Category Archives: Child loss

A Chocolate Moment

Today I went to the dentist for the first time in a long time.

I mean a really, really long time…

Like over three years.

I had all sorts of excuses – some rather valid – after all it’s been a wild three years. My biggest hangup is that I hate finding new dentists and it takes me forever – toss in some of the life changing events we had going on and well…. yeah. No dentist.

Anyway, I had to find a new dentist for the kids and so I went with a highly recommended general dentist who was very close to our home, which also meant no more excuses for me.

Anyway, this post isn’t really about the dentist, it’s about the dreaded question.

It’s a typical everyday question and was never dreaded before. But now every time I’m asked,

“How many kids do you have?”

It gives me pause.

There’s just no good way to answer that question. Take today for example.

It was my first trip to the dentist and they know I’ll be bringing my family. So, they ask how many kids. Since I only have 5 who are coming I simply say five and push away the twinge that always hits my heart when I say that number.

Sometimes it’s simple and it ends there, but not today, because I didn’t think about the questions that would naturally come by the dental hygenist.

It went something like this.

“Wow, five kids, that’s a lot, I only have..” and we have some pleasant discussion and she asks the ages, which I rattle off without a problem. Then comes, “How many of each?”

Now I have to pause. Saying three of each comes out so naturally, but I said I only had five kids. Now what do I do? I manage to get out two girls and three boys feeling totally awkward. Of course, she can’t tell and jokes about my pause about needing to think about it, and I joke back inwardly cringing because I feel like I’m lying.

Then she has to take x-rays and has to ask if I’m pregnant or trying to become pregnant. My response was somewhere along the lines of, “Heck no!” lol.

Then she, of course says. “Not going for that sixth one?” In a very friendly joking way. Which would be fine except that… well…

exactly.

It’s too late to explain at this particular moment, all I would do is succeed in making her feel awful and insensitive, and there’s no way she would have known because I didn’t say anything. And now I feel like I completely deceived this woman and there’s this awkwardness that only I can feel. And I know when I bring the kids in, one of them is going to mention Lizy and I’ll have to explain and then I am sure she’ll feel awful and then I’ll feel awful and I should have just said 6 in the first place.

And then I drive home feeling like Peter who denied the Christ three times because I basically just denied the existence of my oldest child.

ugh.

Ugh.

UGH.

The one thing that this has taught me is that, I really, really hate saying I have only five children. I have six children. Lizy was with us almost thirteen years. It just feels weird to me to say five. I feel like I am trying to pretend she wasn’t part of our family. Or that my heart doesn’t ache. Or that I don’t miss her terribly.

So, from now on the answer is always and forever six. The awkward of saying one is an angel is far better than the awkward of today’s experience. Though that awkward was only felt by me. But it’s not worth the guilt and emotional distress to me.

And that, dear friends, was my very weird and awkward morning and first trip to the dentist in years. Sigh. Perhaps it will all straighten itself out in the future, but I kind of dread going back and taking the kids, lol. Which is silly, honestly. In the meantime there is some chocolate sitting on the desk with my name on it.

Yay for chocolate, it is essential to grief survival.

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Finding Peace

I was first asked to give a talk in church a little over a month ago. We were on our vacation in Pennsylvania, all packed in the van just having left the campground when Paul’s cell phone rang. With five kids crammed in a van for long periods of time, things can get rather tumultuous. After numerous reminders and scoldings to the children to quiet down and quit squabbling, I answered.  It was a member of our bishopric asking me to speak in a few weeks time, and the topic would be “Peace in the Home”.  I chuckled as another outburst broke out in our van, and I thought, “I’m sure our home is very peaceful right now.” After all, “there is beauty all around when there’s no one home….” lol.

Then I received the wonderful news that I wouldn’t have to speak because of a change in the schedule do to General Conference. But that relief was short-lived when I received another phone call.

Since receiving the assignment, I can say our home has been anything but peaceful. In fact, it seems to have grown in chaos, and I began to think long and hard about what Peace in the Home is and how we find it.

