Monday, September 29, 2008

Letter

Its a cold, rainy...finally feeling a lot like fall...day.
Tim is working late and I am sitting here trying to do the same.
Only this time, my work is way harder than his (even if the market did hit rock bottom today).

I'm sitting here trying to type up a letter to be attached to Will's blankets.
A letter that tells why and how these blankets came to be.
And I have no words.

That night we were with him, the hospital gave us so many things.
A lot of those things, came with letters.
I'll be honest. Many of those letters went directly in the trash.
And now I feel terrible about it.

Why? Because those letters were from parents who wanted to reach out to me. And in my frustration and extreme sorrow, I just couldn't handle any more sad stories.
Hell, I couldn't even handle my own.
So that night, I took my anger out on the one thing I could~by throwing those letters out.
I didn't want to hear about any more babies dying.
Because in my idea of a perfect world, that should never be allowed to happen.
And I'd had enough.

And now, just like so many people have said, I feel differently.
A sign that my grief is changing?
Perhaps.
Or maybe, this is how I am dealing with my own loss, by trying to reach out to others in need.
Even if they are like me, and don't want it.

It could go a number of ways: writing the letter could be a small step of healing for me. Reading the letter could help someone else...Throwing away the letter could help someone else.
Either way I don't care what they do with it.
I just want peace of mind that I did it.
That I attempted to tell people why they are now holding these blankets.

But as I sit in front of this computer, I have turned dumb.
Because I don't know how to or even know what I actually want to say.
Or what would even matter.
Because I know the truth, nothing I write can even touch that pain. And it is devastating to even think of another couple going through it. And it seems so inadequate a gesture.

I guess what I would want to hear...is that someone out there was thinking of us.
In my darkest hour, seeing compassion from a complete stranger...who now is no longer a stranger because we share the most heart-wrenching bond.

God will take that letter to who needs it.
I just have to write it...
like those who wrote one for me.
And I have found some, tucked away in Will's memory box. How they got there is a mystery. Why was this one saved and the other thrown away?

So many questions and too few answers. This seems to be the constant in our life.
But we are getting better at living without those answers.
We have to.
Survival instinct is a strange thing. Because even when you don't want to carry on...or can't seem to...it takes over.

As much as things have been so hard, and continue to be, there have been more bright spots lately. Driving home the other night from Indiana (Tim's mom hosted a Tastefully Simple party for me) I realized that for the first time in who knows how long ~ I was content.
Not jumping for joy or giddy with excitement...just content for a moment. Not wanting anything else. Of course, I still want Will here. But for a moment I accepted what has happened...and didn't wrack my brain the whole way home just wondering why.

And I found hope in having that feeling. Because even if it was for only a moment, I remembered what it felt like. And I have to keep believing that things will get better...
even if it is only moment by moment.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fall

Red leaves litter our front lawn.
Just one more reason I love being back...this is my favorite season.
But...you won't catch me outside with a rake.
Not until every last single leaf has fallen from the tree.
Which buys me enough time to make it to November.
But...it could always snow first.

I've made several promises to Cali friends that I would take some pictures of the awesome colors. But I am waiting for that perfect, sunny day when the view from our back patio is stunning. A few more weeks and we should be there.

This last week or so, I have been too busy to think.
Too busy to write on this blog.
Too busy to grieve.
Definitely not a good thing.
And yet, if someone were to ask me what I have been busy doing...

I don't have a clue.
Everything is still a blur without him...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sick

Time keeps going so fast.
Monday night we went to our 2nd support group at the hospital/my old home.
Tim came with me this time, and I was glad for that.
The nurse we had the night Will died was there.

At the beginning of the meeting, she began to speak and the tears instantly came.
That voice.
Hearing it brings back memories and feelings and something oddly familiar...
and Tim and I are still having one of our more difficult weeks even days later.

