I've realized something recently....grief is such a private, isolated matter and yet a very public one as well. It has and continues to affect the relationships I have with my friends, family, and world. But it is in my solitude that I am most obviously affected by my loss. Although I know I will never return to "normal" it has still been difficult for me to accept what now is the new norm. I feel so different than I used to...physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I'm certain I've aged 10 years in the past 10 months. I can't help but wonder how I'd be feeling if Graham were still with us.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Mommy+Daughter=some pretty precious moments....
Lauren and I have enjoyed many quiet mornings together snuggling, having tea parties, coloring, doing puzzles, reading and even watching some Disney Playhouse. We also run lots of errands with random stops at Panera for a bagel or at Starbucks for a breakfast sandwich. Although the quiet mornings have been difficult for me, I have so thoroughly enjoyed our time together. These have been such special moments. We are both always ready to go pick James up...by 10:30 Lauren is usually begging to get James.
Trick or Treat 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
I had a dream last week...one different than any one I have had up to this point. Often times I have nightmares of the night we lost Graham or of losing James and Lauren. They're really quite dreadful. For the last 9 1/2 months I have continually begged God to let me just see Graham one more time. I find myself continually disappointed that it has not happened. Last week I had a dream that Graham was given back to us at the same age he was taken from us. He was even in his Christmas jammies. It was under the condition that he live at the hospital. Of course I wanted to be with him all day long, sleep by him, hold him, spend every waking moment with him, but the nurses kept telling me that I needed to go home. And I begged and pleaded with them to let me stay...I couldn't ever leave him again. They didn't understand... The dream was so real. I remember the joy I had when I realized he was being given back to us. But the reality of waking up to exactly what it was...a dream, was simply devestating to the core. I woke up almost in a panic and realized quickly that my Graham was not given back to us. I have wondered if that glimpse of joy I felt in my dream was just a glimmer of what it will be like when we are reunited with Graham in heaven....I can't even imagine how wonderful that will be and trust me, I think about it an awful lot.
I don't know how heaven works and how old Graham would be, but there are things I've chosen to believe about heaven and Graham's life in heaven because it's easier for me that way. Therefore I believe that Graham had a big 1st birthday party in heaven. I'm sure it was incredible and the angels weren't stressing about getting the cake just right. ;) I do think though that my party would have ranked a close second to his party in heaven. I just wish with everything in me that we were able to celebrate with him...to watch him dive into his cake and manage to somehow end up with frosting in his ears. I wish we could have watched him open his presents and try and eat the wrapping paper. I wish we could have seen him bat at his balloons and squeal with delight as he opened new books, stuffed animals, and toys. I wish, I wish...
We had a celebration in honor and memory of our Graham William on the Saturday following his birthday. Close friends and family joined us for a very emotional, yet beautiful evening. It was full of tears and brokenness and yet I really felt like we were honoring and celebrating his 14 precious weeks of life. We ate dinner together, watched the video full of pictures and video clip of Graham's life then made our way out to the cemetary for prayer and a balloon release.
Here are just a few pictures of our evening...
In leui of gifts we asked everyone to bring a children's book to donate in honor of Graham. We are taking them to Riley's Children's Hospital knowing that they help children from all over the world. We collected over 100 books...what an amazing way to honor our baby.
Thank you so much for those of you who prayed your hearts out for us and for the entire month of Septmeber and specifically the days leading up to his birthday. Thank you for wishing him a Happy Birthday. The week was agonizing and yet I cannot imagine having gone through it without the hope of seeing him again and your prayers. Once again we are humbled and amazed by the body of Christ. We survived one of the hardest milestones of this journey...my baby's first birthday. The milestones are not over and the next few months we are plagued with the holidays and then the anniversary of his meeting with Jesus. Again, when I think about it I wonder how I'll survive. I don't feel like I can, but that is when I try and surrender my fears, anxiety, hurt, and sheer devestation of our loss at the feet of Jesus.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Thank you, thank you, thank you...for your prayers, your notes, and your continued
Monday, August 2, 2010
James and Lauren are doing so well. They are just fantastic kids...not only do I love them with all my heart, but I thoroughly enjoy them. They make me laugh and they make me
James "teaching" me how to fish...hilarious! :)
A lot of snuggle time with the 3 of us...
James going off the diving board without floaties. He is SO big!
Swimming at Grandma & Grandpas....
Fishing at the pond....we caught a fish almost every time we cast the line.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
much more difficult than others.
still looking face to face with our ugly reality each day. Pray for grace and peace, patience and understanding, hope and joy. I do believe God ordains all things for His glory and our good, and for the good of Graham too.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I wanted to give a brief glimpse into a few things we've been doing here in the Carpenter household over the last several weeks...we have been very busy!
