Why write what you think people need? The real stories are where the true survival guide is found. No one can heal their outtakes through your highlight real 💙
I have an entire note pad of story ideas. Everyday I add something more to it, in hopes that I will be ready to write those stories. As I read through the list each day I often talk myself out of believing someone may need to hear what I want to share. It is no surprise I have not been writing much lately, it’s strange what grief can do. As I reflect back on the past few weeks after the loss of not only my father, but the man who loved me even though I was not his own, I realize the only way to continue on through life is to move through it with the grief.
Please remember as you navigate these stories not everything will resonate with you. We all have different stories of grief and loss. We can only measure our own grief and pain on what we have personally been through. These are just little navigation guides through brief moments in my world. I invite you along the journey and encourage you to share your own as well.💙
No one ever wants to talk about the pain, guilt, tears, laughter, fear, sadness, doubt, hopelessness or many other dark feelings that accompany grief. Often times the loss of a loved one is covered in “I’m sorry’s” “God has perfect timing” “You’re going to make it through” “They would want you to be strong.” “I’ll pray for you.” All INCREDIBLY meaningful and sincere words and actions, yet they do not magically make the pain of loss disappear.
In my life time I have lost more times than I can count, but truly the loss through death never becomes easier. The most significant losses in my life include the most recent loss of my father and the loss of my four children. This is not to say I have not lost many people, patients and loved ones I truly adore. It’s just those 5 losses have changed me to my core.
I remember the anger and hatred I felt towards God after the loss of my first child. I remember being so angry that he could take so much hope from me. I was filled with absolute rage at that time. I look back on my journal entries from those days and they were filled with shouting at God that it was absolute bullshit that I was born and then adopted and I couldn’t even have my first child. I couldn’t understand WHY! What was so wrong with me! Why did so many people abandon me in my life and now he takes away the one soul that I could have shown so much love to. I was absolutely broken and lost! I never wanted to navigate my way through the pain I experienced that December 13th. I stared at her US picture for hours to days to months.
Not long after I became pregnant again, We went for our first ultrasound and there were two babies! We were in absolute shock, we could see the heartbeats and I remember my mother-in-law at the time holding my hand in excitement! Then the bad news one of the babies had started to grow in my tube and while the other was in the uterus correctly it was unlikely that either would make it. June 23rd happened and they offered methotrexate which would most definitely ensure the loss of both babies. The other option would be another surgery to try and remove the baby from the tube and allow the other baby to grow.
We chose the later and unfortunately still lost both of our babies. Again I stated at those ultrasound pictures and cried for days. It made no sense to me. Why wasn’t I worthy of having a child and why did this keep happening. I began to convince myself that God isn’t real, that there is no way a loving God would allow so much pain in one life. Not just the losses of my children but also the childhood pain.
It’s this point in my journal entries I realize I truly just wanted life to end. I had lost all hope. Losing hope is easy as I’m sure if you are still reading this you know. Hope is lost through day to day situations, anger, frustration, loss, bad conversations, seeing the news, going to work, social media, words and a million other moments when HOPE just seems to disappear from our lives. I was in one of my deepest abysses of darkness and this point in my life and I truly believed there was no point to my existence. I was bringing nothing to the world and it wasn’t the first time I had felt that way. People promised things will get better and life will become more beautiful, but I never saw it happening. It just kept getting darker.
I continued to keep going, yet everyday wishing something would just randomly happen to me. I didn’t want to be around anymore, I did want to continue hoping for something good to happen, but I also didn’t want to hurt the people who loved me so much. So I kept pushing through each day. I made it a point to try and share love with people around me, even if I didn’t know them. I spent more time with my best friend ex mother-in-law then I had ever imagined and watched her continue to love God in a way I could not understand. I continued to try and build a home out of what had been broken. The one thing I failed to do was try to “build myself” The reflection of that is I truly believed I just did not deserve to feel whole.
Then the most beautiful day of my life happened yet again and we found out we were expecting. (Yes I am well aware of what causes pregnancy) 🤣 This time I was even more afraid but as every ultrasound happened our sweet baby boy had a heart beat and looked completely healthy. I knew in those moments that hope had not been completely lost and truly believe becoming a mother would “heal” all of the pain. When Connor arrived my life was absolutely changed and that day I created what my kiddos know today as the “thumb promise” it was a promise I shared with my son telling him I would do everything in my power to be there for him and with him his entire life. I would spend every moment of everyday ensuring his safety.
Not long after Connor our beautiful girl Alana came along. Every ultrasound we were able to see that beautiful heart beat and our joy continued to grow. I went into labor early with Alana and was at work when the contractions started it was way too soon she was only 28 weeks and I remember telling the on call doc there was no way that was happening it just had to be Braxton hicks… well needless to say Alana was born just a few hours later emergency c-section and she was completely grey. TONS of people rushed into the room and while everyone kept reassuring me I again found myself angry with God. “DO NOT TAKE HER FROM ME” and the she cried 💙💙 She spent time in the NICU and we later found out she also had a hole in her heart. I remained terrified. I truly do not believe any of us slept very well after she was finally able to come home.
