Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Alone in Missing Her

The week leading up to Christmas went fairly well.  I felt the joy of the Christmas season and was, for the first time in I don't know how long, actually looking forward to seeing people.  I even took the first step at getting a couple of the relationships that have been hurting since last year back to good, as the Holy Spirit was leading me to.

On Christmas eve, My mom, sister & her kids came over to open gifts together.... we were in the living room and I mentioned that the one thing I wanted to buy still that I didn't was a sled ornament for Asa.  I told them how my friend Ruth had bought one for each of the kids last year, including Rachel and I wanted Asa to have a matching one.  (I have one from 1981 that my Nana bought me too).  After they left, I sat down to eat lunch and saw a package on the table that Matt had just brought in while I was visiting with my mom & meg... I saw Ruth's name on it and I knew.... She remembered.  Thanks, Ruth ♥  She sent Asa's sled and a beautiful card remembering Rachel.

Christmas eve service went okay - I hardly shed a tear (thanks to my anxiety medicine...)  I was really feeling like Christmas was going to be easy this year.  That night, Asa threw up on his blanket as we were getting ready for bed.  I put it in the washer around midnight.  He was laying in his little hammock sleeper next to the couch.  I walked in to the living room and sat down next to him.  As I sat there staring at him, it hit me like a ton of bricks.... She was my Christmas baby....  It's Christmas and she's not here.  I picked up my boy and laid him on my chest.  I covered him with her blanket and cried myself to sleep.

I woke up Christmas morning so thankful to hear my boys playing in the kitchen.  Des was still asleep and I laid there to nurse Asa, who was still wrapped in Rachel's blanket.  The morning went pretty well.  I managed to make my quiche (a tradition that I wasn't able to get myself to do last year) and we opened presents and had a good morning.  I only got 2 letters (random acts of kindness) for her stocking and so I read them to everyone.... but keeping anyone's attention for things like that is hard and it just left me feeling alone in missing her.  So I guess it was a blessing in disguise that I didn't get more. 

I had come up with the idea of driving up north 2 1/2 hours to see Matt's family Christmas day.  (a result of the week before going well cause that day, it was the last thing I wanted to do.) Before we went, I took a ride to the cemetery by myself.  It would have been too much to drag the kids 20 minutes in the opposite direction and then for the long car ride, so again, I was alone in missing her.  I tried to tell myself it would be okay to go another day.... that I should just focus on our plans with my living family....but I just couldn't leave this area without stopping there first.  I needed to go.  I cried on the phone to my mother the whole way there over the fact that Rachel's gone and how hard this journey has been on my marriage.  I hung up as I pulled up to her grave.  I flopped on the cold hard ground in front of our stone.... the grave next to ours newly dug and occupied... I looked at the fresh dirt next to me and the dying flowers from the top of his casket... I looked at Rachel's name.... Is this seriously my life?  Did this really happen?  I could have cried the day away sitting right there, but there was traveling to do and in-laws to visit.... I cried harder and longer than I have in quite a while, but my times of grieving are always cut short by my obligations.  I went home and got ready.  We left the house 2 hours late.  Drove forever, visited for a couple hours and made the drive home.  Got home at 9pm, just in time for everyone else to go to bed.  I sat on my couch with Asa and thought about what it would have been like to have a one year old little girl running around here that day.... 

It's not that nobody remembered her.... Someone left us a couple of pretty candles with Rachel's initials on them at her grave, I got the sled for Asa, a couple of cards and two RAOK's, My mom and Matt's mom both made me something special that took time and thought for Rachel.  I see that there are people who remembered her and was so blessed by that....but why doesn't it take away the hurt?  I want to feel better....I want to feel normal - to have a clue what to expect from my emotions.  I'm so tired of this journey and it's only been harder since Asa was born.  I wouldn't change having him so soon at all, but I wasn't prepared for what the mix of baby blues and grief would do to me.

I wish I could write something about all the places I see God in this.  For the first 6 months after she died, I used to have a million stories like that... I wish I could tell you how raw my emotions are and then follow it up with a truth about God that will fill my emptiness.... that used to come automatically.  I wish I wasn't finding myself angry so often... I wish this pain would go away.  I wish I was still honestly praising God for all of this.  But the truth is that I wish this wasn't my life - and I wish I wasn't so alone in missing her.  And honestly, I'm more disappointed with His plan now than ever before.  I want her back - and I'm struggling to understand what I even believe anymore. 

