At 6 months and two days since Rachel's birth and death, I am not at the same emotion for very long at once. I tend to occupy much of my mind space with either thoughts and visions from my time with Rachel or thoughts and visions of what I am missing with her now and will be in the future. These thoughts usually bring short spurts of sadness or tears, along with disappointment about what could have been.
During my pregnancy, I had a purpose; to make the most of my time with her and make sure everyone knew about her. After she was born, I put a lot of pressure on myself to stay strong for her and make sure everyone knew that I did not regret her. I didn't tell people of my disappointments about her birthday, partly because I wasn't thinking about them yet (she was still too close to care), but also because I didn't want anyone to be able to say anything negative about her at ALL. She was amazing and I didn't want to hear anything less come from anyone's mouth. I had little or no tolerance for anyone who talked of her as if she was a sad existence or a disappointment. In the days and weeks immediately following her death, I felt like I was still surrounded in support. People were still checking on me and talking about her. People were still sending cards and emails... and I got lots of comments on my blog. I felt like others' emotions were still affected by her and it made me feel less alone, even though nobody knew the depth of my pain, it felt like they were trying to understand and be here for me.
I blogged ALL the time and have continued to do so for most of the last 6 months. This blog has been a God-send for me. I have never been good at talking about my feelings, but I discovered after I started my blog that I am good at writing them. It also has given me a way to be able to talk about Rachel whenever I want without seeing any uncomfortable faces or hearing any insensitive advice. It has helped me to help people know her. It has given me something I can do to nurture "her". I have spent many sleepless nights on my computer journaling my all-over-the-place feelings to people all around the world (over 92 countries!) when the people in my own home felt so far away. I have been blessed with many new friendships and have been okay with letting some old ones go. My blog used to provide me a place where I felt completely safe expressing my feelings; good, bad or indifferent. Little places in my heart that would have gone long unnoticed have been healed though my writing and I am grateful for that. Lately though, my blog has not felt as safe. Many critical comments about what I write or 'might write' have left me feeling like my blog is no longer a safe haven for me, but a place in which people think they can give me their input on what I should and shouldn't write and are judging me accordingly. Lately, between that and the fact that I'm running out of ways to say "I miss Rachel like crazy" leaves me feeling discouraged even with my blog.
This is just what I see as a symptom to the problem I find myself in at 6 months and 2 days....
What I mean by that is that the world has officially moved on. And I haven't. And since they have, they don't get why I haven't. That is obvious for many reasons, not limited to the fact that during my pregnancy and in the first few weeks after Rachel died, nobody would've questioned anything I wrote because they still had pity on me and therefore found me worthy of grace. Since 6 months 2 days has worn off emotions they may have felt from Rachel, it has also worn off the eyes of compassion through which they used to view me... but I still so desperately need it.
My grief used to be able to be classified more as sadness. I was sad all the time. I found great joy in my baby and also in my other children, but my heart hurt... literally in my chest, it was a real physical pain. I cried more often and my sadness came with me everywhere. At the drop of a hat... a song, a sound, a word, a thought... I would be in tears. Today, my sadness is not as consistent... it's more randomly placed throughout unexpected times of my days. However, the grief is heavier than ever. This is my biggest struggle right now. I didn't understand before that grief didn't just mean being sad and crying. I didn't understand how heavy it would be on my shoulders. I was not expecting the way it would invade my entire life and every part of my being. And to be honest, I hate every second of it. I would actually give anything to go back to the day I had Rachel... the days when I cried, but she seemed closer. The days when God felt closer. The days when people felt closer.
These days are so lonely. People thought that back in December was the part that was hard. (although I did have some in-laws who thought December was a stretch to still be grieving even then) Unfortunately, based on the general publics' limited knowledge of this type of loss, it got harder for me at about the same time that everyone disappeared thinking I should be fine now. The help stopped, the cards stopped, the calls stopped, the comments stopped.... exactly when I needed them most.
And so this has left me in a good and bad place. It's left me in a place where I am realizing that the only One who will never let me down is my God, which is ultimately the best place to be... but also in a place where I struggle with bitterness, which puts a wedge between me and my Only Hope.
I find myself trudging the daily, never ending road we call "grief" wondering if this is ever going to let up. I am now 16 weeks pregnant again. I feel bad admitting that I am really struggling to be excited at all about being pregnant again and have to fake being interested in a conversation about this baby. Which is all anyone wants to talk to me about anymore because it's more fun to talk about then my other dead baby. I feel like in order to talk about her, I have to force a conversation... and I don't always receive a very warming response which is heartbreaking. When I was pregnant, I didn't want to talk and everyone insisted on it - now I want to and nobody else does.
I planted her garden for her 6 month birthday and saw how some people looked at me like I was over-doing it when I told them. They don't get me and I sometimes feel like a complete outcast because most people don't. I'm glad they don't, I guess. Being misunderstood and looked at pathetically as if I should be over this by now is sad to me. I dug and lifted and bent over in the hot sun all alone trying to nurture a baby who is gone. And this is my new normal. Even though I felt completely alone, I also felt like I'm still getting stronger. I don't feel defeated by my loneliness in my grief, but I would be lying if I didn't say it's hurtful. I know God will bring me through this... but in the meantime, I'm still in it. It feels like such a long road.
At 6 months and 2 days, I am still a newly grieving mama of a beautiful baby who left me too soon. I'm sad, I'm mad, I'm discouraged, I'm lonely, I'm broken, I'm tired and weary (from grief and pregnancy). The hard part about right now is that she's been gone long enough that I have a hard time remembering the joy I experienced when I carried her and held her in my arms, but not long enough that the pain of losing her has lessened any. As a matter of fact, without the feeling of joy being close, the pain seems bigger.
At 6 months and 2 days, heaven feels so far away and 'better days' seem to be a name of something I'll never know. Hearing people say "Rachel" is still something that makes me light up and smile... and hearing someone call me her Mama makes my heart dance. She is still in my every thought and I wonder daily what life is like for her with Jesus. I rejoice that she is there, even though my heart continues to break down here.
I could go on and on about what life is like after 6 months and 2 days without my girl, but pretty soon it's going to be 6 months and 3 days and I'd have to change the entire post. I'll end with a quote I read once on a CD my friend Jill had in her car....