OK...have to preface twice today...
First, I know some of you who follow my blog aren't believers in Christ and so I'm warning you that this post is about Heaven and children. I understand if you don't want to continue, but I must say, that although in my faith, I have always believed that I would see my girls again, this passage made my heart leap for joy.
Second, this is a story I can't authenticate. It's from "Heaven is For Real" and is about a nearly 4 year old that was all but dead after a ruptured appendix that wasn't found for 5 days. Months later and then over a course months, he continued to tell his parents snippets of his time in Heaven. I am a skeptic. A huge one. I like proof of everything. I have a hard time believing stories. But while reading this story, I believe it. I can't tell you why, I just do.
Colton was the little boy who 'visited' Heaven. His parents, Todd and Sonja, have 2 living children. In between their daughter and son, they miscarried. Here's a passage from the book.
...I heard Conton's footsteps padding up the hallway and caught a glimpse of him circling the couch, where he planted himself directly in front of Sonja. "Mommy, I have two sisters," Colton said. .... Sonja looked up from her paperwork and shook her head slightly. "No, you have your sister Cassie, and...do you mean your cousin, Traci?" "No." Colton clipped off the word adamantly. "I have two sisters. You had a baby die in your tummy, didn't you?I don't know why reading this made my day. This is a story from one family's brush with death and the after-life. It could be true, it could be all made up. I don't know. But thinking that Jorai and Selah may have been adopted by God and can't wait for Steve and I to get to Heaven, warms my heart. And I just needed to share.
At that moment, time stopped in the Burpo household, and Sonja's eye's grew wide. ... "Who told you I had a baby die in my tummy?" Sonja said. "She did, Mommy. She said she died in your tummy."
... I knew what my wife had to be feeling. Losing that baby was the most painful event in her life. We had explained it to Cassie; she was older. But we hadn't told Colton, judging the topic a bit beyond a four-year-old's capacity to understand. ...
"It's OK Mommy." he said. "She's OK. God adopted her". Sonja slid off the couch and knelt down infront of Colton so that she could look him in the eyes. "Don't you mean Jesus adopted her?" she said. "No Mommy, His Dad did!"
"Sonja focused on Colton and I could hear the effort it took to steady her voice. "So what did she look like?" "She looked a lot like Cassie." Colton said. "She is just a little bit smaller and she has dark hair".
...Now Colton went on without prompting. "In Heaven, this little girl ran up to me, and she wouldn't stop hugging me," he said in a tone that clearly indicated he didn't enjoy all this hugging from a girl. "Maybe she was just happy that someone from her family was there." Sonja offered. "Girls hug. When we're happy, we hug." Colton didn't seem convinced.
Sonja's eyes lit up and asked "What was her name? What was the little girls name?" "She doesn't have a name. You guys didn't name her." How did he know that? "You're right Colton, we didn't even know she was a she." Sonja said.
Then Colton said something that still rings in my ears: "Yeah, she said she just couldn't wait for you and Daddy to get to Heaven."
31 July 2011
OK...have to preface twice today...
26 July 2011
Let me preface!!! Whatever helps mend your heart or remember your child, I think you should go with! This is solely my opinion and my opinion alone. Please don't take offense!
When you have a living child after a loss, there are a ton of people who call this your rainbow baby. I've always hated the term. It made no sense to me. In my mind and heart, my living child is no more a rainbow, as the child I lost is a cherub or butterfly for that matter. And though a ton of folks in the babyloss community like to call the child they lost an angel, for me, it's just plain silly. Angels are warriors of God, not sweet, precious children who die all too soon.
Well, over 4 years after losing Jorai, I finally came across a poem of what an "Angel Baby" is, and though I still kind of hate the term, I absolutely LOVE the meaning.
"Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope."The beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm" A living child does not replace the child you lost. The happiness and joy you may feel in the presence of your living child, does not diminish the sorrow and longing for the child you've lost.
"Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.". OK, so I'm not sure about the color or energy part...but hope. I'm all about hope. Darkness still surrounds me at times. Sorrow still envelops, but now there's more hope, more love, more joy more...in a way...future.
Anyway, just thought I'd share. I thought the poem was beautiful.
16 July 2011
Being a mom whom has endured loss is as much of a blessing at times, as it is a horrible every day reminder of darkness. Obviously, the bleakness of loss is a no brainer. Loss sucks. Plain ad simple. When it happens, it leaves this gaping hole within your soul that you feel will forever be there, aching and searing with pain. And in a way it is. It's always there. The difference is that instead of searing constantly, times of reprieve come and then more come until you're left with a hole...still always a hole...but instead of only feeling the pain, the bleakness...you start to feel love again, laughter again. You start to see light and hope. You loath death, but hold onto hope for life. You see, I miss my daughters every day. There's not one day that passes that I don't think of them. Not one. And though I miss them and long for them to be here, with their brothers, I am (as much as I can be) OK that they're waiting for me in Heaven. Of course some days are easier than others, but for the most part, my heart doesn't sear. My belly doesn't ache. My heart just isn't whole and with that, I'm missing them.
