Friday, August 19, 2016

Day of Hope

I've been doing a lot of reflecting this week.  I'm back at work now and I'm really able to see "how" I'm doing.  What I'm noticing is really shocking me.

I didn't realize how bad I was doing.  I had no idea I was falling apart so badly, I woke up each day literally trying to keep the pieces together.  I didn't realize that each day was about survival, about picking myself up, about just physically existing through my day.  That's all I did all of last year.  And I had days I did that better than others.  I had days where I literally survived minute to minute and prayed I'd get to the next.  I had days I gave up, so many days driving to work I tried to see which tree I could hit the hardest when I "accidentally" swerved off the road.  I had days where I was numb and it was easier.  Every single day was a struggle.  I was a shell to everyone who saw me.  How I ever made it, I'll never know, but I did.

Then I got pregnant again in January and things got worse.  I was angry at being pregnant, angry that Ivy wasn't Emma and Chase and never would be.  I was angry at myself, at God, at life, at everyone and everything.  I don't know how to express anger, so it turned inward.  Then Ivy died and had to be removed from my body and the little bit of soul I had left with him.  I fell down further until by the end of April I couldn't climb out and the light had long blown out.  In a desperate move I tried to find a gun.  I came to my senses and nothing ever happened, physically.  I had a lot of other emotional responses, but I saw that I was not okay and I was not living.

I climbed up after that.  I told myself I was going to get better.  I didn't ever want another pregnancy like Ivy, never wanted to have so much anger, sadness, and desperation that it blocked out the love I had for others.  I started doing more in therapy, I slowly stopped the meds I was on, the ones that were numbing me.  I reread the Tom Zuba book (please, please if you have lost a loved one, no matter who or in what capacity, read this book!) and I moved forward.

On the anniversary of Chase's death I fell down the stairs.  I had a hard time with that. I couldn't walk and emotionally I struggled, but it still wasn't like before.  I slowed down and spent more time with Katie. This was the first summer I truly got to be with her and she is so amazing.  I was grateful for all we had, the songs, the places we went (once I could walk), the art projects, the messes, the potty training, all of it.  I cooked food, went swimming as a family (once I could go in a pool again), and saw some friends.

I felt I came to a place where I could try one more time for another family member and close that chapter and we know where I am now with that.  I've gone back to work and I'm smiling, I'm "with" it, I feel like I haven't been to work in years because emotionally I was just surviving last year.  Anyone who has seen me, can see how I am, how much I've changed.

I feel guilty this week.  Guilty for letting life back in.  Guilty for smiling, guilty for being "okay" and I mean truly "okay."  Guilty that I know I can live without Emma, Chase, or Ivy in my physical world.  Oh I think about them every single day.  Every morning they are my first thought.  I miss them and I wish I could see them, hold them, and be with them.  I talk to them in my heart.  But I'm guilty that I'm moving forward, truly moving forward with my life.  I have plans and goals, I look forward to things, I smile from my heart, not just with my face.

I don't know what to do with this guilt.  I feel in some ways I'm betraying them.  How dare I be happy without them?  How are I be okay without them?  How dare I accept and even more, embrace this life that they are not a part of?  Is keeping them in my heart enough?  Is not suffering every minute enough?  Is it okay to be glad for the living child I have while others didn't?  I am struggling with this.  In my head I know it is okay.  In my heart I feel a betrayal.  It's something I'll talk to my therapist about.  It's something I'll continue to work on.  I've come a long way from where I was before.

Today, is August 19th, which is the day of Hope for our babies who are no longer with us.  I'm trying to think of what this means to me.  How does HOPE relate to my children who have none?

I have Hope that they are WITH me, just not in physical form.  They are apart of my every day, of my life.  I have Hope that will live through their siblings, that they will be with them throughout life.  I have Hope that I will never forget them, never stop loving them, never miss them.  I have Hope that I can live life knowing I am better because of them, grateful they are mine and a part of my life, happy that I am their mom and that nothing can ever change that.  Hope that I can parent them in a different way, bu saying their name, telling their story, and supporting others who also have loved and lost and are trying to make their way through.  There is hope for Emma, hope for Chase, and hope for Ivy that even though they aren't a part of this world physically, they still affect it, they are still within me, and that they still touch others.

Every word of the following is true for Emma, Chase, Ivy, and all the other babies that left our world before we wanted:

I realize a lot of this is ramblings, but it's thoughts that have been running through my head.  I miss my babies so much.  I'm in a better place, but I still miss them, and I still love them.  I'm grateful for Mary and hope Mary ends up on Earth with me, but I accept he/she may not. Emma, Chase, and Ivy, you are forever loved and forever remembered.


  1. Amber I am thinking of you today and hoping all goes well for you tomorrow. Sunday was a tough day for us. We were allowed to take home the placentas and remains of our baby B from the hospital and allowed to bury on our property. We have a lovely spot that we will landscape with a small tree, flowers and a bench and my DH is into woodworking so will be making a cross. Originally the baby was baby Bea for me but since then we have grown and decided that along with her living sister she was to have a proper name so she is Beatrice (which ironically was a name my DH has always loved) Augusta (my mothers middle name, Althea's middle name Jean was my moms first name) Waterman. I thought it would be easier having Althea and I do love her so but it still hurts when I look at her as it makes me think and wonder what my Bea would have been like. My thoughts are ever with you Amber. I am in awe of your strength and what gets you through. Thank you so much for all the help you have given me through your words and your kindness.

  2. My heart goes out to you Jen. I'm so glad you got to bring Althea home, but my heart is broken for Beatrice who will be remember and loved forever, but missing from your home. I am glad you got to bury her and I hope that brings some sort of closure. I really wish she'd been able to join you like Althea and you are definitely in my thoughts and prayers. You will always be a mom to both of them, but it isn't the same. I think about my three and wonder about them all the time. I love them and wish they were with me, but I keep them a part of my family and my heart and I know you'll do the same. So much love to you.

  3. Thank you so much Amber. Good luck tomorrow!