October 29-October 31, 2013
Day 29, Healing-This boy.
It is not Reid's job to heal me, he doesn't replace his sister & his life doesn't make her loss any less painful. In fact, sometimes it's quite the opposite. Seeing him grow, develop and to learn more of his crazy personality makes our loss more real, as if it weren't real enough. With Reid here we now know what we are missing. It isn't only the baby girl that I grieve; it's her first steps, kindergarten, high school, first boyfriend, teenage drama, her dad walking her down the aisle. We miss her entire future.
But this boy...there are no words for him. He's crazy, he's full of personality, he is my saving grace. I stayed healthy in the year following Ruthie Lou leaving us, ONLY because of him. For 37 weeks I ate, slept, exercised, journaled, so that my mind, body and soul could be healthy. For him. I would often tell him while in my belly and even now, it is not his job to take care of mama's heart. But oh boy, he sure fills it full. I believe he chose us as Ruthie Lou did, he knew the special family he was joining and I'm certain he knew her, too.
I wake up each morning so grateful, I snuggle this boy so tight I never want to let him go. He is as challenging as any other toddler but through the sleepless nights and piles of laundry, this boy has healed parts of me that I never thought could be repaired. There will always be a part of my heart missing, but this sweet boy, he brings a smile to my face and so much joy to my heart. He is my whole world.
October 15-October 21, 2013
Day 15, Wave of light-National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
I am grateful for this day, I also hate this day. I hate that we have to have this day. I want to say I have come to a place of understanding, peace, acceptance & healing but the truth is, I will never (in this lifetime) understand a reason to justify why my daughter died. I can learn lessons from it, I can make meaning out of it, I can live my life differently having known my sweet girl but I am not okay with it and I don't know any parent who would ever be. So while I am better having loved, carried and held Ruthie Lou in my arms, I would give anything to have her back. ANYTHING.
Thank you friends and family for lighting up FB tonight in memory of my beautiful daughter. Thank you for allowing me to continue to speak her name over and over and over again with love and without judgement. I don't imagine that I will ever hear her name enough but with your candle lit tonight, it's as beautiful as hearing you say her name today.
Day 16, Seasons-The transition of Summer to Fall holds a sacred energy now, the memories marked forever in my brain; the thick hot days of Summer leading to Ruthie Lou's delivery, the vibrant sunsets where we sat and snuggled and sang in her rocking chair, the crisp early dark nights after she left us, staring at the stars for answers. I welcome the change, the transition, the turning inward that Fall brings, the cold air outside but the warmth that it brings inside our home and our hearts, our time to reflect; time for harvest, time to slow down, time to read more, write more, be present and build new memories to add to the changing seasons.
feel like the body experiences seasons much like the earth. For example, imagine how you felt the day you fell in love, or the day your learned of devastating news, as the years roll around your body remembers that feeling when marked by an anniversary or a sparked memory, those emotions can come springing back in an instant.
Day 19, Support-I'm going to confess something that I don't really like to speak of but something that is a true side of loss. I say this without blame, I say this without judgement, I say this with only love and the truth of my experience.
The second most devastating loss after losing Ruthie Lou was the loss of friends/family who we thought/hoped would be there, who we longed for to be there, to hold us and carry us through the unspeakable, who were silent. And it hurt. It still hurts so much that we can hardly speak of it, even in the quiet of our own home. We watched it happen and knew it was happening, we also knew that we could reach out but as I could barely pull myself out of bed most days, the telephone may as well have weighed 500 pounds and what would I possibly have said? That I often thought how I would rather be with Ruthie Lou, wherever that was, than here? That I felt like I had died but was still here instead? That life was a nightmare without her? I felt like I was in a tornado and everything in my brain was spinning, I couldn't possibly be responsible for a relationship at that point. In the craziness of my grief, it was impossible to see outside my own pain enough to be able to think straight, let alone search out the relationships that I once held so dear. I felt so alone. I felt so abandoned. Its such an awful place to be, to want others to understand how hard loss is but not truly wanting them to know because then that would mean they would have to lose someone, too and I would NEVER wish that on anyone.
That said, we were not truly alone, I know that now, nor were we abandoned, quite contrary in fact. In the midst of Ruthie Lou's life and passing, our support group extended farther than we could see and probably more than we will ever even be aware of. Those who showed up and supported us were our lifeline and many times it came from the most unexpected places. It STILL comes from unexpected places.