But then a day like today comes. Where I hear of a friends sister who has just delivered a baby, silently. That hole, sears again. More so with anger than from loss. Of course my heart aches for another family's loss. I know their pain too well. I know the devastation, the want to tear out my failing belly. It's a horrid feeling. But more so, just angered. And I no longer know who to even be angry at. I'm just angry. It's senseless. It's undeserving. It's a random draw of the cards. It just happens. It's a fluke. But how can death be a fluke. When it devastates so many, how can it be a fluke? And why does it persist? I'll never have the answers to these questions, nor will my anger even help anyone. But still. I'm angry and my heart sears for families going through this pain.
So what about the blessing? The blessing is two fold for me. First, I get to honor my daughters everyday with my loss site and I get to keep their memory alive as I, hopefully, help others grieve in whatever way they need to grieve. But also, I get to be the person that can help in a situation where so many have no idea what to do, where to go. For some reason, my daughters were taken from me and I'd like to think that maybe, just maybe, their life had purpose. And maybe their purpose was to prepare me, devastate me, break me and mold me back into what I could then be used for. To help. To help those going through a devastating loss.
I was reminded of that today, as my pain and my anger returned for another woman who has held her baby for the last time. Who was kissed her head and touched her skin. Who has smelled her hair and held her hand. All for the last time. I ache for your loss. My heart sears for your own pain. My body trembles with anger that another woman has to endure this loss. You are supported. You are loved. And you are being prayed for. Fervently.
15 July 2011
I've been spending countless hours over the past few days going through all of my blog posts to copy and paste the ones about our losses, remembrances and healings from losing our daughters. It's been a daunting task and my eyes are going buggy...and I still have nearly a full year to go! Oye. But it's been cool. Cool and heart breaking. It's hard going back. Reading where I was while in the depths. But cool to read some of the posts again...or really, reading them for the first time. So many times, I would write something to get it out, but never go back to actually read it. So it's been, in a way, healing going back. Back in June of 2008, right after Asher was born, I wrote the below post. This is something I still struggle with, or at least think about often. So here I am, re-posting a blog. But it just really struck me tonight, and I felt the need to share.
25 June 2008
have you ever thought about the scripture in jeremiah that says "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world." God spoke those words to jeremiah, but do they reflect on all of us? did He really know all of us before we were born? does He really have plans for us all? if so, why does He take babies away before they're born. if He knows them, why create them in the womb only to take them away before they're born?
i know these are questions i'll never hear the answer to until i get to ask the Man Himself...i'm just curious. did he know Jorai? did he know Jayden and Charlie? did he have plans for them? steve likes to think that maybe He takes the babies that He wants to stay pure, untouched by this fallen world. that explanation makes me feel warm and fuzzy. to think that Jorai will never be tainted by this world...but then does that mean that He cares more for Jorai than He does for Asher? i know He doesn't...i'm just thinking out loud...why take one child after creating them perfectly, only to give another? is it just that Jorai and asher have different roles in His ultimate plan? do they simply have different marks to make on this world?
i can't wait to find out just what this scripture means...how did He know me? was i a spirit before He created me in my mother's womb? or did He just have the thought of me...what His plans are for me...
anyway, just wondering if you had any thoughts.
I've been reading The Undertaking by Thomas Lynch. It's a collection of essays about Lynch's life as a funeral director in Milford Michigan. It's a bit hard to get through. He's a self proclaimed poet and is incredibly wordy and in my opinion, tries to fluff himself with larger than life words and descriptions...but if you can push through the fluff, the meat of what he's saying is beautiful.
I just finished reading his chapter on children's death and was struck by how he so correctly describes the devastation of loss when he himself has never personally been there. Here's an excerpt:
..."The fathers, used to protecting and paying, felt helpless. The mothers seemed to carry a pain in their innards that made them appear breakable. The overwhelming message on their faces was that nothing mattered anymore, nothing."
.... "When we bury the old, we bury the known past, the past we imagine sometimes better than what it was, but the past all the same, portion of which we inhabited. Memory is the overwhelming theme, the eventual comfort.
When we bury infants, we bury the future, unwieldy and unknown, full of promise and possibilities, outcomes punctuated by our rosy hopes. The grief has no borders, no limits, no know ends, and the little infant graves that edge the corners and fencerows of every cemetery are never quite big enough to contain that grief. Some sadnesses are permanent. Dead babies do not give us memories. They give us dreams."
Some of my favorite things that Asher says tight now:
- "My baby brother likes me!".
- "All myself Mama, All my self!". When he does something all by himself.
- "YAY!!!" Clap, clap, clap!
- "Mama! Owl says it's OK to wake up!". Proudly showing me his new wake up owl, glowing green.
- "Fire fire" Fire fighter.
- "Cuddle me Mama".
- "Tickle me Mama. I like being tickled!".
- "Lemnaid" Lemonade
- "I no feel happy." "I feel happy now!"
- "Bye, bye buddies.".
- "up, up, up!" For anything high or going up in the air.
- "potty out of my nemis?".... When ever we ask him to go potty, since he doesn't like to go BM on the potty, he just has to make sure is the other potty we're asking for...potty out of his penis.
