Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29

I don't know what stage of grief I am in, or what the order of moving on is, but I am learning there is nothing that I can do to prep myself for life.  The life I am living is nothing that I thought I would ever live again after Vivi was a part of our life.  So here I am again in this life that consists of Rod and I.  Although we are redefining our life as parents without a child, a new schedule without the hospital, the baseline is the same--it is just the two of us.

Someone asked me the other day what the hardest part of readjusting is.  That was my answer.  Today, however, I take that back and want the opportunity to give a new answer, the answer that i have been formulating since that question was asked.  The hardest part of readjusting is I just don't know.  I don't know how I am going to feel when I wake up.  I don't know what situations will be good or bad.  I don't know how to keep my heart safe.  Every moment is so drastically different than the one before. 

I went to the dentist today.  The secratery knows the whole story of Vivian...she had followed the blog.  when I called to make the appointment, the first words out of her mouth were, "I am so sorry."  The same with the hygentist.  When the doctor came in, he asked in a concerning tone, "How are you?  I have been following your story via the secreatary".  Assuming he knows, I honestly answer, "I have good days, and I have not so good days."  He continues to looks at my teeth, tells me I need to come in next week to refill a filling that has come out (ouch.) and proceeds to ask me, "so do you need to be careful around kids with runny noses and colds since it is getting colder?" Noticing that I am staring at him like he has 10 heads, he adds, "for the baby?" Oh.  he obviously doesn't know.  I have been trying to rehearse what to say when things like this happen, but like every other time, I am caught off guard and things like this come out, "Dr., Vivian died September 21."  In that second, his face goes from deer inthe headlights, to sympathy, to 'oh shit'. And I take this time to explain the story and begin the internal battle of tears, no tears, tears, no tears, until the tears always win.  And in that moment all I think of is the picture of my cousins' 2 babies, one born in september, one in october and thinking, "my baby should be in that picture!"  Thinking that there are pregnant people EVERYWHERE whose dreams of being a family will become realities and mine will always be dead.  That there are 3 month old babies everywhere I go...that they are always baby girls....that I will always be walking around and able to see reminders that my baby is dead.  That she is gone forever and I will never be able to hold her again. 

I want so badly to be seems like such the easier emotion to have.  I am somewhere stuck inbetween heavy heart and happiness because I know Vivi is happy.  I just feel schizophrenic and unable to consistantly be myself.  Just as I think I have it together, I walk into Sam's and sitting at the entry are 2 women on facetime or whatever with their iPhone.  I can see the beaming face of a new mom holding her new baby--with a little pink headband. Seriously?!?!?  And as the two women coo and oooo over how beautiful she is, I just want to say "my baby, my baby was the most beautiful and she should be in the cart right now, and you would see how beautiful she is!"  but this will never happen.

Perhaps what I am realizing is the hardest thing might not be that Vivi is dead. But perhaps, the hardest thing is that the dreams that have been building up and had been playing in my head are one  by one dying.  Perhaps the reason "I just don't know", is because I don't realize how big the dreams have close to being "real" the dreams had become.   

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22

What I am learning about grieving:
  • it has all different faces, comes at all different times
  • it's never know when it's going to hit or what situation will set it off
  • it's ok to cry. Where ever, when ever.
  • sometimes the most loving choice is to keep distance
  • it is never all about me--I am allowed to cry, I am allowed to be empty, but I am never allowed to not be concerned about others
  • there is an open wound in my heart that will scar over.  But that takes time.  If you break your arm playing soccer, it gets a cast.  If the cast is taken off too soon and you go back to play it won't heal like it should.  More problems come from not taking off a few more games to get back to "better".  Even if you sit out the whole season, the next you will be strong and ready to play because you are healed.  As much as I hate processes,  I'm ready to go through it if it means I can jump back in the game with both feet after.
Happy is the heart that still feels pain
Darkness drains and light will come again
Swing open up your chest and let it in
Just let the love, love, love begin
~Ingrid Michaelson, 'Everybody'

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8

Oh today.  Oh today I ventured into Clifton to take Gracie to the Zoo.  Seems like a harmless adventure.  At least thats what I thought, until I started driving down streets that just weeks ago took me to the hospital to be with Vivi.  Sitting at a red light at the intersection of Jefferson and Vine, Grace simply says from the back seat, "Look, that's the crane you could see from your room at the hospital".  I already was working down a lump in my throat before this was said.  After the words were out, my tears all so quickly followed.  Sitting at this red light at the intersection of Jefferson and Vine, I couldn't keep in what was wanting to be out being in that area.  I wanted to go home...not to the apartment I live in, but to the hospital room that I knew when I walked in I would see Viv.  Where I would wait until Rod came home and the three of us will be together. 