But I am so thankful that they have this once a month. Because for one hour I don't feel alone. And I can say whatever I want to say, and be mad, and cry, and say things that may sound crazy to others not in our situation....but everyone there nods their heads and agrees. So either all of those crazy emotions for us are normal or we are all a little crazy.

I don't know how we can go through this and not be, actually.
My favorite phrase from a couple that talked that night,
"We won the s**t lottery."
It was good to laugh out loud. Because every couple sitting at that table, felt the same.

Because for people like us, the reminders are constant and overwhelming.
Pregnant women everywhere.
Babies everywhere.
Kids everywhere.
And feeling like you are the only one having problems having a baby...everywhere.

And for us...with our empty arms and broken hearts...we feel as if we have gotten...nowhere.

After group, we were asked by our nurse if we would like to be involved in a group of parents that will be put together to help the NICU address more of our needs, but for future parents.
Absolutely.
We talked about that night with her. And it has been awhile, so I really had to think.
The trauma of it leaves much blurry. But I remember specific things, like scenes from a movie.

And still the hardest concept to grasp, is that we are parents...but yet we aren't because he isn't here with us. The question comes up all the time, "Do you have any kids?"

Well, the other day when I was subbing in a 4th grade classroom, a student asked me just that.
And I answered,
"Yes, but he came a little early this summer so he isn't here anymore. But the blessing is that I get to teach you guys now, and I love to teach."

Then what happens? The teacher calls me last night, because I am supposed to teach 3 more days in her room this week and next,...and tells me that she isn't upset but a parent complained that I was inappropriate telling the kids that. And then she asked that I don't mention him again.

As if I wasn't hurting enough already.
A parent complaining about me? I felt as if whatever living part of me was left, was just snuffed out.
Tears. Again. Overwhelming me. Feeling like I had done something wrong, when all I did was speak of my son. All I did was answer a question. Nothing more.
If someones child died, would they lie that they ever existed?
Every time I answer no, I feel as though Will is looking down on me and thinks I am ashamed to speak of him.

And it kills me.

But I guess that is what I will have to do, in order not to be judged.
In order not to have people tell me that I cannot talk of my child. And in my heart, I know I did nothing wrong. No details were given...
I simply acknowledged that he had lived.
Because that is all I can do.
And now I am left today with anxiety, extreme sadness, and feeling like someone just punched me in the gut...like he just died all over again.
The tears I had managed to stop over the last few days, now flow relentlessly.
And then there is anger mixed in with that sadness,
At how stupid some people really are.

So a decent day yesterday, and then one phone call set me back nearly all the progress I had made in the last week. And I am trying so hard. So, so hard. I really can't try any more.
And now I am just pleading with God...

Please... just make something good come from this. Because I need it more than ever.

Monday, September 22, 2008

GVSU



Nothing like a busy weekend to get out of a rut. Well, almost.

Saturday I woke up convinced to have a good day. The sun was shining, I had a Tastefully Simple party during the day and that night we were going to a football game with my dad.

Things were on track until I was driving to the party and there it was: another stupid thing happening to me (if you are confused, please refer back to the previous post)


I went straight to nervous breakdown mode.
What could possibly put me over the edge?
A closed exit on the freeway.
A closed exit, with no detour...which led me to the 'hood.
Normally, I wouldn't care.
But driving around in my Audi with Cali plates in an area I had no idea about...in my mindset...was not a priority on my "to-do" list.

Because I honestly pity anyone that would try to do anything.
There's no telling what 6 months of pent-up rage might cause me to do.
Good thing for Tim. He talked me through the tears and frustration. And he looked on Mapquest. Why was I so frustrated? I'm allowed to get lost in California where the streets are windy and go all which ways...not in Michigan: where I grew up and the streets are planned in a grid lock pattern. So...I was late too. Another thing that I hate. But what gets me the most is this is how grief works, and its horrible. Getting infuriated over small things is not me at all.
But the party was fun. Met lots of great people, who shocked me by saying they read this blog. Again, proof that this whole thing is so beyond my ability to fully understand just how many lives have been touched by Will.

