Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Aubrey and Ellie!

I can't believe it has been two years.

I woke up this morning and I could feel it. That ache in my heart. That strange sensation of something missing in my life that should be there but isn't.

It feels like yesterday, not two years ago, that I saw those tiny little faces for the first time. Even time itself has been some how altered by Aubrey and Ellie's deaths. One minute time is flying by, the next it is standing still. I am still getting used to it.

I am still getting used to a lot of things.

Dustin and I took flowers to the cemetery today to honor them and let them know we are celebrating two very special birthdays. (I have pictures I will post later. I left the wire that connects my camera to my computer at my sister's house so when I get it back I will post the lovely photos immediately). As I sat there arranging the flowers just right I thought about how much has changed in two years.

And how some things haven't changed at all.


I still desperately miss my babies. That has not changed. And I don't think it ever will.

But I feel differently in other ways.

When Aubrey and Ellie died I felt mostly disappointment. For a long time I just couldn't shake feeling horribly let down. I felt let down by my own body, by God, by doctors, by life in general. The disappointment was so heavy it took almost a year and a half to finally lift. I still feel disappointed about certain things and in certain ways, but not like I did two years ago. It is not as consuming as it once was.

Slowly though my disappointment gave way to helplessness and I felt deeply overwhelmed by fear. I braced myself for what tragic, terrible thing would happen next, convinced my life was on a crash course with disaster. Thankfully I did not get stuck there long though. Living in fear was worse than living with disappointment and I fought hard to find freedom from it. I was tired of regressing in my healing and called out to God for help. When I feel the fear creeping in again I remember 1 John 4:18. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear... I often forget to accept God's perfect love. But I am working on it. And He is working on me.

Yet, even two years later, I am still a work in progress. Grief and all its emotions don't just suddenly vanish. It is a constant ebb and flow of triumphs and losses. There has been real healing in my heart in some ways yet some wounds remain gaping.

Lately it is loneliness that I struggle with most.

Grief is isolating yes, but that is not the loneliness I am talking about. Sure I struggle with feeling alone in my pain and alone on this journey. It isn't always comforting to know that the Jesus I love is walking with me when He isn't there the way I wish He could be there. He is there just as His Word promises and He is so gracious to me as I struggle with my humanness. But sometimes I just need something tangible and I get weary in my faith. I mean for goodness sake, sometimes I just need a hug. And I don't think that is asking too much.

But what has been bothering me even more is that my arms are empty. Where are my babies to hold? To kiss? To snuggle? I deeply miss the real, tangible things that disappeared when Aubrey and Ellie died. I never will squeeze their fat little legs or wipe their dimpled little bottoms. I will never hear first words or see first steps. I am learning that I love the hands-on part of being a mother. Even the mundane daily things. And the quietness of my house and my life gets to me.

I'm just not sure how to fill this void. And like I said before, the intangible comfort of my Jesus doesn't always do it...not because He is not enough, but because I can't seem to stop being imperfect in my pain. I just need something to hold sometimes. Something made of flesh and blood. Something real.

I got out of bed today and took my time starting the day. I stood in the shower an extra long time feeling particularly empty inside. I left the house for a mocha (for me) and flowers (for my baby girls) thinking about very little else. I didn't talk much in the car ride to the cemetery. I guess I wasn't in the talking mood so my son, who is always in the talking mood, did most of the talking.

"Why are we going to the cemetery again mom?" He asked, even though I had told him ten times already why.

"To see Aubrey and Ellie." I emphasised, "It is their birthday remember?"

"But they are not even there you silly." He replied.

I sat there feeling his words. I had been feeling them since I woke up but just didn't know it until then. They are not here. And that is what hurts. I know where they are, I know they couldn't be in a better place, but I still have to cope daily with the unchangeable fact they are not here.

And I am lonely without them.

In the quietness of the cemetery the cool breeze blew just as it did the day of their funeral. The sun was directly behind me and cast my shadow across the face of their headstone. In my silhouette I could see my big baby belly fall right on their names. I introduced Colt to his sisters and started to cry. I am only weeks away from holding and snuggling and kissing a very tangible Colton James. And although I am thrilled beyond words to meet my new little man, he is an answer to prayer and a gift beyond measure, I can't help but anticipate the sting that will also come with his arrival.

All the joy he will bring will bittersweetly remind me of all I missed when Aubrey and Ellie died.
I will be flooded with emotions no doubt, and I admit I am a little nervous. I am not exactly sure how I will respond to all that I feel in that moment. I am still healing and very raw. And there is still an empty place in my heart for my girls.

But at least I know one thing for certain. My heart may still have an empty place, but my arms will be full again.

And I can barely wait for that very tangible moment.

Happy Birthday Aubrey and Ellie. You are dearly loved and missed. Until we meet again sweet babies... Love Mom, Dad, Dustin and baby Colt.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Prayer Need Update

Thank you to all of you who prayed. I have good news. My cousin and baby are doing well. Little Alex Michael was born at 2.2 pounds at almost 28 weeks and is doing great. He is breathing on his own without a ventilator and even crying. Your continued prayers would be appreciated as he is still very premature and will continue to spend time in the NICU.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Need Prayer

I need to ask you all to pray for my cousin. Her name is Stacia and she lives in NY. This morning she had an emergency c-section to deliver her son at 27 weeks. Mom and baby are both in the hospital. They need our prayers. Many of us know what they are up against first hand. Please ask God to cover them and I will keep you updated as I learn more news.