I realized that while I thought I was making it easier on me with this stupid blog, I haven't.  What I did was throw myself into helping everyone else right from Rachel's diagnosis....answering hundreds of emails every week about other people's struggles and losses and their questions about faith.  I stayed up almost all night for months after she died answering emails... I felt like that was what I was being called to - and still do really, I don't regret it.  I'm honored that so many people opened up their hearts to share with me... But at the time when it would have been totally 'normal and acceptable' to not want to be around anyone and to not talk to anyone and to cry all the time, I was going to other baby's funerals and answering emails and phone calls to support everyone I could.  I was building a playground that I never step foot on cause it's too painful to look at now and organizing a walk to raise money in Rachel's memory for other people's benefit and shopping for other babies on Rachel's birthday instead of her. 

The result?  Now, when I 'should' be feeling better... when I 'should' be crying less... when I 'should' be wanting to be around people again, most of the requests for support from others has dissipated (when I would love to be able to focus on others too)  and it feels like I'm stuck at square one in my grief - I didn't take the time I needed for me and it's showing.... except now everyone else is over it and moving on.... and I'm alone in missing her.  But as Ms. J so eloquently put it, I can't expect endless support from others, now can I?  I guess I couldn't expect her to know how much support I was GIVING too, but most people who have had a lot to say to me, do so without much real knowledge of what is actually going on in my life.  People tend to think my blog is like a reality show for my life and trust me, it only scratches the surface of both the joy and the pain.

I'm trying to remember that I was walking in the way I felt led at the time and that God was in those decisions... and I'm trying to remember that I did just have a baby and am not sleeping much so things can feel bigger than they are at times like this.... I know how hormones affect me after every baby (never mind with grief mixed in) and I try to not underestimate them.  I'm trying to be patient and trust God for my healing.... but I've got to be honest, I'm starting to really feel like something is wrong with me.  I can't handle feeling like this much longer.  And while it's all good to say "you have every right to grieve however you need to" (which I SO appreciate from all of you) I'm still sick of feeling like this and wondering if I'm EVER going to get any better??

I wrote all this and decided I wasn't going to post it....I told my sister that I feel like at this point people are expecting something from me that I can't give...they want me to be better.  I feel like I'm a mess and because I'm a mess openly, people tend to like to analyze what they think I could be doing differently to feel better.  You know, how they would do it....  Admit it, you've probably thought it too....  and quite honestly, I'm tired of feeling like I am a failure.  My sister's response to my concern was this:

"You didn't start writing your blog for the people who judge you.  You started it for the people who need to know they aren't alone if they feel like you do - even if that's just one person.  Helping people is what Rachel's life was all about. _(beep)_ the people who judge you"

So I'm reluctantly posting this.... if you're that one person tonight that no longer feels alone in your grief, could you send me your email address or something cause so far, I've yet to find a friend who really gets me and can help me not feel alone.  And I am so tired of being alone in my grief and in missing my girl.  I don't want to hear another "don't worry, it will get better and some day you'll be good like I am"  I need to hear "I'm there too and you're not alone"  I can write out all my feelings on this keyboard, but at the end of the day if all it does is bring out the critics, what good is it?  If all I get is sympathetic notes and cyber-hugs and "you'll see her again someday" what's the purpose?  I want to see her NOW.  And I can't.  Heaven is too far away to make me feel any less of a loss now.

I want to be that girl that I was back in the full of hope and with complete trust in God's plan.  But right now I'm not.  I'm sorry.  I have no doubt that God will eventually lead me out of this pit, but right now I'm in the thick of it.  The timing sucks, it doesn't seem to line up with what people think 'should' happen (and I'm not just talking about the ones who say so... I'm talking about the people who say nothing and silently judge as well) and believe me, I'm not sitting in this because I like the smell of poop.  I want out more than you want me out.  I want to just think of her and smile more than anyone on the planet could possibly begin to understand.  She is my daughter.  I HATE the fact that when I think of her I want to scream because I'm totally pissed that she's dead. 