Is it possible to have peace in your home in the midst of great heart wrenching tragedy? Is it possible to have peace in your home with children who have special needs and seem to enjoy wreaking havoc? Is it possible to have peace in your home when the children fight and squabble? When you feel stressed and stretched to the max? When you wonder how you will make ends meet and live within your means? When you have to tear your house apart and completely dismantle it? When you work yourself to such levels of exhaustion that you laugh at anything and cry over everything? What about in homes where there is marital strife? Or children gone astray? Is there peace in the home and if so, where can it be found?

As I began to ponder on what peace was, I learned what peace wasn’t. It’s not how well-behaved your children are. It’s not how quietly they sit during scriptures or whether or not they call out their siblings’ bad behavior during prayer. It’s not based on the number of fights or the chaos that might surround your home. It’s not a period free from trials or stress – though it would be nice.

What I believe peace in the home is, is the quiet assurance that Heavenly Father sends to your heart in the midst of all the chaos and madness that everything will be all right – some how, some day. It’s terribly easy to miss – it can get lost in the frustration of dealing with squabbling children, or the hecticness of taxi service. It can get lost in the trials that beset and overwhelm, but if we stop and look for it, and search it out in our hearts, we’ll find it, glimmering there beneath the surface, assuring us, that we can get there, we can get through.

The kind of peace that we are searching for, isn’t the kind where all fighting stops – if you have children, you know that’s impossible. It’s not a halt in our troubles and disagreements. We are told in 2Nephi chapter 2 that there must needs be opposition in all things – so we will always have discord and trials – sorrows and heartaches to teach us about true joy.  The peace we can find and achieve in our homes and in our lives is emotional peace – freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. As we turn to our Heavenly Father and, through the atonement, turn our burdens over to him, we will in turn be given peace.

It will still be hard and at times it can still feel impossible. There are many many times when we question how we can possibly manage to continue on and make it through. Satan besets us with thoughts of unworthiness, discouragement, or worthlessness, but if we fight through the darkness and concentrate on the light of Christ and his atonement, we will be able to fight free of the oppressive darkness and find peace. Sometimes it may feel faint and fragile – it might be hard to grasp onto, but it will be there and if we give it room and nurture it, it will grow.

How do we find peace if we feel like we don’t have peace – honestly, this last week we had quite a bit of chaos going on in our home and I had a hard time finding that peace. I wasn’t sure it was there – I doubted my ability to feel or receive that peace. But as I began to look and see and open my heart I saw it – and as I put my trust more and more in Heavenly father I could feel that peace.

As I pondered this topic I thought of 7 key things to help us have and find peace in our homes:

1. Prayer – we can pray for peace, pray to feel it – regular and consistent family and personal prayers will give us the strength and foundation we need to make it through the daily tribulations and the even bigger trials that beset us. Prayer invites the spirit into our homes, and with it comes peace.

2. Scripture Study – as we have focused on reading the Book of Mormon this year, I feel peace has grown in our home – there are still fights and squabbles, I still get frustrated and have “wits end” kind of days – but in general things are just a touch smoother and peace is easier to find-  if you look for it.  Personal scripture study is just as important – through it  I have received the strength to carry on through trials. I am more spiritually focused, and peace is taught and found.

3. Gratitude – I was feeling particularly overwhelmed at the end of this week. I was feeling rather picked on, honestly and having a hard time finding anything to be positive about. I was exhausted – physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I went online and started to read an Ensign talk that happened to be about gratitude. Immediately I began to focus on all the blessings we had – the miracles the friends who have helped us time and time again, our family, and the myriad of blessings  that I have in my life. There are so many more blessings than trials. And in that moment I felt the stress begin to melt away and peace enter into my heart. Yes, even if things look rather bleak at the moment, we have so, so much to be grateful for. Gratitude helps us realize all that our loving Heavenly Father has truly done for us and allows the peace he is trying to send us enter into our hearts.

4. Service – losing ourselves in the service of others allows us to forget our woes and troubles for a few moments and not only brings peace into our hearts and families, but in the hearts and families of others. We have been the receivers of wonderful acts of service many times and I can’t not describe the lifting of burdens it has brought us and the beautiful peace that accompanied every meal and act of service. As I have striven to serve others and taught my family to serve others – we have felt the same peace.

