Monday, October 13, 2014
So much has happened since our sweet Charlotte was placed into our arms and then peacefully left this world. One of the things I have learned to do most is live again; to be happy and feel fulfilled in my life. I am still a wife and mother. Focusing on my boys and my home has helped me to see that I still have an amazing amount of purpose. Every day is different and some are more difficult than others but I do what I can to make the best of it. The first few months were unbearably hard. I wanted to crawl inside a hole and never come out. We all know that everyone's journey through grief is different and I am by no means a standard of how things should happen. I have been so beyond blessed and know that my journey has been a unique one.
The most amazing thing that has happened is we got pregnant again!! We are pleased to announce that we are expecting baby #2 on April 15th 2015. We knew that we wanted to have another child again soon and were amazed that it didn't take long at all. I am also amazed with the amount of healing that has taken place in my heart because of this baby. I feel my sweet angel still so close, letting me know that it's okay to be happy and excited about this pregnancy. I feel her excitement and joy for us and this new child as well. I know in my heart that she wouldn't want us to put our lives on hold because she is no longer with us physically. She is still very much a part of our lives and our family, carefully watching over us every day. I feel very strongly that she is preparing this spirit to come into our home as well.
As I enter my 2nd trimester and we remember our angel babies even more this Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, I am definitely lost in thoughts of the day Charlotte was born. I can still see her beautiful face as she was cradled in the arms of her Daddy. I watched her breathe and can still remember the moment I knew in my heart her little spirit had left her tiny broken body. It still brings tears to my eyes to think about those few short moments we had with her. I felt so numb as her tiny body was placed on my chest before we were wheeled out of operating room. She was still warm and soft and real. I couldn't hold onto her long enough. The time just felt so short. Even now, it feels like the softest memory of a dream; as if just waking up and it's still fresh in my mind. The touch of her delicate little fingers. The curve of her lips. The red in her eyelashes. My little girl is still very much alive in my heart. I carry her with me everywhere I go. I see her in my dreams and I feel her in the small tender moments of our lives.
I pray that no matter what life brings, I will always see Charlotte there with us, that I will always feel her as our family grows, and she will always be a part of the reflection of who I have become. As I look ahead to welcoming this new little one and celebrating Charlotte's birthday just shortly after, I feel peace. I know that God's hand is in my life. He is in the details. He is ever aware of my heart, my joys and pains, and my journey ahead. I am doing my best to trust Him and have faith that life is and will be......beautiful.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Death is an emotional experience for anyone who has faced it in one way or another; whether that emotion is grief, anger, heartache, regret, emptiness, or just feeling numb. We ALL walk a different path when mourning the loss of a loved one. We all process and cope in the best (and sometimes worst) ways we know how to. No one, save Christ alone, truly knows what we are going through and what is in our heart of hearts. This can cause us to look and judge in ways that we don't expect. We may wonder why someone does what they do, or why someone would post something on Facebook, or why they may say the things they do, or act a certain way. It's not easy to understand what to say to someone who has lost a child. It's dang near impossible. The words of condolence and shows of support can be like walking through uncharted territory. I know that when my friend lost her baby days before her due date to a cord accident, I didn't know what to do or say other than to tell her that I loved her, my heart was broken for her, and that I was there for her if she needed me. Sometimes that's all we need; is to know that we are not alone, and that we won't be judged for how we grieve.
Forgiveness. I'm not by any means a superhero, and have people in my life that I have struggled to forgive, and still feel like I haven't quite got there with. This was different. I knew that whatever was fueling his fire had nothing to do with me, yet after communication with him, knew that there was nothing I could do to make the situation better. His bitterness and resentment were driven by things from his life, and his family's past and I was just the girl who got the sharp end of the stick. He judged my grief process based on how public I was, saying that it was more courageous to be quiet about it. Let me tell you right now, how "quiet" you are has nothing to do with courage. Courage is handing your infant's lifeless body over to a funeral director. Courage is watching your daughter die in the arms or your spouse knowing you never got the chance to hold her while she was alive. Courage is carrying a child to term knowing you may have mere minutes with her. Courage is knowing that the journey ahead will change you completely and still facing every day life with the hope that maybe the Doctors are wrong. Courage is having faith that life will be beautiful again, that you will smile and laugh and feel happy. For someone to judge how you walk through your journey, how you survive without the child you love so dearly, how you manage to breathe when you feel like your world is collapsing in around you is not only shocking, but sickening. The only way I knew how to get rid of that feeling was to forgive him and let him walk away, knowing it was out of my hands.
