Monday, August 22, 2011

Thoughts as of late

Sometimes I find myself wondering what the "correct" ways of grieving are and I wonder if things that I think or things I do or don't do are crazy, or at least maybe others might think it's crazy. And to tell you the truth, I normally don't tell others what I am feeling or thinking, unless of course I'm at my support group and then the floodgates open and I can truly be myself and it's perfectly fine and acceptable to feel everything I want to feel and say everything I want to say. And maybe sometimes, I wonder about if what I'm thinking and feeling is normal and I begin to suspect that it's not, but then when I mention it to these wonderful men and women who "get it," they assure me I'm not the first one to feel these ways, and sadly, I won't be the last.

Why do I look up March 16 and try to find out whatever I can about that date? It's her day and it's like, I want to know whatever I can about it.

Or, why do I google each month what a so-and-so month old baby would be doing, should be doing. This month, it's been seventeen months since I last held her. Seventeen months she should have been living and breathing on this earth with me and growing and loving and twirling and learning. This month, it's what your toddler may be doing. And oh, how my heart leaps to my throat and that word keeps resounding over and over again in my head...toddler. toddler. I would have, should have a toddler? Not a baby anymore. A toddler. I'm the mother of a should-be toddler. She should be walking up steps and speaking two-words? But, in my mind, in my heart, she will always be a baby. Even thirty years from now, when I wonder who she might be...would she have married? Had babies of her own? Gone on to be a voice for unborn life? Yet, even then, she will be my little baby girl.

Would you think I'm crazy if you knew all her newborn baby clothes haven't been put away yet? Her newborn baby diapers are still on her unused changing table, that's still in her room. And her decorations are all still there. It's like this room has been frozen still and is stuck on March 16. All these things are just waiting and waiting for a girl that will never come home. Yet, I can't find the gumption, can't work up the courage, to put these things away, let alone sell them. And even though I have a brand new car-seat, baby tub, and all-things-baby that are perfectly fine to sell, you know what, I could never sell them. And not only that, I can't imagine letting another baby one day use the stuff. Not even my own baby. And I wonder why, why, why is it still so hard to even think about putting all her stuff in storage? Not even getting rid of it, just storage. But, it's a thought where my mind doesn't want to go. And my heart can't detach itself from these feelings that I don't understand, yet they are still there.

And you know what else...I don't even know what seventeen-month old baby girls should be like. So, when I see one that I think could possibly be about her age, I find myself wondering if that baby might have been born in March of 2010. And if that mother knows how blessed she is to have her precious child. And I hate not knowing how she'd look, who'd she be.

Sometimes it feels like I'm expected to go on living as if she never was. When, really, I am who I am because of her life. I am going where I'm going because of how the Lord changed me through the blessing of knowing and carrying her.

The Lord has brought much healing to my heart and continues to mend the pieces of my heart...but, I also know that losing a child is a wound I will bear for the rest of my days on earth. And no amount of time will ever take that hurt away.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

The House that Built Me

For years, I would dream of the house in Virginia that I lived in as a child. The different houses I've lived in seem to symbolize different seasons of my life. This is the house of innocence. The house of carefree childhood. Something in me knew I needed to go back there again.

So, this summer, my brother and I were driving around the countryside of Virginia with our grandmother and we stopped at our old home. We knocked on the door and talked to the couple that live there now. We told them we had lived there before them. They invited us inside which I hoped they would. They'd done a lot of remodeling, but I could still remember where everything had been.

The staircase that I ran up and down more times than I could count. The living room where my siblings and I opened Christmas gifts. The bathroom where my dad pulled my first tooth. The bedroom that I shared with my little sister, where I played with my first American Girl doll. Outside, where I learned to read and write. Where our jungle gym had been. My mom's beautiful garden (many of the things she planted are still blooming). The driveway where we'd ridden our bikes. Bittersweet feelings enveloped me as I thought of memories from years past.

It's hard to explain why, but it was healing for me to go back there and see it again as an adult. It's almost as if it merged who I was as a child with who I am now. There was closure the Lord needed to bring. My childhood is a big chapter in the story of my life. There was grief I needed to face. Grief over the loss of my innocence. At times, I long for those days again. Days before I knew the sting of grief, pain, loss, and rebellion against God. When I was a child, I was oblivious to such things. I am thankful for the days of growing up in the country as a tomboy, playing with my big brothers outside in the dirt one minute and dancing around the living room with my baby sister as a ballerina the next. I am thankful my parents protected me from the world... as much as they could.

And oh, how I long to do the same with my own children. How I wish I could protect my children from pain and sin. How I wish I could keep them from knowing the heartache I've known. I suppose most parents feel the same. How I wish I could have protected Lily and kept her alive. Seeing the place filled with memories from my childhood made me grieve the loss of my first-born never being able to make her own childhood memories.

Through all this, God is showing me that as parents, we should protect our children. However, there is only so much we can do to protect them from pain, sin, and even death. We must learn to let go and trust Him. Our children are a gift from above. God gives and God takes away. And He redeems and uses all things together for our good and His glory.

Lily is Yours now, Lord... my future children are Yours.

I heard this song which reminded me so much of going to visit our childhood home.

Thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healin'
Out here it's like I'm someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could just come in, I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothin' but a memory from the house that built me


Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Lily Love You

My sweet friend Tracey gave me a gift for my 22nd birthday (which was yesterday, August 12th). She was at the store and her eye was drawn to a certain color nail polish that made her think of me. When she picked it up and looked on the bottom to see what it was called, it said, "I Lily Love You!" Can you believe it?! When she told me this, I got chills. It felt like a hug from Heaven. Like God was reminding me that He never forgets my daughter or me and Lily loves me and knows how much I love her. This was very special to me. I wear this nail polish for special occasions. It is such a unique nail polish name and I love the sparkly pink (pink is the main color that reminds me of Lily).


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tiny Footprints on a Mother's Heart

My dear friend, Tracey, shared this poem with me...the words, so sweet, bring tears to my eyes, yet a smile to my face knowing I am Lily Katherine's mother.

Tiny Footprints on a Mother's Heart

When a baby arrives,
be it for a day, a month, a year or more,
or perhaps only a sweet flickering moment
the fragile spark of a tender soul,
the secret swell of a new pregnancy
the goldfish flutter known to only you-
you are unmistakeningly changed...
the tiny footprints left
behind on your heart 
bespeak your name as Mother.

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