Blog Introduction

This blog is the story of how my husband and I faced the illness and death of two of our children. Each blog post is essentially a chapter in the story, so in order to truly understand it, you are going to benefit by starting at the beginning.
I hope you find our story touching, and in some way find comfort and hope through it as you face your own storms in life.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Moving Forward

Life began to resume in its new state of "normalcy".  Matthew was gone, and now we had to continue living without him.  Michael always kept things interesting and busy, for which I was grateful. He lightened the clouds of grief that continued to hang over me.  As it was, "getting over" Matthew's death was more difficult than Sarah's.  Having a new baby within a year of her loss had filled the "baby" hole in my heart.  After Matthew was gone, there was no new baby coming to fill the empty spot.  Our "baby" years were over. Early in my pregnancy with Matthew, we had taken measures to prevent us from having any more children .  We had decided if we had 2 healthy kids we would be happy with them, but if the roll of the genetic dice gave us another child who would die, we would never want to risk it a third time.  So as we adjusted to our new life, we cherished our little boy, Michael, who had at one point been the youngest child, the oldest child, the middle child, and ultimately became our only child. He was the child of our future, and we had to present him with the best future we could.  So grief and mourning were tucked neatly away as we moved forward with life.

This is not to say there weren't rough days; days when the grief came up like a wave and crashed over me.  The littlest, unexpected things would bring a flood of memories and emotions; a song, a smell, a picture, or even an overheard stranger’s comment would flood my mind and emotions with the recollection of my lost baby, and the slowly healing wound in my heart would be torn open to bleed once again.
It wasn't easy being happy, yet I felt like I was supposed to be; it was an expected behavior.  I felt that if I didn't appear to be doing fine, it would be a reflection on my faith. I believed others expected me to have great faith and hope, and show no evidence of the doubt I was experiencing. It was okay to grieve for your child for a week or so, but then it was expected that you would pick up your life and move on.  There's nothing that could be done about it anyway; get over it, move on with life, and certainly never let anyone see that you are angry or questioning God.  So I silently endured the days of darkness, and convinced myself that the negative emotions were not acceptable.

I went back to work on the High Risk OB floor; back to my caring co-workers, and back to a job I really enjoyed.  It helped me focus on other people and their struggles, and kept my mind off of my own.  I fit in there really well.  Mom's came in who had been given horrible diagnoses for their babies; I could relate, and as such, was able to offer a truly understanding, listening ear.  I felt fulfilled in the role.  My babies’ deaths now seemed to have a purpose.  I can't tell you how many times people applied to me the verse in I Corinthians 1:3-4, "...the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."  It seemed fitting.  I believed it, embraced it, and practiced it, yet I always felt an undercurrent of uneasiness; something deep inside of me was unsettled every time I heard it.  There was almost a cringe occurring on my insides; a wincing of my subconscious emotions.  But I ignored it.

While at work, I began to question the availability of support groups for bereaved parents in our area, and began to investigate.  There were several options available in our city, so I chose the one that was known nationwide for its excellent support system, and attended a meeting one evening.  Six or seven other couples or singles with friends sat around a large table.  In turn, each was offered the opportunity to share their story of loss and grief.  Others would make occasional comments to offer suggestions or encouragement, and the recipient would express appreciation, ask further questions, or simply sit and nod. This went on for approximately two hours, and at the conclusion of the meeting, it was hoped that the time spent had been helpful.  As I left the room, I was overwhelmed by how much worse I felt.   Listening to these horrible stories of people's devastation only served to make me feel sadder; not only did I have my own pain, but now I felt guilty about it because their pain was just as bad, if not worse, than my own.  I had no right to feel bad when others had it worse.  Plus, aside from the encouraging words from those whose grief wasn't as "fresh" telling the others they would survive, there was no true hope given.  But the thing that struck me the most was the introductory "guidelines" given at the beginning of the meeting.  There was to be absolutely no talk of God, Jesus, the Bible, or any other religious belief during the meeting. To me, those words completely knocked out any possibility of hope for healing.  It meant that in those meetings, there was no hope.  I went home brooding over it, and began to pray and ask God about it.  As much as my own spirituality was struggling, I knew God was there and had the answers.  I knew He was the hope people needed. As I prayed over the next few weeks, He laid a vision on my heart which birthed a new ministry.  Something new was coming out of the ashes of my burned up dreams.

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