I got home feeling like I had at least accomplished something. Unlike when I came home from subbing on Thursday and immediately poured a glass of wine and grabbed a carton of Ben & Jerry's.
Enough said.

The rest of the day proceeded without incident.
That night we put on our GVSU shirts and headed to the first football game we have been to as alumni...not students.
Wow. How things have changed.
Not just the school. But us too.
The last football field I was on....was USC's.
Grand Valley's field looked like some high school, and I was shocked.

Just another moment for me when I realized...for as much as I hated so many things about California...being out there shattered my rose colored glasses. And whether I like it or not, living in Orange County has left a permanent mark on me.

I'm still deciding if that is a good or bad thing. Probably both.
And that goes hand in hand with the question we get asked the most...
"Why did you move from California to Michigan?"
Our answer has never changed, only our circumstance: to raise a family...
Now we are just left with more questions that have no answers.
But today I can look up to the heavens and say something that I couldn't bring myself to say before and actually mean it:
I trust you.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

White flag

After my last blog I posted on Wednesday, I had a few days of sheer meltdown...things were really rough. So rough that Friday I did not leave the house.
I think I cried more in those three days than in the entire last month combined.
Which pretty much means that I was crying constantly. Crying while I walked to take Sophie outside, while I cleaned the house, while I mowed the lawn.
Not sure what brought it on, but it doesn't matter: I couldn't get a grip.
So...I just let it come.

Maybe it was the two month anniversary, or a sudden surge of hormones, or working again, or just getting overly tired...
But whatever it was,
I was waving my white flag.

But what got me really down were small things mounting on top of this one big thing.
I'm not so sure I believe in luck, whether its good or bad. But whatever we have here in life, whether its God's purpose, with a little combination or luck or fate or chance...
I just happen to have stupid crap happen to me.
And it about drives me over the edge.
Its like my friend said,
"Julie, you would win the lottery and then the ticket would get lost."

Exactly.

My experiences lately have been frustrating. More frustrating than usual because I'm not in the usual sort of mindset to deal with it as I have in the past. Because in the past I would usually laugh or make fun of it and then shrug it off.

Its been like driving through a mall parking lot during the holidays. No parking spots, the tension and frustration mount. Then three rows over you see a spot. The sun shines again.
There is hope that you will now be able to park the car and move onto the next step...which is what you have been waiting for~shopping.
Then, out of nowhere someone takes that spot.
But you saw it first.
And you decided that because you saw it, and could see yourself parking there...it was yours.
But that spot was never yours....

And un-beknownst to you, it was never meant to be.
It was only your parking spot in your head.
And now you are back to square one. Or so you think...
because all you can dwell on is what would've happened if you had gotten that parking spot.

I know...crazy. I have officially gone crazy. Or so I thought I had, for a few days anyways.
Because so many little, stupid things happened and I just couldn't handle it on top of what I am already dealing with. And I won't go into what all happened. Because they are stupid...and maybe even a little funny now that they are in the past. But what's important is how annoyed I was, even angy, when they happened.
So lately, when I really don't know what to pray for anymore...because sometimes I feel that I don't pray for the right thing anyways...

I simply pray for the strength to take something good away from all of this...
and for the ability to conquer all those little stupid things life dishes out...and to just let it go.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Two months

Two whole months have passed.
How is that even possible?
I feel like he was just here, and then again, to us he is always here. Will is literally always on our minds...on our hearts.

So today, we trudge on...and I'm trying not to think about the future...when instead of counting the months and days, we will be counting the years without him.

A friend passed this poem onto me in an email. I don't know who the author is, but I'm grateful to have it. I don't think there will ever be a day when I can read it without crying.

Today I saw you crying
I sent you lots of love
I hope that you can feel it
I'm here just up above

Today I jumped from cloud to cloud
And flew across the sky
And God told me all about you
And why you often cry

He told me you were special
And your love for me so deep
He told me that one day I'll meet you here
And in your arms I'll leap

I met a nice man the other day
He sat me on his knee
He told me that he knew you, Mom
And do you know what else he told me?

