Unfortunately, our busyness does not rid us of our grief…
I agree with that. It can provide a temporary distraction, yes, and give us something else to focus on, but I’ve found that being “busy” just to be busy, that being wrapped up in work or projects, are not as helpful as others might think. “Keep busy,” “move on,” “get on with life” may seem like solutions to those who around us, because they only see what’s on the surface, they only see the “doing” that appears to be life returning to normal. Lisette at Learning to Breathe Again, recently blogged about an anonymous comment that basically told her to stop living in the past. People just aren’t comfortable with grief.
I’ve learned, from personal experience and from professionals in the books I’ve read (which have helped me to feel less abnormal-slash-crazy-slash-alien), that a big part of healing is leaning into the grief, of respecting and accepting the emotions that come with it, and working through it. This is not the same as wallowing (though I thing there is a time for that as well).
Over two months ago, I took a couple avocado pits, wrapped them up in damp paper towels, put them in a sandwich bag, and left them on top of the microwave. I told Louie that I wanted to grow them for Calvin and Rainbow. One day I checked on them and the paper towels were stained pink and the pits felt a little slimy. I thought about throwing them, out thinking they may have gone bad, but I didn’t want to give up. I changed the paper towels and put them back. A few weeks later, I checked on them again and saw that one was starting to crack. I covered them up and put them back. I’d forgotten about them for a while, and noticed them again. This time, one had a root starting to poke through the pit. I changed the paper towels, again, wrapped the pits up, put them back in the bag. Today, I checked on them and both had roots growing, and one had the start of a stem. I transferred them into glass cups with water, and can’t wait to be able to put them into soil. Two plants – one for each of my babies. These pits needed time in the wet, damp darkness so that they could be cracked open and new life could start. I think it’s a pretty good metaphor for grief and the time and patience it takes before we’re fully ready able to find joy and light again.
Immediately after losing Calvin my activities consisted of sleeping, crying, looking through his memory box, crying, sleeping. Right after losing Rainbow, I spent a week in bed, alternating between crying and watching “Ugly Betty.” I would try to make myself feel better by watching TV and DVDs. I distracted myself with more freelance work, but eventually the emptiness would grow. Others would try to distract me by changing the subject when I would start to feel sad. This didn’t help because it made me feel like my sadness was being trivialized or ignored.
The activities that did help were the ones that allowed me to express my grief in a more creative and meaningful way, whether it is remembering my own babies or honoring the children of other babyloss parents. One example was Mother’s Day last year, when Louie took me to the beach and I wrote names on the beach for babyloss mommies. If you look at my My First Mother’s Day post, you can see photos I took of these words: “I am a Mother” and “I gave my child to God.”
Something that I need to work on is not letting myself get overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion. Lately, I have realized my need to make time for quietness, and I am learning to find stillness again.
I wrote this in January:
Waiting for my Earth Babies
I’m not ready to settle
(I’m sorry to say) for
“just the two of us” or
“us against the world.”
I loved our children — love
our children — in a way
that is raw and primitive
I miss our babies.
And (I know it’s selfish to say) I want
the chance to be a mommy
to living children, not just a mother
to little ones who are Heaven-bound.
I think having another child could help ease the grief of losing the chance to mother a child on earth, but I don’t think it would ever erase the aching for Calvin and Rainbow. With each milestone of this next child, I would know what I missed with my first two.
Though I do want to have more children, I’m also afraid of losing another baby. I’m afraid that the reason neither of my babies survived was because they are better off without me.
If I am unable to have anymore children, I think I would be devastated, and would have to cling to God even more and pray that He would be quick in unveiling the plans He has for me.
Your Relationship to God
I promised to raise my children to know and follow Jesus, to give them to Him. Although I cry for my babies and wish they were with me and want them here, I never asked God “why me,” but rather for understanding. Although He took them in a way that I did not want, I do not question it. With Calvin, I promised myself that I would take care of my special needs baby, should he be affected by the amniotic bands or have Down’s Syndrome. I’m not sure how these promises impact my life today, because my babies aren’t with me. I don’t mean this to be bitter at all. I just don’t know how they affect life right now. I would the same for future children.
What do God’s promises mean to me? They mean that I don’t grieve without hope. I have faith and trust in God. Sometimes, my hope of finding happiness and joy has waivered, especially when I first lost Calvin and Rainbow, but I know He is with me and has carried me through the most difficult times. I really like Isaiah 43:2 and hold it especially close to my heart. Father Miguel shared it with me the day I delivered Calvin and gave me the bookmark to the left (in lesson 5, I shared the bookmark that Father Miguel gave Louie). Revelations 7:17 also speaks to me: For the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them unto fountains of waters of life: and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes. Through His grace, my tears will turn to rejoicing.
This Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy Bible Study is part of the “Walking With You” outreach of Sufficient Grace Ministries, led by Kelly Gerken. To learn more, read Kelly’s post: “Upcoming Threads of Hope Study.”
To read my posts on other lessons, please use the links below:
•Lesson One: Your Story
•Lesson Two: So Many Questions
•Lesson Three: This Can’t Be Happening
•Lesson Four: Why Me?
•Lesson Five: How Can I Go On?
•Lesson Seven: Moving On to Acceptance
•Lesson Eight: Learning to Let Go
•Lesson Nine: Finding Joy