I have not been coping well lately.
Whenever I feel like I have lost my way I often seek the advice of other moms who have lost babies. Recently I found a blog called Our Journey Home written by a wonderful woman named Shan. From her blog I learned that she lost her second daughter Marie the day after she gave birth to her third daughter Sarah. Unable to even comprehend her situation I immediately contacted her and asked "who did you cope...?"
I don't know what I expected her to say and I waited patiently for her advice. She posted her response on her blog. It is the most honest advice I have ever received...
She has no idea.
She didn't cope. She was carried, sheltered, and held. But cope? She doesn't think she did.
I know exactly what she means.
I don't know why it has been so hard for me to admit that I have not coped with my daughters' deaths either. I guess I have been afraid to admit that grief has changed me. I wanted to approach grief like I approach everything in my life: methodically. I wanted to feel proactive. I needed control over something.
Initially I found a lot of comfort in the long list of "Grief Recovery Do's" I made for myself. It gave me something to do, something to distract myself with...run, blog, run more, drink some tea, blog, and run again. Until I was alone of course or the house was too quiet. Then I'd break down and wonder why nothing was working. The pain was swallowing me up.
Those days are such a fog. I felt guilt for hurting so much. I still feel guilty that it is taking so long to shake the grief. I have more good days now than I did a year ago, but what frustrates me is I have not discovered the feel better formula. It seems so random.
Some things don't have a formula.
And it makes sense. I held my babies in my arms as they took their last breaths. I watched them struggle to breathe and I felt them get cold. They were in my arms when the doctor could no longer hear a heart beat. What is the cure for that? There are not enough miles in the world to run that memory away.
I'll be honest. I don't even know what to do most of the time. I still wake up most mornings wondering if maybe this is all a bad dream and when I realize that it isn't I choke back the tears in frustration (because crying all the time gets annoying) and start the day. I ask God to get me through just one more day and wonder when it will get easier, I mean really get easier, because it has been two and a half years and it still feels pretty hard to me. I try to put the pain out of my mind, I try not to dwell on it, but how do you put your children out of your mind?
Tomorrow brings another new year. And with it I have a list of resolutions. Every year since Aubrey and Ellie's deaths I have prayed that this year will be my year of healing. But this year I have a new prayer.
I pray that this year is a year of freedom.
Freedom to cope or not cope, freedom to be the me that I have become, the me that changed forever when I lost my baby girls, and freedom to take an entire lifetime if I need it to heal as unmethodically as is necessary.
If I have another hard year I'm ok with it. If I don't cope I'm allowed. At least I can be honest with myself about it now. And easier on myself.
Happy New Year!