Wednesday, January 19, 2011

grief questions...

My friend wrote a post forever ago with questions about grief - the questions are specific to losing a baby, but i think that looking at grief can be a valuable thing - no matter what it is we're grieving... health, the absence of justice, lack of love...
Grief is universal - and yet we each experience it so uniquely.
i took the questions and answered them, but never got around to posting them here, until now.


I want to know if you think about them often.
i think about them often - together - & separately too. Sometimes as i'm drifting off to sleep. Sometimes it's just a peaceful knowledge that all will be well - & sometimes it's a random heartbreaking memory. There are little things i have intentionally placed in our home so that i have carved out a place to honour the memory of those 2 lives that deeply impacted me. i have a tiny baby quilt that Ephraim uses that i made after i lost caleb, i have a piece of art that Neil bought me when i was pregnant with Hope. i have their names on a necklace that i wear - & their memorial certificates on my bedroom wall & a picture of the terrible beauty in the sky the night that we found out that Caleb had gone Home. My sister took it and sent it to me...

I want to know what reminds you of them.
*Yorkton Saskatchewan. Caleb is my only child delivered in the same province that i was born in.
*Mayfair - that's where Hope's ultrasound happened.
*Jason Upton's music,
*the song _i surrender all_,
*other women who say, "pheuf, i made it through the first trimester" - because Caleb did too - & because Hope didn't.

I want to know what you remember most about that pregnancy.
Both of them - finding out i was pregnant. They each came at a time in my life when i longed for a baby. i'm so grateful i journaled through Hope's short pregnancy... it was pure joy. i wrote in there, "even while i'm getting sick every morning, i can't wipe the smile off my face..." - i'm so glad that my journal was full of gratitude.

I want to know if their siblings remind you of them.
We thought Caleb looked like Cairo when he was born. He was still so tiny though - & with Hope it was impossible to guess about features... but in my mind, Caleb would have been a cross between Cairo & Charter...
But the siblings that remind me *most* of Caleb & Hope are Sloanie & Gagey - the 2 born to me after each loss. i wish i could have kept them all...

What do you think their personality would be?
Sometimes... when i let my imagination go... i imagine them to be something like my friend Fawne's Wyatt. He was missing a tiny bit of one chromosome - & yet even with all the issues that his little body faced - he was so sweet & uncomplaining. i hope that no matter what happened with my 2 little ones - they would have the sweetness that Wyatt had.

What do you look forward to the most in seeing them someday?
Won't it be amazing to have everyone... all together?

Are there certain dates that seem to hit the hardest?
Funny enough - their dates cross in both February - and in September. It's not a specific date that hits the hardest - it's those days surrounding *the dates* in those 2 months.
Mothers day - that would be the day that i struggle with... because i'm reminded of what i lost.

What were you expecting in grief and how did it surprise you?
i didn't know it would be so solitary. It's not the same for men & women - & it's certainly unique to every individual.
Grief... is lonely.

What did you learn through their life and death... and through the pain that follows?
"Time heals" sounds so trite, & yet there is a depth to that truth. Having Caleb & Hope changed everything for me. i'm a different girl than i would have been, had they not come. Their brief lives sharpened my desire for Heaven - & eternal things. They challenged my views on children - and motherhood - and forced me to examine what i truly believe.
i'm so grateful i got the opportunity to mother them - and to continue to mother them from afar - as i journey Home too.


Jen said...

It is lonely isn't it?
I'm glad you finally got around to finishing and posting this. I found it really helpful in figuring out my grief - specific questions that I had to write specific answers.
I have those Feb & Sept dates on my calendar. Feb is coming & know that I'll be thinking about you & your babies.

deborah said...

Wonderful post Paige. I didn't experience grief that way when I miscarried. I think for me it was because I was still registering with disbelief that I was pregnant (my first) and also, I never *saw* a baby when it did happen. I guess in some ways I (naively) didn't really know what I had lost.
Oddly enough though, 'he' crosses our (both Kevin and my) minds at random times
...never forgotten.

Alicia said...

I just want you to know that I appreciate your willingness to talk about such sensitive things. And I love how you do it with such grace. I don't know anyone 'in real life' that has experienced a loss and is open to talking about it. It helps me to know there are people going through the same thoughts and emotions. ((HUGS))

Alisdair said...

I think when it is a miscarriage loss, it is harder because no one else acknowledges the life or the loss. It's all in one's mind... I wonder if it is "easier" if (as in Caleb's case) there was a birth and a burial plot - proof of the existence of the wee one. I was thinking about my little one on October 31st (when I found out I was expecting) and again on November 28th - so the memories are fresh for another year...

Saskatchewan Cousin

paige said...

j - loneliness is a huge part of any grief i think... i noticed that when some people i loved went through trouble in their marriage, it felt like there weren't a lot of friends to walk through it with them - our sorrow isolates us in a lot of ways... probably some of it is good - causing us to cling to Jesus - but some is meant to be shared, i think.
deborah - i remember feeling like i had to be 'appropriate' in my grief - like there was set way i was supposed to feel... it was such freedom when my mom encouraged me to just 'feel what i feel' - not comparing with anyone else & there being 'too much or too little'.
alicia - i found that too - it's such a strange silence. A lot of times, it's hard for me to share things like this - feelin' kinda naked, y'know? - but i wanna be transparent...
denise - i would agree with you - sometimes it does help to have your pain acknowledged... there are so many factors that come into play when we react to loss. i guess that's why grieving is so lonely & it's impossible to compare one grief with another.

Jen said...

I'd like to know your thoughts on your cousins comment P.
I crave 'proof of existence' and feel *blessed* to have so many pictures, wee footprints and that little grave.

Jen said...

weird....we posted our comments at the same time....
I'm guessing your kiddies are in bed too ;)

mamazee said...

loved this post, paige.
you're right it's lonely.
i remember driving aimlessly around, crying, then drying my eyes and walking through walmart, just bcz i couldn't go home and i had nowhere to go, and no one could comfort me. And churches are always locked, and i needed to talk to God. So we talked, i walked, i cried.

But to try to bring another person into that - just wouldn't work, as much as i wanted someone to be with me.

reminds me of that song about "you gotta walk that lonesome valley, you got to walk it all by yourself"


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