Thursday, June 19, 2008

2 Month Anniversary

After reading my post from one month ago I'm amazed at how faithful God has been in helping me with my grief. I'm not "over it," but I'm making progress. And progress is all that I can ask. The pain and loss won't magically disappear. And the alternative to progress is avoidance - and that isn't an option I will consider.

Since today is a type of anniversary, I knew it might be tough, so I tried to make it a really low key day. I caught up on some of my friends blogs because their words always comfort and soothe my broken heart. They encourage and give me hope. Then I spent time remembering Chloe.

I brought everything that reminds me of her into the guestroom (which would have been Chloe's bedroom). The pillow sham we wrapped around her in the hospital that we now keep on our bed. The little pink blossom urn that holds her ashes. The sand we collected from the beach two days before the ultrasound when there was no heart beat. A candle with the pink ribbon around it that we had tied around my pregnant belly at the beach that day. The pink elephant a sweet friend gave me when I returned from the hospital (that I slept with for about a week because I needed every ounce of comfort I could find). The pink and green box that holds every loving card we received during our journey. The blanket my sister-in-law gave us for the hospital that says Chloe Faith. The pink & leopard skin baby ballet slippers I received from my goddaughters. The gold coin from Korea that my associate bought after she heard Chloe had passed that commemorates the year she was born. I sprayed the Chloe perfume my brother and sister-in-law gave me in the hospital as an early birthday present. And put on "night blooming jasmine" lotion since Chloe means blooming. I lit the candle for Chloe and the candle we lit at our wedding to honor and remember my mom. I looked a the footprints the hospital made and the pictures they took. And our camera that has pictures of Chloe and us holding her. It was almost like a shrine. Strange and spooky to some, yet so wonderful to me. I brought in everything I could that is a tangible reminder of her. I smiled as I looked at all of it. And then I cried. Because this "stuff" is all I can physically hold on to since she isn't here.

She wouldn't even been here now, actually. She would still be in my belly until Sep. 4, her due date. So, in some ways, I feel like the reality of how our life has changed hasn't really hit. She would still be in the womb. I would be wearing maternity clothes. I wouldn't be drinking gallons of Diet Coke each day. But I still wouldn't have a precious baby girl in my arms. So, in some ways, it feels like the hardest days are still ahead of us, even though the first few weeks after her death were so gut-wrenching.

Reading every card we received touched my heart. The tears flowed continuously. I felt comforted and loved all over again. People were so kind to reach out to us during the darkest time in our lives. Thank you. We love you for being there for us.

Looking at pictures of Chloe was hard. So hard. The hardest part of all. My mind had blocked out how sick she was. Her little body was so sick. It breaks my heart to see my poor baby girl so sick. I am so grateful that she never experienced pain. That is a huge comfort. And I know that today she is whole and healthy and having a blast in heaven. That brings me joy - true joy. I know she is in the best place possible. But to remember how sick she was on earth is hard. Really hard.

I remember the first time I saw her on the ultrasound. She was so tiny. Jose' was with me and we fell in love with her right away. She was only 8 weeks but we could see her. See and hear her heart beat. Her head. Her "soon-to-be" limbs. It was awesome!!

And the second time I saw her. At about 13 weeks. While we were looking at the ultrasound screen she kicked her leg. It was such a precious gift. She looked perfect in the ultrasound. Absolutely beautiful. The doctors could see how sick she was in the ultrasound, but we couldn't. That was a blessing. I still have a perfect image of her in my mind from that ultrasound. And her short life as she kicked her leg. What a blessing.

I never did feel her move inside of me. Maybe there was enough movement since I was at 20 weeks when she was delivered, but I never recognized it. But she was there. She was alive. For 19 precious weeks. And I wouldn't trade a minute. If avoiding all this pain meant not having her at all, I would still gladly take the pain. I wish things could have been different and she was still growing inside me, healthy and whole. But even though that wasn't the plan, I still would choose the time we had with her over nothing at all.

The first week after she was born I remember looking at the clock each night at 9:40pm to determine how many days it had been since she was delivered. Every Wednesday reminded me of how many weeks it had been since we first received the fatal diagnosis. Wednesday also marked how long it had been since the final ultrasound. Every Saturday reminded me how many weeks it had been since we saw her face to face. It seemed every minute, every day, everything reminded me of Chloe. It isn't quite like that now at 2 months. It isn't every minute or every day. It isn't everything. It isn't even every Wednesday or Saturday. The loss is still there, the hole is still there. But it isn't as paralyzing as it was in the first few weeks. It has become more bearable. Thank you God.

The grieving mommy's I've met through the blogs said it would be like that. And that promise helped me get through those difficult days.

It won't always hurt this bad.

The pain won't always be this raw.

