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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

When the Hammer Falls Either Run or Duck

I recently wrote about running my first 10k under extremely challenging weather conditions.  The physical and mental strength and stamina I needed to run for one hour under those circumstances were significant to say the least.  It didn't occur to me until I put that into written words how my life and personal circumstances fits into that same mindset right now.

I took on a new and very demanding volunteer opportunity at the end of last spring.  Since then I've given it my all at the expense of my mental well being and so much time with my family.  It is a good cause and one I would not continue with if I didn't strongly believe in its worth.  Regardless it's taking a toll.  I feel like it's just one catastrophe to the next and since I am the leader I end up having to clean up all the messes while trying to balance spinning plates on my head and both hands and sometimes a knee as well.   I would never cut it in the circus.  Too many broken plates.

Power of a written word is amazing.  Day after day I feel like throwing in the towel, or rather, just taking all of these plates that I'm spinning and chucking them as hard as I possibly can into a brick wall.  The satisfaction of seeing them shatter would be worth it.  At least that's what I tell myself.  For a few minutes or maybe even an hour that much would be true.  But then I starting thinking about that 10k.  It was a painful experience but the feelings that hit me when I crossed that finish line were so worth it.  As an aside, it's awfully creepy to finish a 10k not anywhere near last place and have no one but the timer at the finish line and he was sitting in a pickup truck.  Told you the weather was Bad that day!

I finished.  I persevered and no one can take that away from me.  I built a little bit onto myself that day.  I pushed myself farther than I thought I could go.  Better yet, I didn't push myself to the brink which means I have even more to give.  Afterwards I was very cold and very wet but I felt good.   I placed better than expected but in all honesty very few people actually ran the race and I was just slightly off my goal time which was awesome considering how freaking windy it was that day and that I ran the last three miles straight into that 45mph wind.  My volunteer position goes until the end of this spring which leaves me with many more months and probably many more catastrophes.  A year is a lot longer than an hour to spend under that kind of stress.  But in reality I've been through much worse.  I've carried two pregnancies that ended with me leaving a hospital without my son and at the cemetery so I just don't think this can compare to that in terms of badness.  Not much can.  Now that I've put a little more perspective in this situation I just need to keep telling myself I've been through worse and I can get through this too.  In fact, I may even feel good when it's over.  I can hope, right?

Friday, October 25, 2013

There Are Lessons All Around Us

My five year old just finished watching Disney's The Lion King.  I tuned in when an adult Simba returned to the Pridelands and faced his Uncle Scar for the first time since he left as a child because he believed he was responsible for his father Mufasa's death.  Mufasa believes he will get rid of Simba and confesses that it was he, not Simba, who killed Mufasa.

That revelation after so many years of self doubt, sadness and guilt, had to have been mind blowing for Simba.   He spent many years away from his home and away from his family and most importantly, not being his true self, because he lived in the shadow of all of those complicated emotions.  I get that he's a cartoon lion, but come on, there's a lesson in there for all of us.  Especially us.  Carrying guilt in our hearts over the loss of our little ones can only stand in the way of us being able to be our true selves.  It can separate us from family, friends and ourselves.  Guilt is a corrosive emotion which can literally change us from the inside out.

To quote the great Pumba, "[Y]ou got to put your behind in your past" er, I guess I'm looking for Timon's correction, "You gotta put your past behind you".  That doesn't mean forgetting, it doesn't mean completely letting go.  Hold on to your little ones, always keep them close.  But it does mean doing what we can to recognize any guilt we carry and to get out from under it's shadow.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

When I Realized I Am Somewhat Healed

As I'm sure many of you know, this past Tuesday, October 15th, was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  I knew that too but I didn't actually realize it until after 10pm that evening and even then I didn't come to that realization on my own.  I happened to be reading a book with the local evening news on and bam! there was mention of pregnancy and infant loss remembrance.  It got my attention immediately and just as quickly I felt like a schmutz.  Here the whole day had passed and I did nothing.

It's okay, judge me.  I know what an important day this is to the community of us who have lost pregnancies and/or infants.  I never dreamed it would be possible to forget this day.  While wondering how this could have happened, I realized that for me it is a signal that I've healed - some.  I no longer want or need to announce my loss to the world which was a big part of my participation in October 15th in years past.  I wanted everyone and anyone to know how much I had suffered.  I needed to have some kind of explanation out there for how freakish I felt inside.  As the days, months and years have passed I have assimilated that suffering into myself and at some point unknown to me it just became a non-defining part of me.  I no longer define myself as bereaving mother though I know I will be one until the day I die.  It is another hat that I wear underneath all of my others.  It's a hat that I can't take off but one that I also don't show off.  It's something I hold close to my heart like the other weekend when I ran my first 10k and woke up to a day of snow mixed with rain and 40mph+ wind gusts and instead of seeking refuge in my warm, comfortable home I went to that race and I ran it because I knew no matter how difficult it would be physically that I have suffered so much worse in my life and I would absolutely make it through.  And I did.

I do so much for my boys now without even giving it conscious thought.  They are my rock and keep me grounded when everything else is in the air.  I just keep telling myself that I've suffered so much worse and I can get through whatever is dragging me down.  I no longer need my pink and blue ribbon but I know exactly where it is. I'm sorry October 15th, I'm sorry that you didn't get the attention you deserve from me this year.  I'm also incredibly grateful for those of you who gave it more attention that most, for those who make sure it is declared a day of remembrance, for those who place beautiful white roses and poems on all of the baby graves in my cemetery, for whoever got it on the local news that evening.  Because October 15th is about more than me, Wyatt, or Eli - it's for recognition of the pain those of us who have lost little ones carry, it's about letting others know how and why they can help us bear that pain, and it's about letting anyone who has carried that pain know that it's okay to recognize the pain and that it's never too late.  So I may be late, but to all those who have lost pregnancies or infants, God bless you, your families and your little ones.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to Keep Swallowing That Lump In Your Throat

My post on grief relapse somehow didn't include one extremely important occurrence which I somehow forgot...the first Potter baby to survive.  I've posted about this before and since it has received media attention because her mother is a member of Congress.  It has caused hurt and controversy and of course, is a beacon of hope for those of us who have walked and are walking through the darkness of infant loss due to Potter's.  Many suggest that little Abigail can't have true Potter's, that perhaps there is something that the public doesn't know, tissue that was not reported on, etc.  Others believe it's a true miracle.  Even the congresswoman herself touts it as a miracle.  

I understand that point of view completely and if her baby had been my first Potter's baby I would probably say very similar things.  But my reality is my own headstone with two little coffins buried in between my husband and my final resting places.  So, I respectfully disagree that her daughter is a miracle.  Her daughter is the product of medical patients who were able to access medical professionals who were willing to do something that went against the grain.  Doctors who were willing to try something that appeared to be effective instead of standing behind the already delivered death sentence.  Maybe that behavior is miraculous but I don't believe it should be.  For any medical condition.  Period.  We should all have access to the best health care and to the doctors and other medical professionals who will listen to their patients, treat their patient's conditions and be willing to work with patients to achieve the best possible result in every situation.  

I digress.  This has bothered me on a very subconscious level EVERY SINGLE DAY since I first found out about it.  I don't and I can't dwell on it because there is nothing I can do to bring Wyatt and Eli back.  What I can do is spread the word and through my words encourage others to find answers and treatment.  But this all just really kills me in so many ways.  Of course I'm relapsing.  I've lost 2 sons to this condition and the most recent only 2 years ago.  Of course.


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