Friday, November 28, 2008

Fixation

I am staring at the computer screen right now. I don't know what to write. Not because I don't have anything to say, but because I don't know where to start. How do I even begin to explain what it is like to exist after the death of both my babies? Is it even possible? Some things can only be experienced I think. Grief is impossible to imagine because our imagination at its best cannot conjure up the depth of the pain grief inflicts on our heart. Grief can't be anticipated. It is impossible to brace yourself for impact. And it hits so hard you can't even believe you are still alive. That is the hardest part. Grief doesn't kill you. It lets you live to experience every single painful moment. It is relentless. Grief is like torture.

I had a particularly hard day. I was fixated for some reason on what color hair Aubrey and Ellie would have had. It really bothers me that I will never know if they would have been blond or brunette. It isn't that I prefer one over the other, I just wish I had more details to imagine them with. I want to see their little faces in my mind as they were intended to be instead of so sick and discolored and premature. What color eyes would they have? Would their hair be curly or straight? Would they have freckles? What would they sound like? I would give anything to hear them just once. A cry, a laugh, it doesn't matter to me. To have a memory of their voices would be so precious to me. I just want to know them.

I don't get to know them in this life as I want to, but they are waiting for me in heaven, and there I will get an eternity to know them perfectly. That is the only thing that gets me through these days. My grief is only temporary. It doesn't feel temporary. But it is. If I can just hang in there until then I will see them again. Our separation is not permanent. Until heaven!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving. I have been cooking since early this morning. I love to cook and am happy to have Thanksgiving in our new home surrounded by family and friends, but I can't shake the feeling that Aubrey and Ellie are missing. If Aubrey and Ellie had lived I would not be here this morning. I would be at my parent's house, with my baby girls, showing them off to my whole family. They would probably be around two and a half months old now. I would have my hands full with three children under three and putting on Thanksgiving at my house would not even be an option this year. I wouldn't even consider it.

But here I am. No babies at all. And it makes me so sad. I honestly try to remember all the other blessings in my life but they only remind me of the two blessings that are gone. I still have moments of denial. I can't believe this all really happened, that my baby girls are dead. It just seems too horrible to be true.

Now that the holidays are here the adjustment to life without Aubrey and Ellie is even more apparent. There are no babies for Thanksgiving. There will be no babies for Christmas. No little bundles to dress in warm hats and socks. No matching dresses with tights that have ruffles on the bum. I have time now to decorate the house and make Christmas cookies and throw parties. But I don't want it. I want Aubrey and Ellie. I am doing my best to make this holiday season fun and meaningful, especially for my son who is now old enough to be thrilled to death over presents and decorations, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that deep down I resent it. It is hard to celebrate with the loss of my girls still so recent. I don't feel like celebrating. I feel like crying. For the rest of my life two of my children will be missing from every holiday. My two little girls won't be at the Thanksgiving table today or any other day.

Losing Aubrey and Ellie has changed my perspective on everything and realigned my priorities extensively. I do recognize the blessings in my life. But I still hurt. I still feel the emptiness of losing them. I still have an ache in my heart that never seems to go away. This is not at all what I ever wanted to happen. I still dream about them and long for them. I wanted them so badly and accepting their death is a constant emotional battle. They are my precious girls and I will miss them at every holiday forever. Truthfully, I will miss them forever no matter what day it is.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unexpected Return

Today my son had an MRI. He has been having dizzy spells that we can't find the cause of. The doctors want to rule out the worst case scenario so they scheduled an MRI for him today at Children's Hospital, the hospital Aubrey was transferred to and eventually died in. Where we took my son was in a different part of the hospital and at first it didn't feel too reminiscent of our time there with Aubrey. But while wheeling my son to recovery we walked right down the hall to the NICU and past the room we sat in with Aubrey after we removed her from life support and held her while she slowly left us.

Those few steps through that familiar place felt like slow motion. I remember emerging from that room with my dead daughter in my arms covered in a blanket. I remember all the eyes on me as I walked her through the NICU and placed her back on her bed. I remember telling the nurse to keep Aubrey warm and to be careful not to hurt her while removing all her tubes and tape. I looked around and saw alive babies on all sides. But my baby was dead. Both my babies were dead. One nightmare ended as another began. Our girls were gone. We signed some papers and went home. It was horrible.

I was not expecting to return to that part of the hospital today, nor was I expecting to remember so vividly my experience there. When the memories come back so does all the what ifs and regrets. Not a moment goes by that I don't wonder if some how the outcome could have been different. I just don't understand what happened, why my beautiful baby girls came so early and left too soon, why this is part of my life at all?