Monday, June 9, 2014
I'm not good at dealing with things that force me to confront my deeper issues. I feel completely alone in my struggles and my grief. The world doesn't revolve around me, but it sure hasn't stopped spinning just because my daughter died. I feel as though I am standing in a room full of people; completely invisible. I could scream at the top of my lungs and no one would hear me. My desire to get in a car and just drive is superseded by my love for my boys and the gratitude I have for how they keep me grounded. I know I can't just run away from my problems and my fears. Nothing will ever change, and it's the worst way to deal with anything.
Monday, June 2, 2014
Finding your way through life is the everyday challenge we all face. One day at a time. I don't get a free pass because I'm a grieving mother. In fact, I feel that there is more expectation on me now than ever before. It feels like everyone is quietly watching and waiting for my "next move". Well, I have a surprise. There is no grand next move. My life is still my same old life it was before, I'm just trying to figure out exactly how to live that life.
There's something you don't know. I hate being emotional and feeling that I don't have control over my emotions. I hate being messy. I hate feeling sad and blue and hurty. I want to not feel this way. I want to feel happy again. I want to not feel anxious. I want to feel like I'm fulfilling my role in life. These are all things that I want. I want to have a day that "feels" normal. I don't want to fight my demons. I want them to see my heart breaking and say "Wow. Even I wouldn't want that. Let's give her the day off." But no, there is no "day off". There is no break. There's only early mornings with a sleepy eyed little boy, goodbye kisses with the man I love so dearly, loads of laundry and dishes to be done. All the while, I fight the urge to scream, shout, and drink something heavy. My life is beautiful and hazy. My heart is vulnerable and heavy, yet I keep moving. I can't give up and just quit. Many days I'd like to drown myself in Netflix until it's time for bed. My desire to function is driven by my obligation to my boys. Without them, who knows how I'd be handling everything?
I put my headphones in and try to drown out what I'm feeling, yet searching for music that speaks to my soul. John Mayer's "Slow dancing in a burning room" seems to be an anthem I can relate to, not on a relationship level, but visually. I feel like everything around me is going up in flames and all I can do is stare at the beauty of it. I'm numb, just stuck in the middle of the blaze.
These are the feelings I can't shake. Every day is something new. A new trigger. A new frustration. A new challenge. There is no break. The is only an emptiness that can't be replaced, a hole in my heart that was left by tiny footprints and 17 minutes of a perfect life.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
I have become a member of a club that no one wants to belong to.
On April 13, 2014 Charlotte Rose Brooks was born at 4:48 pm. 17 minutes later she was gone, and nothing has been the same since. Everyone has something to say about it. Everyone has a bit of information and piece of advice when it comes to grief and how I should process "this". I smile, I listen, I take it all in. I do my best to be polite. Half the time I'm not even listening.
I live my life one day at a time, sometimes from moment to moment. I don't talk about Charlotte. It hurts too much. I don't like being a mess. I NEED to be functional. I'm still a wife and mother. I have things to do, and it's not like someone else can do them for me. I move throughout my day and catch glimpses of her picture on the wall. She's laying peacefully on my chest, her fingers delicately curled as if she's only asleep; as if there is still life inside her. It's the most perfect moment. Her tiny hand and footprints are memorialized hanging below her picture on the wall. I stop and think about how big her hands and feet were for her 3 lb 14 oz body. I love all her details and how they have stuck in my mind. Her imperfect little body was so perfectly beautiful. She was not fit for this world, but she fit perfectly in my arms, Her eyelashes, tinted with red like her father's beard, fringed across her eyes like feathery little fans. Her heart was on the wrong side, but it beat with purity. Her itty bitty toes were bent wrong, and her spine was twisted. There was no way that physically she would survive long, and we knew that. We expected it...... but nothing we expected could prepare us for what we felt, experienced, and went through.
This is what I live with every day. This is what goes on inside my head.
Most days are tear free, and relatively OK. I get the munchkin off to school and the hubby off to work without complications or separation anxiety. I do laundry, wash dishes, and watch Netflix. I try to focus on where my life goes from here and how to keep Charlotte's memory alive. I'm learning how to grieve and function at the same time, not having a clue how to make the two fit together. No matter what anyone has told me, this is a journey I have to find my own path on. My journey includes pink hair streaks, laughs with my friends, tears with my husband, and a hole in my heart that will never go away. I just try to breathe and feel a little less numb each passing day.