6

Numb

Dear Ella,

I don’t know if I have the courage to be honest right now. In fact, I know I don’t. I am consciously blocking thoughts of you out of my mind…because I fear my worst fear happening all over again. Does this make me untrue?I feel so cheated, and ill-equipped to cope with the life I have been given. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point I hit, or thought I hit “pause” on my grief button. I entered a strange survival mode. Survival mode is a lot like living like a robot. I wake up each day and force a lonely emptiness on my mind, as I will my consciousness to a barren and wasted mind-scape of nothingness. The first thing I see everyday is your cloud hanging above my bed, then I see the dress you never wore, and the quilt that never kept you warm. I see, but the eyes of my heart are dead and unregistering as I begin to will the pain, acceptance and even reality away. I build my wall of resistance and I try to defy my grief by convincing myself it is better to feel nothing. Numb. I’ve become numb after growing so weary of feeling every little thing so intensely. The pain of feeling constantly judged, the pain of feeling like I’m never enough, the pain of my pain going unrecognized, validated or even spoken of. I have grown so tired of the pain of not having my should be almost one year old baby girl here with me. Death denies me my motherly right everyday, would you fault me for wanting to deny it back? My pain and tears have been replaced with numbness and fear. My mind oscillating between the two as I try so very hard to feign indifference. I don’t know how to function when my only frame of reference for being a mother is birthing and burying a dead baby.

And I think to myself, Ella…I wish I could have heard you cry. But then I realize how selfish that is, and that your first breaths were not cries–in fact I’m sure you opened your mouth and either a song came out, or a laugh. Not here though. Why is it that the thing we do after we draw our first breaths is to cry? It seems sometimes that there is nothing more to life than that first cry. These walls and this “get through the day” mentality will all come tumbling down in a matter of time…with the birth of your brother. I see the tidal wave of hope and also of renewed despair and grief. A wave that will haunt me for all that we’ve lost again..but that will also soothe with new life. I hate living in this almost realized paradox of life and death. Soon the floodgates will open, and my heart will be open again to feel the intense love for another one of my children. I know I cannot keep it out, and I do not wish to–but for now it’s all damned up. I am broken. I am surviving. I have lost track of how many times I have spoken to the silence, and to your dad “I just want both of them.” I want to have my little Ella, and I want my little prince. I miss you Ella…and I know I am going to miss you in new ways that I didn’t think were possible when Beck is finally here. I am so scared to miss you more…but I want to. I am afraid I will not be able to stand what is coming…so for now I wait and watch fearfully and numbly…I know that this will all change as the new waves of joy and grief are coming. 

 

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4

Another Mother must bury her Son

 

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Today I am carrying someone else’s burden. Earlier this week my mom called to let me know that a former classmate and nephew of some dear friends of ours was dying in a hospital in Miami. Hearing the news really broke my heart, and I found myself unable to really focus on anything but praying for him and his family. I prayed fervently all day..that he would know he was loved by the God of the universe, and that angels would be sent to comfort him and his family. I prayed for healing. I prayed that his parents would not have to bury their son. I prayed as a mom who has lost a child. I’ve mentioned in other posts that my relationship with God has changed since Ella’s death tremendously. I no longer ask for selfish things that I want. I don’t ask God for protection, or blessings, or good health…I only ask Him the things that I truly believe in faith He will answer. I believe that God wants to hold Alex more than anything…that He wants to heal him from the inside out. I prayed for Alex to accept that love, regardless of his life or death. I know from experience that God doesn’t answer every prayer the way we want Him to or the way we expect–so I’ve changed the way I pray. I pray knowing that God is able, but for whatever reason He is not always willing. 

I believe that God did answer my prayer to cover Alex with love and warmth and light…even though he has died. His death has shook me again. In three weeks or less I will give birth to a baby boy–God willing, and Alex’s death has made me realize all over again that I do not have control. Alex was someone’s son, someones nephew, someones brother…he was carried with love in the womb, just as I am carrying my son. I can’t help but think about my son when I think about Alex. It breaks my heart knowing that I am powerless to save my son from disease, cancer, heartbreak, and even death itself. Finally, I am at the place where I can at least admit that Ella’s death spared her from knowing pain–and this does give me a little comfort sometimes. But today I am carrying his mothers burden –she had to watch her 26 year old baby die. I can’t imagine going through 26 years of things, of clothes he wore just last week, of sheets, and pictures, and memories. I hate that I cannot take away his mothers pain. I can only bear it, and all I can pray today is “Lord carry them.”

