Thursday, May 15, 2008

Overwhelmed

I’m overwhelmed. I am absolutely overwhelmed. With tears. With grief. With sadness. With love. Because of a blanket my boss sent me. A beautiful, pink, soft blanket that just arrived in the mail. The gift box was so beautiful I took a picture. And the blanket is so soft and comforting that I broke down the minute I touched it. How can a blanket feel so comforting? Because of the love sent with it.

I’m overwhelmed by the emails and cards we have received from friends, family and even strangers. Even when they don’t know what to say, they call and write anyways. They sacrifice their comfort and reach out because they know that as hard as it is for them to do so, that we are hurting even more. And so they email, call and write anyways. And it means so much. To know that people are praying for us, grieving with us and loving us.

I’m overwhelmed by the women I’ve met through blogs and their amazing stories about the children they have loved and lost. The children they care for that are on earth even in the midst of their pain. Their courage and strength is inspiring to me. It gives me hope and guidance for the road that lies ahead. They have walked this road and they have been gracious enough to share their journey. I hope to meet more of these women. Not because I want there to be more that have experienced this loss, but because I know it brings healing to share and connect. And each one of the women I have come across has had extreme faith. And I know that their faith has grown through their journey – even though it was overwhelming. How do women who don’t have faith get through this? I know they are out there. If we feel alone and we have the omnipresent Creator to comfort us, how must those women be feeling? I can’t imagine. It is overwhelming. My heart goes out to them even more in their loss. I pray they will find these blogs as well. And that they will be comforted.

I don’t have energy or motivation to do much these days. When Jose’ asks me about my day I feel like I should get a certificate just because I went to the grocery store. Doesn’t he know how difficult it is for me just to get out of bed, to take a shower, to risk being outside where I might make eye contact with someone and break down for no apparent reason? He does and he doesn’t. He does because he sees me when he walks in the door, still in bed and without a shower. He doesn’t, because he has had to shower and go out into the world to provide for our family. Our family. Just typing the words stings. We are still a family, even though our only child is in Heaven. Right? I know the answer is yes, but I still keep going round and round with those types of questions.

Mother’s Day was so hard. Thankfully, Tues. and Wed. were better. Better of course is relative (refer to the paragraph above regarding a daily shower.) I was able to do a few “normal” things. But the safety of home is still my favorite place to be. I never know what to expect if I go out the door. Will it be like it was last week when I was in Michael’s and a pregnant woman and her daughter were shopping near me and my heart hurt so much I had to go to another area of the store? And then when I was in line they appeared again. Inside I was shouting, “Don’t you know my baby just died? Can you please go away?” Her daughter said, “Mommy can you hold me.” And she replied, “I would love to hold you” as they walked away. You know, I would love to hold my daughter too. But I can’t and it hurts so much to be reminded of that when I’m out trying to do “normal” stuff. And the anger shocks me. Those thoughts aren’t like me and they scare me sometimes. I’m afraid that the day may come when I can’t hold the words in.

I don’t know why I write all that. I don’t know if anyone will read it. I don’t even know if it makes sense. I think it is better to get this stuff out of my head though. It helps me feel less overwhelmed.

As I type this, a neighbor is holding her baby and looking at flowers in my front yard. I could hear her baby making sounds a few minutes ago but I tried to push it out of my mind. Maybe that is what triggered the Michael’s memory. But seeing them reminds me that I can’t hide from other people just because I’m in pain. I’ve never seen this woman before and yet as I’m typing about home being a “safe” place to hide; she walks in front of my view. I think God is reminding me of something that I already know. There is joy in the world even though there is grief. Just because my life feels like it is engulfed in pain doesn’t mean that everyone else’s is or should be. Hiding won’t make my grief any lighter and it is impossible to avoid the grief or the joy. Even in my living room. And why would I want to avoid joy?

It is a beautiful thing that a mother wants to hold her daughter as she shops at Michael’s. And that a baby can enjoy the flowers. And I wouldn’t want that to change just because I can’t do those things with Chloe. Chloe is enjoying more beautiful flowers than we could even imagine. She is in a great place. And I pray the day will come when I will be in Michael’s carrying my second child around as I shop.

