I remember clearly, sitting next to Grace when she was just a few days old, and the "honeymoon period" was over and she had started having scary days and thinking " if she does die, how will I survive? How do you not die, because your baby has died?" and then again thinking the same thing when she did die. I remember thinking about the people I knew who's babies had passed before Grace and wondering how in the world, you can walk away from your baby the final time. Thinking that I'd need to be carried away..In the end, we left Grace with one of her primary nurses and I pretended I was just leaving for the night. It didn't take me long to figure out how to fake it through the hard things I guess. I remember waking up the next morning after she had died, and sitting on the front porch with Adam. It was early and our neighborhood was quiet, we needed to make plans, find a funeral home, and all I could think was "I just want to go back to bed, stay there and wake up in heaven" "I just want my baby girl" In those early days, there was so much uncertainty, "How will I do this" "how do I live without her" "how am I supposed to take care of 3 other kids, without her" "will I ever truly be happy again" It baffled me how people could lead "normal" lives but have dead children? I remember just wanting an answer "this is how you will get through this" "all you have to do is...." but of course nobody could just hand me an answer.
I remember just pushing myself to try to lead a normal life. Signing the kids up for activities, making plans with friends, etc. I remember being so angry. Just so mad. The breakdowns were seemingly endless, which is funny since that is probably so unkown to others. A trip to the grocery store, results in an anxiety attack and tears streaming down my face. I sometimes wonder how many times people saw me out in public those first months, and thought "what is wrong with that lady?!" It was so tough. I remember cancelling plans with people, and avoiding situations because I was just too tired, too sad. But then just sitting on the couch and doing nothing, because all my energy had been expended, crying and grieving and wishing things had been different. There just seemed to be no way to make this better.
I was bitter. Bitter, bitter, bitter. And I suppose, who could blame me. I went to the hospital in the middle of the night to deliver a healthy baby girl and instead ended up on a path that I never in a million years imagined I would be on. I couldn't make sense of it. I remember people telling me, that they would pray for me to have "peace that passes understanding" and though, of course I knew what that meant, it baffled me. How can I have PEACE that my baby is dead, when I cannot understand for second, what has happened? When it doesn't make sesnse that we were told she was healthy, but she wasn't and then we were told that she might die, but she didn't so we were told that it would be a long road, but that she was coming home and then she fought, she fought so hard, and she endured so much and it was SO hard and then she just suddenly DIED? I WANTED to be bitter. Why would I want to be happy, to feel joy, when this had happened?
But the thing that I learned, or really rather, the thing that God showed me, was that bitterness, and anger and resentment and all of those "ugly" feelings, do not make it easier. They make it harder. I tried to not be so angry and so bitter and I made a much more marked effort to be happy and seek this "peace". And things got better. But not totally. It was still really hard. I still had so many hard days. And my grief is displayed in ways that I wouldn't have expected and many wouldn't see as grief. So it was hard. I just couldn't see how I could ever really feel better again. How would the shift happen, where more days were good instead of bad. Someone told me they would pray for the day that having an angel in heaven becomes a blessing to me. and that made no sense to me.
But now, here I am two years out. My sweet baby girl has been dead for over 2 years now and I am in a place I wouldn't have expected. And I could feel it creeping in over the last year, but we have had so many things happen over this summer and the truth is, they have been hard. But they have truly been the Lord working in us. I really believe that. The truth is, I feel joy. I feel peace. I see how blessed I am. I am thankful. Now, don't mistake this for thinking that I am "fine" or that I am "over" anything. At the beginning of writing this post (which has taken me over an hour, since sweet Caleb has woken up twice) I was sobbing into my ice cream, while listening to Mumford and Sons because I miss my daughter so much. But, even though I miss her, I am able without even convincing myself, to understand that I am blessed. I can laugh, truly laugh. The absolute joy I feel with my sons and contentment with my husband is real. I'm not faking any of it. The calm I feel is nothing I expected. Two years later and I can say, life is good and i'm going to make it. And I'm confident of that, not just trying to convince myself and others that I believe it.This road is far from over, I will go through times of great sorrow still but I think I am finally starting to heal.
Mama's you are going to get through this! You are going to make it and it is going to be ok. The truth is, though, the only way through this is through Jesus Christ. I firmly believe that. And I was so mad at first, so angry and wanted nothing to do with God, but learned, I can't do this without Him. I simply can't.