More to come...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Announcing Teamotions-Aubrey and Ellie's Legacy

Those of you who have followed my journey here for the last two years know my story. But for those of you discovering it for the first time, let me welcome you and introduce you to my identical twin daughters Aubrey Elizabeth and Ellie Alexandra.

They were born on June 24th, 2008 at 24 weeks and 4 days gestation, three and a half months premature. We did all we could for them, but after seven days with Ellie and thirteen days with Aubrey, I had to do what no mother ever wants to do and let my little girls go.

I honestly didn't know how life would ever be ok again. I didn't know how I would ever be ok again. I was truly devastated.

In the days, weeks, and months after Aubrey and Ellie's deaths I drank a lot of tea. Green Jasmine was by far my favorite. To this day I can't smell the scent of jasmine and not think of all the hours I sat, tears streaming down my face, holding a cup of tea in my hand doing what I could to get through the saddest time of my life one minute at a time. Those cups of tea were often the only soothing moments of my day.

Little did I know that those cups of tea would soon inspire my daughters' legacy.

Grieving is a long and complex process. I honestly had no idea what I was in for. But I was determined to make it to the other side some how. I wanted my girls' lives to mean more to me than pain and sadness. I wanted to heal for them. I quickly realized that I needed a plan. Healing would not just happen by accident or when enough time had passed, it was something I would have to choose daily and fight for.

I started running, I attended a griefshare support group, I sought professional grief counseling, I made sure to eat healthily and get enough rest, I leaned heavily on my faith, and I started my blog Waiting for Morning. I had good days and bad days. I took steps forward and I took steps back. And I drank many cups of tea.

And when I got tired I poured myself a cup of tea to recharge with. When I felt overwhelmed I poured another cup of tea. When I needed time out to just sit and remember my girls with tears and smiles I poured yet another cup of tea. I started my day with a cup of tea and soothed myself to sleep with one.

Tea was becoming an integral part of my healing journey. Tea was truly helping me make it through.

Then one day my sister Crystal made a comment to me that she wishes there was something she could put in my tea to make me feel better. Knowing that nothing like that existed I decided then and there to create it. And in an instant TEAMOTIONS was born.

My sister and I joined forces to create a line of teas specifically for emotional wellbeing. Each tea contains a unique blend of herbs and botanicals that foster and support emotional health and healing.

After a year of really hard work we are proud to announce the launch of our (temporary) website www.teamotionstea.com. Official website coming soon!


I don't understand why my girls had to die. But I do know that the God whom I trust in will bring good out of such tragedy. And our tea just might be part of that good. I sure hope so.

Honestly, I just want to help. We created TEAMOTIONS teas with you in mind, so that whatever you are going through you don't have to feel alone in it. We are here to support you as you strive for emotional health and healing.

I would love to hear what you think.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

One of Those Days

Do you ever have one of those days where you wish you could throw every breakable thing you own against the wall as hard as you can?

Or take a baseball bat to every mirror and window in your house?

Or just punch something until you can't lift your arm anymore?

I do. I am.

I am having one of those days today.

And it isn't because I am angry. Well, it is a little bit because I am angry. But I am angry because I feel powerless.

Powerlessness is an overwhelming reality that will take you straight by the throat and squeeze the life right out of you.

I woke up at 4am this morning and looked around my dark bedroom with that horrible how did I get this life? feeling. I have had this conversation with myself MANY times before. I tell myself to calm down, to accept my life, and to remember the good that is in it and not dwell on only the bad. But some days I feel so overwhelmed by how difficult and sad my life is I feel like I literally talk myself back from the edge...

Some mornings I just want to jump.

Jump into a different life, the one way easier than the one I currently live, the one with Aubrey and Ellie in it, alive and well.

Jump into a different relationship because, after all, a better husband would solve all my problems right?

Jump in the car and drive I don't even know where, just somewhere else, and maybe never come back.

Jump into blame and resentment, into despair, into self pity, for the hand I have been dealt.

Jump into powerlessness, refusing to even try anymore to push through, because, well, it is just too hard. Too hard to persevere, too hard to hurt all the time, and too hard to keep reminding myself day after day that it isn't really that bad because some days it IS really that bad. And honestly, I am flat out exhausted.

This blog post is my attempt to force some perspective on myself since I am having one of those days. I am talking myself back from the edge yet again, this time publicly and tangibly.

Life can be so hard. You all know what I am talking about. We all have our different hardships. And mine are not limited just to losing my girls. I am battling here and have been for a very long time, refusing to give up, refusing to give in, refusing to accept defeat...and I get tired. Really tired. It sometimes feels like it would be so much easier to just throw my hands up and scream how unfair it all is and just wallow in the relentless difficulties of my life.

BUT...

I don't think that would really help anything. And it wouldn't be easier. I would simply be trading one misery for another. I would be giving up.

Remember how I talked before about how pain tells lies?

Well, here is the truth despite the pain: There is no life, no situation, no circumstance, no pain, no tragedy, no marriage, no decision, NO ANYTHING outside of God's restoration power. Life can and will push us to the edge, but it is the gentle wooing of the Holy Spirit that entices us back again. On our own we are powerless and will be crushed under the weight of it all. But with Christ, all things are possible. He will carry us.

I guess complete exhaustion, the kind that literally goes to the soul, is sometimes what it takes to get us to be still and quiet long enough to realize that all this striving and battling and wrestling is not always what is best for us. Sometimes our greatest victory is in the surrender.

Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air... 1 Cor 9:26 NIV

It is ok to rest. Just lay down. Stop beating the air. Find shelter from the difficulties of your life in Him. He wants you to.

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat... Isaiah 25:4 NIV
 
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