- Poxil (popsicle)
- "mmmm! Me like that Mama. Me like it".
- And lately when he wants me to sing to him, though he still loves his G. Popper song (Johnny popper (John Deere)) he's been wanting me to sing to him about "lemnaid". Too funny. So I have to come up with a song about how yummy it is and how to make it by plucking the lemons off the tree, adding sugar and water and stir, stir, stir...and oh how yummy it is and how it tickles my tongue.
Life as we know it, for Jorai and for Selah, has ended. There's this stillness to the air when we say their names. As if their existence is encased in a bubble. They will forever be here on earth, still. Their life stands still, as babies. All too small. Tiny fingers, tiny toes. Chests without rise and fall. Skin too delicate for the outside. Cold. Pictures hang to prove that they existed. That they were apart of our family. That their brothers have sisters...that they have brothers.
I've been thinking lately about how blessed we are. To have two amazing sons. To watch them grow and to feel their touch and smell their skin. To be able to teach them and learn from them. To watch them grow and to see them make a difference in this world.
I've been thinking about how wonderful it was to see Asher change from this helpless little baby to a strapping 3 year old who is already trying to make us laugh and is showing more and more personality every day. I've been thinking about what a joy it is to simply be around Greyson. How joyful he is. How laid back. How I feel him radiating love for me and Steve but mostly for his brother. Watching him light up in the presence of Asher is astounding. It's beautiful.
I am blessed. Though I also feel ripped off. Losing both Jorai and Selah brought us both Asher and Greyson. Without losing them, neither Asher or Greyson would be with us today. And I can't imagine my life without them. They make our family complete. In saying that, it's so hard to know that on this earth, I will never know my daughters. I will never see their personalities or hear their laughs or cries. Touch their skin or smell their hair.
It's such a hard realization to grasp. Knowing I had two children whom I never truly met. Knowing I have two children who though are waiting for us in Heaven, we'll never meet or laugh with or cry with until our days are through here on earth. Their pictures hang on our walls. The same pictures. Asher's and Greyson's change, as they change. Yet Jorai and Selah's will forever on earth, be the same.
Some days that gets to me. Some days I long once again to hold them. Just for a brief time. Just one more time. Kiss their skin. Feel it's softness. Smell their hair. Marvel at them. Just one more time.
Tonight as Asher was excitingly telling me all about seeing the digger and g. popper (tractor) at Riv and watching Greyson watch his older brother with such a sense of awe and wonder, I couldn't help but think of Jorai and of Selah. I couldn't help but think what they may be like. What their personalities would have been. What their laughter would sound like and if Selah would look at Jorai as Greyson does to Asher.
I'll never know. Not here on earth. And I'm OK with that. Our life, our losses, have brought Asher and Greyson into this world. God gave us our sons. For whatever reason, our daughters needed to leave and our sons were able to stay. And our sons are amazing and bring me a joy I will never be able to describe. But there will forever be a wonderment I feel for my daughters. A what if. And no matter how much my heart over flows with love for my sons, it will forever ache for my daughters.
Greyson is only 5 months and I already have baby ache. I've been pregnant or nursing for the past 4 1/2 straight years. My body needs a break and I now we're done. We have to be with our track record. I just can't go through another loss. I can't go through another pregnancy. But knowing all of this, makes watching Greyson grow up, so bittersweet.
Knowing I will never feel the rush of peeing on a silly stick and seeing 2 lines appear (well, probably not!). Knowing I will never feel another child growing within me. Knowing I'll never get to go through another birth, which in my opinion is the coolest thing ever. I'll never hold another one of my children in their infancy. I'll never be able to watch them grow as only a mother can. The smells, the bond that only a mother and infant have, the every thing. I'll never have that. I know I should let it go as I've been so blessed to have 2 living children when so many of my friends are struggling to conceive or continue to lose their children...but I just can't brush it off. The finality is truly bumming me out.
I look forward to Greyson getting bigger and being able to really play with Asher. Being able to see that and be apart of it, is so exciting. I see Asher's friends, who are brothers, playing together and it's so cool to watch. I see the neighbor brothers playing together and it just brings me such joy, knowing that Greyson and Asher will have that some day...but to be honest, as crazy as it sounds...I want another child.
It's not going to happen. We're done. Surgery is in the cards. No more kids. No more risks. No more still babies. None. It can't be. But even though I know all of this, the ache still pangs. There's still knocking at the door.
Once the boys are bigger, I keep thinking that fostering babies may be cool. But I don't know. I'm not sure I could do it. I'm not sure I could bond and then release them. And I'm not sure, after my losses, I could be O.K. giving them back if the situation wasn't the best for them. Oh boy, I don't know. I don't know where this post is going. I just needed a place to mentally vomit.
I want another baby...someday! Not now!!! I want to be pregnant and feel all the joy. I want to birth a daughter who is screaming. But I know all of this will never happen. Can never happen. I need to put it all to rest. I need to embrace that my childbearing days are over. Maybe I need to get my doula certification soon so I can at least be a part of other peoples pregnancies and deliveries!
Put it to rest Kim, put it to rest!