Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Child Died Today

I lost my child today
People came to weep and cry
as I just sat and stared, dry eyed
They struggled to find words to say
to try and make the pain go away
I walked the floor in disbelief
I lost my child today.
I lost my child last month
Most of the people went away
Some still call and some still stay
I wait to wake up from this dream
This can't be real, I want to scream
Yet everything is locked inside
God, help me, I want to die
I lost my child last month.
I lost my child last year
Now people who had came, have gone
I sit and struggle all day long
to bear the pain so deep inside
And now my friends just question Why?
Why does this mother not move on?
Just sits and sings the same old song
Good heavens, it has been so long
I lost my child last year.
Time has not moved on for me
The numbness it has disappeared
My eyes have now cried many tears
I see the look upon your face
"She must move on and leave this place"
Yet I am trapped right here in time
The song’s the same, as is the rhyme
I lost my
--Netta Wilson, written in memory of her daughter Caprice Cara Wilson, who was killed in an auto accident (December 2, 1968 - November 20, 1994). Printed in the newsletter of The Compassionate Friends, Atlanta, May-June 2001

It has been one year since we lost our Natalie Evelyn. Intellectually I know this time has passed. I sit here with a 6 week old son, so clearly she did not die last week. Yet my concept of time is convoluted. All at once she was just here yesterday and gone for an eternity.
There is so much I want to say but the words just aren’t coming. I miss her. I miss her in a way that can break me in a thousand pieces. I am still learning how to live with this loss. Learning how to move myself and my family through unspeakable pain and towards more solid ground again.
I wish I had beautiful things to say here about grief and loss. I wish I had some wonderful philosophy that has pulled me through and tied a nice neat bow on the experience. I just don’t. A year is just not enough time to adjust to living without a person you hoped to have a lifetime with. I am still finding my way here and imagine that will be the case for some time.
We have had difficulty trying to plan a way to mark this one year anniversary. Her birthday was easier in a way-it marked her entry into the world and was something to be celebrated. This, though, is so very different. Facing those memories is so intense and leaves us wrung out. We have learned that there are times in which we grieve better privately, but still think of all those who love Natty right along with us.
If you would like to help us remember Natty, it would mean so much if you would consider performing a random act of kindness with her in mind to mark this anniversary. I would love if some happiness could go out into the world at a time when we are filled with so much pain. I think of how much light Natters brought to the world and how much more I know she would have blessed us with if she could have stayed. I suppose this would be a way to bring some of the brightness back.
Thank you so much for being here and caring about our sweet baby girl. Thank you for knowing Natalie.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

little brother

Two months after Natalie passed away we found ourselves with an unexpected pregnancy. We had talked about adding to our family but planned on waiting until we had some time to get back on our feet emotionally.

In reality, I would probably be long into menopause before I felt emotionally ready to take on another pregnancy, so in retrospect I am grateful that we were caught by surprise.

It is hard to explain what this was like-hoping to welcome a new life all while reeling from the loss of a beloved child. After my miscarriages all I wanted was another baby. After losing Natalie all I wanted was Natalie. It was hard to imagine making room in my heart for a new person. Some things worked themselves out easily on their own-the first time I saw this baby move on an ultrasound my heart jumped and I thought "well, of course I am going to love you!" Other aspects of being pregnant remained a struggle to the end.

Frankly the pregnancy with Natalie left me feeling traumatized. The idea of living with that fear and vulnerability again was overwhelming. This was my 5th pregnancy and I had one living child. I no longer looked at a positive pregnancy test and trusted that we were having a baby. I could no longer think of a rare complication and trust that it would not happen to me.

Every pregnancy milestone was an emotional battleground for me. I can not say that I spent those months in a happy, peaceful glow. Emotionally I was curled in a ball with my hands over my ears and my eyes squeezed shut. I was just trying to hold out and reach the end, hoping that we would have a little one to bring home. I could not relax and look forward. Talking about the pregnancy set me on edge and I had a hard time sharing the news.

We waited several months before telling Annie. She had been asking daily for another sister so I knew she would be excited. The night we told her she was just thrilled. It was bedtime and she went from sleepy to hyper instantly. I stayed up late with her while she paced the floor and made plans for her new sibling. So much of what she said mirrored her plans for Natalie and it was bittersweet hearing her make those plans for someone else.

When she finally crawled into bed she became quiet and stared into space. She said "Mommy, I don't want the baby to be sick.....I want the baby to come home." I told her that I know, I want the baby to be healthy and come home, too. It broke my heart that at 3 years old this is what she has to worry about. Her biggest worry should be having to share her toys, not worrying if the baby will live.

We were so fortunate that emotions were our only complication this pregnancy. Baby Boy Teegarden was very well monitored the entire time and he thrived. He does have bilateral club feet, but after all we have been through it was a small concern. Certainly I wish he did not have to endure the treatment, but I also have a whole new perspective.

On August 31, we welcomed sweet Elliot. He has been a wonderful addition to our family and is dearly loved. He clearly resembles both of his sisters and has traits that are just his as well.

And now here he is.....

At one day old

As he is now at 6 weeks old

With his adoring big sister