Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November 27th, 2012

It amazing how complex grief can be.

I really felt so comforted as I wrote my post last night.

But then I ended up feeling emotionally empty, and essentially crying myself to sleep.

I can't remember the last time I cried.

It feels strange to even write that, for more reasons than I could possible articulate.

I wouldn't change one decision we made with this journey (in terms of the big decisions), I know Trever wouldn't either.  I'm so thankful, and, but... I can't finish that sentence.  In the end it's true.  I'm just so thankful.  My thankfulness overrides my sadness, my emptiness, my longing.  But it doesn't actually take them away.

I guess it's good to just embrace the fact that sadness and joy are not exclusive, they can inhabit me at the same time.  They do inhabit me at the same time.

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26th, 2012

I remember when Natalie was little.  There were times (haha) that she would be crying so loudly in the car.  I would remind myself that it was a blessing to have a baby crying, that there were plenty of families who would gladly embrace what can easily be considered an annoyance.

Today I realized that I am now on the other side of that story.  I am the one who wishes I had to take deep breaths to help myself relax and embrace the baby.  Or just to hear her cry, even if it was upsetting everyone in the car.

It was a strange moment to remember how I used to feel, and to know that I was so right.  And it was fitting to realize this on the 4 month anniversary of Abby's death.

Playing with the kids tonight was so great.  But in truth my mind was really focused on how much I wish we had another little one to raise.  I just love raising these kids, they are so great (in my opinion, which is clearly biased).

But the sadness that I feel when I long for Abigail to still be in our life isn't overwhelming anymore (at least not right now).  It feels more like an old comfortable blanket.  Almost warm and welcoming rather than piercing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Today I am remembering to be thankful for the beautiful time we were able to share with Abigail.

Sometimes it is easy to forget to be thankful for the time we had rather than thinking of the time we are not getting.

I am so thankful we were given such a special baby.

I am so thankful we found out that she would be special, so that we embraced each day with her before we were able to meet her.

I am so thankful Abigail was born strong, surrounded by so much love.

I am so thankful her path was so clearly laid out for us.  That we were given peace and not decisions.

I am so thankful we were able to hold her and love her during her first hours as well as her last.

I am thankful she is in our heart forever.

"To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die."

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16th, 2012

I'm just finishing paying what I hope are the last bills associated with Abby's birth.  It's really amazing how fragmented the billing can be.

During one of my conversations the customer service person said, "Oh, she didn't have a name yet.  Does she have a name now?"

Giving the answer was a bit painful.  First off, she had a name before she was even born.  This was the first time that was the case for us.  So, yes she has a name... she always did.  Your doctors just didn't put it in their paperwork.

And although has a name "now", she's not here now.

It's the mundane that can make my chest ache with missing her, with sadness.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 11th, 2012

I miss my baby girl so much.  Sometimes it feels like this has all been a dream.  We loved Abigail in my belly for so long, but our time with her was so brief.

Some days it is difficult to remember why my life feels so different.  To know where this sadness comes from.

I'm fairly confident that if someone didn't know me they would have no idea what I have experienced this year.  (A good reminder that we never really know what the people around us are going through.)

People who do know me barely know what I've (we've) gone through.  What we are still working through.

My good friend asked me last night how I was doing.  I stumbled over the answer.

Am I fine? Great? Sad? Normal?

Is this my new normal?  Is this who I am, and how do I even describe how I feel?  How do I describe what it is like to walk through my days?

I still feel foreign to myself, so it's hard to imagine that this is my new normal.

But I have realized that I can go for a period of time without my mental dialog telling me how each step is different, how each moment has been affected by my love for Abby.  I don't always know how long I go. It used to be constant.  Now there are spaces of silence, of truly just being present in the moment.  Present might not be the right word... I think it's more that I am able to be consumed by the moment.  I am always present, even when my dialog is helping me along.

There is some guilt as I realize that I am healing.  We've been learning at GriefShare that the feelings of guilt are normal.  I guess I'm glad we're going to GriefShare.

It gives me time each week to really focus on our loss and learn how to live with my grief as well as work through it.

We are getting the opportunity to learn so much about grief, even aspects that don't seem to apply to us.  We will have lots of tools and insight for future grief, ours or someone else's.  A lot of the knowledge comes down to quietly supporting someone, letting them have the space/closeness/time that they need.  Knowing that this process is *long* for most situations.  Longer than the grieving person will expect and much longer than the friends/family would expect.  Each story is different, but the lack of road map and the presence of confusion seem to be universal.

Next week the focus is on the loss of a child.  It's going to be a tough session.  Trever changed his schedule so he can be there.  I'm glad we're going together.  I feel a bit of anxiety just thinking about it.  

Trever is so wonderful.  I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have his partnership, his love in my life.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


This is so strange to me.  I don't think I ever looked up the meaning of Abigail.  Trever was the one who actually picked her name.  If it had been my choice her name would have been Audrey.  I loved both names.  I tend to defer to Trever for our children's names.

I can't remember what our top three choices were when Nathan was born.  But I remember Trever making the choice, saying something like "if you'll do Nathan Michael then that's my choice".  I was high on excitement... of course I agreed.  He chose Michael as a middle name to honor my family, since his family gets the last name.