My life was not supposed to be like this. I can only pray that God gives me peace and the ability to accept my daughters' deaths and all the heartache that goes with it. I never wanted to let go of my girls. Laying them back on their beds and walking away from them was crushing. I didn't want to leave them, but in truth they had already left me. All I have now are memories. I never want to let go of those memories, but I do want to let go of all the what ifs and regrets. I just don't know how.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Numb

I thought the numb phase had passed. At the very beginning I remember being aware of my numbness. The night after Ellie died I didn't shed a tear. I just laid in bed, completely numb, and fell asleep. I didn't feel anything about anything. Not a single feeling existed in my body. I don't even think I had any thoughts. I was just a body, my heart and soul had shut down, and I was fresh out of tears. When I walked out into the parking lot after Aubrey died and squinted my eyes in the brightness I felt as though I entered the twilight zone. I was a hollow woman. Nothing lived inside me but emptiness. No feelings. No emotions. Nothing.

In only a matter of days the numbness wore off though, and my pain was excruciating. Both of my babies were dead. I went from having no feelings at all to feeling every painful emotion that exists all at once. I thought feeling had returned. But I realize now that I can only feel my pain. I am still numb in almost every other way. As I sit here writing this I can't deny my indifference to the rest of the things in my life that cause me to feel. I have shut out anything else that might add to my pain. I just can't cope with more pain or disappointment. I just can't.

I don't know what to do. I can only pray that God will save me from myself. That God will give me the strength I need to risk feeling again. I can't be numb forever and I don't want to be. I want to feel EVERYTHING, not just the agony of my daughters' deaths. I want my life to become real to me again. I want to feel again.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bleeding to Death

Grief is more far reaching than I ever imagined. The pain is deeper than I even realize. I know it is there but I am so delirious with the pain of it that I don't even realize how deep the wound goes. I have heard war veterans talk about how they got shot and didn't even realize it until they had almost bled to death. They knew something was wrong, they knew they felt strange and weak, but they had no idea they were bleeding to death. That is grief. I feel strange and weak, but I am not completely aware of just how much my broken heart is bleeding. I know I am hurt, but I am not sure how badly. The difference is with grief you don't bleed to death. You bleed to unawareness. Somehow I have lost myself in my pain. I have become someone different. Someone I don't recognize. Someone I never wanted to be.

Aubrey and Ellie's death has changed me forever. In some ways I am changed for the better I guess. But I am not really sure. But in other ways I have changed for the worse. Of that I am sure. I feel that I have lost my way a bit. My heart is still bleeding all over the place, I just don't always realize it. Hopefully I can not only regain what was lost in me, but that God will turn my weakness into strength. I want to feel strong again. I want to feel like myself again.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What is Good?

God works all things for good for those who love him. I must repeat that to myself a thousand times a day. I believe it to be true but it doesn't take my pain away. It is an unfair trade if you ask me. What does it mean? What is good? Better than Aubrey and Ellies' lives? Better than loving and raising my two precious daughters? Better than a life and future with my girls? I don't think so. So what is this good God promises because it doesn't seem that good to me?

Losing Aubrey and Ellie has brought me face to face with the harsh realities of life. Some things can happen in life that no amount of good can make up for. Good is a relative term that changes depending on life's circumstances. But I wonder, is the good God promises an ultimate good? Is His good different from what I understand good to be? Is His good always truly good regardless of circumstances or my perception of it?

I think it is. What is ultimately good for us is to be transformed. To become more like Christ. That is the good God promises. And that ultimate good, although it does not always feel good, is truly good. God did not allow my girls to die so that I could become more like Christ, but He will use it for my good, to transform me and draw me closer to Him because only there will I find the comfort and healing I need to go on. He will not allow my daughters' deaths to be meaningless. His good offers what nothing else can, purpose in my suffering.

I don't think I will ever prefer the good God promises in this life to keeping Aubrey and Ellie. I wish I could say that the good is worth it, but I can't. I would trade it all to have Aubrey and Ellie back in a heartbeat. I have been honest with God about that. But I am thankful that in my suffering there is meaning. I don't think I could go on if it was all for nothing.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Healing

I was driving in the car today and a song came on the radio by Lifehouse called "Broken" that touched my heart. I felt like it was written for me. It describes exactly how I feel since Aubrey and Ellie died. Just a few days before I heard it I hit my knees begging God to speak to me. I was so broken. I realized that I have distanced myself from God. I have been relying too heavily on what I know to be true about God and but longing for the emotional comfort and peace that only comes from Him. I was desperate for something more. I prayed that God would help me to feel, and not just know, that He is with me. And He answered my prayer right then. In my mind I heard Him say to me, "You will be ok, I sill got you." I was so touched. And so thankful. For the first time in a long time I could feel God comforting me. It was deeply healing. I used to tell my girls, "God's got you," when I talked to them in their incubators but I think I forgot that "God's got me" too. When I heard this song in the car it reminded me of what God did for me this week. I am in pain, I am still hurting so much, but in pain there is healing. I am holding on because in His name I find meaning. And I will be ok.
Broken
The broken clock is a comfort, it helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow from stealing all my time
I am here still waiting though i still have my doubts
I am damaged at best, like you've already figured out
I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain, there is healing
In Your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you
The broken locks were a warning you got inside my head
I tried my best to be guarded, I'm an open book instead
I still see your reflection inside of my eyes
that are looking for purpose, they're still looking for life
I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
with a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain (in the pain), is there healing?
In Your name (in Your name) I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'),
I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin')I'm barely holdin' on to you
I'm hangin' on another day
just to see what you throw my way
And I'm hanging on to the words you say,
You said that I will be OK
The broken lights on the freeway left me here alone
I may have lost my way now, haven't forgotten my way home
I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
with a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain(In the pain) there is healing
In Your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'),
I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm barely holdin' on to you
I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'), I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'),
I'm holdin' on (I'm still holdin'),I'm barely holdin' on to you