My all too wise 9 year old sister consolingly offered at to my tears, "I bet you miss your friends. And Vivi.  It was your home".  How did she know that?  How was she able to verbalize my tears?  I will never know, but all I said was "Yep Gracie, you're absolutely right".

The rest of today, my heart has been heavy...but so empty. It's a weird phenomon I am living.

 Rod and I went to create a plaque for Viv's grave today.  It felt like the last step to "close" this chapter.  Not that we will ever stop loving her, talking about her, visiting her...but that there aren't any more "things" we have to do.  It was a longer trip than I expected...never knew it would be so hard.  How do you summarize all that you want to say, do and share on a 24X12 in block?  For Rod, it wasn't so difficult.  He just looked at me as I am thinking of all these tag lines, and says , "Victorious.  That sums it up."  Yes, I would have to agree, that sums Vivi up. Perhaps the vicotry isn't what we expected, but in a way better than we expected.  She showed the love, courage, strength and faith of a champion in her short 59 days. And the best part is, her victories have only begun...eternity is a concept we humanly can't grasp, but she already has a hold of.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October 6

The other night Rod and I stopped into a place very dear to our heart.  It is a complete dive bar, one that I drove by 1,000s of times in the 3 years I lived with my grandma.  Everytime I passed, I wanted to stop in.  For some reason, I knew it would be somewhere special, and I always waited.  One night, shortly after Rod and I started dating, I suggested we go on an adventure--and that was it.  The Old Time Saloon, which we affectionately call 'Our Old Friend', became our place--the only place only we have been together...the only place we know we will walk in to and will only see familiar faces because they are regulars to the bar.  On the outside, there is nothing special about the building.  It is kinda shady actually--in a small strip that has vacancies next door and around the corner, and a barber shop on the other side.  The inside is small--2 four-top tables, a couple 2-tops and a bar. A Jukebox sits in the back that won't play an album past '95, a fresh batch of popcorn waits for anyone who enters, and up until a few weeks ago only accepted cash.    We have walked there in the sunshine, the dark, the rain and the snow. Those walls have heard us laugh, have seen us cry have watched us fight. It is a place that will never be and never can be repeated for us.  Some of our best conversations have happened here, and this time was no different.

While we were there the other night, we started talking about Vivi.  I was really missing her, and just talking about her hurt, but helped.  I have been having a hard time thinking about ever having another baby.  A part of me is scared of it not happening, and an even bigger part is scared of it happening because I don't want to take away from the child the experience of God that Vivi has because she was sinless.  As I was telling Rod this, his response was so beautiful and so true.  I want to go to Disneyworld.  In my mind, there is no place happier than Disneyworld.  But a trip to Disneyworld wouldn't be the same as a trip to San Diego or to New York, both places I want to go as well.  Each will be a great trip whenever I make them.  Each will have memories that make that place special.  Even though each place, each trip is so different, each is so special.  Who is to say that after I go to San Diego or to New York, the memories I have there don't make it the happiest place on earth for me?  Just like this bar--it is not the greatest place by the standards of what a bar 'should be', but its been so perfect because it became 'our place'. 

Maybe that's what God has been trying to tell me.  Vivi is so special...too special it seems like.  She will bever be repeated, but that doesn't mean that we won't be blessed abundantly by another baby just as special, just a different special.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2

Rod has a "Daybrightener" inspired by the movie Courageous that lives in our bathroom.  He is so good about flipping to the correct date, and I know that reading these inspirations is a way he begins his day.  This morning, October 2 reads, "First God gives us our children, and then with love and thanks, we give them back to Him".  Of course these words strike a cord with my heart. 

Vivian was and still is a great gift, the greatest gift God has ever given to me.  It was love that created her, love that received her into this world, love that sustained her, love that escourted her out of this world, and the Greatest Love of all that received her into Heaven.  All along that journey, I was priviledged to be there as she took each step. 