5. Love – allowing ourselves to feel Heavenly Father’s love – he truly loves us, he wants to help us and bless us. If we seek out His love we will also find His peace. As we show love in our families – reprimand with kindness and try to take the harshness from our voices love and peace will grow in our homes. As we teach our children and practice our selves to be more loving, kind, understanding, tolerant, long-suffering, and patient, love and peace will grow in our homes. We won’t be perfect at it, but each day we can improve a little.

6. Laughter & Joy – there was a moment when we were stressed to the max and exhausted – everyone could feel it – we pulled out the scriptures to read and it seemed like every little thing began to happen to keep us from reading – kids talking, hanging upside down in the chairs, pulling faces, we were at the table – so dishes being spilled, dogs nudging and licking toes, everyone telling everyone to be quiet, after numerous starts and even more stops the ridiculousness of the situation just hit and both Paul and I started to laugh. The tension snapped as everyone joined in and it spread through the family. Finally we all sat at the table laughing and joy began to replace the tension and stress – and with that joy came peace. Peace that all would be well and that things would work out somehow.  Another day I was impossibly grumpy and frustrated with the children and life in general. Knowing that I can’t dance and be angry at the same time, Paul began spinning me about the kitchen. My dark mood broke and with the joy and laughter came the peace and soon we had boys dancing about (and on our feet). 2 Nephi 2:25 says that Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have Joy. We are meant to be a happy people. But happiness isn’t something that happens to us – it’s something we choose.

7. Finally, and most importantly, remember the atonement. If there is anything that can bring peace into our lives and homes it is a knowledge and remembrance of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Elder Richard G. Scott has taught,

“Be certain that every decision you make, whether temporal or spiritual, is conditioned on what the Savior would have you do. When He is the center of your home, there is peace and serenity. There is a spirit of assurance that pervades the home, and it is felt by all who dwell there.”

Jesus Christ is the bringer of Peace. He suffered not only for our sins, but for our every pain, worry, stress, and heartache. When we may feel no one knows or understands, He is always there to comfort and lift. Philippians 4:13 is one of my favorite scriptures “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  He is our strength – through him we can make it through every trial no matter how defeated we feel he is there, waiting to help us. He will pick us up and carry us through the times when our steps falter. I have a testimony of our Savior. I know he Love us. I know He Lives. I know He lives to bless us, to comfort us, to bring us peace. I think often in the hymn “I Know my Redeemer Lives”. In moments when peace feels hard to find – I turn to that hymn and remember the atonement. Not only does the peace then enter my heart, but strength to pick up and keep moving on.

In a conference talk by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin given in the April 2000 conference he said,

“When you feel tossed by the storms of life and when the waves rise and the winds howl, on those occasions it would be natural for you to cry in your heart, ‘Master, carest thou not that I perish?’ When these times come, think back upon that day when the Savior awakened in the stern of the ship, rose up and rebuked the storm. ‘Peace, be still,’  He said.

“At times we may be tempted to think the Savior is oblivious to our trials. In fact, the reverse is true; it is we who need to be awakened in our hearts to His teachings.

“Use your ingenuity, your strength, your might to resolve your challenges. Do all you can do and then leave the rest to the Lord. President Howard W. Hunter said: ‘If our lives and our faith are centered on Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong. On the other hand, if our lives are not centered on the Savior and his teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right.’

“In our own storms in life the Savior is our solace and our sanctuary. If we seek peace, we must come unto Him. He Himself spoke this eternal truth when He said, ‘My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’  When our souls are anchored in the safe harbor of the Savior, we can proclaim as did Paul: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.’”

Over this week and the past year and a half I learned what it means to have peace in a home and it surprised me. I thought the fighting had to stop or that I had to be the “perfect mom”. I thought that peace was something that happened in those little blissful moments when everything is the picture of perfectness – where the kids are playing together happily and the trials seem lesser and it’s like a spiritual sigh runs through the house.  Those are examples of peace – but if that is what we think peace in our homes is, we will seldomly find or obtain it.

