Category Archives: Grief

Just Let It Go

I haven’t posted in months, but I’ve written a lot.  I write mostly for me because it helps me process and work through things, but I post mostly for you.  This blog is all about sharing my experience with others and hoping that someone connects to it in a small way.

I’ve ‘met’ several women through this blog who are also working their way through loss.  This post is especially for you.

I’m tired.  I have spent a lot of time analyzing how I feel.  Wondering if this emotion or that action is healthy.  Like there is a correct way to do this.  And, I’m so tired of analyzing this.  I NEED to just let it go.

So what if I want to walk around in the girls’ clothing section and pick out outfits for Hannah?

So what if I go weeks without visiting her grave?

So what if I cry almost all day and then don’t shed a tear for a week?

So what?

Why am I looking for meaning in those actions?  It’s almost like I want to make sure I’m grieving her enough but in a way that shows healing.  I want these last two years to have gotten me somewhere.  And, I want them to reflect Christ.  Does that make sense?

I am the first person to tell someone to be patient with themselves, but I have a hard time putting it into practice.  I know that I have begun to heal over the last 2 years.  And, I’m doing more than just surviving – I’m living.

I’m laughing.  I’m crying.  I’m still shopping for Hannah.  I visit her.  I avoid her grave.  I struggle with anxiety.  I’m raising a little boy who takes every bit of energy I have.  I’m always missing his big sister.  I get angry with God.  I’m thankful for His abundant grace.  I cry on my way to work, then wipe away the tears and spend the next three hours loving and teaching the babies in my class.  It’s all okay.

Grief is a heavy thing to carry around, and I’m thankful I don’t have to do it alone.  I’m grateful for a God who understands and knows my heart.

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In Between

I never thought I’d be one of those moms who only visits the cemetery every once in a while, but that’s who I am now. And I never judged those moms before, I just thought I would be different. Going to her grave was comforting. Visiting made me feel close to her. I didn’t think that would ever change.

But grief has different seasons.

Before Noah was born, I stressed about how I was going to fit those two parts of my life together – living life without my firstborn and mommy to a newborn. How am I supposed to have a place in my heart for unimaginable pain and absolute joy? How am I supposed to balance exhausting grief that seems to take all of my energy and loving and taking care of this sweet new life who needs the best of me? I never doubted that there wouldn’t be enough love to share between the two, just whether I would have the energy to give each of them what they deserve.

And then Noah was born early.

I spent the next few days after his birth thinking more and more about him and less and less about her. Even though it was the anniversary of her death and her first birthday. I didn’t have the energy to process everything and worry about Noah and think about her. My mind just focused on Noah and getting him healthy and home. I didn’t even make a conscious choice…it just happened. Having a baby in the NICU is exhausting. I felt like already I was choosing Noah over Hannah, and I felt like a horrible mom.

And the days have turned into weeks and months.

All this time I’ve been afraid that I’m not grieving her anymore. Not true. Not even possible. My grief has just changed. The all day, every day crying is gone for now. There are some days I don’t cry at all. But it doesn’t mean that I’m done grieving her or that I’ve squared all this in my soul and I’m ready to ‘move on’. I hate that phrase. If I live to be 100, I still won’t have moved on.

So that’s where I am now.

Noah is 6 months old and Hannah would have been 18 months on Tuesday. As I watch his personality develop, I find myself more than ever imagining what she would be like and look like. I try to find similarities between them, but I’ll never really know for sure. I don’t even know what color her eyes are, but I will soon.

I’m in between.

In between savoring every single second I get to spend on this earth with my precious family and longing for when I get to Heaven and am able to spend an eternity getting to know her.

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Born in Silence

I came across a video that was made to raise awareness of stillbirths.  I can relate to every word those parents shared.  I’ve been blessed to have such a great support system, and I’ve shared a bit about what it’s been like for me to go through losing a child, but there is still a lifetime’s worth that I haven’t said.

Here is a link to the article that accompanied the video.

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When a Nursery Doesn’t Turn into a Big Girl Room

Hannah’s room is slowly changing.  For almost the last year, it’s looked exactly the same.  It was such a source of comfort for us after she died.  I can’t tell you how many times I would go into her room and sit in the rocker and just cry.  Even though we never got to bring her home, there was something special about being in her room with her things.

When we found out we were pregnant again, I knew at some point I was going to have to lose Hannah’s nursery to gain Noah’s.  As much as it rips my heart into a million shreds, it’s time.  Our plan all along was to reuse as much as we could – crib, dresser, rocker, car seat, stroller, even some of the clothes, so it feels natural to pass Hannah’s things down to Noah.  I just always assumed that as we were putting together another nursery, we would also be turning her room into a ‘big girl’ room.

It’s been a slow process, and I’m nowhere near done.  It’s taken me a few days just to take down the wall decals, the changing pad cover, and the sheets off her crib.  I still have so much to go through, but it is so emotionally exhausting.  In a way, I feel like I’m losing her all over again.

I’m hoping to be able to donate her entire bedding set to our local crisis pregnancy center.  My prayer is that it will be used and loved by a woman who chose life for her child.  I would love for this small piece of Hannah to live on in another baby’s life.

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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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