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The times that mattered the most…

For all of my grief journey I have been carried by love. God has sent angels here on earth to comfort us (Jason and I) as we mourn the loss of our firstborn Ella. We have received this love and comfort like beggars starved for bread. It was and is essential to us, like the air that we breath. This love, understanding, and compassion has fueled our empty bodies and sown up our broken bones so we can go on living, and running our race. There have been countless times when I failed to realize, either blinded by my own grief, or blinded by my own neglect of who was truly there all along. Past blogs have been about the incredible hurt, rejection and disappointment I felt from the few who could not give me all that I asked for. Why did I focus on them? Why could I not see the MANY people who grieved with me, and listened to me, and helped me along? For whatever reason, my perspective has shifted and I feel morose for all the time I spent on being disappointed in the few people who could not understand my pain. My past perspective was most likely inevitable…but I  share this with you because maybe for you it doesn’t have to be. When you are disappointed and hurt by someones inability to love you in the way that you need, focus on the people who do get you, and Do love you. I failed to do this fully until now. It is a perspective that time has given me.

I have compiled a list of people, too many to count, and pictures of the times and instances that mattered the most to me. These actions, words, and gifts meant literally the WORLD to me. It would be a fallacy for me to walk on and never acknowledge the actions and love that YOU have all bestowed upon a broken couple. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for not fearing to feel your own heart break. Your compassion is courageous.

The Times That Mattered The Most

-when you sent me two ornaments, one of a mom holding a girl for Ella, and the other of a mom holding a boy for Beck
-when you sent me flowers every month in honor of Ella’s memory
-when you bought me a jar of 1,000 white buttons just like the song I wrote
-when you made a daisy flower crown in honor of your niece, and when you wear it on days you especially miss her
-when you randomly buy me white roses from the grocery store when you can tell I’m having a hard day
-when you told me about your miscarried sibling and how you long for the day to meet them
-when you text me ever so often and simply ask how I am doing, for real
-when you made my songs about suffering and loss so beautiful-you moved my soul
-when you call my mom and ask her how she is doing
-when you called me and left many messages of encouragement…you never spared me your own tears which are so precious to me
-when you continually listen to me pour out my heart and you never judge me
-when you told me you understand my sadness better now because of your healthy children
-when you left flowers at her grave
-when you cried over her grave
-when you wrote a beautifully vulnerable email to my husband sharing with him your life’s greatest loss
-when you made a dozen clouds and gave them to me…full of inspiration and love
-when you went out of your way to tell me on your wedding day that you missed her too, and when you placed a rose on your table just for her
-when you sent me flowers on her angelversary, and how you always tell me it’s ok to feel whatever I am feeling
-when you let me dump all of my ugly thoughts and feelings on you time and time again over the phone
-when you texted me after you had your little girl, and you had the sensitivity to ask me how I was doing
-when you showed me the bracelet you made and wore with Ella’s name on it
-when you helped heal my body and spirit with your guidance through yoga
-when you reached out to Jason and I and let us stay in your home, and blessed us with many gifts…a keurig and some amazing books about still birth to name a few
-when you told me I was brave
-when you shared with me your wisdom on life, grief and eternity
-when you took my story and made it into the most beautiful art
-when you put yourself in my shoes and envisioned exactly what I felt when I wrote my song kerosene
-when you sent me such a powerful and personal painting inspired by my song and by Ella
-when you, so many of you share your precious babies brief lives with me
-when you care about my grief amidst your own for your teenage daughter gone way too soon
-when you kept reaching out to a stranger via fb, then eventually meeting me and listening to my heartache
-when you always curl up on my lap when I am feeling completely devastated
-when you buy me little angels from the thrift store, they are Ella’s angels
-when you shared your poem of your own despair and questions regarding Ella’s death
-when you carry our sadness despite your own depression, mental illness, and homelessness
-when you made me a photo album of pictures of when I was pregnant with Ella
-when you send little gifts and tokens that remind you of Ella
-when you had custom made decorations with lyrics from climbing clouds on them
-when you two helped me make my memory wall with Ella’s clothes and blankets
-when you sent me a collection of bible verses about grief that I look at every day
-when you cried the tears that I couldn’t cry when I was in shock
-when you mention her name at every family gathering

-when you made a custom piece of art for Beck’ room and included a white rose for Ella

-when you choreographed a beautiful dance to climbing clouds in honor of my family and Ella

-when you made dozens of precious clouds for my album cover and let me keep them all-each one reminds me of her, you gave me a precious symbol I will treasure my whole life

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Anecdote

Sometimes after the passing of time, someone you love can sort of be turned into an anecdote. “Grandpa in heaven,” or “so and so always liked this,” or “I bet Ella is so happy in heaven.” The tenderness and quiet honor that people once observed seems to be a thing of the past. Now, when people talk about Ella…it’s just so matter of fact. I do not harbor any bitterness or resentment towards people, but I do not know how to react. I cannot feign the indifference that time has brought to others. I cannot feign the acceptance that others have chosen to embrace. I am still her mother, and I have not accepted her death.

The other night I felt the clouds of grief descend upon me, and the tears would not stop. I don’t know why it’s difficult for me to admit these feelings and tears to others and even to my husband. The words struggle to come out. The truth is–at times I am completely submerged in a sorrowful anguish. My heart breaks open anew continually, and all of my memories, regrets, questions and broken hope come spilling out. I feel lost again, when all I want is to feel found and safe..even for a moment.

I thought that after Beck came, I would feel infinitely more grateful to God. I thought that that gratitude would somehow propel me to a greater intimacy and closeness to Him. Beck is here, and although I am grateful–I still struggle with a faith that is to me, so fragile. Sometimes it even seems a facade. I don’t know why I am still ignorantly trying to “figure God out.” Trying at times to stuff him back into the box of my past understandings…how I long for that child like trust and naiveté. I am trying. Trying to do the things that I think I should, and the things I think God wants me to do. Read my bible, memorize and meditate on scripture. The truth is, I do not know what the truth is..and I don’t think thats good enough. I wrestle with God on lots of fronts, but I really desire peace. I wait vainly for a prompt or secret message that will suddenly make life and all it’s tragedies “click.” I know that Jesus is the answer…and that He was a man of suffering and sorrows. I know this. I like this Jesus. But I still don’t understand Him.

A relationship without trust must not have any love in it, and that scares me. I cannot reconcile my former faith and foundation, the death of my daughter, and the birth of my son. I don’t know why this is so challenging for me, but it is. I can pin-point the time of my doubts and the start of the extreme testing of my faith.

After Jason and I found out that Ella had no heartbeat, we were required to go to the hospital and get an ultrasound for a second opinion. We called my entire family, and had everyone praying. As we went into that room, the ultrasound tech searched, but found no heartbeat. My dear family…sisters, brother, mom, dad and brother-in-law all came in the room. My mom asked the tech to leave so they could pray over me and Ella. She left, and my family prayed the most fervent prayers I have ever heard in my life. They begged God, petitioned God, recited scriptures to God, rallied their faith, wept their tears and asked. Then the tech came back in and checked again….and still no heartbeat.

Before Ella died I had made the habit of reciting the Lords prayer everyday…”Our Father who art in heaven hollowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” I cannot pray this prayer right now. I am afraid of Gods will. I wish I was more godly, and a stronger person…but I am shook to the core, and my foundations are laid bare. All I can cling to is that God is doing a work in me, and that He will finish it. I cannot change my own heart, and this current excavation is incredibly ugly and broken to me.