Monday, June 22, 2015

Tip of the Iceburg

The struggles that people see are just the tip of the iceberg; underneath there is much more.

Grief brings many struggles. There are the obvious ones like missing the person that is gone, wishing you could see them one more time, and accepting that life will never be what you had hoped and dreamed. Then there are the other parts of grief that people don't usually see, mostly because those of us grieving choose not to show it. 

One of the more obvious struggles I have... babies, babies, babies. Everywhere I look there are babies. I cannot avoid them! And when I look at those babies I feel broken hearted and robbed. I never got to experience my baby like most people get to experience theirs. Seeing a baby makes my heart ache deeply and makes me begin to ask the impossible questions again: Why did she have to die? Why couldn't I save her? Why us? And the list goes on. 

Another challenge is with friendships. Not only am I missing and grieving my daughter, but I am losing friends because I cannot bear to be around them while I am in this pain. So many friends have or are having babies, but this causes a separation between me and those friends. I cannot relate to them, we have nothing to talk about...there is an elephant in the room. That elephant is that you have a healthy baby and I do not. Some people clearly think I just need to get over it and deal with it. They talk about their baby, show pictures, and don't think twice about the pain it causes me. Other people are sensitive and kind. But even if they are sensitive and kind, what are we left to talk about? I cannot handle talking about their children, I have no children (and in the back of my mind fear I may never have children), and I do not always want to talk about my loss and pain. So we are left with small talk. 

The other big struggle I have is feeling like I am letting down the people around me because I am not able to be who I used to be. As I have written in previous posts, I have learned to smile and laugh in the pain. I have also learned to show my true emotions and share my experience with people. But there are times when I cannot socialize and visit with friends, I cannot laugh at jokes, and I cannot be my usual outgoing self because the grief has paralyzed me. I often worry that people are uncomfortable or disappointed with how I have changed. 

As I analyze and process my struggles, I must remind myself of the hope that there is for healing and hope for the future. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

It Comes in Waves

It has been almost seven months since I held my daughter and kissed her for the first and last time. I have thought about that moment at least 50 times a day since then. What an impact her tiny, short life has made. My world has been turned upside down. 

Last month was Tenley's half birthday. The grief was heavy that weekend, but my husband and I vowed to celebrate her in our grief. Being a teacher, I have shared Tenley's story with my students and their families, so I decided to include them in the celebration by blowing bubbles up into the sky for my girl. I was overwhelmed by the joy of my students and how excited they were to celebrate Tenley's life. 

This past month we have had many ups and downs. There are days when I miss her so much that the heartache becomes all consuming. There are other days that I try very hard to ignore the pain and sad reality of our situation and keep busy. And then there are days like today, when I think "I can do this... I can survive this."

At this point I no longer cry every day, most days, but not every day. I call that growth! I have been able to talk about Tenley without crying...more growth! And the biggest one... I found hope.

Before Tenley came God was good. He had blessed me, I loved him, He loved me, we were cool. After Tenley I had many questions and so much doubt. How could a loving God leave me in world to suffer without my daughter? Why didn't He save her? Where is He? Does He care at all, or just sit back as God of all and watch? I was so angry.

I do not have those answers, and as long I am on this Earth I will not have them. But I know that God has been present during this time. I believe that He has brought specific people into our lives during this time to support us and encourage us. He has given us the strength to get up every day and keep living. Most of all, I believe that He has wept with me. He is not sitting back watching with a straight face, he is watching me cry and feeling my pain with me. He did not want this to happen, but He will make good of this. The good will never balance out the pain, but there will still be good. Tenley's life will make an impact, God will be sure to do that. I still believe God is good, he has blessed me, and I am not alone.

I write these words to you on a good day. Not every day do I feel hopeful or blessed. It comes in waves (I never really understood that until now). That is why I write; so that on a bad day, when a big wave has hit, I can read this and remember that there are better days, I have hope, and I am not alone.