And we ate a lot of eggs...
We went to the circus...
Doesn't this picture just make you laugh?! I mean, if they were going to have him be a flower, couldn't they have given him like a blue or yellow flower! Pink...really? :)
My parents came to watch James' big performance and he was so proud!
Who couldn't love this face?! (Lauren...that is...) We finished off the night with ice cream from The Chief. It was cold out so Lauren was wrapped in a blanket. James was running around which is why I don't have a picture of him...I did try though...
The kids are doing well....we are spending lots of time outside playing in the sandbox, riding bikes, gardening, playing in the hose and just about everything else. What neat kids I have if I do say so myself! :)
They are so excited about our vacation to Florida. We are going to Disney (I've never been) and Gatorland. I'd like to take them to the beach as well, but we'll see how things are going down there. It is a very bittersweet time for us. We are so excited to get away and make some precious memories with James and Lauren and yet so saddened that Graham is not going to experience these memories with us. Please pray for me during this vacation and on Mother's Day. I'm thankful not to be home where I am even more surrounded and reminded of what we have lost, but will still have an incredibly emotional day. I'm so grateful for my 3 precious children...but I do wish that all three were here with me.
I will do an update on dealing with my life and grief. So many of you ask for updates, but the emotions that are involved in sitting down at writing out my jumbled thoughts and emotions is quite daunting. The last 3 weeks seem to have been some of my most difficult yet. I will update you all very soon! I hope you enjoyed our update on the kids. And again, please say extra prayers for us while we are away!
Love you all!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I hardly know where to begin as I write to all of you... I must thank you all again for your continual prayers and thoughtful notes, lyrics to songs, books about how to cope with grief, meals, toys for the kids, and the special things you have sent for just me...whether it has been something to pamper myself, a McDonald's Coke, or a special piece of jewelry that has Graham's name engraved on it. Thank you for inviting us over for dinner or dragging me out to dinner (girls). It is such an important part of our healing. Again, words cannot adequately thank you...you are all part of our journey...fortunately and unfortunately...
This post is going to be long...and full of a range of emotions...I'm preparing you now (don't say I didn't warn you!) ;) I have wanted to update it sooner and more frequently, but seem to have so little time when I can emotionally invest in typing it out...it has felt so daunting...so here it is...lots of it...Graham would have been 6 months today. I can hardly believe it.
Here's the answer to the dreaded question... How am I? I'd like to say that I'm "better" than I was almost 11 weeks ago when Graham left us, but I've tried to be honest with you all up to this point, so why stop now huh? It's horrible...awful...and in so many ways it's getting worse. The shock is still there many times, but the numbness has faded which makes the ache even more overpowering. Life is moving on...James, Lauren, Luke and I have gotten into a new routine. It is so hard and yet I know we must. We have to get out of bed each day and do life. The memories that we continue to make with James and Lauren are haunted by the thoughts of what could have been...Don't get me wrong please, James and Lauren are the loves of my life...nothing can or will ever change that, but my mother's heart still aches and longs for Graham. I know so many things that should make me feel "better." For instance, although I know I will see Graham again someday and it gives me a glimmer of hope, it doesn't "do it" for me. Although I know nothing can be greater than heaven, in my mind...being with me...his mom...his dad...James and Lauren and everyone else who adored him...nothing could possibly better. I'm hopeful that someday I will have more comfort in those things, but right now I want him...HERE...WITH ME...We are getting out more...doing things with friends...and it's been good...very good. It's always emotional when I come home and put the kids down for naps or bed and I'm alone.
Here we are 76 days later...on what would have been Graham's half-birthday. It's hard for my fingers to type that and to see through my heavy tears. I sobbed last week thinking about giving Graham rice cereal and knowing that every time I would shut the spout of the cereal box, it would probably have sent a puff of dry rice cereal to scatter on the counter. I wish so much I was cleaning up puffs of Graham's rice cereal right now. I'm sure he would have had a tooth or two...we thought for sure we felt one coming through right before he died and we laughed because James had his first tooth by 4 months. I will never see his little legs in shorts, or hear him giggle and see him splash in the kiddie pool. He never even got to go on a walk in the stroller. I wonder how much he would have changed. His hair was starting to get lighter. He was so sweet and pleasant...would he have started to like riding in the car? Probably not...he loved human interaction and touch. What would he have thought of the outdoors? Surely he would have loved them as much as his brother and sister. So many unknowns...
