Sunday, September 27, 2015

Daughter's Day

My dearest Lillian,

Did you know that the last Sunday in September is Daughter's Day? It's been going around Facebook the past few days. Lots of pictures with "Like and share if you love your daughter" or "Share so the world knows how proud you are of your daughter" or a hundred other ways people use to get people to like and share their pictures. I don't like people trying to make me do things. I just don't. When the blurb starts "You can't watch this without crying" I almost always skip the video. Cause I won't cry - mostly cause they told me to. Also, I am not so often moved to tears over things like cute puppies. Usually if I cry watching videos it involves laughing so hard I cry. Or a very spiritual experience sometimes does it - but not always. I wouldn't really classify myself as a crier. I digress.

I don't like people trying to get me to do what they want. Ask my brothers. They'll tell you the best way to get me to do anything as a kid was to tell me I couldn't do something because I was a girl. I climbed trees and caught snakes with the best of them. :) I still don't really like people trying to make me do things. So I never like or share posts like that. Truthfully, they annoy me. But this time it hit my heart to see all the mothers posting about their daughters.

Last night was the general women's broadcast for the church. Every time I find myself watching mothers and daughters and wishing you were here to go with me. I know, you technically wouldn't even be 8 yet - but in my mind you are a bit older than you would really be if you were here. Mostly, it's just something I wish I could do with you and I never will. I suppose life will be full of those moments. I realized it about prom dress shopping not long ago. And that opened a flood of things I never get to do as your mom. Oh, I'm sure in the eternal scheme of things most of them don't even matter one tiny bit. But on this earth, some of them feel like a big deal. I've noticed a lot of them this past year.

I was already missing you a lot. I'm sure part of the reason I feel emotional is that it's been a rough week around here. I spent a good portion of two days at the hospital. One to get a tonsillectomy consultation for Caleb, and Dad had a hernia repaired on Thursday. I had no idea how exhausting it would be for me for him to have surgery. Half the battle is making sure he doesn't overdo things. He is not a very good patient. It is a good thing he doesn't have to be the patient very often. Gavin's been up at night working on teeth and maybe an ear infection. Dad gets up 1-2 times a night to take medicine and usually that wakes me up too. It's been a long week. And I'm always more emotional when I'm tired. It's just the way I'm built.

Yesterday, knowing that today I would miss you a lot, I drove all over town to find pink lilies. For some reason they're hard to find when I am specifically looking for them, even if they were there just a couple days before. I finally ended up going to a florist and got a gorgeous bunch of lilies. She told me they were Stargazer lilies - which truthfully aren't quite the right pink lilies - but I was really tired of driving all over town so I agreed. I can't express my joy to find they were pink lilies. She said "They're not the official stargazer lilies cause they don't have as much white, but they're still called stargazers." I wanted to tell her that Stargazer is the name of the lily - they all have different names. But I didn't. I said thanks anyway and took my gorgeous pink lilies home. There are 5 of them open today and each one is about as big as my hand fully extended. There are at least two more that will open in the next few days. I love lilies!!! I hope you do to. If you don't, there will be a moment in heaven where we will probably laugh about how much you dislike them and I kept getting more to remind me of you.

I wonder if you think I've forgotten about you the past few weeks. I haven't. I've spent a lot more time thinking of your baby brother. I suppose I can't really help it. You've been gone for nearly 7 years. Most days I don't feel a strong heartache and loss when it comes to you. I was completely blindsided by going through this again. It's different this time. Some things are easier. Some things are harder. I still hate it. I just want my babies to be with me. A mommy isn't supposed to have to say goodbye to her babies. It's just....not fair. I know, I know. Life isn't fair and there's nothing anyone can do. Still - it's about the only thing I can think of to say these days. Still, I haven't forgotten you. I think of you often and you will be forever my sweet daughter.

Sometimes it's really hard to not have you here. This weekend I kept wishing I could turn around and find you'd be there. You're always that close in my mind. Sometimes I wish the world could see you the way I do. Then people might quit asking me "are you going to try again for a girl?" when I venture out with three boys. I know I would ruin everyone else's day by mentioning you. So I don't. I remind myself I have you. I might even think an angry thought or two in my head. But I never say anything. I don't want to ruin anyone's day. And I don't want my boys to think I don't love them even if they're not girls. So I don't say anything. I say "I wouldn't know what to do with a girl" or "we like boys" or something like that. It's true, and maybe sometimes kinda flippant. But I wish people wouldn't comment. Sometimes it hurts like a slap in the face. And going out to do errands with three small children isn't easy. I don't need to feel like I've been slapped too.

Thank you for always being close to me. I hadn't realized how close you really stayed until we did this again. Baby Sam isn't as physically as close to me as you are. More often than not, I believe he's slightly put out that I wish he was closer. He's learning - but it's not just a natural thing for him, I guess. I didn't know how lucky I was to feel you so close almost any time my thoughts turned to you. Thank you. I don't know what things you're missing out on in heaven by staying so close, but it comforts me greatly feeling you are close.

