Wednesday, April 23, 2014

An Incurable Disease

That is what I feel like I have. A gut-wrenching, heart-breaking disease named grief. There is no cure. It does not heal or go away. It does change, however. Take on a new shape.

Much like an incurable disease, I have to learn to live with my grief, how to mold it to fit into my life. I have to learn the signs and symptoms of a flare-up, and how to best soothe my wounded soul when the aching becomes too much to bear.

Some days when I think about the future I get such a heavy heart. Yes, I know there will be happier times ahead. That God willing we will have more children, and will someday hear a child's laughter (and cries) in our home, but that doesn't change or take away from this grief. I will carry the heavy burden of grief over Emma's death every single day for the rest of my life. There are thousands of moments to come that will be filled with: I wonder, I wish, We should be, If only.

Right now, while this grief is so raw, that is so hard to comprehend. When my mind starts to spin in this way I have to stop and bring myself back to the present. I find it helpful to focus on small short term goals. At this moment I think how happy I am that tomorrow is Thursday and that means the weekend is almost here. I am looking forward to spending the weekend with hubby and puppy, and having an early birthday celebration with Britt, who turns 30 on Monday.

These small in-the-present moments are what get me through. Otherwise I start to spiral, to think about the years to come when Emma would have been starting kindergarten, graduating high school, going off to college, getting married, having her own children, and my grief begins to compound over and over until I can no longer bear it.

So, for this evening, I am focusing on the here and now--I'm getting some summer corn chowder on the stove and snuggling with this guy…

I guess I never introduced him, huh? We got Scooter (he's a Morkie) in January and its been a wild ride. He is almost five months old and such a love. I had a little experience with dogs and Britt had none, so there was a huge learning curve in the beginning. I'm sorry to say we had many days weeks when we thought, what have we done?!?! Now, Scooter is just one of the family. He has brought us back to life a little. He gives us purpose, and lots of snuggles and kisses! A puppy certainly isn't a cure for grief, or right for everyone, but he has been a happy addition to our lives.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Reflections on Easter

Sunday was yet another milestone to get through, our first Easter. It was hard. Easter was always my favorite holiday growing up, and I know I would have had so much joy in sharing it with Emma, even at only 9 1/2 months.

Of course, as a Christian, there is first and foremost the important religious significance the holiday holds. After that, my fondest Easter memories include: picking out a pretty Easter dress to wear to church, going to Sunrise service, enjoying the church pancake breakfast, ham dinner, and my most favorite--getting an Easter basket. My mom is a great Easter basket maker (I say is because, yes at 29 years old I got an Easter basket this year) and I love all the little treasures that hide inside. It's much more than just candy!

Following in her mother's footsteps, Emma would most certainly have had an Easter basket this year, even though she would have had no clue (or care) about it. At 9 1/2 months she would no longer be that little baby that sleeps all day, she would have been a little girl. Full of spunk (I'm convinced she was a feisty girl) and life.

Our first plan had been to skip Easter service this year. I didn't think I was up to it. I was also worried because our church would be decorated with white Easter lilies. Part of Emma's funeral arrangement was white lilies, and their cloying smell still haunts me. On an already hard day I didn't want to sit and be surrounded by white lilies.

A few days before Easter Britt and I talked and he let me know he felt pretty strongly about attending Easter service. I was having a good day and agreed that it would be the right thing to do.

Well, for those of you on this grief journey with me, you know we can't really plan ahead. I woke up Sunday morning, and by the time I came downstairs for breakfast I was crying. I knew getting ready and going to church was more than I could handle. Once the decision was made I felt some peace knowing I could stay home in my safe space. Britt chose to go on his own to church. We were both okay with this decision, and I am so happy that our relationship with each other, and our grief, allowed us to make this decision.

I hope that one day I am strong enough to honor and celebrate Emma on these milestone days, to do something outward and tangible. Right now all I can bear to do is get through the day. Maybe that's okay. Maybe when I think of her and talk to her in my mind I am honoring her in my way. Maybe that's enough.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Random Thoughts

I haven't had a lot to say on here lately. I'm not really sure why. My grief is still real, present, and heavy. I guess the difference is that my grief is not so raw now. I'm learning to integrate it into my life and identity, and it does not pour out of me as it once did. 

Last Wednesday, April 2, was Emma's nine month birthday. For most people it was just a regular day, but for us it was another milestone to get through. Gosh, nine months, that's so old. If Emma were alive I would be starting to think about her first birthday. How can it be that my baby girl has been gone that long? How can it be that I still stop and wonder how I got here and where I'm going? It just hasn't clicked yet that this is my reality. I'm not sure it ever will.

I get irritated that life continues on without my consent. That the world keeps spinning while I feel stuck in hell. Grief is selfish, and sometimes I wish everyone would just stop and wallow with me. That's not how it works. So, for those of you who do wallow with me, and let me have my pity party, thank you.