He told me all about you
About your pretty face
About your kindness, love and joy
And about your sweet grace

I told that man I knew you
Cause we were once so close
I grew in your belly, Mommy
Just beneath your clothes

I told that man you talked to me
And prayed for me each night
And how I felt your love right there
and how you would hug me tight

No, your not a stranger, Mom
Although we're now apart
It's really not that far, Mommy
I know I'm in your heart

I can't wait to see you Mommy
God says you'll be here soon
Until then, I'm with you
And I love you to the moon

Monday, September 15, 2008

No go...

I'll be really frank~there are moments I'm so mad at God I can hardly stand it.
And I tell him.

He already knows, but somehow...voicing it directly to him makes me feel better. Kind of like having a fight with someone and then instead of letting it stew inside of you and making your own life miserable you finally get the courage to tell them...to confront them on how you feel.
And then its out. All the words, the feelings...no longer stuffed down inside. And by releasing them I find a small amount of peace and can come to terms with most of it.

Most of it. Not all...
That will take a lifetime and lots of prayers.

Obviously, I know that he knows what he is doing...even if I don't have a clue. But still...there is so much that I don't understand. Will never understand.
Included in this is the results of the interview last week. I just got the call. And although I was seriously planning on not taking it (because when I really thought about it, it isn't worth the extra $10 a day to do all the fun stuff like grade papers, plan lessons, and deal with discipline problems...)

I at least wanted to know I was good enough to get it.

I have one word that might describe what happened: politics.
Something tells me I didn't have a fighting chance.
(gasp) Or they read my blog and didn't hire me based on my inability to excel at math... Is this the huge failing streak that happens to people before they succeed and then they look back and eventually laugh? I hope so. But I am so not laughing right now.

Do I care about the job part? No.
But what a huge blow to my already bruised ego.
And again, I am left standing here scratching my head...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Algebra

I'm in a fog today. Probably brought by many things and then there's the weather: monsoons of rain, thick and hazy, but super muggy. Ugh. But I have been keeping busy trying not to think about everything...but don't think I don't think about it anyways. I can run, but it seems I can never hide.

Yesterday and today I was a substitute at the middle school. The days went great, and I think the interview went alright too. But who knows. This morning I walked into the classroom and nearly fell over...because guess what I got to use today...

A huge, ugly, really green chalkboard.

I seriously laughed out loud. Then I called Tim and told him too (we could always use a little humor in our lives). For those of you wondering why in the world this is such a huge deal...well, let's just say that I've never actually taught a class (ever) using a chalkboard. A white board~sure. An awesome active board that is like a computer on the wall~even better. But a chalkboard? Nothing like a little true "old school"...is that where the saying comes from anyways??? I figured they had done away with chalkboards a super long time ago...

So not only did I survive inhaling chalk all morning, I also survived teaching 8th grade algebra (for those of you that truly know me, you understand what a miracle this is)...didn't I fail algebra in college or something? In 8th grade, I couldn't even tell you what algebra was, I was still practically counting on my fingers...wait. Sometimes I still do~True Confessions of a Teacher.

For occasions like this, I knew that I should have bought the most awesome shirt I had ever seen when I had the chance...
"I'm too pretty to do math."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

tomorrow

So tomorrow is going to be an interesting day. What is it with September 11th?
Seven years ago every one's life changed dramatically. Being connected to the military meant ours would change even more, and then there are all those memories attached to that date. None of them good. And so when I went to my first doctors appointment in CA and he told me Will's due date was the 11th...

I replied, "My don't want my baby to be born on the 11th!"
Didn't expect to be right, in the worst sort of way. But I didn't want him born on that specific day for a number of reasons. Now? I wouldn't care what day he was born on...And it didn't matter anyway, after that appointment every other doctor I went to gave out a different date~the 13th, 15th...Let's just say this was to be Will's week.

