(Me & my girls visiting Bobby last week. It was my first visit.)
I feel like a stripped down version of myself, rubbed against sand paper, my thoughts and feelings still coming out very raw. It's been a month since we found out that Bobby died and just a few days shy of his birthday. I've experienced all the after affects of having a baby, but no baby. My milk came and went, hot flashes, night sweats, and sleepless nights. It's funny because looking back on this month, it's with similar feelings and experiences of the newborn stage. The thought of "where did the time go?", "How has it been a month already?" Instead of sitting in a doctors office for a 4 week well visit, I'm sitting in a waiting room at a grief counselors office just across the street from our pediatrician. Life can feel ironic at times.
I went into my sonogram appointment on April 7 and literally came out a different person at the end of the day on April 10. My wandering, anxious thoughts turned into a nightmare of a reality. I miss what life was like before our loss. I miss laughing without wanting to cry after because I think of Bobby and his absence from our lives. I miss enjoying people, rather than just wanting to be alone. I miss looking forward to things and the anticipation of his arrival. The planning, the projects, the dreaming of our future. I miss the innocence of those days, the beautiful simplicity of them.
Grief was made to be experienced and felt, it's a process, it takes time. Here I am. A month later. Unfortunately, it still sucks. I still cry a lot. I still miss my baby. I still have moments throughout the day when it feels like my life is over. I didn't expect to be better by now, but I guess I expected some progress and a lot of days it's hard for me to see. This is hell. But I'm fighting. I'm taking steps to move forward, to heal and to grieve. Although it's discouraging, the slow goings of this remind me that grief doesn't work on a timetable, I can't will myself to get over this loss, and there are still big things to put behind me.
This week I took steps forward in the darkness and although it never would have been a big deal in my world before, it is now.
I had my first session with an amazing grief counselor. We talked a lot about that first week, how its changed me, and how to live life in my "new normal." I left feeling truly helped and cared for. Having a safe place like that to go is so huge for me right now.
I contacted the nurse manager at the hospital to discuss the details of my awful nurse experience on the day Bobby was born. Unfortunately, some of the things she did that day have only added to my grief. Although it's painful to talk about I know it will help me move forward.
We all went out for a family lunch even though there are reminders everywhere when you leave the house. There's no preparing for them. In a lot of ways it's like stepping on a land mine. You step on it. Hear it click. You walk away and it blows up in your face. On this outing, it was a newborn cry in the photo studio on my way to the bathroom in what I thought was a safe place of JC Penney.
I checked the mail, even though I find reminders there too. Bobby's crib card came and that brought on a whole onslaught of feelings and emotions. I'm so glad to have those things of his to keep, but it's the sad reminder that I left the hospital with no baby in my arms.
We visited Seth at work and spent the morning at Ikea with friends. By some miracle, we made it out the door by 10:15am with 3 kids, snacks and sippy cups. When we get there to unload I realized that I left my purse at home and have no wallet. Thank Jesus for generous friends to cover your tail, but even the most obvious things don't cross my mind these days. I know these things happen to every Mom on any given day, but the obvious things seem to be smacking me in the face more often than before. Even being there was hard, I wanted to go, but hated the reason. I got prints done of Bobby to hang around the house and Ikea is one of the best place to find frames, kids eat free on Tuesdays, so I did it. It was a hard feeling to shake during our time there and another reminder of how life has changed. Things that would have been fun before bring on feelings of sadness now.
I don't share my life or Bobby's story to illicit pity or to try to be a hero. I don't see myself as amazing or my suffering as spectacular. I don't see this trial as a reason to put myself on a pedestal, to elevate myself, and cry "woe is me." In a lot of ways, there are others who have suffered far greater losses. This is my life and I share it because I hope it can be a means for others to understand what it's like to walk through hell and come out on the other side. To show what its like to be weak, but to be held up by the strength that comes from Jesus. I don't have it all figured out. I struggle to believe sometimes. But my life and this story is authored by Jesus. He bought me. He owns me. He is the one who keeps me. He's engraved me on the palms of his hands and I know he is the one who is carrying me through my darkest night.
Nancy Guthrie's writings have been a huge source of help to me in this time. I had to share this quote from one of her books because it spoke to me and its the truth:
"God does not discount or dismiss your tears. They are precious to him because you are precious to him. In fact, when God reveals glimpses of the culmination of human history--in a future that will fully reveal and be fully worthy of his glory--he includes, as a centerpiece, this promise in Isaiah 25:8 'The sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears.' Picture in your mind right now the Lord of the universe reaching down to gently and lovingly wipe away your tears. He doesn't ignore them or tell you that if you really had faith you wouldn't cry. He wipes them away. And Revelation 21:4 tells us that not only will he wipe away tears, he will remove all of the sorrow that caused them. God's plan for the future is to destroy forever the evil that has brought you so much pain and then to live forever with you in a place he has lovingly prepared where there will be no more tears."
I can't wait for that place with no more sadness or pain or loss. I can't wait for all of the tears to be wiped away. I wake up ever day with a deeper longing for heaven than the day before.