"Life isn't about surviving the storm...it is about learning to dance in the rain." Anonymous

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Keep Calm and........

I saw a shirt the other day with this saying...
 
I almost laughed out loud!  What a great shirt.  Ever since then, I have seen this "Keep Calm" saying everywhere.  There is:

 and my favorite....

 
What would life be like if we just lived in one big state of calm?  Probably much nicer.  I think if I could design a shirt with my own "keep calm" saying, it would look something like this...
 
 
I have been on this crazy journey of grief for almost four years now.  And what I have learned is that it is a journey, not something that can be fixed.  But something that I have to experience and be better for. 
 
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which begins my countdown towards my Elizabeth's birthday on December 1st.  I mentally go through this every year....this week reminds me so much of the day she was born, which is also the day she left us.  I remember that four years ago, in 2009, my family came to my house for Thanksgiving because I was pregnant and had been on bedrest.  It was such a great day!  We ate a lot and she was moving so much.  I think she loved turkey :)  We were all so happy.  I didn't go shopping on Black Friday that year, because I was on bedrest, but I did a lot of online shopping on cyber Monday.  In fact, that is what I remember most.  I bought her a gift.  It was a playmat with ocean creatures on it.  I also ordered her the cutest little Baby Lulu outfit.  That was on Monday.  On Tuesday, I woke up, dressed in a black and white polka dot shirt and khaki corduroy pants, brushed my teeth, and started hemorrhaging.  On Tuesday, she was gone.
 
The black and white shirt hangs in my closet, untouched since then.  I don't know that I will ever throw it away.  It is a last link to her....the last thing "we" wore together.  The Baby Lulu outfit is in her memory box and the playmat is in the garage, in an unopened box that was delivered the day we came home from the hospital without her.
 
For a long time, when I relived that, I would be so angry with myself for taking too long brushing my teeth.  Maybe if I had not been up for too long, the bleeding would not have started.  Did I move the wrong way?  Did she know what was happening?  Why in the world did this happen?  So many why's. 
 
After December 1st, so many things changed.  I am an amateur photographer and have a passion for documenting everything.  It drives my family nuts.  I stopped taking pictures for a long time.  It is almost as if I subconsciously want that time to be undocumented.  Like I want for all that pain to not be there.
 
I started having panic attacks and not wanting to be in crowds.  I am a very social person and this was very disconcerting to the people who know me best. 
 
So many other things happened, all of which is normal grief.  I think I had to feel it, to go through the emotions, to love her the way I needed to and to feel the pain of that heartbreak of losing her.
 
But today, I am pretty calm.  I am journeying on.  I know that I am better for it, because she is my motivator.  I spent almost a year of my life helping her grow inside of me and planning for her and naming her and waiting for her.  I am so thankful for that time.  On a day when we are all thinking of what we are thankful for, I am thankful for my family.  And my family includes her.  She is such a part of who I am and who my family is.  She is always teaching us. 
 
This year is so different than the past 3.  I am looking forward to Sunday, which is December 1st.  We are making pink cupcakes.  I want to celebrate her and thank her for being part of my life.  She is such a part of my story, just as I am such a part of hers. She was born still, but she was still born and I am going to celebrate her this year on her birthday.  I want her to know that I am taking pictures again....lots of pictures.  I am annoying everyone with my camera.  I am also hosting a Christmas party for our friends.  I didn't realize it until I started typing this that I am evolving.  My grief is changing.  That doesn't mean it is gone, because it never will be.  But, it is changing.  I have turned onto a new road on this journey of mine.  And, at least for right now..... I am calm.

 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

((Hugs))

A dear friend sent this to me the other day and I wanted to share it with all of you...


Peace and GIGANTIC ((hugs)) to all of you.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Memories

My "Big Daddy" died two weeks ago.  He was my grandfather on my mom's side.  We had always called him that because he was so tall.  Just a massive man, full of strength.  I can remember sitting on his shoulders when I was very little.  Sitting there made me feel like I was the tallest person on earth. 

It is interesting to me how I view death since I have been through the death of my baby.  I don't fear death.  I think a lot about it sometimes--the concept of death, what it is like, what heaven is like.  I know that sounds REALLY strange.  But it is true.  Don't misunderstand me.....I do not like the idea of death and I do not like to know that others around me have experienced the death of a loved one.  But, I think that because my little girl has been through it that I view it differently than maybe someone who hasn't really given it much thought.  I don't know.

So, I have been thinking a lot about Big Daddy.  Which makes me think a lot about my girl.  Now they are in the same place and that is nice.  I know that we all believe different things, but I believe in Heaven.  I wonder if he has been giving her rides on his shoulders?  I bet she would like that a lot.

My grandfather was a World War II veteran.  He loved to tell stories about his army days and how his plane went down over a part of Africa and he had to find his way home.  I can't imagine doing that myself....Ha!  I wouldn't make it out of Atlanta :)  But, it doesn't surprise me that he could.  He was like that.  He preferred little girls, maybe because he raised two daughters.  I remember him telling me how happy he was when he found out I was a girl after I was born.  He said there was no need to for sports and all that "boy stuff" when you could play Barbies or paint fingernails.  Of course, now I know how much he liked watching baseball and cutting grass and doing "manly" things.  But, when I was little, hearing him say that made me think he was really great.

In my last post, I mentioned that I would be getting my Molly bear soon.  A couple of weeks after that post, I had a really crummy day.  One of those days that make you sit in the car and cry.  I also knew that my grandfather had just been admitted to Hospice care and was not doing well.  Lastly, I was scheduled to be one of several speakers at the Atlanta Walk to Remember that weekend.  I was so nervous about that!!   I am not a great public speaker.  I really didn't want to mess things up.  That day is just too special for so many people and I was so worried about what I would say.  So, as I was saying, I was having a crummy day topped with a lot of anxiety and sadness.  I got home that afternoon and opened the mailbox to find my Molly Bears box.  I can't explain how it made me feel....it was perfect timing.  A not so subtle message from my darling girl letting me know she is still here and that all will be ok. 

Here she is....


                                                                                                ....my "Lizzie" bear :))

I can't think of a more perfect day to receive her and I am so grateful to Molly Bears for what they do.  I know it seems crazy to gain hope and strength from a stuffed bear, but I did and I do.  It is a strange thing to not have memories or much tangible evidence that a person existed and not only was part of your life, but irrevocably changed your life forever.  I think this precious gesture gives me a little of that, along with hope. 

I know that somewhere up in heaven, a very tall man with broad shoulders and a funny laugh is holding a tiny precious little girl and telling her all about her mama and what her mama was like as a little girl.  Maybe he is sharing some memories with her about me and that makes me really happy.