Can somebody, anybody, please tell me I'm not the only one?


  1. Stacy, you are NOT alone. I am right there with you. I can't even bring myself to go to Stella's grave so the poor vase sits with decrepit fall flowers in it. I don't know if you got my last email, but I wish we could just talk because I feel that I really do "get it." I rarely talk to anyone about my girl because they don't "get it." Please shoot me an email if you want to. Hugs!!! Jennifer

  2. Stacy, you are NOT alone. I am right there with you. I can't even bring myself to go to Stella's grave so the poor vase sits with decrepit fall flowers in it. I don't know if you got my last email, but I wish we could just talk because I feel that I really do "get it." I rarely talk to anyone about my girl because they don't "get it." Please shoot me an email if you want to. Hugs!!! Jennifer

  3. Forever love you and forever love Rachel.<3

  4. Honey, I know that everyone experiences grief differently, and that mine is often quite different to yours, but please don't ever think that it means I'm not here for you. You are never alone. There are so many more of us babyloss mamas out there that will grieve for our babies and Rachel, even if that grief presents itself differently. You are never far from my mind and my prayers. Please know I'm here for anything you need.
    Love you and your girl.

  5. You are not alone. We had our son cremated and I cant stand to look at them almost 2 years later I STILL sleep with his sock monkey every night just to have something physical to hold on to. I had my rainbow earlier this year and to watch her on her first Christmas broke my heart because that is something I never had and never will have with my son. I have been told "oh I thought because you had your daughter you were better now" like I had some disease that would just magically go away. But I didnt I HAD A SON who I love with all my heart and I want to talk about all the time. It seems like he is fading away and there is nothing I can do. So you are not not not alone! And because of your words and because of Rachel I dont feel alone anymore either. my email is I know I had emailed you a while ago but I couldnt find it to send one to you.

  6. Stacy,

    you are not alone in this. We lost our babygirl nearly 4 years ago, and I always found the second year of loss much harder than the first year. I - and everybody else - expected life to get better- but it even got worse, because everyone else seemed to move on and I just couldn´t. In the second year of grieve I quit a lot of friendships and activities, and I told people who hadn`t experienced the same that their opinion didn`t count for me, because they didn`t know what they were talking about. I only heard on people who lived the same nightmare, and even in this, there were so many different ways of grieving. A bit harsh for the others, but I needed to cut that down to find my peace.

    Christmas is always hard, even the 3rd time without our little girl - it will always be. There is always a pair of glanced eyes missing, unwrapping gifts. I don`t expect it to get better anymore, and that`s ok with me.

    You can cry as much as you want to, and it`s necessary and good and normal - everyone who lost a baby does. Maybe it`s a way to heal what cannot be healed really.

    Sending you inner peace from across the pond.

  7. Stacy,
    First, I want to tell you that my heart goes out to you...I truly cannot imagine the pain you must feel. It doesn't help that we all feel so much pressure to "perform" for the holidays, and that we always end up disappointed, even in the best of circumstances.

    Secondly, I have to confess that this is the first blog entry of yours that I have read. I will be honest and say, that like you, after handling so many others' grief, it can be difficult to immerse oneself into someone else's journey. But please know you have often been in my thoughts and prayers.

    Ok,so now I can tell you that although my loss is different from yours, the grief process is similar. One of the most important things I learned about grief is that it does not happen in a straight line. Oh, how I wish it did--it would make the future so much easier to look forward to! But it does not. It comes more like waves...some big, some small. Some gently nudge you back a few steps, while others totally knock you off your feet and drag you under. I agree with your realization that you did not take enough time for your own grief in the beginning, and probably lost most of that immediate emotional support that had been offered you. I am so sorry for that. It is true that most people do go back to their lives, but we must expect that, even though it hurts...even though one of our deepest fears are that our loved ones will be forgotten. Even though I have eight precious examples of my late husband's love, I still fear that Bill will be forgotten. There is a beautiful song by the country group Little Big Town called “Lost.” It struck me when I first heard it because the beginning verse goes like this:

    “I don't know who I am
    Staring at a million broken pieces here
    I don't know where I stand
    While I'm still, the world goes round so free so cavalier
    Aimlessly I wander, like a drifter
    on a narrow winding road
    I've got plenty of direction but I don't know where to go...”