 

The picture above is of my sister Brooke at Ella’s first Birthday. We released lanterns and it was very special and symbolic of letting go all over again. I want to share a beautiful poem that she wrote about Ella, and her questions and grief…

 

Are you here with me?
Can you hear my voice….
There is so much noise
Am I one among many, or can you recognize me?
I see a blade of grass, it grew apart from the field

it is shaking in the constant might of the wind

But it has no bend in it, Can you see me standing here?
Surrounded by outstretched limbs and reaching branches, almost as fists shaking in the sky

Angry so angry
Do my words reach you? My whispers in my head, do they matter?

I’m afraid they are meaningless words that float through empty space, and then sink to the soles of my feet
If I had an anchor I would trade my sails in for it any day
Will this wind ever die down? If only my troubled heart could reach you, and rest

Just rest in whatever dose of healing you would lavish on it
All the happy words and easy phrases, shallow unbelieved praises, spoken from uncompassionate faces

Apathetic to any tragic life changes, eager to judge my response to MY personal anguish
There is this ache that burns like an ember resting on your skin

Tearing through layer by layer, melting flesh to reach your bone

And as it restfully burrows in your whole body ignites within as a raging flame, spreading head to toe, heart to head to mouth

What I speak comes as black smoke left from ashes smoldering in a pit
Never will my eyes see a beautiful thing and truly recognize it, or an ugly imperfection without surprise or expectation
You give and take away, but for some reason it feels as though you have stolen from me

From us
I imagine If I extend my hands I could release this frailty of belief and trust and that it would shoot from my hands into your being

And I would know that you know how little I have to hang on to and you would send out your life rafts to rescue this drowning soul

1

The Sound of Silence

I’ve been meaning to write for awhile now, but my continued fear of others and myself has kept me silent for too long again. This sharing never gets any easier for me. Fear of hurting people and fear of being misunderstood can keep people in a lonely silence. I want to share a journal entry I wrote a few days ago on Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving I wasn’t feeling particularly thankful…After examining myself, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t sad, or depressed…but that I was standing back at angers door. I had to remind myself again, that its ok to be angry. Anger is an acceptable emotion when your child, your hope, your daughter has died. 

Jason and I feel so keenly aware of our empty home, especially lately. We were so ready for a life change with Ella, and we had planned and prepared for the next stage of life. Laying on the couch tonight, Jason commented that he feels cheated…cheated out of being a father in the way he expected. Cheated out of all this time without our daughter. If I’m honest I feel I was cheated too. The silence of her birth and death has only grown and gotten louder for us, not quieter. As we see other babies grow, our longing for the hole that only Ella can fill deepens. The empty room, quiet hallways, hassle free life, date nights, clean rooms, good sleep, and clean floors only remind us of all that we have lost. Even as we anxiously await the birth of her brother, I cry and mourn for the relationship they will never have here on earth. We hear the silence at all times, and we are keenly aware of it’s presence. Sometimes I wonder if others hear it too.

 

I know I should be grateful, but I don’t feel very thankful

Thinking about my little girl, she should be here now

Two Thanksgivings past without her

She has made me so lonely

She was born in silence, and the silence has remained

It is deafening

Do people realize or hear the silence of our home?

Oh it aches, we try to distract ourselves and make some noise

But we will never hear her song

I’m angry again, I didn’t realize it until now

I’d almost mistaken my lack of tears for apathy

Attributed my silence for time gone by

But all the while I’m boiling underneath again

I’m so angry, and the anger doesn’t go away–often comes out and is misplaced

I’m angry she’s not here

I’m angry at the silence I feel we are forced to live with 

The emptiness of our hearts and home is evident to us

The sound of our silence is the only sound we hear