So I have been making sure to keep busy over these tough days. Tomorrow, I will sub for the first time since May. And then at that same school I have an interview for a long term sub job. Nothing like a little extra stress.

I really don't know what to think about any of it. I have to admit that I am totally confused about what I am supposed to doing or even why I should do it.
And I am not used to being this confused about what I want.

Or maybe its that I only want the one thing that I can no longer have. Yes, that is it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yoga...

Yesterday was a fast day that ended in my first (much anticipated) yoga class. My new friend signed up with me and I was so thankful to have a buddy with me. We both needed some relaxation and a stress release. I know it will get better, but last nights class kind of stressed me out.

We all know what happens to bodies after baby. Hah. Well, after having a c-section and then being on bedrest for so long and not even allowed to walk outside my hospital room, I thought that I had gradually been building up my strength well...Yeah, right. 15 minutes into whatever poses we were doing, I was shaking like a leaf and my arms were about to fall off.
And all I could do was laugh. Typical Julie move...I'm sitting there, looking stupid...in pain...straining like I'm 60 years old...and all I can do is sit there and laugh. Because I know I looked ridiculous. And all I kept saying to myself..."It can only get better from here."

I felt like a real winner when the instructor came up to me and asked if I was okay. Maybe I should have given her a little background that included the phrase..."Bedrest for more than 8 weeks..." But my pride got in the way...in my mind I'm still that person I was not too long ago that was benchpressing and lifting weights with Marines on Camp Pendleton. Well, this class was sure a reality check. The only thing I could utter to the instructor after all of these thoughts flashed through my mind was...just had a baby in July...

The class was good though. I kept up as best I could and at the end, we did some sort of relaxation/meditation. I was just relieved it was almost over.
Then she turned out the lights, and as we were relaxing every single muscle of our body, she said, "Okay, now I want you to close your eyes and go to your most favorite place, whether its the beach, the mountains, or your lazy boy at home..."

And instantly...I was back in that little room holding Will.

It took me by complete surprise that I didn't even think to think about that. It just popped into my head, with no warning. I wasn't even thinking about any of that stuff as I was laying on that floor. And it totally shocked me how quickly and clearly it came into my mind.

And its moments like that...that continue to knock the wind out of me.

Moments that a memory is stirred from something so seemingly insignificant. And it was shocking.
A single tear forced its way from under my right eye and ever so slowly dripped down towards my cheek and then into my ear. I have never been so conscious of one single tear.
And I was grateful that the lights were out. That it was dark and I could have that moment to myself.

Then, the song changed and on came the instrumental version of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On....

The moment?...it is SO gone...Oh my goodness...Somebody shoot me. I hate that damn song.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Will's memory tree...



(For some reason, blogspot won't let me put spaces between the paragraphs and its driving me insane...I need to get over it, but my apologies that everything looks like one giant paragraph...a nightmare to us teachers and something I emphasized to my students never to do...and yet here it is...)
I'm still getting used to this living in the woods gig, and we had massive run-ins with all sorts of woodland creatures today, some normal and some just plain bizarre. Who needs cable?!