Natalie Ann was an easy choice, it had been our favorite girl name with our first pregnancy and we still loved it two years later.  Trever wanted Ann as a middle name to keep the tradition of middle names from my family, and my middle name is Ann.  I had a different middle name picked out, but his choice was touching.

When we had Andrew it took us a couple of days to give him a name.  We were deciding between Joseph (not my first choice) and Andrew.  Again, I deferred to Trever.  I wrote out each of the names with three different middle names (Michael, Lee - Trever's middle name and Kenneth - Trever's dad's name).  Trever choose Andrew Michael.  He wanted the boys to have matching middle names.

When we found out we were having a girl with this last pregnancy it only took a day or so before we named her.  Abigail had been Trever's top choice for a girl name when we had Andrew (we didn't know what we were having until he was born).  Audrey was my top choice.  Trever really felt that Abby sounded the happiest.  So once we cleared it with my friend Abby, it was a go.  Abigail Ann won out.

Somehow in the process I never bothered to see what the name meant.

Impulsively I just checked: "her father's joy"

Wow, how fitting.  What a beautiful meaning for her name. It's happy. Each of our children could be described as "father's joy".  I think that is because our kids are awesome and because Trever is such an awesome dad!

Just for fun, here are the meanings of the other kid's names:

Nathan: Gift of God
Andrew: Man, Warrior
Natalie: Christmas Day or Christ's birthday

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 9th, 2012

Trever and I had a great time.  I always miss the kids so much, and I swear that is more intense since we lost Abby.  But I also have such a great time with my husband, and that is so important to us right now.

While we were at the Glass Museum I could hear a baby crying, it sounded like a very little baby getting a diaper change.  The sound was a little too much for me, I kind of started to feel panicked. I either needed to get to that baby and hold it, or get the hell out of the hallway where we were.  Obviously we went with option 2.

I'm getting a chuckle right now thinking about how the story would sound if I had gone with option 1.

And then at dinner, in the midst of seemingly casual conversation, my eyes welled up with tears.

It shouldn't shock me.  I think of Abigail all the time.  But I don't always feel the emotion associated with the thoughts.  So when I do, I'm often times taken off guard.

It's good for me, it helps me to feel normal.  It helps me to feel closer to this experience and Abigail.

I tend to be detached from emotion, I logic my way through situations.  This comes as a constant shock to me since I was always considered "so emotional" growing up.  Trever laughs when I tell him that.  I tend to feel insecure about being "so emotional"... it's strange to think that childhood tags don't always remain in adulthood.  (That is not to say I don't have strong emotional reactions, especially when I'm mad.)

I'm thankful that Abigail is helping me to be more comfortable with my emotions.  That she is helping me to rediscover the joy of tears.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 8th, 2012

I'm so excited, Trever and I are heading out on a date tonight.

Trever's parents gave us a night at a hotel in Tacoma as a gift just after Abigail died.

A little get away for us to just be together.

So the kiddos will be with my parents and we are off to enjoy a date and celebrate life.

I'm feeling strange about being away from the kids.  It's normal, but also worse lately than it was before we met Abigail.  Maybe I can just embrace this little bit of anxiety as a reminder of how much I love my children and how much I cherish my time with them.

But I also love my husband and cherish our relationship.  And I know it's important to take advantage of the moments we get to focus on our marriage.

So we're off... to see the glass meuseum, enjoy a yummy dinner when we actually get to have conversation, and get sleep.  Lots and lots of sleep.

And then we'll be back home, surrounded by the love of our family.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7th, 2012

Yesterday I was covered in a cloud of sadness.

I wonder what today will bring.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 6, 2012

A couple months ago a woman, Tara, got in touch with me through this blog.  She had a baby who died about 4 years ago.  She helped to give me something to say when I am asked how many children I have.  Her comments have been supportive and caring.  We haven't met in person yet but I'm so thankful for Tara already.

Last week Tara and I talked on the phone for an hour.  I loved hearing her stories about her daughter, Kristen.  I loved being able to talk about Abigail.

Tara has given us a wonderful gift.  She is having a Molly Bear made for us.  A Molly Bear is a handmade bear, that is weighted to be the exact weight of Abigail.  There is a 12-14 month waiting list right now, but Tara was able to gift us one sooner due to her fundraising efforts.  We will hopefully receive our bear before Christmas.

Part of me knows it will be painful to hold the bear when she arrives.  I don't care.  I'm so eager to feel the bear in my arms, to close my eyes and just focus on Abigail.  I'm curious to remember what 4 pounds 5 ounces feels like.

My heart will probably break a little.

I know that some people will think I'm crazy for wanting this.  I'm sure there is someone who will worry for us or think this will not be healthy.  Trever continues to remind me not to worry about that... this journey is unique for each of us and we have to take care of each other, not worry about anyone else.

I think that is just because it's impossible to understand this grief if you haven't lived it.  Even those who have lived out the same scenario experience it differently.  Losing a baby is so confusing.  There is a huge absence in my life, but not a lot of memories to hold onto.  Abigail was part of our life for about 9 months, but only in our arms for less than two days.  I didn't get to hold her long enough to memorize her weight in my arms.  My arms feel so empty.

I still won't be able to feel Abby in my arms.  It will be a bear, not a baby.  But I will be able to close my eyes and remember that the heaviness in my heart is connected to a love that was 4 pounds 5 ounces.