I wish you could be here, my girl. I really do. I know losing you has taught me things I never would have learned otherwise. I know it has shaped my person to be who I am today. I suppose I am grateful, but I still wish you were here. Buying lilies when I'm thinking of you brings me joy, but it's not the same as having you here. I can't bring you here. But I can bring lilies home and it makes me smile and think of you. And so I do it. I think some people think I'm crazy. But it doesn't matter. I do what I do to make ME happy. And thinking of you makes me happy. I am grateful to be your mother. I am sure you are up in heaven doing all kinds of great work. I am certain you are happy. I am glad you can be learning from my grandma. I've been missing her a lot too. I'm glad you two can be together in heaven. I think she would love that your middle name is Jane. Rumor has it she wanted my middle name to be Jane. Either way, we gave you the middle name of Jane because of her always calling me Tasty Jane. I'm glad you guys have each other and baby Sam and Grandpa Fred - and I'm sure a lot of other people too. It would be really hard to feel like you were alone. It is my nature to take care of other people. I can't be there to take care of you so I have to leave it up to others.

I love you, Lillian. Happy Daughter's Day!

Friday, September 4, 2015

1 month

I'm not really sure where August went. It just kind all a blur. We did plumbing stuff for the first three days - then school started on the 25th and everything in between is just...I don't know - it feels like it's just gone. Today is one month since we found out there was no heartbeat. I'd never really been able to understand just how awful the words "There's no heartbeat. I'm sorry" were before.

I've been trying to figure out what I did for the last month.
I watched all 5 seasons of Leverage - again. I love that show - and I almost cried during the last episode. They sure did a good job with that one - even though I knew the real ending I still wanted to cry.

I played 238 levels of Angry Birds 2. I don't often play games on my phone. But when I do - it's because I need time for my brain to shut off for a while. I downloaded the game one month ago. And I've played like a maniac - often while watching Leverage.

I cried - a lot. It's not so much every day now - but somedays start out fine and end in tears. Yesterday was one of those days. I did so good all day to get up and get moving and get stuff done - but by the end of the day I couldn't keep anything together.

I hurt, a lot. I had a lot of cramps the few weeks I was pregnant this time. Enough that some days I took tylenol every 4 hours. It hasn't really stopped. Usually sitting down is worst - though laying down is bad sometimes too. I don't know if that's normal or not. Sometimes tylenol doesn't even work. I should probably call the doctor's office and ask if that's normal.

I weeded my front flowerbed a lot. It makes me happy to look out the window and see all the flowers. Since we put in a new flowerbed in April and it was totally empty for a while, I put all the annuals I bought this year there. The backyard is looking really bare and sad these days. And I don't even really want to take care of it because of that. I just want to take care of all the pretty flowers. My front flowerbed is really well weeded today.

I ate a lot of mozzarella sticks. It's been one of the only foods I've wanted to eat. I just don't care about food most days. And when I do get around to eating, at first it made me sick every time. And then things just didn't taste right. It's a good thing I have a family who needs dinner every night - cause I tend to not make food just for myself.

I've mowed the lawn. This probably sounds weird. But somedays I just need to work till my body is exhausted and I can't even think of anything else. Mowing the lawn does this for me. We have a lot of lawn to mow. Even if Sam and I are both mowing (it's been really nice this summer to have two mowers) it takes more than an hour. And usually by the time that hour is up - I'm exhausted. There have been days I've had to have Sam start the lawn mower for me - it's a bit finicky sometimes and my body didn't really have the strength it needed to get the mower started. Somedays he won't start it for me - saying I am too emotional to handle a power tool. He's probably right. But it's made me cry sometimes. One day he offered to get the chainsaw started for me. I told him I was feeling irrational and that I probably shouldn't handle things like chainsaws or we might not have any trees left - or I might accidentally get a hand or foot in the way - something that doesn't really happen with the lawn mower. I swear - mowing the lawn has been like therapy some days.

And I finished Baby Sam's blanket. Months ago someone sent me a box of angel baby clothes and blankets and there was one that had the coolest pattern - but no one had the pattern so I tried testing it out. I started it for our February Baby. It was a big blanket and the pattern isn't terribly complicated - but putting the pieces together is. The first several rows I did definitely weren't perfect. By the time I got the hang of the pattern I couldn't bring myself to take out the first several rows (maybe 6"). I did that while there was a little baby I was planning to wrap in it. I hate taking out my crocheting. Really, ask my mom. I HATE taking out my crocheting. Most of the time I need to take it out, I restart the project, then later go back and take out the old project. No joke. I hate taking out my work. But I couldn't bring myself to start over on this blanket either. Emotionally I was a lot more connected to this project than every other one I've done. I couldn't decide if I loved the pattern or hated it. I have people asking me to write up the pattern. I don't know if I can. This is a very special blanket - and putting all the pieces together isn't really very easy. But I finally got it done this week. And I love how it turned out.