Woke up this morning some deer in the backyard...Then, while driving around after breakfast looking at new housing subdivisions, I asked Tim..."What is that?!" He stopped the car and we just stared.
Four huge wild turkeys.
Yes, wild turkeys that could have taken Sophie out. We couldn't resist getting out of the car for a closer look. I kind of ran at them to see if they would make that gobble noise...totally disapointed when they didn't. But Tim got a good laugh.
Hey if we didn't laugh, we would cry...
My proud moment of the day was mowing our entire yard. Although I stopped to scream as I nearly ran over a snake in the backyard. So gross. But not as gross as Sophie throwing up on the last strip I had to mow, because all she did while we were outside was eat grass...dumb dog.
Lastly, as I was taking a picture of Will's tree (top picture, notice how beautiful the mow job is) I noticed Sophie causing another commotion. She found a toad, it jumped at her, and she decided she was afraid of it...running quickly behind Tim. So our vicious watch dog is now afraid of toads, any bug that flies, the vacuum, and wheelchairs. We were kind of thinking that she has baby qualities that will keep us occupied for now, all she does is eat, poop, and throw up. Oh yeah, and she makes us laugh which is greatly appreciated.
Anyways, back to Will's tree. It was planted the day we had Will's life celebration and with the help of my parents, we decided on a Pear Tree. They grow fast (like babies!) and in the spring it will have tiny beautiful white flowers...overall, a very pretty tree. At the base my mom bought us a plague that has the word Love inscribed, with 3 hearts...one of which is cut out. Its sadly perfect...
So another weekend down. This week we are keeping busy and trying not to think of Will's due date quickly approaching in a few days. Although today was good, it didn't keep us from looking through Will's scrap book tonight and crying at what could have been...and according to us~
What should have been. The weather is getting cooler and fall is officially on its way. I'm excited because I love fall and missed it the last few years. But this fall and the weather will be bittersweet, as with everything else nowadays.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

8 weeks



These past few weeks I have been on a mission…to find the perfect gift to donate in Will’s memory using the generous donations we have received.

And I finally found it.

Spoke with lots of people at the hospital on their thoughts, needs, etc. One nurse commented on Will’s blanket. Really, I wanted something bigger than that…or that’s what I thought. But I soon realized that this would be perfect. That blanket had done so much...

It was wrapped around Will as we held him for the first and last time.
It held him close and kept him warm as he peacefully passed away.
That night it soaked up a million of our tears.
And it was the only thing between his little body and our shaking arms.

That blanket was worthy of holding our son.

It was lovingly made by a teacher friend of mine (I called Alyssa soon after his death to tell her just what had happened and how much that blanket had meant), and at the time it was given to me, none of this story had even taken place. When I packed it away to make the journey from California to here, I had no idea how this blanket would come to play such a large role in the short time we had with our baby. Since we had been given a poor prognosis from the doctors well in advance, I made sure to have something special with us just in case. Some blankets had been provided to us from volunteers at the hospital…but no offense to anyone, they looked like some knitting disaster from the early 70’s. And if this was going to be the only thing my baby would ever be wrapped in for his entire life…

Then I wanted Will to have the best, because this was all he was ever going to get. There would be no more occasions to spoil him...

And if a baby only gets one thing wrapped around them in this life…
And if the parents only get one thing to cry into and to hold onto instead of their child…
Then, it had better be first class.

So in honor of Will’s life, we are donating a total of 52 suede/Sherpa baby blankets. One blanket for every hour of his life. These are the kind of blankets that normally a parent would scoff at because it is way too much to pay for something that is going to get dirty and be thrown up on...but in our case, they are absolutely perfect for the huge job they will be doing. It is my prayer that each of these blankets can provide even an ounce of comfort to each family it comes to. I can’t help but think of the many parents that have no idea what is about to happen. They have no warning…no early prognosis…and no such thing even on their minds.

And in realizing what this blanket had meant to us and what it was going to hopefully provide to future families, I had too find the perfect blanket... And I was really picky. In my head, I specific criteria I was looking for: it had to be super soft, plain (without prints), not have any cutesy tags or embroidery like “This is my little blankie…etc”, and most importantly I wanted it to have one side that was a soft white.

That is what had made Will’s blanket even more special. It was also used as a backdrop for his pictures. I believe that is largely why his pictures turned out so beautiful. In addition to having a talented and caring photographer, having the soft white background allowed his photos to become completely amazing. It removed everything from the background.

So the only thing we see…is Will.

Really, 8 weeks ago, we had to live an entire lifetime with Will in just 6 hours. And all we have left of our baby…Are memories, some pictures, plaster moldings of his hands and feet, his little bracelet…

And his blanket.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Paper Chain..

