Saturday, January 31, 2009

Life's little lessons

Hi Andrew, apologies I've been absent but you know me- come and go and around again. Labyrinth should be my middle name. Live and learn, twist and turn, it's life not a recipe... right?

Our latest social fiasco brought with it another opportunity for me to warm to the reality that my ability to take a sensitive aware approach to life is often limited by my "bull in the China Shop" disposition.

Your gift to me of sensitive awareness has developed so much in my personal life. This strength continues to grow in my social interactions, it's a muscle that needs flexing and exercise. Thank you for helping me compassionately learn that my instincts are important, my feelings are valuable, and my senses are there to guide me through this journey called life.

Although so many of the "feelings" I've learned with you include pain, grief, frustration, and anger you've also brought me the opportunity to honor the feelings of confusion, awareness, concern, doubt, curiosity, and even contentment. My honoring of you and of these emotions is the axis of my growth.

Please be patient and lend me your support for this growth. You are loved and appreciated, thank you for your gifts of life and your gifts of wisdom, although they come with discomfort they come with much reward.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy New Year

Has it really been this long since I logged into this space? Where did December go? Did it go out the door with the dried but beloved Christmas tree? Did it go out to the curb with a variety of spent wrapping paper waiting for the big purple truck to take it to it's final resting place? Did it go down my throat along with all the other caloric treats that once appeared on our cabinet top or my in-law's table? Maybe it went onto the shelves where the collection of new toys and entertainment arrived for my children? Or maybe, it went into the ornament box that was tucked away with that beautiful collection of carefully wrapped decorations. Each with its own story and tale.

Wherever it went, I was seriously absent from this special space and I've missed it. Maybe my hangover resulted in a need to withdraw from the intensity of December?

Who knows, but Happy New Year. Time to reflect and share again. Time to take some moments with you Andrew and me, mommy. In that warm and special place that knows moderation.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grieving hangover

So why does it seem to feel worse today than Sunday? Why is it that I seem to feel more ache, more burnout, and more empty two days after Andrew's birth/death day than on the actual day? Maybe because on his actual day I, and my family made a conscious effort to honor and remember him. Maybe because I should have taken yesterday off from work like I originally planned to do and pamper myself with holiday preparations and lounging in my bathrobe, much like I was doing after my precious Andrew left my body four long years ago.

How is it that life, the present version that is, seems to consistently impact honoring my past? Why did the first ice storm of the year have to occur on the friday prior to my preplanned pampering monday? Why did the schools have to close and the daycare lose power leaving me to spend my blessed pampering vacation day caring for children in a house with no power and stressing over the cold and ability to entertain ourselves?

I guess this is the ultimate reality of parenting. Adjusting to the moment, working with less than ideal circumstances and making the best of various difficult situations. Overcoming obstacles and smiling while doing it.

Don't get me wrong, I love my living children to pieces and really do cherish every blessed moment with them. But, they get my energy all of the time. My poor and blessed Andrew gets such a minor percentage of that attention. The least life could have done is allow me the opportunity to take my one genuinely dedicated day out of the year and LEAVE IT ALONE!

Maybe it's life presenting me with one more big opportunity to "get it". The opportunity to look at the situation and realize that my Andrew and my own mental health are more important than the myriad of expectations others place upon me. Take Monday anyway.... who cares what anyone else thinks. You don't get these times back to "do over", I've learned this....if nothing else. Or have I?????

I yearn for that opportunity to lounge in my robe and sip a warm steamy cup of coffee and just savor a little reading or the silence in my own home that seems so very absent most of the time. Just a silent moment to really listen to myself, and my Andrew, my little baby boy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Light a candle

We light a candle for you tonight
my Andrew, my sweet darling dear.
I wish I could hold you and bring you to me
and keep you right with me so near.

It's been four very long and tiring years,
It's been such a long and hard journey.
I've cried and I've loved, I've looked up above,
For your beating heart I'm still yearning.

Your sister, your dad, your brother and I
We remembered you during this day,
We picked out an ornament, made you a dinner,
and prayed for you in our own ways.

Be certain of this, you are terribly missed.
We'd give anything to have you here.
On this special day, we pause and we say
precious boy thank you for your fourth year.

You are so very loved.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Missing him

Hubbie is away this week. My heart aches for him to be here next to me at night. This is the loneliest time of the day. The kids are asleep and I should be too, only I can't seem to. So, I read here and think about how I would like to be making more of a difference in the lives of other people who have had this same tragic loss. Somehow bringing something "good" from such a "bad" experience seems like the only real justification to it all. It just seems like it would be a tribute to Andrew and give even more worth to his brief life.

Why does this life include so much pain? Why is it that such tragic and heart wrenching things can happen in this life when a person is doing their best and genuinely being a decent human being. I mean, I don't hurt others intentionally. I work my job every day, I am honest and fair, I genuinely try to be a decent member of society. What did I ever do to deserve the shit of losing a son?