I've been working on this blanket almost non-stop for weeks. Many nights I would tie off the blanket and take it to sleep with. It's something to hold. It's not the baby I want to hold, but it is SOMETHING. And something connected to Baby Sam. It's his blanket. It's something for me to hold when I miss him. And I do miss him.

You might think I couldn't possibly miss a little boy when I have three. Guess what? I do. I think about him every day. I feel like someone is missing. Now there are two kids missing in this house. I hate that. It's not like sending a kid off to school that you might miss for an hour or two. It's different, missing someone who never even came to the house. If you've never had this kind of experience (and maybe even if you have) I realize I might sound crazy. I don't really know any other way to explain it. I have their blankets. I have lilies and roses planted in the yard. Those are the physical things I have. Oh, and a couple ultrasound pictures of Sam - one that even shows his little heartbeat. I know there are a lot of people who don't understand why I am so open about all this. I realize there are people who think I am just plain crazy. I am grateful for those people who DO understand. That means you've probably been through this yourself and I am sorry you've had to be here too. It's a hard place to be. I appreciate immensely the people who admit they don't understand, but they are sorry. They don't question my sanity or my tears.

I have had several people lately who seem to be put off by me saying I've lost a baby (now two) and I get some of what they are going through. No, it's not the same as losing a child you've held. I know - it's a totally different situation. It's not the same as losing a child you've had several years. I DO know it's not the same. I didn't ever intend to imply that I completely understand your trials. I don't. Even people who have been through the same thing I have - I wouldn't say I completely understand. I might understand pieces, though. I have lost two children. I know there are people in the world that say it's not even close to losing a child to have a miscarriage. But it is to me. My little angels are very real to me. They are unique beings and no, they are not the same as my other kids. I've always thought of Lily as my perfect child I never argued with. She always listens every time I say something. I'm sure if she was on earth, it wouldn't be like that. This was the first time I ever felt like she was exasperated. I told her to keep an eye on her little brother. And he didn't want to be watched. And in my mind I could totally see the situation of the oldest sister trying to take care of a little brother who doesn't want to be taken care of. Maybe cause I was the oldest sister. But she's real. Sam is real too. He's learning these days. He's learning what it's like to be a mortal being - through me. He is having to stick close to me to learn. At first he really disliked that a lot. He knew he was fine and he didn't want me trying to talk to him and call him back from whatever Heavenly adventures he was having. He is his own person. He just had a very short life. These kids of mine are my kids. And a lot of people think it shouldn't matter this much to me, but it does. And I understand some of what it is like to lose a child. I don't know about planning a funeral or graveside service. I don't understand a lot of things, but I do understand some. Like my friend Amy telling me she totally understood why I wanted to mow the lawn till I was exhausted. Even my sweet husband didn't get that. He's been through the exact same trial I have - at the same time - the same babies - everything. But he is not me. We are all individual human beings and we all have our own unique lives. But we can understand pieces of each other.

Some days I hide in my house and I don't answer the door. Somedays I take the boys out and try to find something to do so we don't have to be home. Somedays I can't wait to hold a brand new baby. Somedays I can't pass a baby without wanting to cry. Somedays I want another baby right now and somedays I am certain I will never emotionally be ready for another baby. Sometimes I switch back and forth between emotions so fast it almost scares me. I swear I'm on a roller coaster - and I'm not a big fan of roller coasters. I want off. I really want to be normal again - though what "normal" is for me...I'm not really sure right now. It's a good thing I have relatively good instincts - I'm pretty sure that's what has kept my kids going ok these past few weeks. I'm glad they are here. I need things to keep busy and busy they certainly keep me. They make me crazy sometimes and sometimes I hide in my room and cry and wish things were easier. But the truth is I wouldn't trade them for anything. They truly have kept me going the past month.

We have made it a month. It feels like a weird milestone. We are going to make it. I know we will. And it's easier to handle than it was a month ago. But sometimes it's still hard. I suppose there will be days even 60 years down the road that are hard. Having done this before I know it doesn't ever get totally better. Losing your child isn't something you get over. It's like having a hole blown through your heart. You piece it together - but there is a part that is always missing. And if it's hit just right it feels like it will break into a million pieces again. But we keep trying to put things back together. And in the eternities, this will all seem like a very small thing. But right now it is almost life consuming. But we are a few days closer to eternity than we were a few weeks ago. We can make it. Today is a good day. I've even written this whole thing without crying (I cried a lot last night).

Sweet Baby Sam,
I always call you Baby Sam - to help keep track of which Sam you are. I suppose someday you will be all grown up and not like that - but Daddy has this thing about the name Sammy. He said we'd probably never call you that cause he always hated being called Sammy. I wonder if you mind. I miss you, sweet boy. I know, I know - you are doing just fine in Heaven. I'm not worried about you - I just miss you. Wish I could kiss your little round face and run my fingers through your blond hair. It probably seems like a silly thing to you - but that's how I feel. I know you're working to pay good attention to me while you learn about how to be a mortal being. I hope I can be a good example for you. I am trying. I love you very much - more than a bus. I know that probably doesn't make much sense - but it's something we say in our family. And you are a part of our family. We love you!