Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lying

I told a lie today. Some college kids came to my front door this afternoon while my son was napping trying to raise money by selling books. At first they tried to sell me a cook book but Lord knows I have enough of those. I, of course, was friendly to them and made small talk. People don't go door to door very often anymore and I was curious about what they were up to. We chatted and they asked me a bunch of questions like how long have I been married and how long have I lived here? And then they asked me the question I have come to fear more than any other...

"How many children do you have?"

In a split second the answer sort of flew out of my mouth. "Three," I said. "Wow," they responded, "three kids in four years!" "Well, two of them are twins," I went on to explain, "I have a three year old little boy and identical twin daughters." I could tell that they were sort of looking around for them. Then without hesitation I said "they're all upstairs sleeping."

At that moment I felt myself float away. My body was still standing at my front door, but my mind was somewhere else. I no longer heard what they were saying or really cared. All I could think about was what I just said. Why did I say that?

I bought one of their books, a children's book of Bible stories, and sent them on their way. I closed the door and burst into tears. I could not bring myself to tell them that two of my babies were dead, but that was not the first time I held back telling the truth about Aubrey and Ellie. Sometimes it seems more appropriate to just leave it out, especially to strangers, but I have NEVER lied about them before. I was as surprised with myself as I was disappointed. What was I thinking? Why would I say such a thing?

It only took me about a minute to understand why I lied. I said my babies were sleeping because I wanted it to be true. For some reason at that moment I wanted to pretend that my babies were not in heaven but in their cribs. I wanted to speak their names and bring them back to life. For just a minute I wanted to stop missing them and feel normal again. But it didn't work. The lie only confirmed the truth. Their cribs were as empty as ever and my lie didn't provide even a second of relief from my heartache. I was in an unhealthy place.

I feel completely desperate sometimes. I don't know how to make the pain go away. But lying is certainly not the answer. It didn't help anyway. I am trying to reach a place of peace and acceptance, but it seems illusive. The pain I feel still outweighs the peace I feel. My pain is like being stuck in a permanent fog. Sometimes I can see farther into the fog than others, but the fog is always there.

I don't know how to not miss my babies, how to not cry for them, how to not long for them. I feel like healing requires me to be someone I can't be, that it requires me to not feel and to forget, and I can't do that. I don't know what to do anymore. I guess just keep being patient, keep trusting God's faithfulness, keep waiting for morning...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thinking

I visited a good friend today. I met her in my Griefshare class and we have since developed a friendship. We were talking while our kids played and she mentioned that she was thinking of me the other day. She overheard a conversation about how difficult it is to care for handicapped and mentally incapacitated children and couldn't help but think how different my life would be if I were caring for two severely mentally and physically handicapped babies right now. That maybe God spared us and them from a very difficult life? I couldn't help but ask myself if there exists a more difficult life than the one I have experienced since the death of my girls. Could it really be worse? Does it get harder than this?

I have to be honest and say that those exact fears crossed my mind while my girls were in the hospital. I was so scared when I learned of their brain damage. I obsessed about their care and what that would mean for our family practically, financially, and emotionally. How hard will it be? But mostly I worried for them. Would they suffer? Would they be aware of their condition? Was keeping them alive really what was best for them? Why was this happening to them? I didn't know what was best for them. I didn't want to lose them but I didn't want them to suffer...I didn't know what to do.

After lots of prayer, tears, and constantly mounting complications in both our daughters, my husband and I chose to remove them from life support. Ellie on July 1st. Aubry on July 7th. I vividly remember walking each of my girls back to their little incubator beds and setting them down. I remember asking the doctors to be gentle with them and to keep them warm. Their little faces were blue. They felt cold. They were gone. No pulse. No breath. No life. Just a tiny little limp body. I knew their souls were in heaven and that they had been restored...but it didn't comfort me. How many mothers ever hold their dead children or watch their babies take their last breaths? How many mothers choose the day their babies go to heaven? It seems horribly unfair. And not to me. To my innocent baby girls.

A day does not go by that I don't wonder what could have been, or even what should have been. I would have taken care of my babies no matter what condition they were in. I would have loved them no matter what. I would have dedicated my life to them. But when they died I felt this overwhelming sense of relief, and then immediate guilt and pain. I knew they were no longer suffering, but I was suffering...they were gone, forever. My babies were gone.

I often think that God was gracious to my girls and that taking them to heaven spared them from a very hard life. After they got so sick it became easy to rationalize why heaven was the best place for them. But the question I always ask is why were they born early in the first place? There would have been no brain damage or organ failure or death if they went full term. They would have been fine. We would have been fine. Everything would have been fine.

