Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tis the season....????

Well today marked the start of Advent....which means the countdown to Christmas has begun. I will be honest with you all....normally I love Christmas and I love decorating and everything that goes along with the season, but this year it is very hard to get "in the mood" for the holidays. Like most people I associate Christmas with children...their excitement and their smiles. When I found out I was pregnant the last week of January my mind wandered like every pregnant woman's mind does. I found myself thinking of what my babies first Christmas would be like. At the time I didn't obviously know I was having a girl, but my mind wandered to all of those beautiful Christmas dresses the little girls wear to church. At Easter time we knew they was a possibility of our baby having issues but we hadn't gotten a concrete diagnosis (until the week after Easter) so when I went to church my mind began to wander again. I thought next year I will be in church with our little one. I thought of all the holiday traditions that I grew up with and what I wanted to pass on to our children.....that all went up in a poof of smoke four days later when we got Gracie's diagnosis. A parent's dream shattered in an instant....our lives stood still. Our lives still stand still while the world whirls around us. Most days I think we feel like we are in a bumper car ring and getting shoved around from side to side....mostly just existing. How do you get your mind to do what everyone else is doing to prepare for the holidays? I tried going to the mall a few weeks back and left in tears because it seems that every woman with a baby 6 weeks old or less goes to the mall. We don't resent anyone's happiness, but it's so difficult to be around. You see a baby about the age of what Gracie should be and how does your heart not ache to the point that your chest feels like it will explode. This is our daily life....this is what we feel everyday. Some people may think we are getting better, but the reality of the situation is that now that things have calmed down our minds have more time to think about what has actually occurred in our lives. Jeff said the other day to me, "If Gracie was here I could be sitting in the chair playing with her...making her smile." How is that not a heartbreaking statement from my stoic farmer? I cry at the drop of a hat, but Jeff is quiet and then says some very profound statements that make my heart break. We continue to be each other's support systems and thankfully for us, we have very good lines of communication. We always feel we can talk about anything with each other and don't have to be scared to say how we feel. We both are scared about how the upcoming holiday will affect us and frankly how we are going to get through it. Our daughter will not be with us for Christmas here on Earth. Our minds know we shouldn't be selfish and want our child here with us and that we should be ever so grateful that she will be with God, but your heart tells a completly opposite story. Your heart wants your baby here with you...and then your mind kicks in and makes you feel almost selfish about thinking that way. I know there are many long months of healing a head for us both as this loss will not "go away" will most likely never go away, but we will learn to live with the loss (or so all the books tell me). A lot of people don't know how to act around us or what to say....what I can tell you is ask about Gracie. We want to talk about her. She is the love of our lives, just like your children. We had her for 15 hours but we made a lifetime of memories and we want to share them. I was looking through some of her photos the other day and noticed one I hadn't before. It's one where she was caught in the middle of one of her yawns. It's such a precious moment that was caught from her life. So as we go forth into this holiday season we are going to try and prepare our minds and hearts for what is coming, but that is hard to do. I didn't want to set up any decorations this year as I don't have much "holiday cheer" in me, but with my husband's help and support we put our decorations up together. We had received a few different ornaments with Gracie's name on them for gifts and they all have their places of honor on the tree. We will not have our daughter physically with us for Christmas but we will have her spirit and her memory with us.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Four weeks later....

Today it is four weeks since our beautiful Gracie blessed us with both her life and her death and it is also the first day that I am starting my new blog site. Writing has been so therapeutic for me throughout my pregnancy and coping with the loss of my daughter, so I wanted to continue my "therapy" and documenting how our lives are changing. At 32 years of age I can say that I have had to learn to deal with some very difficult things. Although I feel like I am drifting along in life these days and that I can't get my feet back on the ground, I have found out from my fellow anencephaly mommies that this feeling is normal. As I've stated in my caring bridge journals, I am a very Type A person and have always been quite sure of myself and who I am. I cannot say at this point in my life that I really know who I am anymore. Jeff and I both say we feel "lost in life" and that we don't know where we fit anymore. Fortunatly for most of our friends, they don't know what we are going through.....we have said countless times in the past four weeks that we hope that they will never have to know what we are going through. We are fortunate though that we have a great group of friends that empathize with us and support us. Tears find us frequently and almost on a daily basis......Gracie literally took a piece of our hearts with her to heaven. One thing I have found that has brought me comfort is the book, "Heaven is For Real." It was easy reading and extremely comforting to me after losing our little one. It is a true story of a 3 1/2 year old that had a near death experience and what he experienced in heaven. There is nothing like heaven from a child's point of view...especially when you have lost a child. The boy describes how Jesus sat him in his lap when he got to heaven and explained things to him. When I read this part of the book I got goosebumps. When Gracie was dying I told her to go to Jesus and he would take care of her and that it was ok for her to go. I remember right after she died I said to Jeff, "She went from rocking in our arms, to rocking in Jesus' arms." Reading this book really confirmed to me that this most likely happened when our baby girl left us. The little boy in the book talks repeatedly about how much God and Jesus love the children. In my mind I know my little girl couldn't be in a better place, but my heart tells a different story. My heart aches for her so terribly and no matter how much my mind tells me that it's selfish to want her here with me, it still aches. I don't think any parent ever wants to be in our's not a natural progression of life. The parents are suppose to go first....not the children. We are not suppose to bury our baby....but we did. And now we learn how to cope with this all. The phrase "You're never too old to learn something new" is definatly true for us. We will obviously still be "Jeff" and "Missy" and most people will think we are still the same people, but we are forever changed mentally, spirtually, and emotionally. Change is always a difficult a thing, but I think it will be a good thing as well. When you go to church after something as life altering as losing your child, your view on why you are there and the words you are saying take on a whole different meaning. Not that it didn't mean something to us before, but there is a different way you feel when you are there. I do get asked a lot if I'm ready to go back to work and my truthful answer is no. My mind is not mentally ready yet and thankfully Dr. Witt has written for me to be off for 8 weeks. I have another month to heal my mind and my soul before re-entering the work world. At this point it is mentally difficult most days to just get through life at home and to throw work into that would make it extremely difficult. I have a difficult time focusing on anything really and sleeping has been a challenge. I know none of this is abnormal for what I am going through, but it does make life more of a challenge. With this blog site I hope to continue to heal through writing and spread Gracie's message and not let her memory be forgotten. At the bottom of the page there is a slide show of some of our favorite photos from Gracie's life. We want to continue to celebrate our little girl's life and as the title of the blog states....keep Everlasting Grace in our lives.