Okay, so Megan, this picture is for you...
Can you imagine how big the paper chain would be that you suggested?! :)
I remember making this one and it was way too much work...

Well, I prayed on Wednesday night for something to happen. Anything. And not that today was that exciting, but it was a pretty decent day.

I had worked at this little shop just to occupy some time while I was waiting to go into the hospital. It is a children's/baby clothes shop (yes, not exactly what I need right now) but I told them I would work a few hours because I just needed to get out of the house. Right away, I was annoyed that I agreed to do it. First, because they just got in a bunch of ADORABLE baby outfits and shoes and all that crap. And second, because I couldn't even log onto the computer to sell anything because the password sheet was missing. So I just sat there, waiting for a call back to get my password.

Of course, even though it was pouring rain and no one was out and about...the first customer walked in 10 min. after I opened. I told her (jokingly) not to worry about finding anything cute because she couldn't buy it anyways. We started talking and she found out I did Tastefully Simple and wanted to schedule a party (yay!) and then I found out she works at the hospital...so I kind of spilled some of my story. Only to find out she works in the NICU. Small world.

She didn't recognize Will or our name, but she knows all the doctors and nurses we had very well. So I got to send a message to them through her. I think its crazy that these people were with us for the worst possible day of our lives, and we shared in all that grief together, and then in most cases we would never see or talk to them again. I hate that. That is why I was so grateful to run into our Neo doctor...Its safe to say that after that encounter, I felt that our meeting was not by chance. So it was worth coming in.

Then this afternoon, a county nurse stopped by our house. It is always nice to share Will's life with another person (one who really is interested in hearing it), and I will be taking part in a study on infant death and some other factors. Whatever. Its not exactly what I wish to be doing and it is totally optional, but I feel it is a good way to honor Will. And if it helps anyone in any way, even as much as it hurts~I'm in.

Right after the nurse left, I left and met a friend for dinner and a small version of support group. It is always difficult to talk and share our stories, but at the end of the night, I'm always glad I did it. I don't feel alone. Because I always heard the good stories, saw the flawless pregnancies. And so I expected the same for myself.
What a rude awakening.
But then to meet others and hear their stories, it pushes the "why me?" factor out of my head...at least for a little while.

It also made me remember something else about that weekend that at times is such a blur. I don't know why (maybe we were talking about things that were said or done out of hurt and anger right after it all happened)...but I remember sitting in bed just hours after we had left Will and the Dr. came in...and after 8 weeks they knew me well...but had I been in my right mind I would have never had said this...

Dr: Well...Julie....I'm sorry.
Me: Yeah. I know.
Dr: Is there anything I can do for you? Let me just have a listen to your heart...
Me: Why? (followed by some rude, exasperated sound)... its broken

So here I document it. Because it is a small detail of the story, and I don't want to forget any part of it no matter how insignificant it seems right now.
But its also those few words that say so much.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Impatient

I'm waiting.
Waiting for something to happen.
Preferably good.
Usually, I would be the one going out and doing something...like the saying, "God helps those who help themselves."

The only problem is, I don't know how to help myself this time.

I'm trying to find a new sense of normal since Will. But the problem is...I've never had a sense of normal since we moved here. School started this week. I know that I shouldn't, but I can't help but think how teaching at A.V. would be such a welcome distraction right now. Teaching use to be my "sense of normal," but not anymore.

Maybe that is the point. God doesn't want me distracted. And so here I sit and its driving me crazy. Because if I were to sum up the year 2008 so far...I have one word that I can say: waiting. (The other will remain in my head...)

And I've never taken a survey, but I'm pretty sure that everyone hates to wait. And I am just as impatient as everyone else. I'm not patient because feeling this way is horrible. Grief is lonely. And I just want to be happy again. But unlike other situations, this one is different. You can't talk yourself out of it, because this is significant. Will's life was significant.

And now my life seems so insignificant.

