Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The World Spins Madly On

Tears.   An ocean of tears.  A lifetime of heartbreak somehow packed into 11 short months. 

She would be trying to walk by now.  Instead, we are trying to manage to walk right now.

She would be learning how to speak and make herself heard in this world.  Instead, we are trying to learn the new language of expressing our grief, and how to help others understand where we’re at.

She would have been a happy baby with three wonderful brothers to love her and look out for her.  Instead we are doing our best to “put on a happy face” for our boys, and let them know we will love them and look out for them.

Where has the time gone?  Eleven months…

They say that time flies when you’re having fun, but nobody ever prepares you for what it does when your child dies.

When your child dies time is a rubber band.  Sometimes minutes stretch into what seem hours, and you are pulled to the point emotionally where you know you will snap.  Snap and become broken and no longer able to function. Useless to anyone and anything around you.  Broken in a way that nobody knows how to repair.  Like Humpty Dumpty, you feel you will fall off your wall.  Devastatingly cracked and broken…

And then you blink.  You blink and suddenly a month has gone by, maybe two.  Before you know it, you’re staring down the barrel of a year gone by, with what feels like only minimal participation on your part.  All around you the world spins madly on, and others (the non-zombies) go about their lives. 

Snow blankets the landscape, people celebrate and set anticipatory goals, the snow melts, flowers bloom, other babies are born, fireworks sound, leaves change color and fall to the ground, snow blankets the landscape, flowers bloom again.  And so it goes.  The world goes on, but you have no idea how.

They say time flies when you’re having fun, but when your heartbreaks, it goes so fast, it almost ceases to exist.  It is absolutely, without a doubt, the biggest mind screw there is. 

I miss my sweet girl.  I miss her as much today as I did the day we held her and she took her last breaths.  I miss her as much today as the day we gathered to remember her short life.  I miss her as much today as I have missed her in all my yesterdays that I have been without her. 

People say (and I’m sure, will continue to say) that it (the heartbreak and pain of the loss) lessens with time.  But they are wrong.  Or maybe they’re just not saying it right.

The missing her never goes away.  It never lessens, and I know it never will.  I will never miss Brynn any less than I do now.  She will always be missing from our family, and we will never reach a distance out when that will be okay or less heartbreaking than it is today.

But I will just have to continue to find a way to live with that.  I cannot try to fight it, or stuff it, ignore it or overcome it.  I have to live with it.  The pain of losing Brynna will always have to be riding right along side the rest of my life’s experiences.  Sometimes the pain will have a louder voice, and it will demand I pause, giving it the attention it feels it deserves.  And other times it will sit quietly allowing me to experience the goodness that life has to offer.

Eleven months ago our beautiful daughter was born.  Eleven months ago.

And the world spins madly on.

Dear Brynna,

September 26, 2012                                                             

Dear Brynna,

I love you.  You are 11 months old today.  I can’t believe how fast time is going by.  Sometimes I worry that I am missing out on life because my heart misses you so very much.  I don’t know how eleven months have already passed since you were born.

I still have such regrets about how things happened.  I wish I could go back in time and refuse induction, refuse the meds they gave us.  I wish I could go back in time and keep you safe. 

I am so sorry I couldn’t keep you safe.  I will always carry with me that I could not save you.  I wrestle with guilt and feelings of ineptness because a mother is supposed to keep her children safe, and I feel at times I failed you.

People tell me, and I continue to tell myself, that how it happened is not my fault, it is just the nature of “tragedy”, but the mother in me wants and somehow needs to accept more responsibility.  I guess if I can pin myself as the one to blame then I can reason that if I had just done my job as your mother none of this would have happened.  And if I can blame myself then somehow it all feels more explainable.  It doesn’t seem so nonsensical and heartbreakingly unfair…

Ridiculous logic, I know.  But I miss you, and in missing you, my mind does crazy things.

I wish you were here with me right now.  Cole and Aidan are at school and Jack and I are at home.  Daddy is at work, but I have today off.  I wish you were here, watching cartoons with Jack and me.  What a different and wonderful life that would be.

I went into you room again yesterday, just to try to feel you a bit closer to me.  I looked around at all the beautiful, girly things in the room and wondered what it would look like if it actually had a beautiful little girl living in it. 

Next month will be your 1st birthday, and I am terrified.  I don’t know how to do this.  Celebrate a birthday for a child who is gone.  I want to honor you and spoil you, but I don’t know the right way to do that when you’re where you are and we’re where we are.  Please help me understand what to do.  Please know that whatever we do, we know it will never be enough.

I miss you sweet girl. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Thing About Grief

September 19, 2012                                 10:27 p.m

Here’s the thing about grief.  Specifically the grief of losing your child.

It can suck the life right out of you.

It can, and does, leave you gasping for air, for mercy, for reprieve.

Grief can take everything you thought you knew about yourself and the world you live in, and shatter it all in an instant.

Grief can make you doubt yourself, causing you to question your strength, your sanity, your sense of hope in a better tomorrow.

Grief can and does, all this and you can’t argue with it.  You can’t tell it to stop.  You can’t bargain that if you “pay your dues” now, you will be guaranteed good later. 

Hell, sometimes you don’t even know the next instant grief will take its’ icy grip on your heart, bringing you to your knees in sorrow.

