Sunday, June 5, 2011

Right Where I'm At: 6 months 2 days

I'm joining Angie at Still Life with Circles and other baby loss mamas in writing posts about where we're at in our grief right now.  Her blog has close to 100 posts written by women like me who have participated in this.  You can see them at the link above.  To be honest, I feel inadequate to take part cause I feel so messy and not very positive...But I guess nobody ever healed or helped anybody else heal by denying their feelings and I know the purpose is to just say where I'm at, not to find a solution for where I'm at or find the perfect words - so here I go...

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....

The word "loss" isn't big enough. 
There should be an altogether different word for the grief of losing a child. 
A word that takes weeks, months, years to pronounce....
It might take a whole lifetime to get to the last syllable. 
~Sy Safransky


  1. Stacy, I can't thank God enough for letting me find your blog last Oct. For giving me a friend. Rachel isn't forgotten. At least for me. Love you friend.

  2. Even though I have only loss children through miscarriages, I don't think people can dictate to you how you should feel. A loss of any kind is a deeply profound personal experience that only you and God can walk through. People are quick to judge and put expectations on each other instead of letting God work. There is nothing wrong with the way you are feeling. Rachel will always have a piece of your heart, soul and mind.A loss of a child is not something you get over.
    Your blog should be a place to express your thoughts, fears, emotions, etc. If some people don't like it, they don't have to read it. Until they have walked a mile in your shoes, they don't know how you are feeling or how they would handle Rachel's homegoing. Praying for someone to come alongside you to encourage you on the dark days.

  3. I'm almost three months down the road and I have never heard that quote before. It is perfect and may have to use it myself one day.
    So sorry for the loss of Rachel. Glad to have found your blog today as part of Angie's project.

  4. Stacy,

    I found you through Angie's post.

    I so agree with what you said about people just not "getting it" and feeling like an outcast. I hate that feeling. I hate that feeling when you realize that other people are pitying you and your loss, like it's something we need to get over now and move on with our lives. I'm 10 months out, and I still get that. But, I've also realized that I am starting to no longer care if I make people uncomfortable if I mention my dead daughter. She was here, she was my child, I miss her and that isn't going to change. I'm realizing that by talking about her, by mentioning her name, I am being the mother to her that I need to be. I need to protect her memory and her very existance since I can't protect her here in this life.

    Thank you so much for voicing your thoughts. I'm so sorry for the loss of Rachel and I wish you the best with your current pregnancy.

  5. Just after reading your blog, I went to the Foster's Daily Democrat website and saw this beautiful article about Rachel's Playground:

  6. Stacy,
    The volume of comments may have dropped but please know that so many people are still thinking of you and praying for you. There is no 'right' timeline for what you're going through - just do what you need to for as long as you need to. I lost a baby in my 2nd trimester and found myself in tears on what would have been his or her 19th birthday. Someone once told me you don't get over it - you just get through it. You are not alone in your journey and as long as you need to blog - do it. We'll keep reading and supporting you.

  7. I admit I don't comment often, but I do come and read your story. This post brought me to tears, mostly angry tears that people, that ANYONE thinks they should "know" how you should feel or how you should act after losing a child. I have never read a blog or a book about loss where the person has said "And then, magically, at 3 months I was OVER IT! Hooray!"

    I'm sorry you don't feel the support you need. I wish people would let YOU set the pace of your own grief, because YOU are Rachel's Mama and you certainly deserve ever ounce of patience, honor, and respect that those of us who cannot fathom what you are going through can give.

  8. Stacy -

    I wish I was closer so I could give you a great big hug in person...but a virtual one will have to do :HUG:.

  9. Stacy, I am still here and I still think about Rachel on a daily basis. The first thing I do when I get home from work is check your blog. I recently heard a comment from an older lady who lost her child more than 20 years ago and she said "You never get over the pain of losing a child you just learn to live with the pain". For those who don't understand you probably have not been in the same situation and have no right to say when the grieving should end.

