This week I have cried a lot. I could tell you all sorts of things that might contribute... I could say I'm hormonal, overtired, overwhelmed with busyness... but as much as those do hold true to a certain extent, it's not why I've been crying. I've been crying because I've hit another tough part of my grief. I've been crying because I still miss my daughter. I've been crying because I'm still sad. I've been crying because it's lonely.
I've had a lot of hard things happen in my life. I grew up without my dad. I've been on drugs and lived the drug scene, had friends die from overdoses, car accidents, murder. I've lost jobs, been evicted. I've been homeless and sleeping in my car. I've been beaten up, I've been used and abused by men, been "date raped". I have lost relatives too young to sudden death as well as a long battle with cancer and I've done a lot of things that could kill me from the guilt alone. I've been a single mom, I've had relationships end. I've been in rehab, pregnant in jail, on house arrest. I've had my future plans fall apart before my eyes and my 'plans' changed on me a hundred times.
Nothing... NOTHING... has been as hard as this. I have never experienced such deep pain.... the next closest thing I can remember to feeling like this was my miscarriage. I honestly am convinced that nothing compares to the loss of a child... especially for the mother.
I guess with everything else in my life, there was always something I could spur myself on with... well, when I get sober, life will be better... when I get a new place, a new friend, a new job, a new husband... when I start doing the right thing, I won't need to feel guilty anymore. When I'm not a single mom anymore, it will be easier...a new relationship will come... I don't ever have to go back to jail, rehab or on house arrest...
But there's no getting out of, away from, or replacing the loss of my daughter. I can't get a new one. I can't look forward to when I get used to being without her... it isn't going to happen. It's not like anything else I've ever experienced. There is no end in sight except heaven. I can't escape the pain and honestly, I don't really want to. I know I said recently that I keep myself busy to escape the pain, but that really isn't accurate cause I have yet to get away from it. I keep myself busy doing things for her because my heart longs to nurture a baby who is dead and this is the only way I can do it.
I think ahead to the birth of Asa and I can imagine him cry and move... I think about nursing him, I think about rocking him, I imagine snuggling with his warm body and feeling his breath on my neck... And I cry. I don't know how I do this without everything making me grieve more deeply how much I missed with Rachel. What does a delivery room feel like with a baby that's going to live? I've had 3 of them, but all I can remember is my quiet, motionless, dying girl. I don't know how I'll hear all the "congratulations" afterward without remembering all the "I'm sorry's" after Rachel. On her birthday, I would have given anything for our families and friends to say "congratulations on your new daughter! She's beautiful, you did a good job" but instead I got hysterical crying on the other end of the phone and had to beg family members to come to her funeral - and some still didn't bother. How will I feel when someone wants to bring me a meal from church? I didn't get one for almost a month after Rachel was born... How do I allow people who could have cared less about Rachel come to acknowledge Asa and not be offended for their lack of care for my girl (and my trial through losing her)? How do I not care as her mother that so many view her life and death as a disappointment to be pushed to the past and are hoping Asa will do that? I'm so tired of answering the question "is THIS baby okay?" - As much as I know some are hoping that this new baby will end the awkward conversations about my sweet daughter, he's not going to. And if I know me, he will only make me want to talk of her more to make sure nobody thinks he serves as her replacement.
It all just feels so hard. I feel like nobody gets me and like I'm always swallowing pain and moving forward... dry my eyes, pick myself up, and keep going... what else can I do?
I have curled up many times in the past few days with Rachel's blanket and just cried. I can hardly believe I have really been through this. I tried to sleep without her blanket the other night and couldn't. I kept tossing and turning, so I finally gave up and grabbed it - and slept fine the rest of the night.
I bought Asa his first blanket the other day and was actually kind of excited about it. I considered sleeping with his blanket until he comes, and I will eventually be able to put Rachel's in her chest... I mean, how long can I sleep with her blanket? But you know what, his blanket isn't going to do it for me... I need her blanket... I need something that she knew... I need something to help me feel close to HER. There is nothing that will ever fill the void she left.
So, as I continue to struggle with the reality of this never ending road through the loss of my child, I am reminded that there is freedom in Christ....I am not enslaved to this pain and that is only due to my relationship with God. I know if I did not have Jesus in my life, this would have destroyed me by now. I cannot imagine.
We sang the song I have playing on my blog today in church...you should listen to it and soak it in... especially all of my baby loss friends...
It is a long road, but the Lord goes before me. He alone can fill me up. When I'm tired and thirsty, when I feel the rain start coming down again, all I need to do is lift my eyes to heaven and give my all to Jesus... and the rain will reveal His showers of mercy and grace - and that is where I'll find my freedom.
It isn't freedom from the reality of my pain on earth.... that's here to stay. The freedom of the Spirit helps me to keep going... when I feel like I can't go anymore... and to hold on to the hope I have in Jesus knowing I will eventually see my girl again. It's freedom to be sad, while still genuinely thanking God for even the hardest time in my life, knowing that this is His perfect will for my life and to know that Rachel was not a disappointment. Her life was everything it was meant to be. Even if some don't see it. I am so proud of her and can't wait to tell her face to face. And because of the Lord, some day I will. And on that day, I will find my eternal freedom of pain, tears, sadness, sin and earthly trials with Him (and her) in heaven. Until then, I will lift my eyes and give my all to Jesus and find my freedom in trusting Him.