So I had the last post, that random list of questions, in my blog’s queue to be answered and published, and forgot about it. So, on the day it was scheduled to auto-publish, I was on vacation. Whoopsie!
I have to confess, it’s a little daunting to sit down and answer these questions. The grief doesn’t really go away, it just becomes manageable. And sometimes it requires that I set it aside for a moment, to address the life and tasks before me. To pick it back up, even if it’s just to write a blog about it… will I be able to finish dinner? Will it be so taxing, I’ll lose patience with Ezra? Will it open up a wound I’d rather not open right now? I don’t know.
But it’s good to think about these things. It’s good to be intentional with grief, to train it to stay put for a moment, to promise to come back to it to keep it from getting out of control. Stuffing doesn’t work. Letting it rule doesn’t work.
I’m not going to make this a daily thing. I’m just gonna pick and choose what questions I feel like answering for today.
Tell us about your child(ren). As much or as little as you like. Names, birthdays, stats.
I have two children. My first, Samuel, was born February 18, 2010. He had triploidy, and was born still in my third trimester. I miss him. My second, Ezra, was born June 10, 2011. He was and is a healthy redheaded boy, and has been such sweet gift after losing Sammy.
Through your grief process who has been your “rock”?
My husband, for sure. We grieve in different ways, but we grieve the same sweet boy, and that is such a comfort.
Through your grief process what has kept you going?
A lot of things. I needed to grieve well for Steven, for our marriage, for our future children. I think something that really motivated me to dig into the process, especially in that first year, was seeing how effectively those who had grieved well were able to comfort me in my raw grief. Those who grieve well are better comforters than those who stuffed their grief. Everyone experiences loss at some point in their lives. Best to try to come out a better person on the other side.
Do you ever get subtle reminds of your angel(s)? If so what what are they?
Butterflies are a symbol of the resurrection, which is my hope to see Samuel again. I love seeing butterflies!
How do you answer the question of how many children you have?
This is still really hard for me. Just this last weekend, when we went to go pick up a rental car, the guy asked if Ezra was our first. Steven and I looked at one another–we’re never really sure, and we don’t want to betray Sam’s memory OR suck all the air out of the room by telling about Sam to a total stranger. I answered the guy, “He’s our only! He is such a blast!” because 1) it’s the truth–he’s the only child we HAVE with us and 2) I knew I would never see the guy again. People I know I will see again, I tell about Sam. Like, the lady who cuts my hair knows about Sam because I see her every time I get my hair cut, and we talk about our kids, and she struck me as trustworthy. Last Sunday, we were trying a new church, and the nursery worker asked if Ezra was my first. “No, he is my second. My first passed away.” People are generally very kind and say they’re sorry. At that point, I thank them, and say something like, “We miss our first baby a lot, but Ezra is such a joy,” and that kind of changes the subject.
Do you feel you have more good days than bad ones?
Yes. Now I do. At the beginning, one good day would come, and I would be ecstatic. Then, when two good days came in a row, that was a huge deal. Now, most days are really good, maybe sweeter than they would have been had I not had Sam. I know how sweet and precious life is now. A bad day pops up here and there, but it usually isn’t till the end of the day that I pinpoint that I might need to face my grief for a little bit. Life is so full, it’s easy to stay distracted sometimes.
If you have other children how has your loss affected them?
At this point, I don’t really know. I hope it affects him more positively than negatively, but I don’t know. He could never replace Sam, but then if it were the other way around, Sam could never replace Ezra. They are two very different little people. I hope my grief makes my love stronger, but sometimes I wonder if it’s made my anxiety stronger–I hope that doesn’t weigh Ezra down. It is what it is. This is why I’m so grateful for grace.
It is said that Father’s and Mother’s grieve differently. Do you feel this is true with your angel’s father?
Yes, of course. Not only are we different because he’s a man and I’m a woman, we have different personalities. I feel like we’re more on the same page than at the very beginning. At the beginning, everything is so raw, you pick your favorite coping mechanisms, and those are different. And I know that he felt like he needed to be strong for me, so his really tough days came once my good days started to show up.
Does anyone else besides your spouse speak your child’s name?
Yes! I am so thankful to have a supportive family, church, and friends who know that I love to hear Sam’s name.
What have you done to preserve your child’s memories or make new memories of your angel.
This blog is really special to me because I get to talk about Sam and how I feel as much as I want. Outside of this blog, I like to grieve quietly and simply. I have a big box of Sam’s things and photographs that I like to go through on special dates.
Do you feel your child is watching over you?
No… I believe he’s with God. That’s a comfort to me.
If you have anger…..What are you most angry about?
Sometimes I get angry that I’m probably never going to have an innocent pregnancy. I know way too much about what all can go wrong. I get angry when people announce pregnancies without any care for how miraculous it is to actually make it to nine months and through birth without a hitch. I think I don’t even want to talk about it much here… Sometimes it’s good to talk things out, and sometimes it’s best to try to extinguish bitter sentiments before they have a chance to really take root. I don’t want to anyone to worry during their pregnancy as much as I did, so my anger is really actually kind of nasty at its root. Thank God lots of women are happy-go-lucky during pregnancy. It’s such a good thing.
Do you have a song or songs that make you think of your child(ren)?
This makes me think of Sam.
On Birthday’s, Diagnosis Day’s, Anniversaries of Passing. Do you prepare for them?
I know they’re coming. I kind of dread them. Last year, his second birthday, I planned to go on a girl’s day out without telling anyone that it was Sam’s birthday, and that was completely unrealistic. I thought, hey it’s been two years, I should be able to handle this. I ended up cancelling, and staying home. This year, I think I’ll be a little more intentional about it, a little gentler and more realistic. Diagnosis day, December 4… I hate that day. I don’t know how to prepare for that except to just dread it and hate it.
On a scale of 1 to 10 rate your day today and why?
Today was an 8. I am coming down with a cold, or else it would be a 10! We got lots of stuff done to get the house ready for winter, went winter clothes shopping for Ezra, and he was a total riot as usual. Grief-wise, I guess every day is sort of colored by grief because I’m not the same person I used to be. The worst days are when I don’t like the person I’ve become. Sometimes I do long for that happy-go-lucky girl. But I think that’s a big part of the loss–losing some of your old self and accepting the new parts of yourself.
Have you ever corrected or wish you corrected someone about your loss?
I try to be honest, but I always consider who I’m talking to. If it’s someone who’s being disrespectful because they’re a generally disrespectful person, I leave the situation ASAP–they don’t deserve to know the truth about Sam. One time I lost control at a Bible Study in which Steven and I were sharing about anxiety over my pregnancy with Ezra, with people we trusted to just let us be where we were at. There was one older lady there who we had just met, and she started talking about how maybe if I felt that way, I should seek counseling, that I needed help. I definitely corrected her–I WAS in counseling, and it was going well. Just because I was emotional at the time doesn’t mean that I was doing something wrong or needed “fixing” like she said. There have been times I’ve put people in their place, yeah.
If there are any other babyloss mommies who want to ask questions about what it’s like at this point, feel free to comment. I’m happy to converse about it.