February 26, 2018
It has been a rough three days. I had what I felt was a good week last week and then Friday evening, out of nowhere, I got lost in the depths of this grief again. I was lost in it through Sunday evening. It’s only Monday morning, so I can’t yet say for certain whether or not I’ve pulled myself far enough out of the trenches. Sometimes, when I am really lost like this, I read blogs from other women, who have lost a child. There are two very common emotional aspects of this loss that I’ve read a lot about. Those two aspects are the ebb and flow of the emotions, and the feelings of loneliness that this loss brings.
The ebb and flow of emotions is something I experienced right away. Even sitting in the hospital, within the first hours of getting the most devastating news of my life, I quickly felt a rush of ever changing emotions. There was pain, a lot of pain. Then there were moments of shock and disbelief, when I’d close my eyes in hopes of waking from the nightmare, the next time that I opened them. Then there was the numbness, the moments when I just had no feeling left. The numbness is most bittersweet, I’m not sure if it is a real healthy emotion, and it is terrifying to admit that I had moments of totally absent emotions, but it felt the most relieving.
The analogy of an ocean’s waves is often used as a way to explain the emotional ebb and flow that comes with this loss. I can’t think of any better analogy for it than that. Have you ever been in the ocean, or Lake Michigan, and turned to look back and wave gleefully at someone closer to the shore; only to find yourself tumbling, uncontrollably, head over feet, as a wave crashes unexpectedly into your backside? That’s what this past weekend felt like. It felt like I was drowning, and no matter how hard my husband or I tried, there was just no way to pull me out of the uncontrollable tumble of an enormous, very powerful wave. Sometimes, you can even see the wave coming, and try as you may; you can’t get out of the way, or hold your footing strong enough, to avoid the tumble.
Last Thursday I had a conversation concerning the intake process for a program that connects loss mothers with a volunteer. The volunteer has either had a similar loss experience, or has walked alongside someone who has experienced the loss of a child. I felt guilty and almost shameful on the phone. I felt like I was coping so well and that I was only reaching out to this program to have a “just in case I need it” resource. I felt shameful that I might be using a resource that someone else might actually need, when I didn’t.
I even said during the intake call that I felt like I was doing pretty well and that I wasn’t sure if I really needed this resource. The sweet lady on the phone didn’t even hesitate, or skip a beat. She acknowledged my feelings on how well I thought I was coping, but continued on with our conversation and told me that she’d be passing my contact information onto one of their volunteers. There is this community of people out there, who obviously might very well better understand the emotional journey I’ve yet to walk, better than I think I know it.
Last night I received a text message from the person that the program is connecting me with and I couldn’t be more grateful. I haven’t even spoken with this woman yet but I know now how badly I need this person. I need it so badly because I am beginning to understand the lonely, isolating feeling that I’ve read so much about. From what I have read, it is in relationships with other women who’ve experienced this loss, in which you learn and better understand how not alone you are.
I learned this past weekend that, I can be sitting in the middle of a busy restaurant, with seven of my biggest supporters, and find myself feeling all alone. I can be riding in the car with my husband and find myself feeling like I am the only person on the planet earth. These feelings of loneliness came over me Saturday evening, despite being with the people who love and want to protect me from this pain more than anyone. It isn’t because they aren’t good at supporting me or because they are leaving me out of the conversation, in fact they do just the opposite. They are trying so hard to hold me up that they would willingly fall themselves. They would eagerly endure every bump, scratch and bruise necessary to keep me from hitting the ground.
I am not even going to attempt to count how many people I have in my corner, wishing they could fix this and take my pain away, or at least bear the weight of it all for me. I can’t express how overwhelmed I am by all of that love, but at the end of it all, no one can bear the weight of this pain for me. No one can take the pain away or fix this. As much as it pains me to say that, because I genuinely need and appreciate everyone’s support, it is simply the truth of the matter.
Today I look forward to a conversation and the start of a relationship with a perfect stranger, whom I oddly already feel so connected with. I suppose it might be in feeling lonely together, that I’ll overcome this isolating feeling, or at least learn how to better cope with it. I don’t need to learn why I feel this way, I already know. I know that despite all of the love I am surrounded with, I feel lonely because of the place I prepared in my heart and all of the never ending love that I cultivated for 38 weeks, for our sweet Marshall James, and because he isn’t physically here for me to show and give him that love. It feels lonely to lay my head down at night, without having our perfect little boy to wake me from my slumber and need me in the middle of the night.
I realize now that over this past weekend, up until last night, I was forgetting to do what I need to do most. I was forgetting to give it to God. I was forgetting that He knows my pain. I had forgotten to remind myself where my angel baby is and that Marshall is most definitely feeling all of my love. My most important relationship is my relationship with Him and I know I need to work on building my love and relationship with God as well. With your love, with God’s love and with Marshall’s love, I will move forward. Though I will have my difficult times that I can’t hide, and for which so many people will want to endure my pain for me – by the grace of God, I will make it, and I will have good times too.
When I wrote this entry this past Monday morning, I struggled to open my journal and use that space to write in, so there are no bible verses throughout this entry. However, over the past couple of days I have thumbed through my bible, several times, in search of a verse or two that I could turn to as a reminder of God’s presence. I have a study bible that gives some background information at the beginning of each book. This study bible gives a short synopsis of the person, or people, responsible for each book, as well as the time period and places for which the stories are based in. It also gives an idea of what tribulations each book might help sustain us through.
I finally found a couple of verses, as well as, what I think, may be a good book of the bible to turn to as I try to make peace with not understanding the why, or the purpose, of this part of His plan, in our lives. The book that seems like it may be a good place for me to grow in right now is the book of Jeremiah. Below are a couple of verses that captured me, one being from the book of Jeremiah:
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4
“Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord “and not a God far away? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 23:23-24