To a New Hope Mom….because I’ve been there.

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Dear Sweet New Hope Mama,

 

Today you woke up to find evidence that your body had failed you tinged red on a piece of paper, today you walked in to the Dr’s office only to find the sweet sound of life had silenced within you.

Maybe today you laid that precious baby of yours down to sleep only to return and discover they had left your arms for His….or maybe tragedy struck and that beautiful, energetic, and full of life child was taken in an instant.

No matter the way…we all end up here.

In the very place you are right now.

In the gut wrenching, life changing, seemingly never-ending moment of complete brokenness.

I can’t describe it.

……because there are no words.

There never will be.

I would like to tell you that I am walking, talking  proof of survival…that I made it through to the other side.

….but I’d by lying.

Because there isn’t one.

I am just a little further ahead of you. Pondering the same unanswerable questions…the whys, the how comes, and the no fairs of this world.

I am but a mere figure of yourself in the years to come. Who can smile. Who has learned to laugh again, but who is attempting to navigate that same fine line between my old life….and my new….between my broken dreams and my ever so present reality.

Right now you are scared and angry.

You want to know the whys.

The why you? The why me? The why now’s?

Me too.

Truth is you sometimes never get that answer.

That one that you feel if you could just know…..if you could just figure out…then somehow, just some way it would be easier to accept.

But it wouldn’t.

Right now guilt is flooding in to every single vulnerable, grief stricken crevice of your being.

Your blaming that last workout, that missed kick count, or that one second you turned your head the wrong way.

Your beating yourself up over and over and over again as you continually contemplate the what ifs and the if I’s.

You replay the different scenarios repeatedly in your head as you try so desperately to turn back time.

But you can’t.

Because death is ever so present.

…..and as you lay in bed feeling the empty place where the precious life you created once was or as you sit in a cold, stark hospital room with your lifeless child in your arms….. it will never be more real than it is right now.

and you feel alone and isolated…and like no one understands.

Your heart lies in a million pieces in front of you and there is no one you feel that can help pick them  back up…..and no way it could be put back together the same way even  if they could.

Because it couldn’t.

You miss that beautiful baby already…and you break all over as you count those ten fingers and ten toes for the last time.

You aren’t ready to say goodbye and your desperate for just a few more minutes to prepare..

But you never will be.

Because no amount of time will ever be enough.

I hear your desperate cries and wails as you once again realize what is happening, because they are but an echo of my very own. They travel through me and I can feel every bit of your broken heart as mine shatters all over again.

Because you see…

We may have never met.

But we are bonded you and me.

Forever forced out of fear and our comfort zones and in to the very grief that the world tries so hard to ignore.

You are not alone.

There are so many of us on this same journey….more than you could ever imagine.

…and you’ll find us.

…….When your ready.

One day, in what seems a gazillion moments from now you will wake up to find that your smiles out number your cries. That the good days out weigh the bad, and you have traveled farther than you ever could have imagined.

But right now that seems impossible.

…and that’s okay.

Because right now..in this very moment.

I’ll sit with you in silence.

I will smile as you talk about the way that sweet baby would laugh as you blew raspberries on that now still tummy.

I will giggle as you describe the funny face he used to make when he tasted bananas for the first time.

….and I will cry with you as reality hits a million time in between.

Because I’ve been there.

Because this is not your fault.

………and right now…….

That’s the only words from me you need to hear.

 

Love,

A once too was hopeless, but now ever hopeful Hope Mom.

 

 

 

 

 

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Love, Marriage, Absent Baby Carriage. (What I Wish I had of known. )

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I rolled over after another sleepless night and looked at the person asleep next to me. I recognized the same messy hair, jaw line, and stubly chin I had fell in love with…the way he slept, the sound of the silent but ever present snoring was all the same, but something was different.

For some reason I just didn’t recognize him….recognize myself anymore.

We were but two strangers that shared a bed. Two people who were trying to live in a world we once knew.

There was just one problem with that.

That world had changed. It had changed the minute we found out we were pregnant with two and brought one home.

It had changed the moment we were forced to pick out wooden boxes, and ceramic cubes to place the remains of our broken hearts into.

We had changed the minute he was awaken by my torturous scream one summer morning. As he desperately attempted to force his breath in to our precious daughter as she continued to turn blue.

Those things changes “Us.” We wouldn’t be human if they didn’t. They molded and shaped us into sometimes unrecognizable characters in an nightmare of a story.

And we thought we had made it through.

That the statistics and warnings were things to be worried about in the beginning stages.  That the hard work had to be done in those first few heartbreaking month’s.

But you see the work doesn’t end.

