Drinking from the cup of grief is swallowing battery acid
A burning, constricting, end of life anxiety and torment
Torment that ascends like a rolling wave, gentle and deadly
All encompassing, all consuming
The thought followed by the swallow
I swallow death, and death swallows me
This particular poison never kills
It incapacitates it’s victims with anxiety and disbelief
I swallow these thoughts, a concoction of bitter sadness
Lost dreams, splitting heart, and ripped seams
I swallow this poison, or does the poison swallow me?
Run myself a bath
Try to dissolve my troubles in the water
Truth is, haven’t opened the good book
Since I buried my daughter
Think time and time again
Wish I was still a mother, wish he was still a father
In the strictest sense of the word, it still rings true
But the truth of my reality paints all my past, present and future dark blue
Wish you were five years old, wearing pink as we sing happy birthday to you
You are not a ghost, not an angel, not a dream
You were a net that was cast, and lost out at sea
You are not a memory, or a lesson, or a misfortune, or a tragedy
You were more than blood and bones and flesh to me
You are a soul, you are a song
You are a groan in my chest, that will ache my whole life long
Well Christmas is over. I had an ok time, lots of tears, and also lots of laughter. My husband Jason and I really clung to each other and shared intimate moments of pain and remembrance. We got special ornaments for Ella and little keepsakes to honor her memory, and these little gifts provoked such a mix of emotions…disbelief, grief, awe, confusion…hope.
I had a lot of anxiety surrounding my ideas and expectations for Christmas. One thing is for sure–It ended up being so much more than I expected it to be. My goal was just to get through it with as much grace as I was allotted. But God gave me a gift–he helped me find meaning in it.
A few days before Christmas Jason and I got a text from our cousins asking if they and their daughter jasmine could stay with us until their power was back on. Not wanting anyone to have Christmas without heat, we told them to come on over. Jasmine and I played games, while Jason and my cousin put a Christmas project together in the basement. We learned that they were going through a tough time financially and that they didn’t have enough money to buy jasmine gifts this year.
We decided to play Santa for Jazzy and went out and bought her lots of cute little girls clothing. It hit me while I was shopping–that if Ella was still here I would’ve been buying things for her this Christmas. God brought jasmine to my house, so I could bless her. That was so beautiful to me…it truly is better to give than to receive. I feel like God is always grafting and quilting our lives together–bringing the childless woman a little one to bless and love–because that is what she needs. Bringing the widow the love and companionship of family, and when that is not enough…her beagle perhaps :). Bringing the motherless daughters a polish adopted mother to love and glean wisdom from. Loss makes room for people we may have overlooked in the past–it opens our hearts and eyes more. I’m so thankful that God provided me the opportunity to bless someone else’s daughter this christmas when I couldn’t bless my own.
This year nothing is as it should be. I keep reminding myself that perhaps next year will be better, perhaps not so bitter, a little sweeter. For myself, and for many this time of year brings pain, and such an emptiness that only death can cement. After removing myself from facebook for almost a month, I decided that perhaps I was strong enough to get on, and bear the baby photos and expectant moms. I logged on to find an email from a friend, who had just recently suffered the loss of her baby. I can hardly explain how I felt as I read those sad words…completely broken and powerless, and so connected to her. I’ve had two friends this month say goodbye to all of their hopes and dreams…their babies joining my Ella in heaven. It doesn’t get easier, it get’s more sorrowful and sometimes more confusing. It’s like being captured and tortured…in a room–and you are just hoping you don’t see someone you love and care about open that door, and walk through. My heart is so broken this Christmas..broken for the moms and dads who will never get to hold their children again. Broken for my friends, broken for strangers, broken for the parents of the massacred children of Sandy Hook. I know that God is proofing me in this pain. He is carrying me, even though I’ve yet to hear a single word since she left. Change with pain is inevitable..I am a different person now then I was 2 months ago. I cry more. I let myself imagine others pain more. I am more compassionate, more caring, and less self-consumed. This pain has given me unimaginable freedom from my selfishness..it has cured me from thinking that the world revolves around me. I will never ever be the same, and I don’t want to be.
My Grandma and my mom passed on a really helpful book called “Grief: the Beginner’s guide.” The author encouraged me to not think of pain as a bad thing, as something to be avoided, or hurried over. Rather pain is something to revel in. Pain is the only thing that can truly change us to be more like Christ…His love is not the only thing that transforms-His pain and His burdens make us like Jesus more than anything else can.
So where do we all go from here? An incredible anxiety sets in when I think of the coming months…the count down for me is still on until Ella’s due date February 11th. Every day until then I will think of her shower, her crib, her room, her arrival…I still get those email updates from every single baby web-site on the internet…so if I forget they remind me. I am afraid of the day after Christmas, because when the twinkle lights come down, and ornaments are packed away there might be a bleak nothingness.
Have these days really been fine?
Living off of 3 cups of coffee
Followed by 3 cups of wine
Hoping, and coping with the idea of hope
Angry at myself for imagining another life
Has it really been only eight days time?
You were with me, then you went
And we were forced to say goodbye
It’s hard not to be mad sometimes
It’s hard not to cry, then when I don’t cry
It’s hard to be happy and still feel alright
A little ashamed to be bitter, and sad to wish others knew
…or at least I felt like they did
Not sure how to remember in an honorable way
Not sure how or what to forget, to begin to feel ok
Anger at times, though hidden–seems like the only way
To choose how I react or mourn
Is really for no one, but me to say
Abba, I’m so sad. I need you to remind me of your love and your plans. I’ll admit I don’t have a lot of will to go on. I feel aimless, and directionless, and a bit hopeless. I don’t understand Father, why we had to endure this plan. Why my little girl who was wanted and loved is now dead. I miss her so much. I’m not mad at you, I just feel like I’m at the end of my rope. I don’t want to forsake you. And I don’t want to believe you’ve forsaken me. I’m so suffocated, like my soul can’t breathe, can’t rest, can’t truly be free when a major part of me was ripped from my body and soul without warning. I just wanted to let you know, I’m here, I love you, and I’m so brokenhearted.