Change has been the name of the game the last few months. We thought we would have 2, but we only have 1 (here, on Earth, ya know). We thought the next chapter of our life would be adjusting to the reality of more sleepless nights with a little one and instead we deal with sleepless nights as we grieve, question and wonder what the next steps in our life will look like. With all the change comes a lot of questions. I hate a lot of the questions. Maybe even all of them. I don't hate that I ask questions of myself or that others ask me, but I hate that I don't know the answer. And maybe I do know the answer to some of them but I don't know HOW to answer. This is not to say that I don't want you to ask me these questions, but just know that these questions are hard. They suck (sorry, there is no pretty, nice, P.C., ladylike way around this one). And I may struggle to answer. Here is a taste of the chaos that I experience with all the questions:
-"When do we want to have another baby?"... I already have another baby, but she isn't here with me. I want her back. I want another baby right now because sometimes my arms just crave so deeply the warmth and closeness of a sweet baby. My arms are so empty without Hartley. I don't know when we should have another baby because I don't want to replace Hartley. No baby could replace Hartley. Do I need to have some sort of emotional milestone before I have another baby to know that I'll be ok? Will I ever be ok?
-"How many kids do you have?"... I have 3, but God kept 2 of them. I have one baby. I don't know you well enough to dump all of my emotional burdens on you, so I'll just say 1 to make things easy. I don't want to answer, I don't want to talk about it so I'll just say 1. I'll just ignore that question because I don't want to answer the easy way and just say 1 baby. Do you have any idea what kind of question that is? I feel so stupid for asking other people that question not knowing the heartache they may have experienced like me. I hate this question. And yet, maybe I should be real and answer 3, knowing that God may have ordained this conversation...
-"How are you doing?"... I'm doing ok. I've been better. How do you think I'm doing? I buried my daughter, I have lost almost all traces of pregnancy. Sometimes I forget that I was pregnant because I don't look like it anymore, never mind the fact that I don't look like I did when I was 21. I wish I could pretend like this didn't happen so you don't have to ask me how I am doing. I feel like you are asking me how I am doing because you want to know that I am doing well because you don't want me to hurt. I'm ok with hurting. I'm ok with being sad. That's kind of a new normal for me. I wish you were ok with me being sad because that is my reality right now. And if I'm doing ok at the moment, don't judge me for having "moved on" because I haven't, I won't and I can't. I don't live in a place of sadness, it's just somewhere I "visit" often, kind of like the grocery store or the mall or the gym or the bathroom (just kind of depends on the day).
My mind is just all over the place as you can see. But ya know what, I am forced to welcome the chaos. And as I sift through all the chaos, I am slowly beginning to make sense of it all. I don't want to be foolish enough to believe that it will all be wrapped up nice in a box with a perfect little bow any time soon, but it's only just the beginning.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heaves are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:8-11
Friday, April 20, 2012
How perspective can change with our own personal experiences. In the last 3 months our family has been as close to the depths of hell in our own minds, and yet closer to God than we could have ever imagined.
On January 22, 2012, our daughter Hartley Joy Morris, just wasn't moving. I was 24 weeks pregnant and relieved to have made it to "viability" that day and yet I felt as though the sting of death was near. My active little girl wasn't moving; her kicks had always put her big brother's kicks (when he was in utero) to shame! No orange juice (yep) or coffee (yep again) or pushing and prodding her in my belly caused her to stir. The prayers of fear and grief couldn't save her, and I tried that too. Only God could save her. On the 23rd, a trip to the labor and delivery triage and a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist confirmed our worst fears. And on the 24th, we celebrated Hartley Joy's birthday, mourned her death, loved her so well, and then gave her back. But not without hope. We gave her back, knowing that she is always ours and forever HIS. Forever HIS. And because she is forever HIS and so are we, we have HOPE beyond hell and the grave that we will see her again. Perfect. Whole. And we KNOW that God did save her. He saved her from the sadness and trials of this world. He saved her from hurt. But most importantly He saved her INTO HIS ARMS FOREVER.
So where do we go from here? I have asked myself that, struggled over that, through that and with that thought. Because here's the deal. I'm not. the. same. How could I be? How could you carry a baby, love that baby as your own, begin to dream about life with her and then lose her. Then have to do the unspeakable. Yes, bury her. But before that, go to the funeral home, help fill out her death certificate while the funeral director (bless his heart, really) tries to lighten the mood. Look at caskets that are so tiny that nobody should ever have to look at, let alone BUY and USE. Decide that nobody else really should have to experience that, and in so, choose not to show her casket at the funeral. Decide which pictures to share with the world of our girl that we think is the most beautiful little girl but other people may be bothered by. Then go pick out the best flowers for your baby girl, knowing that these flowers have to fill the void of all those Valentine's flowers daddy won't buy her, the just because weeds, ahem flowers, she will never pick for us, the flowers she will never get for a dance at school, the flower's she will never have at the wedding she will never have. But can I say she had the most beautiful flowers at her funeral!
So, here I am. Trying to navigate new waters. Finding myself at many crossroads. I know I, and we as a family, need to move forward. But we will never "move on". Moving on, to me, means forgetting. I can never forget. This journey defines so much of who I am becoming and who I will be. I fear that when people who knew me before all this talk to me now they don't recognize who I am now and don't know what to do. You see, I fear this for others because I am dealing with that fear myself. I don't recognize a lot of who I am now and I don't know what to do. Part of me wants SO BAD to be who I was before Hartley because there is a lot less fear and unknown and sadness and grief in naivety. And yet I KNOW I need to be where I am now and not for a minute do I desire to take back every moment I had with my sweet Hartley Joy. So though I may cross that fork in the road often right now wondering which way to go, I know without hesitation the path I must take.
One step at a time, often in the dark, I am trusting God to provide for just that next step. That's where I am right now. And I'm at peace with knowing that I have already and may again walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23) in this journey. I can't speak for yesterday, a month ago, three months ago, this afternoon, tonight, tomorrow, next month... I'm not sure. But right now, I'm at peace.
"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink' or 'What shall we wear?' But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble." -Matthew 6:30-31, 33-34