I had a very interesting conversation with a woman at work today. She is now single and living after two brain surgeries to remove a brain tumor. She lost the sight in one eye permanently and is now disabled and no longer working. She made the comment that her tumor had been a "blessing". It "gave her back her life". She indicated that her health issues resulted in her leaving a bad marriage and moving on to rekindle relationships with friends and family who actually loved her and had her best interests at hear. She now spends her days volunteering, supporting a wonderful "ex" mother in-law, and attending college via a senior citizen's program. She will likely be renting from my organization very soon. She's loving life. In many ways I envy her.

At what point do I learn to "love life" again and say that Andrew's loss was a "blessing". I say probably never. Although I do not walk in the same darkness that enveloped me for so long after Andrew's death, I still feel the aftermath of his loss. I would however love to be able to move forward and say that Andrew's brief life inspired me to do something wonderful. I'm just no so sure what that is yet. Nor do I have the courage to pursue it, as of yet.

I want so much to continue writing the next portion of "our story" describing our experience of Andrew's loss after the initial appointment where we were told that he had died. I just feel as thought it's going to take quite some time and be overwhelming to relive it again, so close to his birth/death date. Maybe on Sunday, his anniversary I'll have the motivation and courage to work on this piece. We'll see.

For now, I miss my husband. I need his warm back to rest my head on and his wonderful ability to listen to my blather.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Missing pictures

Why is it that when I look back at the pictures lovingly stored in our Kodak picture software I find almost no pictures of my pregnancy with Andrew? My daughter, my husband, my extended family, my home, my yard, my prior pets. All of them snapped and depicted in volumes. When I try to recapture the blissful nine months I spent carrying my Andrew I find nothing. I find two poorly taken shots of me looking away from the camera or asleep, caught without my knowledge. It is very disappointing.

Does this speak to my state of mind during my pregnancy? Frankly I have never been a terribly sentimental scrapbooking type. I have the desire, but lack the follow through. I do however love to snap pics at any opportune moment. Much more so now than ever before.

I know I was busy, busier than I should have been during my pregnancy. I know I took a lot for granted. I know that I will never do this again. I know that I'd give anything for a nice shot of my smiling face, carrying Andrew and looking as happy as I felt during that pregnancy. Why can't I seem to find this? Will I? Is there some family member or even stranger out there who has such a photo? I've never pursued it. Never had the courage to ask I guess. I've only bathed in guilt, consuming me and telling me I did something wrong and likely did not deserve any memorable pregnancy pictures.

I think I do, deserve a picture.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas lights

Our tree is lighting the living room behind me as I touch the keyboard. We did it, we put up the tree. A week ahead of the old schedule. A week before we celebrate, mourn, remember, and visit with Andrew. His first, second, and third Christmas ornaments are hung with care and are soon to be joined by number four. I think a Tonka truck of sort this year.

With the help of my trusty assistant, my eight year old daughter and my very nimble fingered 20 month old son we have adorned this tree with all the necessary lights, characters, handmade bells, candy canes and all the glitz that any child loves.

Andrew would have been right in the middle this year. Figuratively and literally. I wish so that he could have helped, but as I have mentioned before, he speaks to me.... if I just listen. His little gift to me today was, "slow down mommy". "Don't worry so much about making things 'look' just right. Watch and enjoy us. Think of me. Take a minute to realize how lucky you are to have this family. I am still with you even if you can't see me today, I'm here. Thank you for loving me." I thanked him back and took a moment to be thankful for all three of my beautiful children.

Midway through our tree lighting festivities I found myself on the road. I ran out of white lights. I just had to have a few more sets. I quickly drove to the local store to grab just afew.... five packs later (did I mention I am a bit obsessive sometimes?) I was on my way home to finish up with my helpers. While driving home I thought to myself how wonderful it is to have a sense that I am not alone. No longer alone. This place of wonder, this "blog" environment has given me a chance to know that there are others out there who are just like me. Who were hit in the head with a ton of bricks one day, when it was least expected. Out of the blue something was taken from me, and us, before we ever even had the chance to put up a fight. Something was taken that we nurtured for months with literally blood, sweat, and tears. It was so very unfair.

I've been a part of a group for parents who have lost a child. One other parent lost a child shortly after birth but most parents had lost a child after at least three years of life. The experience in the group has been very supportive and helpful however, reading the writing of other moms who've lost a child at or just prior to birth has been even more supportive. It's like reading things that I've had in my head. It's absolutely amazing. I'm not alone. I'm not a "freak" and I'm not a "bad person" and I'm not "guilty" of anything except being one of a very unfortunate group of women who find themselves being heart broken for a very long period of time. Fortunately at some point we find our heart again and move forward. Slowly one piece at a time, we pick up parts of our life and put them back together making once again something called... life.

So, we did it. We put up and lit the tree. And even better, I am lighting up my life.

Thank you to all and sincerely, keep sharing.