Monday, April 11, 2011

What spring means to me...

Spring means we made it through our first full winter without our Graham. We survived...we did it. Not without long nights and lots of tears, but we made it. The bitter cold and snow is gone. The long, bleak days and nights have turned to longer, prettier nights and sunsets. I can hardly believe that spring is here. Spring also means the arrival of our new baby girl. When we found out we were pregnant last August, spring seemed so far away...3 seasons...and now, here we are. We're getting ready to have a newborn again. (squeal) Diapers and wipes are slowing making their appearance into the house again. Little baby clothes are hanging in the closet and onesies are neatly folded in the drawer. Spring means new beginnings and new growth. New opportunities to grow and strengthen. As I was out at Graham's grave site over the weekend, I noticed how much more new grass was coming up around his plot. I was so grateful for the bright green patches of soft grass as the muddy, brown grass was such a daunting reminder of the freshness of our loss and yet it's the reality that we have been without our Graham long enough that there is newness in the earth. The dirt isn't freshly turned over anymore. The cuts in the earth aren't as predominant. Spring is here.

Thankfully I had a lot to keep me more than busy/exhausted this winter. I took on a tutoring job through the government as well as keeping the 10 kids I tutor privately and ended up biting off a bit more than I could chew. I made 30 lesson plans each week (Monday through Thursday) for all of my students. It was brutal! At 2:00 a.m. I often times wondered if I'd survive. Thankfully my family helped fill in many gaps with meals and helping watch the kids. The extra income allowed us to make great gains on the financial burden that losing Graham brought us, so for that we are so grateful. Although it was a difficult 4 months, I am thankful that I had lots to keep my mind and emotions somewhat preoccupied. And because I had so much to keep me busy I failed miserably at keeping up with the blog. For that, I am sorry...

We are doing well...it seems a bit surreal that we are in the final few weeks of my pregnancy and getting ready to add a sweet new life into the world. With the excitement has come a great deal of anxiety and also many new, raw emotions. As I think about what it means to be a mom again to a baby, I'm flooded with memories of my sweetie-boy and that is so very difficult for me. I haven't gotten anything out yet. Partly because our house is up for sale so putting things away for showings is difficult and probably even more so because I'm not quite ready to face all of those "things" that I last saw and usedwith my Graham...I guess I'm not quite ready to face the memories head on...not until I have to. There are some things we have chosen not to use again and yet other things it only makes sense to use...once again, I find myself in a constant balancing act. I spent some time at the cemetery over the weekend and sat and cried and thought and prayed for quite a while. I know we are honoring Graham by bringing another baby into this world and yet I struggle feeling as though I am betraying him. This may not make much sense, but there is guilt surrounding having another child. I'm "ready" to snuggle, smell, nurture and raise another child and yet there is something within me that doesn't want to let go what I last had with Graham. Like it's sacred...

The kids are soooo excited (huge understatement) about their new baby sister. They talk to her and about her constantly. They hug and kiss my belly constantly and remind me how big I'm getting (thanks kids). I've taken them to all of my doctor appointments this time and they love to hear her heartbeat. James has come a long way with his initial fear and anger of her dying, but not before many, many tears, prayers and deep conversations. I'm sure he will continue to work through those emotions as will I. He still asks a lot of difficult questions and has said several times how much he still wishes Graham was here with us. And here we are 15 months later and it breaks my heart every.single.time. I am grateful that he does talk about it...about Graham...about his fears and questions and most times I am struggling with those very same ones. He did tell me yesterday while playing outside in the 80 degree weather that he was sure Graham had a tan up in heaven (that's my boy). That made me smile and giggle....he thinks of the sweetest and littlest things that boy...

James and Lauren are doing well. They continue to bring us so much joy with their sweet spirits, thoughtfulness and livelihood. They keep us humble and grounded as we deal with battles and stresses of parenting, but warm our hearts constantly and bring much laughter to our days. They are growing so quickly and both getting so big and independent. James loves school and his friends and Lauren likes to tell people she is "homeschooled." So if homeschooled means you get to paint, color, watch Cinderella, and read books 3 mornings a week for 3 hours with your mom's undivided attention, then I suppose she is homeschooled ;) They play very well together most of the time and are each other's best friends.

Luke and I just got back from a much needed vacation with just the two of us. We went to Bradenton, FL for an entire week. It was amazing! We decided to drive the 19 hours much to the hesitation of my midwives considering I was 36 weeks pregnant but had such a great time. It was the first time we have been by ourselves for any length of time since losing Graham and I would say it was the best thing we could have done. It gave us a chance to just "be." No expectations, no responsibilities, no reservations...just be. I felt more like myself than I have in 15 months. Simply for that, it was worth it. The "old" me is not completely gone as I have felt for so long that it was and I found a great deal of comfort in that.

We are making gains in this journey of grief. It is still difficult and there are days and nights that are much harder than others. We still find ourselves continually talking about and wondering how our family would be different if Graham were here with us and again what he'd look like, sound like, be like. We still question and plea with God to somehow "save" us from all other heartache. I sang a worship song at church a few Sundays ago for the first time since we lost Graham. I still can't do it consistently, but it was a big step. I have to truly "believe" the songs I'm singing now. I can't just sing to sing. It's different. Therefore, I can't always do it. I also don't cry every Sunday like I did for so long, but still have Sundays when I simply cannot stop crying. I know so many of you are continuing to pray for our family especially as we anticipate the arrival of this new baby. We are praying for a safe and healthy baby and also for our/my emotions as I know it will bring back so much of what we remember about Graham. Please pray for an amazing peace that we know can only come from the Lord. Please pray too for the adjustment with James and Lauren and for them to have peace as they are also scared about having a losing another sibling. I will keep you posted on her arrival before she begins to crawl ;) Blessings and love to you all!

5 comments:

1K2U said...

Shelly, I am so grateful for getting the chance to hear your heart. You have and continue to shine the light that can only come Jesus. Altough I don't know you, you and your precious family, are constantly on my heart and mind and are therefore,are constantly in my prayers. I am telling you this, not to boast, but to let you know, that so many of us still remember the loss of your precious Graham and that your family is still hurting because of it. Please know with full confidence, that we are still praying for your family and the struggle and pain that comes from walking this road. Blessings to your family.

Jewel said...

Shelly---this was such a beautiful post! Thanx so much for sharing with all of us! Thanx also again for letting us know what specifically to pray for. You are in my thoughts & prayers as the arrival of little miss comes quickly! And for the adjustment for all four of you! Many many blessings upon your family!

Shannon said...

I love you :) I love your heart and your real and raw emotions. I am beyond blessed to have you in my life and to be able to call you friend. Big hugs!!!

Anonymous said...

My Daughter,

Thank you for again for letting us see inside your soul.With tears flowing as I read the blog, I ached with you... knowing how grueling these last 15 months have been for you and Luke. When I read your words I not only grieve all over again for our little Graham, but rejoice at the evidence in your life resulting from the prayers of God's people. God has been faithful. You are not alone in this journey...so many are walking it with you and will continue to do so.We are so excited for the life of this special baby girl.It will be fun to see the joy James and Lauren experience as they invite her into your family. We and are anxiously waiting her arrival!Dad and I love you and your family.

Mom

carrie said...

We still haven't hashed it all out on the phone, call me sometime and we can talk about all of it. I can share with you the mixture of feelings I had after losing Lila and preparing for Jude's arrival. If you don't have my number, email me and I'll give it to you again. Sending hugs,
Carrie B.