My thoughts are never far from my dead child, any of my children, actually. My thoughts still often wander back to last April when Andrew and I received the news that I would be induced ahead of my due date due to further complications in my pregnancy. I think about going to the hospital and listening to newborn babes cry as I held my dead baby. I loved him, too, just like all my other babies. He grew within my body, and I birthed him, just like I had my others. Yet I knew he wasn't the same. He was not meant for earth, and I was not meant to raise him. I knew this would be the largest hurdle our family would attempt to climb over. It has truly changed us. Changed me. Forever.
Isaac's birthday draws close. Grieving him, remembering him, has at times caused strain between Andrew and I. It's almost ended up being something we simply agree to disagree about. We've handled this loss very differently, and it's something I am very sensitive about. I'm drawn to Isaac's grave, Andrew is drawn to inward reflection. I am drawn to an outward display of remembrance, and Andrew is drawn to silence. It is tremendously important to me, that Isaac is remembered. Especially as the one year anniversary of his birth and death draw close. I have decided to have no expectations. I cannot expect that another would understand my loss, that has not lost similar, and I cannot expect that another remembers the same way that I do. I chose to remember and honor my son because I know he still exists. I know our love for Isaac reaches to when he resides. Isaac lives just as God does. Isaac has a home there, with Him, doing the Lord's will. Isaac is still mine. He is my boy, mine to love, and to remember. We plan to do special things for that special child on his special day. That special day that changed my life forever.
I often wonder if people stop and think about what it is like to walk in my shoes. And not only stop and think, but to do so without judgment, without shaking their heads, with out thinking they would behave so differently than I have. I wanted to share this letter I received from a very dear friend of mine, Monica. I have spent the last several days thinking about the words she took the time to write, and have felt such a love and thankfulness towards her. She took the time to understand, to care, to really, REALLY, get it:
I'm thinking of you today. Our lesson was on Abraham on Isaac today in Sunday School. Kind of a teary one to sit through because all I could think about was you and your Isaac. The lady who taught the class began the lesson by asking if we've been asked to sacrifice anything, and then after a few people gave their responses, she asked if anyone had been asked to sacrifice a child (which I personally thought was a bit insensitive, but anyway ...). All I could think was "Misty has." I almost wanted to share about you and your experience to help the teacher and maybe others realize it's an awfully tender topic to approach somewhat casually (because some people literally DO sacrifice a child or loved one), but it never felt right. Just too sacred, too personal, and well, not my story to share. I couldn't imagine how you would have felt sitting there, or how you're feeling right now as you come up on the anniversary of Isaac's birth and beautiful life, but also his passing.
I have been reading a beautiful book lately about an elderly woman looking back on her life, which included the loss of her first husband, who was pronounced MIA in World War I. As she recalls that time of her life, she says, "It is hard for me to think or speak of the time that came then. I remember it as dark. I can't remember the sun shining, though I'm sure it must have shone part of the time. I would think sometimes with a black sickness of fear and hopelessness and guilt. ..." and later on says that "The pleasures that came then had a way of reminding you that they had been pleasures once upon a time, when it seemed that you had a right to them. Happiness had a way of coming to you and making you sad. ... How can you be happy, how can you live, when all the things that make you happy grieve you nearly to death?" I wondered when I read that if those feelings were similar or true for you. I can imagine that the little joys of day-to-day living, especially as a mother, would also have a way of hurting and reminding you of all you had hoped to experience with Isaac. She then talks about how kindness was what kept her and her loved ones alive, that love is what carried them, and how she was also blessed by gratitude. She says that "sometimes I was grateful because I knew I ought to be, sometimes because I wanted to be, and sometimes a sweet thankfulness came on its own, like a singing from somewhere out in the dark. I was grateful because I knew, even in my fear and grief, that my life had been filled with gifts." I just think the way she expresses her emotions of such a difficult time are so lovely. I loved this part, too: "No big happiness came to me yet, but little happinesses did come, and they came from ordinary pleasures in ordinary things: sunlight, breezes, animals and birds, daily work, rest when I was tired, food, butterflies, flowers." I hope you are finding little happinesses, too. By the way, the name of the woman the story about is Hannah. :)
Anyway, a lot of rambling -- maybe things you relate to, maybe not. But I have been thinking about you. Thinking about you as I read books, thinking about you as I attend church, thinking about you as I watch April come closer and remember all that you were experiencing last year and imagining from miles away how you're doing this year with new heartaches and new challenges, but also new blessings and hopefully new opportunities and hopes this year. I hope Spring brings the promise of fresh starts and bright days ahead. I'm wishing that for you. I want you to have hope and joy and peace. Not that it ever fully takes away your loss, because I'm sure it can't.
I love you,
Isn't she marvelous? I love her. Always.
We're waiting right now, rather impatiently, to find out if we are pregnant again. I have not decided how much or how little I will share. The main concern I have is my privacy. As much as I want to share, I have the same desire to share at my own pace, when I feel like it's safe to do so. I know there are others from church whom read here, and have shared my private news before, when my desire was not. I don't want family members to know that particularly will look down their noses at me. And I don't want to be approached about "my news" if I'm brave enough to attend church on Sundays. It's a private thing. A scary thing. A stressful thing. Pregnancy as I have known it to be in the past, is gone forever. I'm thinking, until I have something solid to offer, most people just aren't going to know, and I am going to have to find another outlet for me to use as a coping tool. It really is THAT important to me. Most days I want to burst into tears over the joy it would bring our family, and also the sheer terror it brings to my heart. Another loss? I could not bare it.
I appreciate your reading, although I know most times I don't reply. Most of my energy each day is used towards being well for my children and husband. The gospel doesn't fix every thing. I know I will see my boy again someday, but that has not erased or masked the grief I feel in this life. It does not change that I wish things were different, that I wish he was here beside me. I still struggle. Every day. And most days, there just isn't a lot left over to give. I appreciate, more than words express, your support, and your willingness to comment and walk this road with me.