Monday, November 22, 2010

This time...

is so very hard...as we continue to live each day without our Graham. With every day closer to Thanksgiving means a day closer to Christmas and a day closer to the anniversary of Graham's meeting with Jesus. None of which I feel like I can bear. My soul still hurts so deeply and longs so much for my Graham. It's so difficult to be constantly plagued with the "last year at this time..." thoughts. My life is divided into the before and after and I have to consciously work every day, often times every moment, to live the after. People have asked me how I'm doing...if things have gotten easier. Honestly, no, I don't think things have gotten easier at all. The biggest difference is that now I feel I've learned to manage my grief a little better. I've learned to control it a bit more...but I still ache for him in a way that words simply cannot describe. I've learned to be strong on the outside even when I'm a mess on this inside. I look at toddlers and I wonder what his laugh would sound like, what his cry would sound like, how much hair he'd have, what his little personality would be like, what foods he'd like, what toys he'd play with, how the kids would be with him. These are all things I'm left to wonder about and the farther we get away from his time with us, the more difficult it is to imagine....and that is more difficult than words can even describe.
I love the holidays. I always have, but this year is so different. It is so bittersweet...new memories with James and Lauren and yet the ache of missing our Graham. Everyone wants to know our plans and quite frankly, I don't want any plans. It's almost like in my mind if I can avoid planning it, it won't come and we won't have to endure the pain of the days where the world seems to be celebrating while we hurt. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on how much we have to be thankful for and although I am SO blessed, I can't help but feel the bitter absence of our Graham. As I sit here with tears streaming down my face, I realize though that I am so eternally grateful for my 14 weeks of life with Graham. Although I wish with everything in me it were longer, I wouldn't trade this pain and grief for not knowing my son.
We are beginning to put together ideas for the kids for Christmas. James and Lauren both have birthday within 6 weeks of Christmas so we have to put careful consideration into what we get them simply because this is it for the year. It is so difficult to know we will have an empty stocking with Graham's name on it and less presents under the tree. I think about all of the things we would have gotten Graham this year and about the unused Christmas gifts we had for him last year. I want so much to be creating 3 wish lists for my kids this year. Again, a difficult reminder of what is gone. We have decided to "adopt" a child in honor of Graham this year and purchase gifts for the child in a family. We will wrap the gifts and deliver them as a family to the child. We'd like to have the kids help us choose the gifts. This is something we'd like to do as a family to keep Graham's memory alive and to honor him.
The Christmas lights are starting to go up around the neighborhood and each time I pass a house with lights lit, my eyes well up with tears thinking about celebrating Christmas without our Graham. James and Lauren are so sweet... especially when it comes to speaking of Graham. James keeps telling me how big he thinks Graham is now and still what he thinks he's doing in heaven. Yesterday he said, "Mom, I think Graham is probably as big as you because he's been gone a long time." That was so hard for me to hear...it has been long and I hate knowing that it feels that way for James too. Every time we pass the church where Graham is buried, they excitedly wave and say, "Hi Graham-Bam or Hey Wam-Bam..Miss you Grammie." Again, these are such precious, but heart breaking moments.

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.

We are continuing to try and leave our hurt and sorrow at the feet of Jesus. It's so hard not to question and wonder as we look around and see mother's who don't seem to care for their children. But we must remind ourselves continually that God is in control and this is ultimately part of His plan. Thank you for your prayers...please do not stop. We know that your prayers are the reason we can still get up and breathe each day. The next couple of months are going to be some of our most difficult. We again are so grateful for you....

7 comments:

Nikki said...

I'm sitting here trying to stop the tears streaming down my face as I read your precious thoughts. All I can tell you is that I will continue to pray that this never ending ache WILL lessen and that you'll be filled with joy, especially during this holiday season. Thank you so much for being so open. You are braver than you'll ever know. Sending lots of love your way sweet friend!

Nicole Ramsey said...

Hi, I found you on Angie Smith's blog. I am SO sorry for your loss, I know that this holiday season is going to be so difficult while missing your sweet Graham. Our family is missing our Caroline and I'm struggling with the thoughts of gatherings and celebrations are really tough to stomach. I don't feel like celebrating!

I guess I just wanted you to know that you're not alone, and that you've got one more person praying for you!

Anonymous said...

My Daughter,

I cannot stop crying as I read about the pain I know is so real for you and experience the pain I feel because of missing my grandson. We all miss Graham so much...and this Thanksgiving and Christmas will be hard for us as a family.I will continue to pray that the Lord, whose love is unending and all powerful, will give you a peace that passes all understanding as you walk through this valley.Thank you for your honesty in letting us all see inside your heart so we know how to pray more effectively. I love you!

MOM

Linz said...

I continally love hearing how you are feeling, as many do, so we know what to pray for for you and your family. Love the fact you're adopting a child for xmas in honor of Graham...that is just cool. And your kids are just the sweetest with the sweetest hearts. The innocence of kids never cease to amaze me...(especially James' comments on how big Graham is:)) I continally think of you, that beautiful growing babe inside you and your beautiful family. You guys are amazing and strong!

doddyj said...

Shelly, praying for you tomorrow. Not that you don't know, but at least as you walk through another incredibly painful milestone, may you feel God's strong arms wrapped around you, holding you up for the world to see Him through you.

thiruppathy999 said...

congrats! keep up the good work/this is a great presentation.

Carpenters

Susannah said...

Dear Shelly,

Really by accident, I found your blog while flipping through on Blogger almost two years ago. It was right after you lost Graham, and I had to start following you because I was so touched by what you wrote. I was a newlywed at the time, and found out in April that I was pregnant. Throughout my pregnancy I thought about Graham, and the babies of two friends of mine: one who died at 23 weeks, another who lived at 26 weeks.
I was wracked with worry the entire time. At my 26 week appointment, I realized I had been worried for a reason. I was prepared for the fetal death of my daughter. I had become so excited for our firstborn. We picked out her name, painted and prepared the nursery, I started sewing clothes for her, etc. She was stillborn on Sept. 10, 2011.
I know we have never met, but I want/ need you to know that, though I was "randomly" brought to your blog so long ago, your posts have helped me tremendously during the last five weeks. I re-read your posts a lot, and remember that it's ok to feel so terrible and mourn the loss of your hopes and dreams for a child. I cry the most when I read about your older children and their relationship to Graham. I hate that this had to happen to my first pregnancy.... I fervently hope I will be able to have children I can raise. So I just wanted to thank you. For your strength and your weakness. I needed it.

Susannah