Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I thoroughly enjoy a good bath. Candles, bubbles, and the perfect pick of music. Lately, it's been something instrumental so as to avoid filling the tub with more of my own tears than actual tap water.
"In the beginning", right after our world was turned on its head, Vic and I listened to nothing but the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. One album in particular (thanks, Alison) called "Peace, Like a River" was played repeatedly. It is now the soundtrack of my loss. To this day (not that its been that long) I cannot hear that CD without being completely taken back to those grueling days in the hospital. The nearly wordless days and weeks at home with Vic and my parents. The spirit in my home so strong you could almost put it in a Ziploc bag for safe keeping in the freezer. Those were the most painful precious days I hope to ever have. Maybe not precious, I expect to have more precious days, but hopefully no more pain like that. But there is no guarantee.
As I was soaking in a generous bath of bubbles and melodic sweetness from the MoTab a few months back (Lucy delighted in bubbles. I do it for her.) , the familiar pains began. Deep in my chest, effecting my breathing, moving through every inch of my body. First the sniffling, then crying, coupled with unintelligible sounds trying to say, "NO. Please. Lucy. I Love You. Can't be. Miss. It hurts. I can't do it." This eventually gave way to wailing.
I stopped for a moment and looked down at my growing belly and life within me. "I look and sound like I'm giving birth." I thought. And thus my agony continued as such until I was well worn and collapsed in my bed.
Moments later I was on the phone with Amy Hackworth. Or was it days? I told her of my experience in the bath. Though it should have seemed obvious to me, it took a wise friend to point out, that pregnant or not, I AM giving birth to something new. To a new life, a new way of living. I loved her analogy and have held to it each time a "labor pain" comes along. Amy has two beautiful boys, both of whom came into this world through a natural birthing process. My plan was to do the same with Lucy (nearly did...long story. Got an epidural at an 8 1/2 and had them turn it off, I hated it), and most definitely plan to go natural with Peter. I want to experience the full spectrum of labor. Every pain, every up and down--and feel the exhilaration that comes when I reach my goal. To be uninhibited by any drugs and allow my body and mind to fully be in the moment. To feel of Lucy's presence and the meeting of two worlds. Peter leaving his heavenly home and the arms of his sister and coming into the weak but willing arms of his mother. Amy is a wonderful and amazing woman. She is helping me see that I can do it. Both natural child birth, and healthy grieving...that I am capable of giving birth to two beautiful lives.
Another inspiring woman who has gone through three natural childbirths is my sister-in-law, Joy. As I prepare for Peter's birth in about a month, still laboring through the heavy pains of my grief, I found her email particularly poignant and beautiful. I think you will too----
"I keep thinking about your grief, about the load you have to bare. And I keep thinking of it kind of like childbirth (are you surprised that I would make that connection?). The contractions, the pain, comes and goes. Sometimes it comes on strong, and sometimes they are not so strong and they subside. Sometimes you can actually time them. And sometimes they are just at random intervals. And sometimes, they are one on top another and you can barely catch your breath. That is how labor is for me at the end. One on top of another. And that is when it is time to PUSH! Push hard!!! You can't help but feel the pain, to suffer through each contraction and no one else can take that pain away. Jason cannot feel it for me, even if he wanted to. And when they are so strong, toppling over each other... well it feels good to push back. Having Jason there, right beside me, does help with the pain. I couldn't do it without him. I would lose my focus and purpose. And at the end is the indescribable high, the pain is all over and you are holding your precious little one. And you did it! You made it, it didn't kill you after all.
The pain isn't in vain either. Somehow that helps me to deal with it. I know that I am not suffering in vain. It makes me stronger and healthier and helps toward healing (which is why you have contractions before and after the baby is born). It also helps me to think of it as really hard work instead of pain. It helps me to focus, relax and let them run their course. Please don't think that I am trying to say you need to do anything different with your grief. I just couldn't help think about the pain coming and going. And also knowing that someday IT WILL END! You will hold her again!
I also realize too that in the beginning, when Lucy died, I felt the pain. But like labor after a while your sort of forget. You can still remember the pain but you can't feel it like before. This was one of of the things that bothered me so much after Lucy's death. I knew that it would subside for me, but it would not for you. I feel like I am letting you down somehow. I miss her still but now, all I can do is "stand next you" while you labor through your pain. That is what makes the atonement so amazing. The Savior is the only one who REALLY knows EXACTLY what you are feeling and can really truly help carry the load."
I'm not sure why I really bother sharing my own thoughts on this blog. What my family and friends and blog readers share with me is so much more powerful and beautiful than my own ability to express.
My posts are long and heavy. Not short and witty like Cjane or Nie Nie. (Though, even Cjane is a "Lucy fan" as she shared with me in a recent email). I am not a professional writer or photographer. I often wish I could share silly and mundane things, fluffy everyday life events that used to make up my world. But like my friend Michelle told me, "your blog serves a different purpose now. Most people don't write about their trials because they aren't as big as yours. They have support and find strength where they need it. But yours is so huge it must be upheld by a greater population. Don't feel guilty that you write what you do."
So as I sit here at the computer, going on my fifth day of complete and utter illness. Fever, chills, headache, stuffy, burning throat....I cry with all of you standing by my bedside. Holding my hand as I labor through this grief. Unable to speak my gratitude in sounds other than grunts and moans. Sleep deprived and tears burning my cheeks, I say that you have eased my pain and helped me through some very significant contractions. How great will be my joy when I share Peter with the world, and even greater when I fall upon my knees and thank my Creator for each of you. I have no doubt Lucy will be there to thank you too.
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