Monday, November 7, 2016

A new kind of grief

Out of the blue Cordelia said to me: Mommy Lincoln is my brother

Me: Yes! Yes he is your brother, you're right!

C: I want to see him mommy.  I want to see my brother.  We lost him.  We no can find him

Me: I know honey.  I want to see Lincoln too.  I miss him.  He is in heaven.  He lives with Heavenly Father so we can't see him right now.

C: ohhhh Mommy I want to see my brother.  We lost him.  Where he go? He is my friend mom.  Lincoln is my friend.  I want to see him.

By this point I'm holding back tears and kind of want to bawl my eyes out.  It hits me that we are now entering yet another realm of grief.  One we haven't yet experience and yet I knew it was coming.  My twins will never know Lincoln here on earth and although I want them to grow up knowing they have a brother named Lincoln (and they already see pictures of him all the time and can identify him with ease) he will always be just an idea, a concept and a picture to them.  He will never be real.  And there will only be so much they will be able to identify with, when it comes to talking about Lincoln. I want them to grow up knowing him, and who he was, and how loved he was.  But without ever really meeting him or knowing him, like Jezelle did, it will always be a different kind of grief for them.  They will grieve just that- NOT ever knowing him.  And that is so sad to me.

I was asked recently what my definition of endurance and perseverance is.  THIS is.  We keep going. We find joy in each day and try our best to live a worth life that both our Father in Heaven and our Lincoln will be proud of us for.

Friday, August 5, 2016

What to say . . .

A few days ago a friend of mine told me her neighbor's little girl passed away in a boating accident a few days prior.  'How horrible!!', was my first thought, and my second was 'I can't imagine'!! Although I am careful to never claim to know exactly how a another mother or father feels after losing a child, since every situation and incident is so different, I actually CAN imagine very well how that feels. Even if the circumstances are so different. Hearing of incidences where a child has died immediately takes me to a dark place, and quickly makes me feel physically sick to my stomach. I feel such a deep sense of grief and heartache for other parents who have lost their children and I am overwhelmed by their sadness and the hurt and pain that I know they will feel for the rest of their lives.

I've been told by friends a few times lately that I seem happy and life must be going well.  And although it IS, I have found myself struggling with that statement.  I am happy.  I have found joy in the blessing that I have in my life.  BUT ..... there will always and forever be a "BUT" to that statement.  Because the pain never goes away, and the grief always hits at very unpredictable times. And there is a part of me that will never be ok and will always be sad.  I think sometimes people want to think I am "better" and "ok".  And I suppose I am. BUT I wouldn't describe it that way- I would say I have just learned how to cope with my grief more successfully.

I always appreciate when someone asks me for advice when they know of someone who has lost a child.  And I really respect those who try and understand what they can do or what they can say during such a difficult time.

A dear friend recently passed along this article to me and I thought it was so well written, I wanted to share it here in case you have a friend who loses a child and you would like to educate yourself on what to say and what not to say.

http://www.upworthy.com/5-things-i-didnt-want-to-hear-when-i-was-grieving-and-1-thing-that-helped?c=ufb1




Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Triggers

I think I've said this a lot but as the years go on, and I continue to live without my son by my side, I am always amazed at how my grief and sadness hit me in different ways, often times very unexpectedly and without a lot of warning.  Today is one of those days.  Our sweet rainbow babies turn two years old in nine days.  Our Lincoln died 9 days before his second birthday.  So today the twins are the same age as Lincoln was when he died.  And for some reason, which I really can't describe why, that makes me super sad.  And a wave of grief hits hard, knocks me down, and I just accept that today will be a sad day.  And that's ok.

I suppose one reason this day seems significant to me is because I look at my energetic, funny, sweet (and sometimes crazy!) twins, and my heart bursts with an incredible love that I could never describe before becoming a mother.  A love like no other.  I look at them and I can NOT imagine my life without them. .... And then I think of my Lincoln boy and I honestly am really not sure how I am still standing today.  I don't know how I went on living without him.  And yes- obviously I know why I did it; I did it for our daughter who needs us, who is grieving as well and needs her mom and dad. And also because I am strong in my faith and I know I will see my baby boy again in heaven.  But I am also human and although I know that God has a plan for us, and I know I will see him again some day, and I know that I have been blessed and carried and lifted up through these past 4 years.....sometimes, on days like today, it just sucks.  And it's not fair.  And it hurts really bad.  And that is when I am amazed I get out of bed each day, because I can't imagine life without my twins, nor can I imagine my life without Lincoln.  And yet here we are, and life must go on.