Life is filled with joy and pain. I thank God that sometimes He can show me both at the same time. He brought a little baby to look at flowers and at first it made me want to scream! But now, I see the joy and beauty of that moment between a mother and a child. I want lots of those for that little baby. And I want them for myself, in God’s timing.

God is so good. And He certainly does work in mysterious ways. When I started this post, I was able to do it because of the strength I found in the blogs of other mothers who have lost a child. After writing the post, I feel stronger. Strong enough to take a shower.

quick update:

I was able to take a shower. I put the conditioner in my hair first. When I realized what I had done, I laughed. Although I had the strength to get in the shower, I guess my head still wasn't on the same page. To be able to laugh in the midst of heartbreak was another reminder that joy and grief can exist at the same time.

Another realization: I may need to rely on borrowed strength for awhile. When I can't find the strength to do what needs to be done, I need to reach out and borrow some from someone else. I can't do this on my own - even though with my personality and dysfunctions I try to more than I should. I have to rely on strength from God. Strength from His promises. Strength from His children that reach out to offer it to us. Strength from those who have been on this road. Thank you in advance for sharing your strength with me.

6 comments:

Corie said...

You have showed so much strength also. I am so sorry to hear about your sweet baby. I can only imagine what they are doing right now...in Heaven!!! I will continue to lift you up in prayer. Remember you are not alone in this journey. Although I don't know you, there is a bond. I have enjoyed connecting and meeting others going through this journey.

Kenzie said...

Kirsten-

I am so thankful that you commented and found all of the blogs! Honestly, throughout my pregnancy with Maddox, it was my connection, my obsession, with people that truly understand. I have made the most wonderful friends through this experience, something I would have never wished for, but the Lord has blessed us so greatly through this unimaginable road.

I know that the Lord is so honored by your faithfulness to continue your pregnancy with little Chloe, despite what medicine said. It is so hard to imagine why something like this is allowed in our lives, and yet, as awful as it is, Jesus never promised it would be easy. The beautiful thing is that we will get to spend eternity with our little ones.

I am so proud of you for how you continue to move forward, some days begrudgingly I'm sure... but you do it. I have a friend, Jaime, who lost her first daughter to T18 a few years ago... I know so many of us have other children, but if you would ever like to talk to her, I would love to give you her info. She is wonderful and runs a Christian support group here in Houston called MEND (mommies enduring neonatal death).

Just know that I will be praying for you as you continue through these unforseen waters in your life.

May the Lord give you strength, peace and courage to face each day.

Love,
Kenzie Stanfield

blessedwith5 said...

Hi there - yes, there are many that will read your post and it makes perfect sense. Healing will be minute by minute, continue to trust in God and pray for his peace. Don't rush yourself to return to "normal." You and your dear husband need this time to hold each other and grieve your precious baby. Try to get out of the house though, even if it is only for a walk together for a block or two.

Debbie said...

Your are an amazing mother. What strength and faith you show all of us. We are given trails to endure to the end yet not asked to endure them alone. We are all here together to help each other to endure to the end. It helps to look for the joy and miracles of life. It will be a roller coaster. I need the strength of others and hope to help others on this journey. I would like to link your blog with mine if that is okay with you.

Love, Debbie Savage

Jessica said...

I also had a stillborn daughter, in October. I believe it is such a contradiction....on one hand you never want someone to go through the same pain you have, it is also a relief to know someome else truly shares in your grief. You are not alone... I am here. If it weren't for all of the moms I have "met" thru the this blogosphere, I would be lost.

Alyssa said...

you don't know me, but i know your words. they echo mine and my heart so well. anger, bitterness, envy and hurt...all at the same time. i am so sorry for your loss. i understand how big of a feat showers and cooking can be right now. so, keep trying one hour at a time. i admire your ability to find the joy in the midst of all the pain moments....that encourages me to do the same when i have my "michaels" moments now...