    It is dare the world go on? How dare the sun rise again, the seasons change, the children grow? It's ok to feel the rawness of your pain, Stacy. It's really ok. Just try to take some breaths when you can, and try your best not to isolate yourself, because that is just what Satan strives to do—to make us feel that no one cares, that we are truly alone. I will not try to placate you with “It will be better someday.” Now is not the time for that. Because it's not ok. It's NOT ok that you must go one without her. It's NOT fair. You are forever changed, and it will take time-a lot of it-to find a new kind of normal for you. I really pray my words help you and not offend, because I have nothing but compassion for you! You are a brave woman, even though you feel scared. So many times I have cried out to God, “Why in the world did you choose ME to walk this path? I haven't the skills, the patience, the courage, etc.” I call those my “Moses moments” because it is at these times I feel like the little small person being called to an impossible task, just as Moses felt. God has not given me a distinct answer on this plea, but then I have to come to the point where I resign myself that He did indeed CHOOSE me for this journey, and not someone else. So I try to do my best to learn from it and hope that God can mold me and guide me along the way...

    You are NOT alone in missing your daughter. So many of us will read this and feel that familiar ache, deep inside...insatiable...nothing can fill that hole, not even another husband or another child, no matter how much we love them. I know it may seem trite, but sometimes it's the best thing to do, so here is a virtual (((HUG))) for you, day at a time, one breath at a time, in your time...God bless you, honey...

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  9. Thank you for your open and honest mess. I have limited what I share on Amelia's blog...knowing it's not what people want to hear. I do my "real grieving" alone. It's so ugly I can't even allow my husband to see it all. Most days, I feel like I am screaming but no sound comes out. I COME to your blog to know that I'm not crazy, that I'm not alone. Your mess is my comfort just as much (if not more) than your powerful testimony. I HATE that my baby is buried in a little plastic case in the cold makes me sick. No one I know really gets that except for you. If I didn't know you were out there, able to hear my silent screams this journey would be 10xs harder. I love you.
    <3 Rachel <3

  10. Soon after Ellis was born and so quickly went to Heaven a friend gave me these words. She said, "Grief is work. No matter how you go about it, it is work and it takes time." 6 months later, I understand that more than I did then. Reading your words sounds so much like my own thoughts these days. I just want it all to be different. I don't want each day to feel like such work. It's hard and it's daunting to know that this isn't one of those trials that just resolves itself or feels better after a little bit of time has passed. I too am wondering where my simple faith has gone, because right now things feel dark and difficult.
    I'm praying for you Stacy. You have done so much to support others, cherish Rachel, and care for your family here on Earth. Grief is work and some days it may feel like you are alone, but know that there are so many other mamas out there who know exactly how deeply you ache.
    He still loves you, He still cares for you, I'm praying that He will feel near to you.
    Lots of love.

  11. I think everybody in their own journey feels alone in some way. While there have been moms have connected with because we had a similar grief journey there were still feelings I felt I was the only one feeling. I hope you can find that person that you connect with who is on a similar road as you.

    We want nothing more than to be "all better" and be happy all the time but it doesn't work that way. Grief sucks you in those pits and when you're in one it just isn't that easy to get out.

  12. It has been 8 years since Ethan died....8 YEARS!!! It seems impossible! Not a day goes by that I don't still think about him. All of these dear ladie's are right....we all grieve in our own way and your way is not any more right or wrong than our's was. Continue to give yourself grace. We are all still here praying you along this path. We are here to "bear your burden" with you. Love you and Rachel! You are in my prayers still constantly! <3 <3 <3

  13. Here you go: :)
    You are not at all alone, Stacy. Each of these posts from your friends above were written while I was induced and in labor and giving birth and saying hello and good bye all to Eliana...all at once. God has brought our babies here for a reason and each other together. Someday, we will meet in person and someday, we have the promise we will see our Jesus and our little girls again. Sending you hugs from MN. We need to talk one of these days...soon. :)


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