  10. I love Rachel's garden at her playground and when I saw the picture I was actually very impressed! I think it is a wonderful thing for you to do for her! I don't think it's over the top or weird at all; I think it's great because it makes us all think of Rachel and the sweet precious girl she still is-right now. You are a wonderful mamma for doing these things for her; they don't go unnoticed-God sees, Rachel sees, and your friends here & your blog friends see! And watching you on this journey, I think that you're doing a beautiful job in many areas: you love your God, you love your sweet Rachel, you love all your children, you love your husband and all your family & you are trying to do the best you can for all of them. I think people in general have a hard time focusing on what are really not the most important things in life, instead of what really matters (i know i sure can struggle with doing this!) and you can't really make them see this...I know God has shown me this, through you & Rachel and other experiences, but you just gotta keep doing what you're doing, because what else can you do? You don't know what a difference you are making in hearts around town and around the world :) and so many people know this for themselves and are thankful for you & Rachel! love you! xoxo

  11. Rachel's Mama,

  12. I will NEVER understand your grief as I've not had to go down this path, but please know I will also NEVER forget your sweet girl. I will ALWAYS keep you in my prayers and ALWAYS be here if you need me for ANY thing. Hugs.

  13. Beautiful post friend!

    This walk is so lonely. Thank you for sharing your heart, it soothes part of mine to know I am not alone. If we HAVE to do this, I'm glad to be walking with you and Him.

  14. Oh, honey, six months was hard for me for exactly the same reasons--maybe people thought i should be "healed" and I was so far from that. My grief was just building a head of steam. Every day I was figuring out new ways I was missing her, then to be pregnant on top of that--16 weeks. I had a really hard time connecting in my rainbow pregnancy too. It was so complicated. i was still grieving and too afraid to connect to the pregnancy. All that being said, you are right where you are. Right. Not wrong. This is the way of grief. Hopefully, reading other women's right where you are posts can show you that. By the Brooke is exactly at six months too, and a few others I read. Anyway, thank you for participating. It did not jump around at all. It was perfectly put. Sending love and so so sorry Rachel is not with you.

  15. Stacy,

    I know that "world has moved on" feeling so well. On June 3rd it made 13yrs that my 24week premature son, Sebastian, was born, and today it makes 13yrs that he made his journey home and left his pain and struggle behind. He also left a family who STILL grieves him, STILL sings happy birthday to him at the cemetery with balloons and flowers in hand, STILL counts him in the # when someone asks how many children we have (that would be 4, thank you!!), how would we ever STOP and "move on" in these things? Some people would, and do, see this as "dwelling on the past and on the negative". As if remembering your child could ever be something negative. I have 3 living, healthy children, but there are really 4 children in my world and that will never change! It can be a frustrating and uphill battle to find balance and to deal with those who are ready to push Rachel aside in favor of a more "pleasant" conversation. I'm still here to support you - even as a complete stranger to you!


  16. Love the quote. It really is perfect for our painful journeys. Im so sorry to read about Rachel.

  17. Stacy,
    There is no timeline for grief. I am 16 months into mine and still feel the way you do many days! You are not alone! You and rachel are always in my thoughts <3 love you. ((big hugs))

  18. I understand and relate to your words. I was there at 6 months. It was a rough time for me- the most difficult on this grief journey. God felt far away and the grief felt crushing.

  19. Stacy, this is a beautiful and honest post. You write so well about how lonely it can feel when the world moves on more quickly than you can. I'm so sorry about Rachel. Sending love.

  20. Stacey,
    I am still here with you on this journey of sorrow, pain, loss, and grief. It is lifelong.....don't ever shortchange yourself or let people tell you it should be done already. NOT TRUE!!! Take as long as is necessary and don't ever forget your girl! She is beautiful and she is dancing with Jesus! :)

  21. Rachel's mama, I'm so sorry your little girl isn't in your arms right now.

    And you're right: there is a difference between sadness and grief. I am not always sad now (2yr8m) but I am grieving - perpetually and eternally ... and you are right about how so few people get that. Thank you for sharing your path.


We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
Thank you! ♥ The Aubes