But it wasn't fine. It still isn't fine. All the questions and fears and would haves and maybes are fruitless. My girls are dead and can never return to me. All I can do now is keep my promise to them to heal and wait patiently to meet them someday in heaven. At least we have heaven. Thank God we have heaven.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

High Chair

I was out in the garage today and I saw the baby high chair up against the wall. It made me a little sad because it shouldn't be there. I feel the same way when I go into Aubrey and Ellie's room and see their crib dismantled and shoved in the corner to make room for guests when they come and stay with us. It bothers me. I understand that since neither the crib nor the high chair is being used they should be put away for a while...but the point is they SHOULD be being used, and they are not. I really wanted to feed my girls in that high chair and put them to sleep in that crib. I don't like seeing those things collecting dust. It hurts my heart.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Birthday

Today I turned 29. I can't believe how time has flown by. I remember when I was 16 and I thought 29 would never come. But here I am. Twenty-nine and counting. Honestly though I feel older than 29. The last year was a hard one.

One year ago, in March of 2008, I found out I was pregnant. Later that same month I learned I was pregnant with twins. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine what events would transpire that year. Last birthday I had my girls. This birthday I do not. It is almost surreal.

I did get to spend my birthday at Disney Land with my husband, son and family visiting from out of state. And I had the privilege of watching my three-year-old have the time of his life. As a parent there is nothing more fun than to watch your child be overcome with excitement. It was a beautiful day, the lines were not too long, and my son had a blast. The perfect day at Disney Land. It was a great way to spend my birthday. I very much enjoyed myself.

But I did think about my girls. The fun of the day did not erase the fact that they were missing. It is a thought I have come to accept as a part of my life now. They will always be missing from everything I do and everywhere I go. I am learning to accept it. But I still miss them. Acceptance does not erase how much I miss them.

Age 28 was the hardest year of my life. I cried so many tears. My prayer is that age 29 will be a year of healing, not hurting. That this is the year the morning comes...and stays.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Crying

I am sitting here crying. My computer is on my lap, a cup of tea to my side, and tears streaming down my face. I get like this sometimes. I just can't hold back the tears. When I have days like this I feel like I am not just crying for my girls, but about everything sad in my life. Every disappointment, every loss, every regret, every mistake...it all seems to be behind my tears.

Life is hard right now, for many reasons. My life is very different than I ever imagined it would be. I think it has been hard for me to come to terms with it all. The realities of life can be so harsh. It is disillusioning. It is hard to make sense of it all.

The only thing I know to do is hold on to what I know, to the unchangeable things, the things that remain right when everything else is wrong, to Jesus. All these tears fall at His feet. I am not alone in this journey. I walk wearily, but I walk with Him. And someday I trust I will get to the other side of all of this. Only He will lead me there.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Responsibility

I wrote the following recently in a letter to a friend...

"It is strange because I understand in my mind that it isn't my fault, but in my heart, where I am still sad, I feel fear. I wonder "what if?" What if it was my fault some how? What if I didn't protect my girls? I think it will just take time to work through. I think it is what all mothers feel when something bad happens to their children, when they suffer in any way, and especially when they die...we feel responsible. I feel responsible. But I don't know if I am responsible. And I will live without knowing forever."

I don't want to be responsible for what happened, but I feel scared that I am. And the not knowing is a blessing and a curse. It just bothers me so much that my girls were healthy and developing perfectly, but were born too soon and died as a result. They were not sick. They were perfect. They just needed more time. Why didn't they get that time? What happened that they were born too soon to survive? I fear my body failed them.

But what if it did? Would that really change anything? Would it change how I feel? I did not choose to go into labor. It just happened. And I watched as my life spiraled out of control. I was in control of nothing. Not my body, not my babies, not my future, not their future. I begged God to intervene and watched helplessly as life unfolded, as if in slow motion, sadly and tragically.

I am not in control. I thought I was, but I wasn't. Control is an illusion. And wanting to accept responsibility or apply blame or find a reason is really just a desperate attempt to regain some feeling of control over a situation that can never be changed. It can't be changed now, but more importantly, it could not be changed then.

I feel myself moving closer to acceptance daily. God is slowing healing the insecurities of my heart. Mostly I am learning to forgive myself. Sometimes in life you just have to let go of things. Even when you want to hold on to them...hopes, dreams, feelings, fears, regrets, wishes, questions, even children...you have to let go. The letting go is hard and sad and slow, but my hope is that in the process I will find peace...peace with what happened as well as peace with myself...peace the surpasses all understanding.

Then God's peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
 
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