Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Grief

Many of you have probably already seen this picture...Isn't it amazing?! A lady in Australia writes names in the sand of babies who have gone to be with Jesus. It's breathtaking and what I think of when I dream of Graham being in paradise. I have wanted to go to Australia my entire life. Now, my dream is to stand on the beach at Mullaloo Point in Western Australia where my precious boy's name was written in the sand at sunset.


I have promised an update for quite some time and I apologize that I'm just now getting to it. I feel I have been open and honest with my emotions as ugly as they have been from the beginning almost 5 months ago, but I seem to be hitting a point where I'm not as comfortable sharing the nitty-gritty ugliness of my grief. Sometimes because I can't believe I'm still here...and to be quite honest, I rarely have words to express the thoughts and feelings that I still battle with daily...hourly at times. This post will probably jump all over the place as do my thoughts, but this is where I am.



The ache that is still so present in my longing for Graham still has no words. I feel as though a minute doesn't pass when I have not thought about him...most times still with sadness that he is not with us making sweet memories, wearing swim trunks, putting everything in his mouth, trying to crawl, helping celebrate holidays and family birthdays. But there are also times when I think of him and find myself smiling. I have such wonderful, precious memories with him in his 14 weeks of life. They say (and I believe) that losing someone you love is the greatest emotional wound possible. And that losing a child is the greatest of those wounds. Therefore, I try and remind myself that this terrible place that I'm at is "ok" and "normal" and again, that I won't be
here forever.


I still struggle with the death of my hopes and dreams that I had not only for Graham, but for our family...for James and Lauren. I don't want to accept that I will live with this gaping hole for the rest of my life. Not only was I forced to bury my precious little boy, but I buried bible songs I would have sung, little clothes, and his first day of school. Luke buried the baseball glove, playing catch and watching him grow to be a man. I've lost a great deal of my innocence about life. I miss when life seemed a little more black and white and not so gray. I miss when answers were simple. I miss when overwhelming to me used to be wondering when I was going to have a chance to take a shower and shave my legs (not really that petty, but I think you get it :) ) I miss the overall happiness and joy I used to feel about/toward life. I just miss the way things used to be...

I'm dealing with ugly, new emotions that arise from the depths of my being. My emotions are unpredictable and therefore often times embarrassing. I'm trying to move past my anger and bitterness knowing that I cannot continue to heal as long as they are this prevalent and yet it's so hard...it's brutal. Everything has two sides and it is a really tough balancing act. I want people to talk to me about the kids, me, life...anything other than my broken heart, but at the same time I want people to ask me how I'm doing with this whole grief thing, to talk with me about Graham, because I'm afraid he will be forgotten. And I'm not ok with that... I want to know that people are drudging through the mud with me, and not keeping a safe distance. I suppose I want fellow travelers on my road of misery. This probably sounds awful, but if you are walking with me or have experienced any grief, it probably needs no explanation. The best thing you could ever say to me is, "I feel your pain," or "This is awful," or just listen. I have all the head knowledge I feel like I could possibly have, but right now there is a big disconnect between what my head knows and what my heart feels and believes.


I try and brace myself for the "firsts" such as obvious milestones like holidays or monthly birthdays, but often times I am blindsided by other things that cause me to fall into a heap, usually figuratively, but sometimes in reality as well. Each date gives me a cause to grieve and a fresh awareness of our loss. We were driving to my nephew's birthday party over the weekend and I cried...a lot...because I will never have an 8th birthday party for Graham or buy him tee balls. He will never watch us make homemade popcorn or be the victim of James' brutal squirt gun target practice. My entire life has changed...and I don't like it one bit (the change). Although I believe daily we can make a choice to choose life, it's not easy. And some days and times are
much more difficult than others.


Right now I also feel as though I didn't/don't want to be a sweet sacrifice if it means I lost my Graham and am at risk of losing other people in my life. This isn't what I prayed for...at least I didn't think it was. If this is part of the deal then I want out. We dedicate our babies and pray for them. Why in all of God's love for me was saving my Graham outside His reach? I understand that our children are a gift from God, but to actually believe that to the extent where I must accept that His plans were different than ours and that Graham would be taken from this earth is simply mind boggling. I'm having a tough time letting go of the past.
God's timing seems wrong to me.

I'm learning that my emotions, even the intense ones, are horrible but won't kill me as I once thought. I'm learning that I can be vulnerable and real...and live to tell about it. Although I know I won't always be in this place, I'm here now...today...

I read this piece in a book and it summed up my emotions so well:
Real grief is not easily comforted. It comes like ocean waves rushing up the sand,
subsiding back, only to roll in again. These waves vary in size, frequency, and intensity. Some
are small, lapping up around the feet. Others are stronger; they foam the water around you and cause you to stagger. Then there are the overwhelming waves with an undertow that can turn your world upside down and drag you out into the deep waters.

For those of you who are reading this, please pray for us...all of us as we are
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.
Thank you again for walking this journey with us.

20 comments:

The Lantzes said...

still praying for you and your family, Shelly! It was so nice to see you just recently and to see your beautiful smile and hear you laugh!

My Life said...