At least not in the beginning. 

In the beginning grief is unpredictable and unrelenting.  There is no reasoning with it. 

You have to, instead, just hang on and hope like hell that you don’t fall off into the bottomless ocean of despair and hopelessness.

In grief, you can be going about your day, doing your best to survive, perhaps even feeling like you are doing better and “getting back to the you that you used to know.” 

You can decide to take a chance on yourself and be happy and then, like a colt learning to stand for the first time, you are knocked down, again and again and again. 

Your legs are wobbly.  Your resolve is tenuous at best. 

And yet you keep on.  You continue to try to stand.

Because really, what option is there?  Lay down? Stay down?

There are days, often many times each day, when you want to lay down and stay there, but then Life steps in and argues with your grief burdened heart.

Life says, “You don’t get to stay down forever.  You have others to live for that are doing their best to stand each day and live for you.” 

Life says, “I am going to hold you accountable.  I am going to call you to stand.  It will be exhausting, and you will often need to rest for a moment, but you will stand.  You will rise each day, and for many days it will be horrible.  But at some point you will realize you didn’t have to concentrate on rising that day.  Someday you will begin to remember the goodness in me.  The goodness in Life.  One day, Life will fill more space in your heart than grief.” 

That day is not today.  But someday it will be.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another Letter From Home

September 12, 2012                                                              8:40 a.m

Dear Brynna,

I feel like I’m due to give you another ‘update from home’.  Which I kind of think might be silly, because I know you watch us in all we do and know we are thinking of you always.  But in the off chance you were off doing your angel duties elsewhere when any of this happened, here’s what we’ve been up to down on this planet they call Earth:

We took a couple trips to the Lake this summer (Lake Cushman).  The water was up, the weather was warm, and, as always, memories were made as a family.  In July we went up a Thursday through a Tuesday and it was HOT!  For most of the time we were joined by your Uncle Trent, Auntie Andrea and cousins Taven and Rylen.  The boys all had a blast together, and it was wonderful spending time with such treasured family members.  Your Aunt and Uncle are wonderful people who love you very, very much.  It is a blessing to have them in our lives.  They are always comfortable talking about you and remembering you with us.  That helps us feel so supported and loved.

While we were at the lake, there were moments of happiness and also moments of deep sorrow.  As always, when we are doing things as a family, the missing you becomes even more intense.  Where would you be in our crazy family picture?  What would you be doing?  What would you be trying to do?  We miss you in everything.

At one point on Monday, your Daddy, brothers and myself were at the community park.  We were walking, balancing on the logjam in the water, playing on the playground and just enjoying each other’s company.  I was snapping pictures with my iphone, and your brothers wanted to try snapping a few.  Aidan was taking a turn and the rest of us were sitting on the merry go round that has been at the park since I was a little girl.  I asked everyone to hold up their hands and make a sign language “B” for Brynna.  We all did, and Aidan snapped the picture.  As soon as the camera clicked, a single butterfly flew down in front of us, circled around and then off she went into the woods. 

We have been seeing an amazing number of butterflies this year since we saw the one at your walk (Tears Rock and Walk), and each time we all get a very strong sense that you are with us.  It was a magical moment, all of our eyes transfixed on the flutter of that one butterfly …wondering….hoping…praying…knowing she was somehow connected to you.

I did some wakeboarding while we were there as well, and it felt good.  It felt good to be doing (and enjoying) something I did (and enjoyed) in my life before this all happened.  It gave me just a little bit of hope that I may continue to be able to find joy and happiness in this “new” life too….

A bit later into the summer, we finally found the time to take your brothers to Wild Waves for a belated birthday event for Jackson.  We tried going on a Saturday but got a late start and by the time we got there, the line just to get into the parking lot was backed up to the freeway.

So instead we promised the boys we’d come back the next day, assuring that we’d get an earlier jump on the day, and we drove down to Olympia for the day.  The Olympia Children’s Museum puts on an event called Sand in the City each year as a fundraiser.  Companies compete to make the best, most popular sand sculpture and there are tons of fun activities for kids to do.  The boys had fun climbing the rock wall (Cole and Aidan both made it to the top), eating ice cream, and making crafts. 

After Sand in the City, we took the boys to play in the water at the fountains in Olympia.  For nearly two hours, they ran around like crazy people getting wet and splashing, laughing and being downright silly.  It was great to watch!

To finish off the night, we took them to a seafood restaurant in the port of Olympia called Anthony’s.  We had a wonderful family dinner and talked all about the fun day we had had together.

Of course all around us that day were darling little 10-11 month baby girls, and although we were happy to be together as a family on a beautiful summer day, we were reminded repeatedly how painful it is to walk in this life after losing a child.

The next day, Sunday, we made good on our promise to the boys and all went to Wild Waves.  It was another fun day of family time.  Water slides, pools, amusement park rides…lots of smiles.  And again, we ached to have you with us.  Always such a bittersweet life.  Always wishing it could be different.

I miss you Brynna.  So very much, I miss you.  We all do.  All the time.  We take you with us wherever we go, and carry you in our hearts and minds.  I hope you know that.  I think you do, because so often when we are together as a family I get an even stronger sense that you are there with us.  Somehow.  Somewhere.  With us.

I love you.