I have learned that peace can be found anytime – any where. It’s part of who we are. It’s our conviction in following the savior, living His gospel, and trusting in our Heavenly Father even when things seem impossible and we don’t understand what he is doing with our lives, we only know that it hurts and we cling to faith and pray for the strength to get through.

I know that in those moments when we feel overwhelmed and beaten down by life’s trials we can find peace. We can bring it into our homes. Our Heavenly Father loves us, he truly does. He will grant us all the things we need to succeed in this life and overcome the trials that beset us. Sometimes we might need to quiet ourselves or look past the chaos that surrounds us, but His peace is there waiting to bless us and our homes. I am eternally grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows and understand our needs. I am grateful for the peace he sends and for the tools he has given us to have and find peace in our homes.

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Filed under Child loss, Gratitude, Philosophy, Religion

When Words Fail

Little James sat at the table they other day drawing a picture while I did the dishes.

Usually he looks happy and chipper, but this day he looked sad and as I tried to engage him in conversation his voice sounded sad.

I frowned.

It wasn’t typical for happy-go-lucky James to be sounding sad.

“Hey, James,” I said, drying my hands on a nearby towel. “Are you okay? You seem sad.”

His blue eyes filled with tears. “Mommy, what if you die? I don’t want you to die.”

My heart plummeted. These moments are so hard. There’s no good answer. He knows that someone can die unexpectedly. A simple, mommy won’t die for a really long time, is not going to be enough.

“Oh, honey,” I said and gathered him in my arms. “Everything will be okay.”

“Why didn’t you die when you were young like Lizy?”

I looked at his earnest little face. This was going to take some explaining. I picked him up and carried him to the big green “snuggle” chair.  “Well,” I explained, “Heavenly Father needed me to stay here on Earth so all I could meet Daddy and all of you kids could be born.”

Tears spilled down his cheeks. “Why did Lizy have to die?”

I sighed. It’s so hard to find explanations to questions I don’t truly have the answer to. I looked at him and his eyes held so much faith, so much hope. “I don’t know,” I said. “I just know that Heavenly Father wouldn’t have took her home if he didn’t have something really important for her to do.”

He nodded and we talked a bit more. Once he was happy and cheery again I sent him off to play, went upstairs, and cried. Not only tears of sorrow, but tears of gratitude for the knowledge of eternal families.

There are some things that are just next to impossible to explain. Some things that break your heart. I wish such things didn’t have to trouble those so young. But, I am so grateful for a knowledge of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. I am so grateful that in these moments even though I can’t explain or promise that I won’t die anytime soon, I can promise that I know families will be together forever. That we will see Lizy again in time. I am so grateful for a testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the knowledge that not only did he suffer for our sins in the garden of Gethsamane, but for our sorrows and heart aches – all pains and things we would suffer. He truly loves us and understands all that we go through and in and through Him I have found peace and comfort time and time again. I rejoice in the knowledge that He lives! and because He lives we will all overcome death and be resurrected and be with our families again for eternity. What joy – what incredible joy – even in these times of deepest and hardest sorrow. I feel the truth of it in my soul and when I feel my faith strained, the hope kicks in, and I feel the comfort of His love as I plead for strength to keep going.

I have a favorite hymn – it’s always been a favorite – but more so now than ever:

I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.

He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”

In those impossible moments when words fail and I am trying to console a sobbing child, explain something that has no answer, or feel my own heart weakening with a desire to just quit – at least for a little while, I think on these words and I pick up and keep on keeping on. I lean on Christ for strength and he fills in the gaps when I know I am no where near enough.

So, to my little James, to my Dot, Em, Jacob, & Bobert – I know it’s hard. I know it feels impossible sometimes. And I know we all feel sad. There may be many hard times yet to come. I don’t know the whys and I can’t pretend to know what the future will bring. But I do know that know matter what we comes our way, Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ will be with us every step of the journey to help us through and when our steps falter because it feels like too much or too impossible, they will carry us. And someday, some very glorious day, however far in the future it may be, we will be all together again.