Shelly,
I read your blog and as I have told you many times it made me remember where you are!! Your book hit it on its ugly (as you so cal it) head. I know how you feel about sharing or just being heard or allowed to cry without worrying what others think. I remember crying and thinking I was going crazy or believing others thought I was. No one can ever expect that a woman who carried a child, fed that child, made that child in her womb, then loved him like only a mother can, could just wake up one day and be passed it. As I have told you from personal experiences, six years later, you still have waves hitting you, just the time between them is longer. You also realize that in this horrible terrible thing, thier is hope, thier is a lesson. I don't believe ever in life that God puts us through things, terrible ugly things for no purpose at all. God allows things, as sad as some things are for reasons that we need to look deeply in order to understand. He took from me the same thing he took from you after two years of life with her. I find it impossible sometimes to understand and then sometimes I see the purpose as clear as a crystal blue sky. This process of understanding does not erase emotion or grief entirely, nothing will, but it does soften the blow of anger and bitterness that comes along with an unfathomable loss. Here for you always.

Jewel said...

Shelly---thanx once again for sharing your heart. It was great to see you the other day. Yes, you all are still in my prayers! Luv Ya!

Sarah said...

As I read your blog, the emotions of losing Zachary 6 years ago come flooding back. You may not realize it but you are so incredibly inspiring to me! I love your openness and raw honesty that you put out there. Please don't ever let your emotions embarrass you! I can only wish that I had been more like you when going through my pain.

We pray for you. A lot. The thing that helped me more than anything was making Zachary's scrapbook. Putting his life and death in a beautiful book was what helped me heal. Granted it took me a few years before I was able to even attempt the book but that was what finally soothed my heart.

You and your family are so loved, Shelly.

Shannon said...

I love your honesty in and thru all you are going through. I am always praying for you. Hugs to you.

Katy said...

I love your vulnerability. It tells me you are honest, open, and real. And, of course, it tells me your grief is beyond anything I've ever experienced. I still pray whenever I think of you, Luke, and especially Graham. He will never be forgotten.

The Goods said...

Shelly - It was so nice to meet you the other day at Sara's. I, too, know your pain. And I love what you said about not wanting to forget Graham. I do everything in my power to keep all of the memories alive from our short time with our twins. I refuse to let them be just a memory.

Please know that I pray for you often and am always up for talking, if you feel the need to connect with someone who has been there. It makes me smile to think that Graham has met my little Lia and Mason in heaven! Maybe they are even having a little playdate of their own today!

Jennifer said...

shelly--Thank you so much for sharing your story! I don't know if you remember me but I remember you. My Kellen was with your James in swim class way back when and I remember you shortly from MOTTS. Your story is so inspiring to me. I never got to meet Graham, but when I heard about what had happened, it really changed my life. How I relate to my kids and how I love and appreciate them. I remember specifically the day of precious Graham's funeral. My friends Jessica Besser and Heather Engle went to his funeral and the moment I knew they were there and knew what you were exeriencing, we were having a particuarly whiny day with our kids. I just thought, that you would have given anything to have a whiny day with Graham and it just put everything into perspective and has made things more managable since. Children are gifts from God and reading your blog and thinking of what you are experiencing now has changed my life. I know that probably doesn't mean a lot, but it really does for me. Even though I never met Graham, he changed how I love my children and how I look at life. Please know that your little angel had a huge effect on my life and on lives you may never know of. I pray for you often and think of you more. Your precious baby was a miracle will never be forgotten, by some you may never even realize. Many prayers--Jen Prough

Tessa said...

I'm so, so, so sorry. I don't know you, but that hardly matters. I'll grieve for you and for Graham ...

Sarah said...

HI, I just found your blog through another site. I lost my baby Kaia Star on Feb. 22 of this year. She was 11 weeks old. She was a twin, her twin sister Sage is 6 months old now. I just wanted you to know you are not alone.
Sarah Peterson

Michelle Brunner said...

Shelly, I just happened to find your blog on blogger and felt such immense emotions reading your posts. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your beautiful family.

Jayme said...

Shelly, I think of you so often. Thank you so much for your honesty. Your questions sound so aweful when I read them, but who among us has not asked them??? I hate to offer my advice, especially since we are not close, but when the time is right, you should pick up a book called The Shack by William Young. It is an annointed book that helps deal with unquantifiable grief and life not going the way we planned. Karla is the one who told me to read it. I will never view God's love for me the same after reading it. You are in our prayers...

小史 said...

Thank you for sharing.




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Jan Lehman said...

oh, my, Shelly, I just read your post. You are able to articulate raw emotion and questions so well. I remember my mom saying (after my dad died 5 years ago--and I'm not EVEN comparing the loss!), "Grief is something to be WORKED through--you have to WORK at grief." You never "get over" it, nor do you want to. Thank you for facing it head-on, Shelly.
I also love what "My Life" said, above--there is HOPE ahead, girl!
PS Lauren and James are BEAUTIFUL, as are their parents. ;)

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joven said...

beautiful blog..pls visit mine and be a follower.. thanks and God bless..

http://forlots.blogspot.com/

joven said...

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adrian-spain said...

hi,i read your blog and i find it a litle sad,the story about australian lady....

Hayley said...

Shelly,

I just found your blog last night and I am cannot believe all of the similarities between our families. I saved your address and was planning to come back in the morning to read your story, but I couldn't sleep, so brought the laptop upstairs; I sat in bed and wept - looked at Graham's beautiful pictures - read aloud to my husband well past midnight.

Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your story. God knows I wouldn't wish this kind of pain on my worst enemy. . . but knowing we are not alone in the grief of losing a child is somehow very, very reassuring. I identified and feel every single one of the emotions you listed. Thanks for being so brutally honest, because it gave my heart hope and made me feel like *maybe* I'm not going crazy in the grief.

Thank you- blessings to you today, dear one.

Hayley

yawei said...

Hi,just happen to be here and though a lot after a quick glance of your blog.I wish the best luck to you and your family.I am an atheist,but there were times that I wish they do exist.
Believe,there are so many people praying for you and your family.
Good luck,sincerely do.