I heard quote recently that describes my feelings perfectly on this matter:

"I'm exhausted from trying to be stronger than I feel."  

Another reason this grief hit me today I think is because tomorrow our twins will have outlived their older brother.  And that seems so unfair and just not right.  They will grow up, and achieve milestones that Lincoln never will.  I will know them, and be able to raise them to age 3 and 4 and 5, and so on.  And I don't know what Lincoln would have been like at those ages, as I don't get the opportunity to experience life with him at age 3, and 4, etc.  And I absolutely feel so so lucky to be blessed with these miracle babies, and I never ever take a day with them for granted. They have brought so much incredible joy and love to our family.  And I am lucky to be their momma.  But gosh I wish I could also have the opportunity to raise Lincoln right now as well.

After Lincoln passed away I became a little obsessed for awhile at reading other blogs which were written by mothers who had angle children, who had passed away at a young age.  Looking back, I think those blogs were a life line for me.  A way for me to see that other mothers have gone through what I am going through and they are still alive.  And they have found a new normal, and have been able to find joy in their lives.  And so I suppose I sometimes write on this blog in hopes that I can shed some light for another mother who has lost a child.  And give a sliver of hope that although it hurts all the time and it really sucks, there will also be joy again.  I don't write on here because I want pitty. I don't want people to feel sorry for us or think they have to try and come up with something to say.  I just want others to know that grief is ongoing.  It's a forever journey, not a small moment in time.  It doesn't go away, and you don't just get over it.  It's never ok.  And it's with you always.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Another birthday

Our little angel, Lincoln, would have turned 6 years old today.  Hard to believe since I only last knew him as a 2 year old.  What would he be like as a 6 year old?  What would he be doing?  What would we have bought him for his birthday?  His birthday each year is hard.  Especially since it comes just 9 days after the anniversary of his death.  I feel knocked down by grief and then just as we start to put ourselves back together and carry on, we get punched in the gut once again.  It's rough.  I kind of wish I could crawl into a hole and stay there all of March.  But thank goodness we have 3 other sweet children we must live on for.


Jezebel didn't want to come with us to the cemetery this year, which is ok!  Just add it to the list of things we continue to have to navigate through as parents who have lost a child.  We all grieve differently and have different ideas and ways to help us cope.  And as such, we have to respect the way that each family member chooses to do this.  There isn't a right or wrong way, just different.  Jezelle was worried that we would be mad if she didn't come with us.  It took a lot of convincing before she realized that it was absolutely ok that she was choosing not to come.  We try hard to respect the ways in which she chooses to remember him, celebrate him and to grieve as well.  She continues to hurt a lot.  And often.  More so then I ever would have imagined.

Each year we buy an ice cream cake to celebrate Lincoln.  He loved ice cream.  We light the candles and sing happy birthday but it's such a strange day; walking through the motions, doing what we decided we would do as a tradition, to help celebrate the day he was born.  But it just hurts so much that he is not here. Happy birthday sweet boy. We love you to the moon and back.




Thursday, March 10, 2016

4 years later.


I can't believe I haven't posted in over a year and half.  I think of writing on here all the time, as things come up daily, and we continue to struggle through living life without our Lincoln with us. And then I just don't.  It's strange how I feel like it almost gets harder to write on here, instead of easier.  I cry just thinking about writing down my feelings and so I avoid it.  And then regret it.

How is it possible that I didn't even write last year on the anniversary of Lincoln's death, or at least on his birthday?!  I don't have an answer.  But perhaps it's because I worry I will run out of pictures of him, to post on here with each entry, or because I wonder what is really being accomplished by writing down my thoughts and experiences, other than sadness.  Mostly it's probably because I am so busy with twins, who seem to consume our lives, though we absolutely adore them.  Here is a picture of the twins visiting Lincoln's grave for the first time last March 10th, 2015.


So anyway, here we are.  4 years after our son died.  He would be turning 6 next week.  Six years old. The thought of that makes me cry too, because I don't know what he would be like as a six year old, I only know him as a two year old.  And that makes it seem like it was an eternity ago.