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Filed under Child loss, Children, Grief, James, Lizy

Re-learning Family Singing Time

The other day Dot and I were off on a Mother/Daughter date, which involved a little shopping, yummy food, and lots of talking. At one point, as we were pulling into a parking lot, Dot glanced at me and said, “Mom, we haven’t been doing very much music at home since Lizy passed away. I miss it.”

I hadn’t really thought about it until she said something, but she was right. Something that had been such a standard in the home had slowly drifted away. I thought of the times – at least a couple times a week – we’d gather around the piano. I’d play, they’d sing or get out the rhythm instruments and make a grand ruckus.

We had tried a few times since Lizy passed away. The first time was a half-hearted effort reminiscent of the sad little scene in “The Sound of Music” where the children are sad that Maria left and they all drift off. It was kinda like that, but without anyone to rally us together.

It seemed like each effort of family singing time ended with girls crying into my shoulders and boys staring wistfully out windows. So, they slipped away.

Until Dot said something. I knew Lizy would be bummed that we weren’t singing like we used to. Heck, I was bummed.

So, today I decided we’d sing around the piano. It had been a while. Maybe it would be easier.

Well, I can’t exactly say we didn’t end in tears, and I can’t exactly say it didn’t put me into a bit of a blue funk, but I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was just a little easier.

I decided that memories are packed into music so tightly that for our family there is nothing that gets those memories and tears flowing like it. It doesn’t do any good to avoid Lizy’s favorite songs, because inadvertently I stumble across a song that I can just hear her singing in my head along with the girls. That happened today. It was wonderful and heartbreaking all at once.

It’s been over a year. I like to think we’re doing pretty good. But to say it still doesn’t hurt would be a lie. There are still many days where my heart feels like lead no matter how much fun we’re having, how much we’re laughing, how many adventures we go on. It’s just heavy beneath it all.

I don’t say that to whine. But I know so many people expect to “be better” or “back to normal” in a certain time frame, and there just isn’t a time frame on grief. Even after you have invited it to leave and thought you locked the door, it comes back for lengthy stays.

So, what is my point with all this and our music experience today?

Well, it was hard, it was really hard. Especially singing “Holding Hands Around the World” a song the girls sang in primary some years ago – Lizy would belt that song out like no other and I didn’t remember until we were all singing the song and I half-expected/half-heard her singing with us and I could hardly see the music, let alone sing.

But we do hard things. And, as hard as it was – as much as I wanted to erase the pain as I held a sobbing girl in my arms at the end – it was wonderful and it felt good and it was easier than the last time (we actually lasted close to an hour before the tears hit).  So, I can only hope that each time gets a little easier and soon the memories will bring more smiles than tears.

Healing takes time. A lot of time. More than I ever would have thought being on the outside looking in, goodness – more than I thought being on the inside too.  But it will come. And the reason it comes is because we have hope and faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement. That’s what keeps us going. Every day. He makes it possible to get through the heartbreak and do the hard things. He lifts us and carries us on when can’t possibly take another step. I have a testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His atonement. I have a testimony of His, and our Heavenly Father’s, great love for us. I have felt it. It has buoyed me up when I thought I would drown. I have watched my children with their sweet perfect faith feel his love and share it with me. He is always there, loving, waiting, and hoping we will turn to Him. I love my Savior and  my Heavenly Father, and I know that someday because of all that Christ did for us, I will see Lizy again because our family is eternal.

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Filed under Child loss, Music, Religion

What to say to someone who is grieving

The other day I walked into my bedroom and saw my husband lying on the bed reading my Dad’s book. He closed it and set it aside as I perched on the edge of the bed. I picked it up and ran a hand over the coarse cover.

“I can hear Dad’s voice in my head as I read this,” I said. Sudden emotion took me by surprise. That’s when I realized that since Dad passed away only 2 months after Lizy passed away I never really took the time to grieve or cry for him. I suppose it had to hit some time.

