given the choice, I would choose her a million times over because even though I am so much more broken than i was before her, my life is so much better for having known her. She may be dead, but she blesses me still to this day.