Grief puts blinders on you, it's like living in a nightmare and when you wake up (which takes longer than anyone can imagine) it's like coming out of a fog and walking back into a life you never imagined to be yours. Having a supportive group of people is honestly what helped me to survive. The offers of "let me know what I can do" came from such kind places but I never knew what I needed, I could hardly get out of bed every day let alone take care of myself. Instead of having to figure it out myself, people just showed up. Our friends and family did everything for us and we needed everything done. You cleaned our house, did our grocery shopping, made our dinners, fielded questions, called everyday, texted everyday, sent FB messages, sent emails, sent cards, flowers, gifts, pictures and poems. You invited us to do things even when you knew we'd say no. You made sure to include us and sometimes even trick us to get us out of the house; to go for a hike, to be part of the party, to visit a restaurant, to break the fear of going into public. You stuck up for us and stood up for us. The house was rarely quiet on the weekends and on the weekdays when everyone was back as work and I surrendered to my bed, those who knew me intimately were always checking in. Even when I didn't respond for days, you never gave up on me.
This support continues today and looks very different now, as time has passed, the grief has changed and we now need different things. Thankfully we can take care of ourselves again, but we will always need support in this loss. Today support looks like; saying Ruthie Lou's name, including her in our family, donating in honor of her life, asking about her, lighting a candle for her and allowing us to constantly speak of our sweet girl and you allow us to do those things. Our life is once again filled with love and we now have relationships with people who know a different side of us, the vulnerable side. While we greatly miss the life we once had, the life we now have is filled with SO MUCH. We are so grateful for all we have and if you're reading this, then you were/are part of our support group and we are forever indebted and so grateful for YOU.
Day 20, Hope-Where do I start? I hope to reunite with Ruthie Lou someday, decades away. I hope Reid is a healthy & happy toddler, boy, teenager, young adult, man. I hope to give him a sibling someday, SOMEDAY. I hope to live a fulfilled life and to fulfill the potential inside of me. I hope to create a legacy that my children will be proud of. I hope to have a long, successful marriage to their dad. I hope that Ruthie Lou is never forgotten. But mostly, I have hope that I always remember the gifts that Ruthie Lou bestowed upon me, the lessons she taught because if I do, I will live a blessed life.
Day 21, Honor-I live in honor of Ruthie Lou, I love because of Ruthie Lou, I have gratitude because of Ruthie Lou. I am changed because of her, not only because of the grief but because of the joy that a parent experiences by loving their child. She brought so much love that when I think of how amazing my daughter is, my heart is so full.
I also know that I am in search of something more in this life, I know I have more to do and more specifically, work in her honor. I am unclear on what that might be still so I am allowing life to unfold and following my heart where it will lead me. I know I feel most clearly when I write, it feels like I am inviting her close when the words flow through me. I am drawn to photography again and love feeling an emotion from behind the lens of the camera. And my crafts?! Please. I turn on the music, put on that ladybug apron and I know she's there, craftin' it up with me.
I know Ruthie Lou came her to bless us, she came here to enrich our lives and that she has done. I miss her every second of every day but I live everyday in her honor because she cannot. I will do my best by her, it's gonna take my whole life but she has made me what I am today and I am proud of who I am, imperfectly perfect.
October 8-October 14, 2013
Day 8, Color- That big YELLOW flower will always be imprinted in my heart and will forever be Ruthie Lou's color. It makes sense that "the colour yellow represents happiness and fun. The traditional yellow colour meaning is that of inspiration. The meaning of yellow is also associated with vitality, energy and illumination."
Day 9, Music-Music is life, listening, dancing, singing, I live to a soundtrack of music. I could've chosen 40 songs or 100 different lines for today. I sung so many to Ruthie Lou, so many are HER songs, songs from the radio, many created from my heart. Music brings such comfort. I like to remind myself that although she was OUR baby child, we are not alone in this, even when it feels so much that we are...
Day 10, Beliefs- Recycled from Winter 2011, when I was pregnant with Ruthie Lou, I have reflected on this writing numerous times. Sometimes I wonder why I felt compelled to write it back then...a message? Perhaps. Reading it always reminds me of the good in the world & the fragility of life️
"I believe in a God that is loving.
I believe that our human experience is only one small part in the life of our soul and it does not begin nor end on the day of our birth or death.
I believe that our human life is short. Often times shorter than we could ever imagine. It is my own personal responsibility to live and love in a way that everyday I am spiritually fulfilled and proud of who I am and who I am eternally becoming.
I believe that people make daily choices in their life. From the moment I wake until I lay my head back on my pillow at night, my choices should be well thought out and only made with good intentions.
I believe that we are responsible only for oursleves. I can only control my own actions and reactions to experiences and events in my life.
I believe that all people are beautiful, pure and have good intentions. I make mistakes but am clear to always learn the lesson and try better next time.
I believe that very unfortunate things happen to very good people everyday without reasons known to us. Everyday I have the gift of choice of what I will learn from my experiences and how I will respond to lifes greatest as wells as most unfortunate events.
My God is pure, loving, accepting and warm. There is only love."
Two years later I am more certain than ever, there is only love.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.