So instead of only grieving Will, I am trying to deal with so many other things...And I am overwhelmed. My emotions are overwhelming. Intense sadness to sheer anger. The kind of anger I have never experienced. The kind of anger only deep suffering can bring. And only by the grace of God, do I find myself able to get out of bed every day and face that suffering. Because I really don't know what else to do with myself.

Most people probably think that after 7 weeks, things should be getting better, easier.
Hardly. I just read that this intense grieving can last anywhere from 18-24 months...I know I am way too impatient for that.

Moments come out of nowhere when I am alone and realize how much this all really hurts.
Like when the doctor called yesterday to tell me that Will was chromosomally normal...
And when I checked the mail only to find his Social Security card...
And then at night when I lay awake and realize that this really is my life now...and I can't help but hate it.

Before Will was born, I likened this whole experience to one of Tim's deployments to Iraq.
It sucked. But there was hope.
Hope in knowing that it would be over eventually...hope because he was still alive.
I would get asked, "How do you do it? Aren't you sad with him gone?"
My reply was always the same..."Until I get a knock on the door, I really have no reason to be sad."

Will was my knock on the door.

The kind of knock when you realize you are not in control. The kind of knock when you realize that no matter how hard you prayed and believed, God wanted something different. And the kind of knock where you realize your life is not playing out how you dreamed or anticipated or planned...I always knew one was coming I just didn't know when.

For me this knock was realizing that my beautiful baby is now gone. Along with all of our hopes and dreams and plans for moving back to Michigan to raise a family. Gone is my teaching job that I quit to come back here, along with all of our friends we met along the way. Gone are any expectations of a future. Because for the first time in my life~I have none. The only thing that won't ever be gone is how much we miss Will.

Well, I do have one expectation. That something good will come from all of this suffering...that I will be led to whatever it is that I am supposed to be doing now. I can't help but wonder what that is.

And so, I guess I'll have to keep waiting.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A year ago...


So glad we left for Chicago this weekend.
So glad that last week is over and done with...

Last week has some good moments...seeing numerous friends and beginning my work again by having a Tastefully Simple party that was a lot of fun...but that is about it. Friday morning we left for Chicago and the entire ride down I was still fuming. I didn't understand why I wasn't glad to be leaving. I can honestly say that I have never felt that angry.

But having a throw down with some stranger over their driving in the middle of the road was not in my best interest. Although it was tempting on more than one occasion.

Then a strange thing happened. As Tim swerved in and out of five lanes of traffic and the city skyline was in front of us...I felt strangely at home. There was time when we would have been nervous to drive in such traffic. Now we just kind of laughed, it was kind of fun now. And I felt like we were back in the mix of things. And for a moment, I almost felt normal again. And all that anger I had been feeling the past few days slowly went away. Usually traffic increases my anxiety, how could it now be helping? Just another example of how I am not myself.

We stayed in the city and walked a TON. I think we walked more in the last 3 days than I have walked in the last 4 months combined. Michigan Ave was fun. Cheesecake Factory was better. We did a whole lot of nothing. Just tried to be "normal" for even a day.

All over the city I kept seeing ads for Nike and their Human Race that was going on...I was curious and realized that the race was happening in Chicago on 8.31.08~while we were there.
And realized that exactly a year ago Tim & I did the same Nike Run Hit Remix 10K in Los Angeles...only I didn't run.
Because we had just found out I was pregnant with baby #1...
Which is why I posted a picture of that day in L.A. Because we were really happy. And that is how I wanted to be this weekend. We tried, but we still just couldn't do it.
Everything just still hurts too bad.
I just can't shake this feeling that all of this wasn't supposed to happen. At least...not according to me. But it happened...and I have come to acknowledge that although I am angry and sad and wonder why...deep down I know. This is all a part of something so much bigger than I can wrap my small mind around.
So for a little while longer, Tim and I will have to distract ourselves from the one thing we really want. I just pray and have faith that someday, it will happen for us...