Because the grief never does…

Marriage is a beautiful thing but it is also hard work. Add a dead child, or two into the mix and the hard work becomes even more of an uphill battle. A battle where you are already injured and mamed and the ability to keep going sometimes seems overwhelming.

A battle where you are left not knowing wether you are fighting against the enemy or each other.

I wish I had have known.

I wish I had have known that I could wake up a few years later and not recognize the man I married.

That I could have been prepared for the times we would find our selves in different places at different times.

Because you will.

Because it is unavoidable.

Because we do not grieve the same.

As a woman, grief left me feeling a failure, lonely, and broken.

I looked to my husband to “fix” me. To fill all those voids….and when his grief left him paralyzed and unable to do so, I blamed him.

He wasn’t able to anyways.

I was looking to the world to fix a brokenness only my God could fix.

I wish I had of know that sooner.

That I had of trusted God to fill me back up when I was empty. That I had have known to control my tongue and to be patient.

That I would have relied on God to fill my impossible voids and to tame my unrealistic expectations sooner.

So here I sit today.

Married but struggling.

Fighting but injured.

But I want to leave you with this.

When your grief begins to fade don’t let your marriage fade with it.

Talk, touch, share .

Trust God.

When your lonely. Look to him.

When your scared. Pray to him.

When your expectations are not being met. Listen to him.

As hard as it might be to hear they just might not be that important in his moment.

Today I am praying for you. For both of you.

That your marriage remains steady, consistent, and strong in a storm so large you cannot see the end.

That you use the changes to grow. To strengthen the chain that not even the enemy can break.

So that one day you don’t wake up to someone you don’t know, but that you were prepared enough to wake up to that changed, but perfectly imperfect man that you married not that long ago.

Surrounded by love,  anchored in strength, and grounded in God’s grace.

I’m rooting for you.

You got this.

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To The Woman With The Footprint Tattoo…..

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I seen you standing there.

Close enough to watch your children,

…..but far enough away from the rest of the world.

You were grumpy…..distant.

    I sat on the bench while our children’s attentions turned from the playhouse, to the swings, to the sandbox.

     I may have been the first to judge……to wonder what could have been so wrong for you to be present, but not be really there. How you could give such sharp remarks to your children so publicly, or how you could not care that all eyes were on you as you shouted across the playground.

   I was jealous in some ways. That you could be so real. I felt like I could sense there was something…….

Then I seen it.

   You turned around for just a moment and there on your back, a little to the left…were two teeny tiny footprints and two dates.

    Two dates that did indeed signify a birth, but it was the second that caused my stomach to scrunch up tightly in my body. The date that your precious little one took their last breath. The year of 2016.

…and I got it.

You weren’t here yet.

You couldn’t be.

I knew.

Because I had a hidden mark on my inner wrist that said the same thing.

Because I had been there only a couple years prior.

   I knew you didn’t want to be there….neither had I. That inside it killed you to place your completely broken self right in the middle of a populated play area where you struggled between feelings of guilt and whether anyone knew you were even broken at all.

    I got that your quick snaps were not of anger, but of survival. That it was easier to yell then as to physically move your body. That just being there was exhausting enough when your newly emerged in grief self could barely find the strength to get out of bed each morning.

   I knew that you missed your sweet baby. That as you watched your girls play in the sandbox your thoughts were reminding you that there should have been another hand with a shovel….that as you watched my baby eating tiny handfuls of sand you envied me because you wanted yours…that as you tried so hard to take a picture that in your mind it was and would always now be incomplete because someone was missing.

    Truth was, you were branded by death long before that tattoo. I could tell from your movements…from the “dead” look in your eyes. You were branded the moment your precious baby took their last breath on this earth. So was I.

   All we ever exchanged was a half smile while we rounded up our sandy children from the swings and slides.

But I knew you.

   I wish I could have told you I had been there. That I was still there just a little further ahead on the road. I didn’t need to know your name to know that your heart was broken in to more pieces than you could ever imagine. That your entire world had been shaken to the core. I didn’t need to have a  conversation with you to understand that you were in the middle of a storm that seems like it will never end.

……because it doesn’t.

Not really.

It gets “easier”, it fades and clears off at times…..but its always there lurking ready to show its self at the most random of moments.

You are going to get it through it.

If you can just hold on, next year you may just be sitting next to me on that bench.

   Able to smile at those precious life savers of yours playing next to you….maybe even to help build a sandcastle. Maybe even ready to speak to the Mama next to you.

   Until then I will remember you…..remember the brief encounter that placed my feet back on to the ground and allowed me to feel those raw, first year feelings.

Until then….you will remain in my prayers.

   You and those small set of footprints that changed this Mamas heart more than you will ever know.

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