May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nothing Places

I recently read the book "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Up Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer.  In it is a married couple with some serious love/communication issues which results in the creation of what they dub "nothing" or "something" places.  They invent these places where they can just disappear from the other person's presence.  It's an interesting thought to me, these nothing places.

With four kids and a husband in this moderately crowded sized house I can't fathom any place being a nothing place unless they were all out from under its roof.  But it would be nice sometimes to find one of those places.  A place where just for a few minutes I could be nothing, feel nothing and do nothing.  Nothingness.

I imagine that those few minutes would lead to a few minutes more and then eventually I would never leave my nothing place and that scares me.  Because nothing is really nothing.  We are meant to feel, the good and the bad, and to live, the easy and the difficult and through those things we learn and adapt and want more.  I want to be in a something place and mean something to at least someone until the day that I turn into nothing on this earth.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Untangling the Knots

I feel that I am just navigating a complicated web of knots lately much like an unraveled ball of yarn.  Some strings are loose and easy and others have inexplicably wound themselves into the tightest of knots.

I think it has a lot to do with number four.  More than ever, watching her grow up and move through the babyhood stages has made it crystal clear what I am missing and what I will always be missing.  When I went through this stage with number one I was so overjoyed just to have a living baby it really didn't matter as much whether she was a boy or girl and though her babyhood was bittersweet it was also elating in the celebrations of each little milestone.  With number four I know what's coming and I know what has passed.  The surprises aren't what they are with a first living child.  There is still joy and celebration but there is also a level of comfort and knowledge.  I've done this three times before so the little things don't send me into a tailspin of doubt and worry like they used to.  There's an ease to raising a fourth child and that ease has paved the way for my mind to wander down a different path.  A path on which I have at least one little boy, though hopefully both, in my life.

It probably doesn't help that Eli's birthday is just two months away.  Last year at this time I was pregnant and all of my focus went into getting this little girl here safe and sound.  I focused on a little person wriggling in my belly.  She didn't have a face, a personality, a smile, a laugh or a cry.  I couldn't make her happy or scare her or soothe her bad times away.  This year that is most of what I find myself doing and it's just too much sometimes.  I wonder how things will feel once his birthday is passed.  As my four year old says, "One, two, three, wait and see".

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas Future

Here we are into the new year, another Christmas gone.  My ninth Christmas spent missing my firstborn and only my second missing my fifthborn (if that's a word).  My emotions got the best of me this Christmas, and not in a good way.  Six stockings and four children really hit me hard.  My daughters perfectly innocent but searing questions as to why Santa didn't leave their brothers anything and how I knew their stockings were empty just killed my inside.  I left the room with a trail of tears.  We did everything like normal.  The usual hustle and bustle, the usual family busyness and the usual stress that goes along with a lot of family visiting for a short time.  We still got the boys gifts for their graves which we lovingly placed at the sites on Christmas Eve.  But it wasn't enough.  It wasn't right.  For me.

Next year will be different.  If I get my one wish we will find ourselves at the happiest place on earth and I will leave with some of the best memories ever.

But there will always be the year after and it is for those that I am seeking change.  The traditions that have been in place and that I find myself and my families clinging to desperately have to give some or give way to new traditions.  Traditions are traditions for a reason, I know.  They stand the test of time.  But I need to be able to stand through them and this year they frankly brought me to my knees.

For those of you newer to the grief that accompanies the loss of a child and specifically the shooting range full of triggers that accompanies holidays such as Christmas, I am officially nine years from my first loss and I can honestly say that ever single year since his loss I have experienced an unnamed sadness this time of year.  I have found it hard to smile, found it hard to find the joy in the season at times (not always) and found it so much different than the Christmas I remembered.  I thought hard about it this year since somehow as I find the years passing I find myself less internally flexible.  I am less willing to give myself license and space to grieve.  Another words, I am my own worst enemy.  I am telling myself its not okay to grieve, or at least grieve so much, at Christmas anymore.  That's not okay.  I have given myself permission and now taken it one step farther.

I am changing Christmas.  I am willing to create new traditions that will work for me.  Ones that respect my sadness and will hopefully help me through it much better.  I've come to the conclusion that it's just not worth it for me to continue putting on a smile just to make others happy when I am anything but happy inside.  It's not all about me and I am going to find a way to gently incorporate as much tradition into my new traditions along with a healthy infusion of honesty and let the chips fall where they may.  A few words to the big guy and the two little boys he's keeping for me can't hurt either.


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