As hard as it is to let go and give God my child, I had to everyday.  I know as I would daily go through my mental imaging of placing Vivi at the foot of Christ's cross that I was making Him so happy.  That through giving her back to Him, I was sharing with Him my love.

I will never forget as Vivian was taking her final breaths, there were many moments Rod and I both murmured "thank you Jesus".  Thank you Jesus for this gift.  Thank you Jesus for letting her go so peacefully.  Thank you Jesus for opening our hearts to love this precious gift.  Thank you Jesus for choosing us to be parents of a saint.  Thank you Jesus for all the doctors and nurses.  Thank you Jesus for our supportive families.  Thank you Jesus for in each step being so present.  Thank you Jesus for Vivian. 

Even today as the hardest day for me since Vivi died, I find myself thanking Him.  Although my heart hurts because it is empty, I thank Him.  He knows all...there is great Glory being shared and seen because of Vivian's precious life.  Even though it hurts and it is so hard, thank you Jesus for sharing with me such an amazing gift and this great love.

October 1, Bginning anew...God is still here

October 1.  The beginning of a new month, the beginning of my new life.  I can't believe it has been a week today since I have buried my baby.  Time is a measurement that I can't wrap my brain around.  It feels like it has been months....maybe years since that has happened.

Rod and I escaped last week not just for my birthday, but for a refresher course on what it is like to be a "normal" married couple.  We parked ourselves in the Great Smokey Mountains and had time to grasp onto the reality that Viv was gone, but that together, we will always keep her close to our heart and miss her, but we will get through.  While we were having Old Time Photos taken of us, Rod said, "People would never know our baby just died the way we you think thats bad?" Not at all!  We are so blessed to be so healthy!

I would be lying if I said I was excited to come home.  Although we experienced all the Smokies offered, there was a part of me that never wanted to leave.  In all honesty, I was scared to come home to my new reality....this reality that was my greatest fear.  Facing the new reality was a new thing for me. My whole life when things got uncomfortable or I didn't like what was going on, or I wanted something new and exciting I would run.  I would run away from pain, the grief the hardness of whatever the situation was to mask those realities with something new...something that was unknown...a new adventure.  This time, that isn't an option.  I had to come back.  I had to open the door of my apartment and see the empty stroller, the empty high chair, the empty room--all these things that when I had opened them or set them up I saw Vivi in them; and now she never will be.

I bit back tears most of the ride home.  That was silly--I knew as soon as I walked in the door the flood gates would open... and they did.  I am not sad my baby died--she is in Heaven seeign God's face like no one on this earth ever will.  My insides are just empty.  I hurt, and I miss her.  I am readjusting to a life I never though I would see I thought I would so badly miss but it sucks.

Being home, I have my moments...I will be having them forever.  I will always miss Viv, I will always wonder what my life on this earth what would be like with her in it longer.  The funny thing is, I can't detour around this mountain.  I have to climb up the path marked for me.  Amazingly enough, I am being given a strength I never knew I had because I would never take the climb.  Now that I am doing it, as terrible as this is going to sound, it is kinda exciting.  Rod has been so wonderfully supportive and wants for me to take my time getting back on my feet.  I want to go back to work, to get back in the world, but I need to create order here at home.  I need to unpack, pack things up, reorganize.  I need to finish putting our family pictures up...the most important of those being Vivi's.

I had someone ask me what the hardest thing is for me in this new phase of my life.  Bluntly, the hardest thing is thinking about having another baby.  Knowing where Vivi is...knowing that my job as a parent is to return my child back to God in Heaven, knowing that Viv was too easy and she is experiencing God so perfectly...I hate to think about jeopardizing that for another child.  It won't be a clean path back to God and the God each of them will see isn't the same as Vivian....and I hate that.  Yet at the same time, I am a mom from here until eternity, so I can't imagine my life without having other babies.  God's timing is perfect...God's blessings are what we need...God knows.

Today's first reading comes from Job.  In 1:21, after all that is important to Job is taken away from him he responds to it saying, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord" .  The Lord has given me the great gift of Vivian to share with this world and perhaps more importantly, to change my heart.  And as we all know, her sweet soul was too good for this earth.  But for the time she was here, and maybe even moreso since she has gone to heaven, she has only given us on the earth the opportunities to show our goodness.  For all of that, how can I not proclaim, "blessed be the name of the Lord"!