Monthly Archives: December 2012

Reflecting On 2012

All day on Facebook, I’ve seen posts of people re-capping their year and talking about vacations they’ve taken and all the great things that have happened in their lives.

2012 has been the worst year of my life, but I had Hannah, and becoming a mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  Having a family of my own is the only thing I’ve ever really wanted, but it definitely doesn’t look the way I thought it would.  Part of me is sad to leave this year behind because I’ll have to say that Hannah died last year.  How can it already be a year?

I’m excited for 2013 and to meet my sweet boy.  I’m praying that my experience as Noah’s mom will be much different than my experience of being Hannah’s mom, but I’m terrified that this year and next year will be a lot alike.  I hope that I continue to grow in my walk with God.  He has sustained me in ways that I never thought possible.

So in the last few hours of 2012, I am sad to move onto a new year without Hannah but hopeful for 2013.

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Precious Tears

My tears don’t just matter to God.  They are precious to Him.  Psalm 56:8 says that they are precious enough for Him to catch every single tear I’ve ever cried in a bottle, and I’m sure by now He has several bottles just for me.

That kind of love is overwhelming for me to think about.  He has held every single tear I’ve cried.  He has held every tear that Jesus cried!  God has already written the story, and He knows why Hannah died, but because He loves me, my tears are important to Him.  Even when I’m being petty and childish, and my tears aren’t justified, He still loves me enough to collect them, too.  Who else could ever love you this way?

The Monday after Hannah died, Zach and I met our families at the funeral home to make arrangements for Hannah’s service.  Soon after we got there, my dad handed me one of his handkerchiefs.  In just that day, that handkerchief held the tears of seeing my daughter’s casket for the first time, meeting with our Pastor to plan her celebration of life, and picking out the sweetest outfit I’ve ever seen for her to be buried in.  I carried that same square of fabric with me when I went shopping the next day to find a dress to wear for her service.  In the dressing room, I cried into it thinking about how unfair and cruel the whole day was.  It was with me at her funeral.  And, I’ve carried it with me everyday since.

It’s in my bag every time I leave the house.  It’s caught a million hidden tears that I’ve cried in my car on the way to work, while I’m sitting and visiting with her at the cemetery, and even in the restroom of a store when I see or hear something that makes me think of her.  It’s covered in makeup and mascara stains, but I can’t bring myself to throw it in the wash.  As painful as those tears are, I can’t stand the thought of just washing them away.  That piece of fabric is the bottle that I use to collect my tears.

It’s really easy to feel alone in times of sorrow.  I’ve even been guilty of trying to explain how I’m feeling to Zach and getting frustrated because I can’t find the words, and I’m sure he doesn’t understand.  Even today, he stopped me and said, “You don’t have to explain it.  I feel the same way.”  But that’s how Satan works.  He convinces us that no one – not even our God or our husbands understand the pain.  It’s just not true.  God knows exactly what it feels like to endure the death of a child; He sent His only Son to die on a cross so that we could have a relationship with Him.  If anyone knows the pain and sorrow and grief of losing a child, it is God.

I have to be honest though.  Knowing this and believing this in my heart doesn’t make everything ok.  Hannah’s death is still painful, and I think it will be for the rest of my life.  And, God knows this.  I have a peace in my heart that I know where Hannah is and that I’ll see her again soon, but it’s not a band-aid that makes the problem go away.  Humans have human emotions.  And, our feelings and our tears are precious to God because He loves us so much.  And, it doesn’t make anything better, but it does make it a little easier to endure the storms of this life.

***For more commentary on Psalm 56: 8 -11 and what our tears mean to God, please click here!

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

I love Christmas.  Everything about it…celebrating Christ’s birth, the decorations, lights, gifts, food, parties.  Everything.

I’ve always looked forward to celebrating Christmas with my own family and establishing new traditions and carrying on old ones.  Zach and I had our first Christmas as husband and wife exactly 3 months after we got married.  The only Christmas decorations we had were a tree and 2 houses in my Christmas Village 🙂

Last year, our second Christmas together, I was 7 months pregnant with Hannah.  We spent the day dreaming about how the holiday would never be the same for us.  Instead of focusing on ourselves, we knew that Christmas would soon revolve around our children.  So, we treasured the last time we would spend the day together – just the two of us – and dreamed about our first Christmas as a family with a child.

This year, I’m supposed to have a 9 month old daughter at home.  We should be getting ready to celebrate her first Christmas.  My tree should have an ornament on it marking the big occasion.  I should have to worry about putting my glass ornaments at the bottom of the tree.  I should be shopping for her.  I should be taking Hannah to get her picture taken with Santa.  I should be sending out Christmas cards with a family photo.  I should be buying her the perfect little outfits to wear for all of our Christmas get-togethers.  I should be doing a lot of things for the very first time!

Instead, all I could buy were flowers and a Christmas tree for her grave site.  No mom should have to do that.

I won’t spend this year making new memories with my sweet daughter.  I’ll spend the days trying to hold back tears and praying that I can just make it through.  It took me over 3 weeks to just decorate my Christmas tree.  The only other thing I set out is our Nativity set.  My growing Christmas village sits in boxes on the floor of my den.  My second tree is completely bare…I didn’t even buy lights to put on it.  The wreathes that go on all the windows are in plastic bags on the floor.  And, at this point, that’s where it will stay.  I just can’t decorate anymore.  I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping…for anyone…let alone the children in my life.  I’m not sure I’ll even buy a single gift.  The thought of shopping seems overwhelming, especially since the only person I want to shop for is in heaven.  I haven’t even decided if I’m going to leave the house on Christmas.

I am more grateful right now than at any other time in my life for the gift of Jesus, but I don’t have a desire to celebrate what it has become in our culture.  Not this year.  And, yes, I know that people joined together to celebrate and gifts were given during that first Christmas season, but I think you know what I mean.  And, I am afraid that this will be Noah’s only Christmas with us, so I feel pressure to celebrate it for him and in Hannah’s memory, but I just don’t know what the holidays will look like for us this year.

I know I’m not the only one who will struggle through this Christmas.  And, since losing Hannah, I’ve realized that people deal with grief and sadness in a lot of different ways.  I try (but it seems like I’m always failing – I’m a work in progress!) not to be so quick to judge someone because it’s true that you never know what they are dealing with in their personal lives.  That grinch may just be someone trying to make it through Christmas in one piece.

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Time to Get Real

I haven’t blogged in a while.  I’ve been trying to avoid dealing with how I feel and where I’m at right now.  Usually staying busy helps me keep my mind off of things, and we’ve been really busy lately, but it’s starting to catch up to me.  I feel really worn down and exhausted.

I’m having a hard time dealing with the stress and anxiety of being pregnant again.  Christmas is already difficult, and it’s still 3 weeks away.  I just don’t really know how to get past where I’m at right now.

Sometimes grief feels distant.  It’s always there, but it’s almost in the background of your life.  Then there are other times where grief is crippling, and no matter what you do, those feelings come up and overwhelm you.  That’s where I’m at now.

I feel like I’ve gone backwards, and right now, I’m back to where I was in March and April. Like the last several months of healing never happened.  I’m so broken without her.  I don’t know what to do or where to go from here.

I don’t know if it is the holiday season.  Or the fact that I’m reaching nine months without her…which is the same amount of time she was growing inside me.  How can she have been gone that long?  I don’t know if it’s because I really haven’t dealt with losing her – maybe I only think I’m working through things.  I don’t know.  I just know that it’s hard, and I feel like I’m drowning.

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