That experience had me thinking about grief. It wasn’t too long ago that I was one of the many who had no clue what to say to someone who had lost a loved one – especially someone who had lost a child. I often wonder with a little horror if I said one of those well-meant phrases that we (those grieving) never want to hear. I probably did – and I am grateful for friends who were patient with me and forgave my unintentional insensitivity.

Truth is that unless you have gone through a similar experience, you really don’t know – what to say or do – unless someone tells you. So, I thought I would share some insight on what those of us who have lost children (and other loved ones) do and don’t want to hear.

What we don’t want:

We don’t want to hear that she is in a better place. If we believe in Heaven – we already know with our minds that is true, if we don’t believe in Heaven I imagine it’s just an insult (I wouldn’t really know – I believe in Heaven). But our hearts rule our minds and every time I heard that phrase I thought, “I am sure Heaven is wonderful, but what better place can there be for a child than in her mother’s & father’s arms.”

We don’t want to hear that it was God’s plan, He needed her for a special work, it was his will, etc – all these things are things that most of us know or believe – we don’t really need to hear it – we are struggling with so many emotions – All the knowledge in the world of where we go after death and that families are eternal and that we’ll see our loved one again may give us plenty of hope, but it will not erase the emotions we go through and the act of missing that loved one. We know that she is doing a very special work and that it was His will she go home to Him… we still miss her lots.

Don’t tell us you know what we feel – unless you have been there – experienced the same kind of loss we have experienced.

Don’t ask what we need – we don’t know, really – our brains are a muddled mess. Simply think of a task and offer to do it. I was so relieved when a friend simply asked, “do you want me to make up the funeral programs.” Another friend simply saw the lawn growing long and began to mow it. Many others saw the disastrous state of my laundry and jumped in. I am grateful for those who asked if they could help – I just couldn’t think enough to reply with a coherent answer. (I still have a scattered & muddled brain sometimes and it’s been 10 months now…)

Don’t give us a timeline on grief – it’s different for everyone and comes and goes.

What we (I) want to hear – I’ll do this in I form – some may feel differently than me, everyone grieves differently….

I want to hear her name. It lets me know you remember her.

I want to hear memories – rather than saying she’s in a better place, tell me you remember her smile, or the way her eyes shined, or the sound of her giggle. I might tear up a little, but I’ll be able to remember too and she’ll feel closer.

A hug says more than words, every time. And it’s ok for you to cry too – it means you loved them too.

I’m sorry for your loss – that’s an ok one to say – especially if accompanied with a memory or a hug.

I love to hear experiences people have had that involve her – in life & in death. If she has touched your life in some way, let us know – especially if you were touched in some way after she passed – it reminds me that good things can come out of tragedy.

I want to know she is remembered and loved by others than just her family.

Be willing to listen and be patient if it seems all we can do is talk about our loved one – we miss them and want to remember them – talking about them is one of the only ways we have to truly feel close to them and like we’re not forgetting them.

I have a good friend who asks me questions about her – things she liked to do, eat, read – I love that. I love that someone wants to know more about one of the most amazing people I ever knew.

Also, don’t be afraid to just talk to us – we are still us and enjoy talking – about anything – Lizy or other. 🙂

I think that is my main list. I don’t know if it’s true for everyone who grieves. It’s true for me, and I believe others feel the same away by at least some of these. When in doubt of what to say, don’t say anything – just give them a hug and let them know you care.  If you have said one of the don’ts in the list – it’s ok – we know it was meant with the best of intentions, we just want to let you know for the future.

I believe in God. I know families can be together forever. I don’t mind hearing sentiments about her mission in Heaven – really I don’t – but more than any of those, I love to know that she is remembered. I can hear those sentiments much easier now than I could 10 months ago, though at times it is still difficult.

I have to remind my self often that if Jesus Christ wept for Lazurus, I can weep for my daughter – and my father and that there is nothing wrong with missing them.

It’s not self pity.

It’s not a lack of faith.

Grief is simply proof that we loved someone with all our hearts.

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Filed under Child loss

Refreshed

I feel refreshed.

This weekend was WONDERFUL.

