Sunday, December 11, 2016

What really matters

After Abbey's death, there was a moment in time where I could see with such clarity what was really important in life.  A few years earlier, one of my brothers had almost perished in a boating accident and for awhile afterwards, I felt a bit lighter.  It was as if I had unburdened myself of an unnecessary weight.  But then slowly, day by day, I reverted back to the time before.  I hadn't known that my brother was in any danger until the entire situation had resolved and he was found safe.  With Abbey, I carried her around inside of me for 40 weeks.  While I'd had a glimpse of real life after my brother's accident, it showed itself bright and clear when Abbey died.

It's a wake up call no one ever wants to receive.

But here's what happens - you become tired and busy and you fall back in line with everyone else.  Not the same as before but you let stuff get to you more than it should.  You still have a mortgage and car payments and there's only so long you can brush off the politics at work because why should Rob be promoted when he's clearly not as qualified as you are.  You know what's important, what really matters, but you allow it to quietly slip into the background.  You let the noise take over.

I've had a lot of time to think these past few months, to get back to where my mind should be.  It's hard to let crap go.  I know.  Especially when it's not in your nature to do so.  

I've always been the person who lives for tomorrow and has trouble slowing down to smell the roses of today.  Last month, I had a lot of thoughts flying around regarding the future.  Maybe I'll do this, maybe I'll do that.  Why am I always rushing?  Slow down.

The holiday season for me is always a bit tough.  I'm missing a child and we never devised any tradition to include her that makes me feel good.  There's always just a hole that cannot be filled.  But I have three other children here who are very much in the holiday spirit and this year with me not working, we've been given the gift of time.  It's a gift I'm going to acknowledge and respect.  We don't have to rush through the creation of gingerbread houses or the baking of sugar cookies.  There is time.  

We all lose dreams along the way and it's okay to keep a few tucked away deep inside.  What really matters is holding on to the dreams that have come true.


Tracey's Life said...

Dear sweet Sarah,

My heart is hurting for you right now, I have only known you though the Internet and the sweet glimpses of your life that you have chosen to share with your pictures of your beautiful children. If I knew you in real life I would wrap you in my arms and give you a hug. While I have not lost a child, I have other friends and family who have, and I believe that the loss of a child changes one profoundly forever. Grief is not linear, it comes and goes and changes through time. I don't think it is too late to honor Abbey's life at the holidays. Why couldn't you start something this year? Perhaps a special angel baby ornament to hang on the tree? Look into your heart, your heart knows what you want to do. It could be something for just you, or it could be something for the whole family to do. Do whatever feels right for you. Or perhaps a special gift purchased in Abbey's name to be given to someone you don't know that needs something.

Death and grief are individual and we all experience it however we experience it. There is no right or wrong. I am watching it and living it now. My friend, whose children I have raised because of her MS and being in a Nursing home is actively dying now and on Hospice. As I watch how her mother and family are handing it, and I have had to let go of some of my anger and frustration towards them with how they are handling it. I still have anger towards her husband who chose to walk away from her and his children. It is hard for me to understand how others handle things differently than I do, but I have only just come to the conclusion that we each handle things differently and uniquely. You need to do whatever is best for you. I pray that you have someone with whom you can share your grief and your pain around your loss of Abbey. You are a beautiful writer. Maybe while you have this gift of time, you can find some time to write and honor her by telling her story. Whatever you do, please know that I care. You are not alone with this.

Claire said...

All the love to you and your family. I have a friend who lost her baby at 40 weeks as well. She has started traditions for him, including him in almost everything they do. I don't think it's too late to start that with Abigail's memories. Including the girls in it will open them up to healthy grieving, even though they didn't know their sister. Have you ever talked to a professional about your grief?

Teej said...

2016 was not our best year. We lost a baby in March at 24 weeks gestation. I have also previously had three miscarriages. Sometimes, I get caught up in the pity party of "why me"? But we also have two living children. They are at amazing ages right now for enjoying the magic of Christmas. Your last paragraph is very helpful to me: "We all lose dreams along the way and it's okay to keep a few tucked away deep inside. What really matters is holding on to the dreams that have come true." That is a good dose of perspective.

And more and more, as I have joined a few online baby loss groups and a monthly in-person support group in my city, I have realized that my story is not unique. There is so much loss. I know that you can't "rank" loss, but some people's stories are filled with so much tragedy. Some people don't have living children to turn to. Some people have lost living children. One woman in my support group has had 12 miscarriages because she has a balanced genetic translocation (but when passed on to her children, it is often unbalanced, causing miscarriage). Again, it gives me perspective. Life is hard all over. I have not been singled out by fate.

Sarah said...

Oh, these comments. Where to begin? You are all so kind - and you get it. Tracey - I'm thinking of you and your friend. I can't even imagine how difficult this is - especially for her children. You are right in your thought that everyone handles grief differently even when it's frustrating to others.

For a tradition - we used to "adopt" a girl who was about the age that Abigail would be and buy gifts on her wish list. Then there was a year or 2 where all the girls about that age had been adopted early so we started buying gifts in general. Now my girls pick from the giving tree at church. Maybe we should go back to adopting a girl Abigail's age . . .

Teej - I am so very sorry to hear this. :( My heart goes out to you. I agree that you can't rank loss but what some have gone through gives me a different perspective too, especially those who have lost living children.

Claire - we spoke to a social worker who we liked - she basically said we could grieve however we wanted to. There was no wrong or right way. I agreed to see a therapist with Rich but I did not like her. She started talking about God and that was a complete turnoff for me. She was also saying how people die everyday so I should get over the death of my baby - that's how understood what she was saying. Honestly - I'm not the type of person to see a therapist so maybe I would find fault with anyone.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Sarah -- I just wanted to say that I love your blog and I'm thankful that you write these reflections.