I knew it was true because I had experienced grief when my mom died. Now, 23 years later the pain isn't the same. The loss and pain are still there. The void is still there. But the pain isn't all-consuming like it was at first. Thank you God.

Today was a special day to remember my precious little girl. I'm grateful to have had it. I'm grateful to have a day to remember her life and the impact she made on my life and so many others. I'm grateful she was my daughter. I'm proud to have been her mother. I hope to give her a little brother or sister some day. And I know I will see her again in Heaven.

One last remembrance of Chloe...a friend sent us the Watermark CD with the song Glory Baby. The lyrics rang in my head continuously. They still touch my heart...

Glory Baby, You slipped away
As fast as we could say baby, baby
You were growing, what happened Dear,
You disappeared on us baby, baby
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe
Until we're home with you
Until we're home with you

(chorus)
We miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there's a day
When we will hold you, we will hold you
And you'll kiss our tears away
When we're home to stay
We can't wait for the day
When we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘Til mom and dad can hold you
You'll just have heaven before we do
You'll just have heaven before we do

Sweet little baby, it's hard to understand it
Cause we are hurting, we are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we're stronger people
Through the growing and in knowing
All things work together for our good
And God works his purposes
Just like he said he would
Just like he said he would

(chorus)
We miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there's a day
When we will hold you, we will hold you
And you'll kiss our tears away
When we're home to stay
We can't wait for the day
When we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘Til mom and dad can hold you
You'll just have heaven before we do
You'll just have heaven before we do

I can't imagine Heaven's lullabies
And what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing
Heaven is your home
And it's all you'll ever know
All you'll ever know

5 comments:

Ashlee Tomes said...

Hi Kirsten,
I just found your blog from visiting Boothe Farley's blog. I also just wiped the tears from my eyes as I read your latest post. First of all, I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Chloe. On September 13, 2007 - just 9 months ago - I lost my little girl, London Cloe (we spelled Chloe w/out the h after a family member). Nevertheless, every time I see the name Chloe, I think of London.

London was born full term and was 2 days old when she died. At my 20 week ultrasound, we found out that she had HLHS (hypoplastic left heart syndrome). Long story short, she died in surgery, and our lives changed forever.

Your writing reminds me so much of how I felt 2 months after London died, and how I still feel on certain days. There is absolutely NOTHING easy about grieving your precious child...nothing!

I am a devout Christian, and there have been phases of grief where I felt my faith was so weak. I've worked through that with lots of Bible study, prayer, and counseling. A very encouraging verse that I have in a frame beside my bed is Jeremiah 29:11. It says, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

In a nutshell, in my lowest moments, I've allowed fear to overwhelm me...fear of my future. I've feared that it's all gloom and doom from here, etc. Through meditating on God's Word and His promises, Faith and Hope have crept back into my mind, and I feel restored.

I could write a book, but I'll hold myself back! I love communicating with other grieving mothers. It's an encouragement for me. I would love to hear from you. Also, I wanted to mention another great book that helped me so much (and was recommended by my grief counselor)...Life After Loss by Bob Deits. You may not need it, but just thought I'd mention it.

Also, FYI...I'm 27; live in Sonora, KY, with my husband of 5 years, Jonathan and our 2 1/2 year old son, Jagger; I'm an elementary special education teacher; that's just an overview!

Look forward to hearing from you. I hope you find a bit of peace every day as you trudge through this incredibly difficult journey. And, yes, people are right...time heals. Believe me, I have many days where my tears still blind me, but there are finally more good days than bad. Hang in there!

Love in Christ,
Ashlee Tomes

Email: Ashlee.Tomes@Hardin.kyschools.us

sumi said...

Kirsten,

Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog. I feel a bit 'wordless' today (do you know what I mean?) but I just wanted to say I am glad you had a special day remembering Chloe.

Many many hugs and prayers,
Sumi

Corie said...

Oh sweet Kirsten. SO glad that you are making progress on this journey of grief. That is definitly something to praise God for and rejoice in. I know that there may still be some ups and downs but it was so good to read all the details of how you spent your day. Its not crazy, its exactly what you needed. A day you will remember with heartache and love. Thank you for sharing about Chloe even more. What a precious daughter she is.

Trisha said...

Thank you for sharing your story...I am lifting you up as you and Jose walk this path that none should, and yet like so many of the other moms that are on this walk with you, you are doing so with such grace. God bless you and keep you as you wade through your grief and your new normal.

Thank you, as well, for reaching out to me during my time of adaptation and uncertainty...I really appreciate your kindness.

I am praying for you...
Trisha
San Diego

Trisha said...

I appreciate you lifting me up...your selflessness is so unique and sweet. You, too are in my prayers tonight!
God Bless you.
Trisha