I’ll write more and post more photos, but for now I’m just going to ramble about how wonderful it was to get away.

The thing with loosing a child is that there is a constant reminder.

You can’t get away from it.

I’m a Mom – that’s my job. It’s the best job in the world. I LOVE being a mom.

I’m a Mom(and wife of course) first and a piano teacher, writer and anything else second.

I go to work in the morning by opening my eyes.

My family is my most wonderful work and there’s someone missing. Not a second goes by where she isn’t in my thoughts and hardly a second goes by where I don’t miss her and notice her absence. She is a part of us. I saw that adorable face every day – more hours than not – for almost 14 years and all of a sudden that adorable face is no longer there.

There’s no distraction from that.

I can’t throw myself into my work as a distraction – my family is my work. SHE is my work.

I can’t throw myself into some fantastic hobby as a distraction – how can I possibly neglect the rest of my amazing family, and my husband? They are my work too.

There’s no easy or simple answer and it’s an uphill battle. And not only do I have to figure out how to deal with my grief and my emotions, but those of my children – and be considerate of my husband.

I found myself craving more and more a chance to get away. A break from life. Something where for the first time in 10 months I could focus on me.

That probably sounds horribly selfish.

But, as a mom we rarely focus on what we want – and that’s as it should be. Our focus is on the children and their emotions and needs. Oh, there are times and moments in the day when we get away and get to focus on ourselves, but not often and not long.  The idea of an escape from the pressures of life sounded wonderful.

And impossible.

But then I realized it may not be so impossible and due to some wonderful caring friends it happened sooner than I ever expected, but I think at the time it was most needed.

I felt like I was crumbling. Barely able to hang on to my sanity and process my own emotions, let alone help five children grapple with theirs. And I felt so very tired – if you recall my tired post. 🙂

This little get away was just the thing to rejuvenate me. For the first time in my life I took a 2 hour long bath! I just relaxed and watched a chick-flick while I soaked. I’ve never been SO self-indulgent. And, because I was away from home with no responsibilities for the weekend, I didn’t feel guilty about it!

For the first time in 10 months (and longer, really) I completely relaxed. It was wonderful having no demands on my time and being able to do the things we (my husband and I) wanted to do.  We were definitely ready to come home and get back into routine, but the break was so wonderful.

Missing Lizy was lessened a bit. Since we were missing (and maybe even not missing, lol) all our kids, it wasn’t so heavy on our hearts.

For the first time since the accident, Paul and I had time to sit down and really talk about it all. What happened, how it happened, how we felt, what we’re feeling now. It was wonderful. It drew us closer together and I think I burned through an entire box of kleenex. And that evening as we drove through the foothills of the smokey mountains, the sunset turned them pink and I had to smile at our little Lizy gift.

And how do I feel today, now that I am home and back into the every day routine of things?

I feel more calm and at peace with things than I have felt in a long, long time.

I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and renewed.

I feel like I’m ready to tackle real life head on.

It feels good.

It’s been a long time since I have felt this way.

I feel like I have a little of me back – my old self.

And that feels good.

I still miss her dreadfully, the pain is still there.

But, I feel like since I took a break this weekend, I am more able to face it, handle it, cope with it.

While I was away I took it for a stroll and let it be my companion for an hour or so while I talked with Paul.

Now, I feel like it can be put away a little while so I can focus on my many other responsibilities. It’s still there – always will be. But at least for the moment I have a grip on things and don’t feel quite so tired. 😀

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Filed under Child loss, Family, Parenting

Tired

I have come to the realization that I am tired. Exhausted. WORN OUT. Mainly emotionally. I started thinking of all the things I am tired of and making a list. These are things people in my situation think about day in and day out. I don’t want to offend or make anyone back off – you’ll notice there are many opposites such as wanting to be left alone, not wanting to be left alone, etc. I don’t know if I will share it – maybe someone else will be able to relate and realize others go through this, etc.