It seems that everything right now has two sides...we are doing a lot of fun things with James and Lauren and it's great...for them and for us...but even between the laughs and the smiles, there's the ache...All of you know of James' love for farm animals...especially cows....I had dreamed up taking all three of the kids out to see the cows this spring. That may seem funny to some of you, but the fact that Graham will not experience the sound of their loud moos that always seem to startle us and of course their smell, just rips my heart into more pieces. Many of you have asked if the warmer weather has been good and although it has because we love to be outside...again it's just a reminder of the seasons changing...life moving forward...and our shattered dreams. All of the things I thought we were going to be doing WITH Graham not with Graham in mind.
I still find myself plagued by questions as I replay that Wednesday and the days prior to that over and over again....I wonder if I missed anything...I'm so grateful that I didn't worry about cleaning up the mess from prepping dinner that afternoon. I thought about it but I wanted to just play and talk with Graham before I left. Silly boy wasn't interested in nursing that afternoon because he just wanted to look up at me and smile with his big, brown eyes. He played a little game with me...he would stare up at me and I could feel him just watching me and the second I would look down and smile at him, he'd get so excited. He'd kick his little legs and move his arms and make all sorts of blessed noises. I can see it and hear his sounds clearly. We'd play it over and over again. I'm so grateful I have those precious memories of just the two of us...and the late nights when we would snuggle and chat after everyone else went to bed especially with just the Christmas tree lights lit. Our life is just so different than it was. I know you've heard me say that hundreds of times and it hardly sums it up...but it is. I feel like I'm part of that old movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Or that I'm watching a bad Lifetime movie. It feels so out of body. My emotions are still so fragile and I cry so frequently. There are seemingly endless amounts of kleenex everywhere. Mostly used...some not...it seems that every time I put on anything with pockets, there are wads of kleenex in the pockets. Our grief is all encompassing. I have a hard time looking at people in the eye because I don't know what to say...and I know they don't either. This obviously creates very awkward moments socially. And normally, I don't feel awkward...I love talking with people...it's just amazing how much our loss has changed our surroundings.
The kids are doing well...they are enjoying the warm weather. We've already had many trips to the park, Tractor Supply, to see the cows, playing in the sandbox, riding bikes, and washing the van. They are just the best! They adore each other and love each other's company. They have many hugs, kisses, and I love you's for each other and for us every day. They both still talk frequently about how much they miss Graham and can't wait to see him. James has had concerns about who is tucking Graham in to bed and that tears me up...Lauren waves to his picture when she goes to bed...bless her heart. I wish I had their innocence.
Right now it seems that sorrow is my dominant emotion. I pray that in time it will become a part of my life but not my life. This new life with these new circumstances have required new adjustments, lots of growth, and constant struggles. Through this we are praying that we can begin becoming hopeful that life still can be good, although never the same as it was before or what we ever dreamed it would be. We have so many lost hopes and dreams...answers are missing. Large parts of our hearts have been ripped apart knowing they will never be completely repaired. Life is so fragile...
I find myself imagining our own story fitting into some greater scheme. I'm sure the half of
it which we may never fathom or even know. I do not see the bigger picture, but I have to choose to believe there is one and that our loss is part of some wonderful story God authored. I wonder about how my experience with loss will be able to help someone someday. Although I do not understand it and often times do not "feel" like it, I must believe that God is working toward an ultimate purpose and using our tragedy to that end. I have to believe that...otherwise it seems that this pain and hurt is for nothing. And that....I simply cannot bear.
Please continue to pray for us as we continue moving forward. Pray that we will continue to know how to answer questions James and Lauren may have. Pray for my emotions....the tears take such a toll on my physically and emotionally. It's just exhausting. Please continue to pray for Luke and I together that we will remain patient and understanding when feelings are abnormally sensitive and nerves are worn. We both miss Graham so much and although we
have laughed together many times, we also find ourselves wishing we were laughing without any reserve.
I'm going to leave you with something Luke emailed to me this morning. Love this guy...
I can’t really deal with it… sin robbed us of so much – but I have to find something to focus on… to be honest I can only think of what it will be and those who have gone thru this before us. God was enough when everything was good – now it seems like He’s gone. What we have to remember – even though it’s hard and we just want Graham – is that this is God’s specialty. He came to restore and comfort and fix what sin has destroyed. “blessed are those who mourn.” I can’t say it’s all the time and I surely can’t quantify it, but it does feel like God is slowly but surely putting feeling back into my numb body… God is not a tame lion and i cannot wait to see Him unleashed as sin and its effects are finally gone and sorrow is no more."
Please continue to pray for us. We love you all so much and are so truly grateful for you.
Here are a few pictures that I hope bring you smiles as they do me...
It was really tough to get pictures with and of the kids without Graham but we did it and I'm so grateful for them! They are both getting so big....wow....