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Simply Worth It

Losing Aubrey and Ellie has put my life under a microscope. Every aspect of my life has been magnified a thousand times. The cracks in my life, the weak areas, are proving to be more fragile than ever. But the solid parts of my life are holding fast. They are stronger than I even realized. I have learned that I am both stronger and weaker than I thought. My perception of myself has changed as I am stripped to the core. It was one thing to imagine how I might respond if something tragic ever happened to me, it is another to actually find myself here. It is so different than I imagined. I now realize that no one is capable of imagining this kind of pain, it can't be conjured up in the mind or viewed from the outside. It can only be experienced first hand. And it is worse than I ever imagined it could be. Beyond worse.

I think life can be so disappointing. And lonely. And scary. Just existing assumes so much risk. We are all destined for life-altering heartache. We risk incapacitating pain every time we love someone, hope for something, or dream of the future. We may lose who we love, never get what we hoped for, and our dreams may be stolen from us. Sometimes it doesn't seem worth it. Why do we set ourselves up for disappointment like that? Wouldn't it be safer to not love, to not care, to not hope, to not dream?

Absolutely Not! The depth of my pain may match the depth of my love for Aubrey and Ellie, but I would not trade one second of that love, one moment of knowing them, to ease even a fraction of my pain. Some things are simply worth it. And loving them is worth it. I can't help but think of how God must feel the same way about us. His heart must break so profoundly for us. The infinite depth of His love must make His pain unfathomable. Yet it is worth it to Him also. He still loves us. He still pursues us. He still has a purpose and future for us. He still blesses us. We are worth it to Him. I am worth it to Him. And my girls are worth it to me.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Can't Stand It

Sometimes I freak out inside. I feel like my world is caving in around me. I can't stand that Aubrey and Ellie died. I CAN'T STAND IT! Grief and sorrow pile on top of me like rubble. Before I know it I am buried and suffocating, the entire weight of it on me at once. And it infuriates me. It is a battle I can't win. I am fighting with everything I've got, but I am no match for the magnitude of my grief. When I surrender to my grief it overwhelms me. When I resist my grief it pursues me relentlessly. When I question my grief I find no answers. When I collapse in exhaustion my grief tramples me. When I muster up new strength my grief intensifies. I can't get away from it. If I could gnaw off the part of me caught in grief's trap I probably would, but all of me is tangled up in it. There is not a single cell in my body that does not feel the pain of losing Aubrey and Ellie. I literally feel sick with grief.

I get a knot in my throat sometimes that can take hours to go away. I think I get it on the days I try really hard not to cry. Some days I am so sick and tired of crying I fight off my tears all day long. When I get in bed at night I realize that my throat hurts from chocking back my tears and my neck and shoulders are tense and sore. I get frustrated because I have to decide which kind of exhausted I want to be at the end of every day, exhausted from crying all day or exhausted from trying not to cry all day. It is frustrating. I am really exhausted.

I cannot explain how badly I wish this never happened. I love my girls. I often feel that being without them is just too much to ask of me. Most days I just don't know how I will ever go on, how my life will ever be good again. I feel as though I will never be ok again. And that scares me. If only they didn't die I would never experience any of this. They would be healthy and beautiful and here with me. I would be exhausted and happy and in my glory with my sweet baby girls. I would never know this depth of pain. I would still be ok. We would all still be ok.

The hardest thing about losing Aubrey and Ellie is the finality of it all. Yes, it would be so much better if this didn't happen, but it did happen and no amount of wishing, arguing, questioning, praying, or demanding will change it. My baby girls are dead. They are never coming back. I will never hold them, see them, or be with them again until heaven. And until then I will hurt. My life will never be normal. My family will never be whole. My heart will always be missing two pieces.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween

Yesterday was Halloween. I dressed my son like Oliver Twist. He looked so cute.

My husband and I took him to the Harvest Festival at our church so that he could play games and have fun. It was a beautiful day and nice to be outside, but I was hurting inside.

While pregnant with Aubrey and Ellie I looked forward to Halloween. I knew they would be born by now for sure and I was excited to dress them up in sweet little costumes only twins could pull off like two peas in a pod or yin and yang. Something darling.

But just as Halloween has come and gone so have my precious babies. Two babies to dress up for Halloween is just one more unrealised dream of a future with Aubrey and Ellie that will never be. And it makes me sad. I know this is just the beginning of the difficulty of the holiday season. So many things are on the horizon that will only deepen my pain and magnify the loss of my babies. I expected to have them for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. I planned on bringing in the New Year with them and every New Year from then on. I had a whole lifetime planned with them.

Life is so sad sometimes. I miss my girls.
 
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