I am tired of….

crying

this empty ache that will never completely go away

of trying to figure out how to answer people when they ask how many kids we have  – she was part of our lives for 12 years, we can’t just pretend we have 5 kids, but then things get awkward when they ask ages and such.

of feeling like being happy is an effort

of reminding myself to smile – it used to come so naturally

of feeling inadaquate to the task at hand of helping my dear sweet children cope with losing a sister

of never knowing when grief will sabotage me and push me to tears

being this person

not being the person I used to be

being the example

being the friend who lost her  daughter

having red eyes

looking tired

hoping someone says her name

people being afraid to say her name or talk about her

conversations becoming awkward when they realize who we are/we have a daughter who died

feeling like everyone else has moved on with their lives and I’m stuck

wishing there was a pause button so I could deal with this nice and tidy before moving on

trying to respond to cliched (though very well meant) comments

craving her laugh, her smile, her hugs

empty arms

having to snuggle with her blanket to feel close to her

sleepless/fitful nights

not being focused

the pitiful looks that come my way

staring into space

not being able to cry when I feel like I am about to burst

family time being so hard sometimes

having to visit a cemetary

needing/wanting to visit the cemetary

going home to 1 less child and 5 who desperately need me to be brave and keep it together

being reminded of my tragedy

being afraid I will somehow forget all the details of her life, her face, her smile, her walk

being afraid that others will forget

of having to write out my thoughts and feelings in order to release

of having to rely on others

being miserable

living moment to moment

trying to keep busy

looking at kids her age and trying not to cry

having to switch stations on the radio

not being able to watch my favorite movies – or crying my way through them

just trying to make it through the day

wanting to sleep until this goes away

being restless

worrying about future events – reminding myself that I need to let my children be children and not over protect them

watching my loved ones suffer

dreading going to bed at night for fear of the morning

dreading waking up in the morning

not having my normal spunk

not wanting to go to places that remind me

feeling sorrow

having to talk about this for a release

my nervous energy

pacing

feeling cut off

crying when I am alone

avoiding human contact

wanting to hide

feeling guilty (most of the time I can shove it aside, but it is still there)

cloudy and rainy days making me sad

the 7th of the month

feeling this

thinking about this knowing this

trying to make my heart understand

my brain understanding this

losing time to this

wanting to be alone

wanting to be around people

not knowing what I want or how I feel

needing support

wanting to talk

feeling lethargic

wanting to talk about it

not wanting to talk about it

nerves

my nervous habits

being the one who will make a difference

having to give myself permission to be happy

holding my sobbing children trying to find the right words

not being able to find the right words

of being brave

of being an inspiration

replaying events in my mind

not knowing how to help my children/husband

defending my grief – as in it’s normal, not a lack of faith, I’m not self pitying, I just miss her,  etc.

feeling scatterbrained and disorganized

forgetting things

 
of being tired

Now, with all that being said – the crazy thoughts in my head. Those are just things I’m tired of – I don’t feel them all, all the time, they change faster than the Cincinnati weather and my 12-and-a-half-year-old daughter’s moods. I like to think I’m managing to hold my fraying ends together, but  if I seem a little spacey the above might be why. If you have a loved one or friend going through a loss, be patient with them, we appreciate it. 🙂

Lastly, even with this being so incredibly hard, I think often on Joseph Smith and what Heavenly Father told him as he struggled – and he faced things far beyond any that my family has:

“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”  (Doctrine & Covenants 122:7)

That’s why we’re here. No matter how hard. We’re here for the experiences. To learn and to grow. To be stretched. To learn to have faith even when we feel faithless or can’t understand why things have to happen the way they do. All these experiences can be for our good if we let them.

And though at times I wonder how on earth I can possibly survive this, how I can muddle my way through with my family intact, I know that we are here for this purpose. We can let this build us and make us stronger. Sometimes it can be hard to see how any of this is for our good, but so much good has come about in  the months after, Lizy has made such a wonderful difference in the lives of others both in life and in death.  No matter how it hurts, there is good in it somewhere and we’ll be together again for all of eternity.

I know Heavenly Father loves me and gives me the strength I need to get through all the tired.

Now……

time to go do all those things I’m tired of! 🙂

11 Comments

Filed under Child loss, Lizy, Philosophy, Religion