Every night I had the same “ritual” of putting her in a beautiful outfit, singing to her and her brother and checking on both of them multiple times per night because I just knew there was no way it could be real. I remember being so scared to dress her in something for bed that she was comfortable and beautiful in because I was terrified if I fell asleep she would be taken from me. Here we are 15 years later and that beautiful girl and beautiful boy are most definitely still here and even have a beautiful little brother, Kaden.
Kaden was just as eager to enter the world as Alana, but his birth wasn’t the only moments that were terrifying. One day while their Dad was at work after we had already found out about our pregnancy I began having severe pain and bleeding. I will leave out the gory details but my kiddos ran to the neighbors and the neighbor took me to the ER. After what seemed like hours of the nurses trying to get in IV in me we were informed that while both babies had a heartbeat one was again growing in my tubes. (This is called a heterotrophic) pregnancy. Again, we were offered methotrexate or surgery and it was VERY unlikely the second baby (Kaden) would make it. Just like that… I was lost in this dark abyss… how would I pull through. I couldn’t go through this again and now we would Connor & Alana would have to experience the loss of that hope.
I was taken back for surgery and truly the most beautiful angel nurse I have ever met (Mia) gave me medicine to help me rest and reassured me that I was safe. She held my hand while the medicine began to kick in and assured me that I was not alone. She wiped my tears away and gave me more comfort than she will ever know. Even though I knew without a doubt one of our babies would be gone when I would wake up, she gave me hope that we would still see his twin and that I was safe. She was right, although Kaden has a beautiful guardian friend in heaven. He is here with us and is truly a light in our world. He however, was just as eager as Alana to meet his older siblings that he showed up way to early to the party, was put on life support and flown to the Children’s hospital hours after birth…
Navigating his time in the NICU and the fear we felt during those times will be saved for another day. 💙
I know those stories were lengthy but I hope you’re still with me….
It has now been 2 months since the loss of the greatest man I have ever known. The man who chose to love me even when he did not have to and soon it will be 3 months without him here on this earth. When I tell you grief is freaking horrible I mean grief is freaking horrible. The death of our Daddy did not come as a surprise after all over the past year there were multiple times we were sure we were going to lose him and just like that he would improve and start making silly jokes or singing. His mind was gone but that beautiful soul inside knew his girls and his beautiful wife were just not ready, atleast that’s how I thought of it at the time.
The truth I would later come to realize is we would NEVER be ready. It didn’t matter if we sat next to him, giving his hospice meds and watching him take his last breaths or if he would have gone suddenly without warning. We were not ready because grief my friends is all of the love you have inside you that no longer has anywhere to go. That amazing man left a lot of love inside of each of us. I haven’t been ready to write this post but recently someone I truly adore lost another loved one and my heart knew I had to share this now. After all, we never know when it’s our time.
After our Daddy took his last breath and after all of the “celebrations of life” were through. My heart became heavy with guilt, doubt, fear and sadness. What if he was gone because I gave him the medications to keep him comfortable? What if something happen the day he fell out of his bed? What did we do wrong? Why was he so happy and fun the days leading up to his death? Would my sisters hate me for talking them into bringing him home? Would everyone feel like I took him away? I was burdened with guilt. I honestly don’t really leave the house much partially the pandemic but partially because I’ve been stuck in my own dark abyss since the day he left.
You see what happens when you lose a loved one that no one tells you about is there are people who love you and care about you but they are grieving too. Then there are people who show up for the celebrations of life but truly can not comprehend the loss you have had because they have not experienced the same loss. It has nothing to do with you or anything being wrong with you, yet our minds continue to create doubt and anger through grief. There are 7 stages of grief, and through my career I have explained these to people in various ways. I have listed those stages below.
• Shock and denial. This is a state of disbelief and numbed feelings.
• Pain and guilt. …
• Anger and bargaining. …
• Depression. …
• The upward turn. …
• Reconstruction and working through. …
• Acceptance and hope.
What no one tells you is these stages are not linear. They come and go and some days you are accepting and hopeful and other days you are angry, guilty, in denial, depressed and wake up the following day happy and hopeful. Grief can never be linear in my mind because love is not linear. Throughout our lives we will always experience love and loss. Some of that love will be enough to bring us back to hope while some love may bring us directly to loss. The only difference between the girl I was losing my children and the woman I have become while losing my Daddy is knowing that I am worthy of grieving a love so big. Knowing that while my stories or my words or grief may be uncomfortable for some, these same stories may be a survival guide for others.
I wish I had a direct map of survival for each of these stories, but hindsight is 20-20 so it becomes difficult to share an unbiased path without rereading my journals. So I beg of you if you are grieving, write or record your feelings. You do not have to share them with the world but removing them from your mind for a moment will help you navigate the mucky waters of loss. If this resonates with you and your heart is feeling lost or alone please know you are not. Hope can only exist if we allow it. So bring a moment of hope into your mind even if it’s brief. Know that the love you have for the person you have lost is the same love someone else has for you. Know there is no right or wrong way to navigate grief, but the joy that will occur through all of the pain will far our way the difficulty of the journey. After all we must hike difficult trails to see some of the most beautiful places I the world completely.