Really as the time goes on it never gets less sad, and I never feel less pain.  I just get use to having it with me.  I actually kind of wanted to crawl into a hole this year, and return to real life after his birthday next week.  But I have a nine year old daughter, who continues to struggle and who continues to grieve as well, and so I can't just ignore it, though sometimes that seems it would be much easier.  And yet at the same time I DO want to honor him and celebrate him and what an incredible little human being he was.

With each passing milestone there are new hurts and new pains.  Perhaps maybe that's why it never seems to get easier.  This coming May our twins will turn two.  That's how long we got to live with Lincoln in our lives.  And when I look at the twins and what a huge part of our family they have become, it makes it hard for me to breathe, knowing that after such a short, yet significant time in our family, we no longer have him with us.  And that hurts a lot too.

Today Shane took the day off from work and we just got through our day.  We took life at a slower pace and didn't do much...well, we took our day as slow as our super busy twins would allow us to.  We took Jezelle to a movie this afternoon and did something fun as a family, on a not so fun day.  And really, we don't miss him today more than any other day.  But it's a tough day to remember and think about as each hour ticks by.

We are blessed with amazing friends and family who never forget Lincoln and always loved him no matter what.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Back to School


*Jezelle LOVED going with Lincoln to his co-op classroom.  It's still one of her favorite memories with him.  When he first started the class I considered not taking her with me.  Oh how that is another tender mercy that we were given.

Although life has continued on and Lincoln has now been gone for almost 2 and 1/2 years the grief and pain I feel from missing him is the exact same as it always has been.  And what many people don't realize is that I not only have to deal with my own grief but I have to watch my precious family navigate through this nightmare each day as well; specifically my sweet daughter.  Her pain has not lessened either.  She misses Lincoln just as much as me.  Although she's a child, she hurts too.  Often.  It's something that I will have to help her work through for the rest of her life.  And no one realizes how often issues come up where we have to deal with something pertaining to Lincoln.

Though many moms are excited to get their kids back to school I dread it each year.  Jezelle gets very worried in new situations and feels lonely and sad when she's around people who don't know about Lincoln.  Transitions and change is hard for her.  So, we learned quickly that each year I send an email to her new teacher explaining that Jezelle has lost a brother and if she feels sad and needs to go see the school counselor to please let her do so, and on and on . . .

*this picture was taken on the first day of Lincoln's co-op preschool 

And then there's the 'All About Me' page.  How many people are in your family?  How many brothers and sisters do you have?  Send a picture of your family in.  So each year I have to ask Jezelle, just as I did tonight while tucking her into bed- do you want me to print a picture of you and the new babies and then one of you and Lincoln or do you want one of just the new babies? . . . she of course never hesitates to say she wants a picture of Lincoln on her 'All about Me' poster, but those are the questions that come up and those are the things that I have to deal with.  And unfortunately the reality is that now, nor will we ever have a picture of our entire family together.  That alone breaks my heart each day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Update on our rainbow babies

Our sweet little babies came very unexpectedly at 33 weeks and 4 days gestation.  I had placenta abruption and was hemorrhaging so they took the babies via emergency c-section.  Although they were both over 5 pounds, their lungs were still very underdeveloped.  They were in the NICU for 3 weeks which was incredibly hard and stressful.  But, they are now home, healthy and happy sweet babies and we feel so so blessed!!!  They are 3 months old now and I can hardly believe it when I look back at these pictures and remember how far they have come.  They have brought tremendous joy to our family.

Some have asked if my pain has lessened since having the babies.  My answer is no.  Absolutely not.  These babies did NOT replace my Lincoln in any way.  And if anything I think I miss Lincoln more.  I want so badly for these babies to know him and to grow up with him.  I wish he was here to be with us as we learn to adjust to life with two new babies in our family.  I'd love to watch him and how he reacts to having two new siblings around.  And I have strangely felt at times like I am missing something, which I haven't felt in a long time.  I'll put our seven year old to bed, and get the babies asleep, and then I'll come down stairs and wonder around aimlessly because I think I'm suppose to be doing something else . . . and then I realize I am.  I am supposed to be putting my FOUR and a half year old to bed too.  But he's not here for me to do that.  I feel joy from these new lives and I feel SO blessed that they are in our family.  But mostly I feel busy.  And tired.  But the pain and the grief is still there.  That will never go away.


baby boy above, baby girl below.