Monday, April 5, 2010
The first place I think I ever found on the internet was The MISS Foundation. This place was incredible to me. I. Wasn't. Alone. And all those months I thought I was. I signed up to the MISS Foundation so that I could take part in their private forums. What a blessing they were to me. I have made some very close friends there.
Another site that I think is so fantastic is Lost and Found. If you are looking for others who are walking in your shoes whether its pregnancy after loss, infertility or just life after loss you can find these people in the Lost and Found blogroll. What an incredible place.
Sally and Sophie:
Glow in the Woods
Sunday, February 28, 2010
If you have a partner how has this grieving process been for you both. Do you differ much in how you live with grief? Has it torn you apart or brought you closer together? Have you learned anything about your partner that you did not know beforehand? Share what you feel comfortable with. Link your post from your blog in the Mr Linky below.
My husband and I grieved pretty much the same in the first few months. We just cried. We cried in front of each other and we cried alone too. We spoke openly about how awful we were feeling.
As months went on I believe we started to grieve differently. Sam didn't speak about Christian as often. I wanted him too. I felt as though Sam was moving forward and leaving me behind.
Its been 3 years for us and I can say that we definitely grieve differently. If we are asked how many children we have Sam mostly says "3 children" I mostly say "4 children"
Sam is courteous. He thinks of others. He doesn't want to make people feel sad or awkward by mentioning that we have a dead son. I too don't want to make people feel awkward but for me I gave birth to my son. I held his little body in my arms. I love him. How could I not include him when somebody asks me how many children I have. As much as I wish Sam could say 4 instead of 3, I understand him and his reasons. That is okay. Sometimes I wish he would be more open about his grief. More verbal, more understanding to my feelings. I want to be able to help him with his feelings. We are two very different people who lost the same person. That doesn't mean we will grieve the same. When I think about it that really is okay. We are walking on the same road, just looking at different things along the way.
I blog..... he goes to boxing.
One thing I know for certain is, and I want to say from the outset, I am very lucky to have the husband I have. He has been kind, patient, understanding and incredibly supportive from the moment we found out Hope had slipped away from us inside my overdue, labouring body. Having read the blogs of countless other mothers, I am reminded of this daily as I often shake my head in disappointment when I hear how unsupportive other husbands/partners have been, whether intentional or not. I know the statistics are frightening and so many marriages collapse in the wake of babyloss, but for us, I know our loss has strengthened the incredible bond we already had and made us realise we can survive absolutely anything together.
From the moment that our daughter drew her last breath, the process of grieving was different for my husband and I. I theorized, at first, that the reason it was harder on me was because I had been the one to carry her for nine months, and to hold her those last minutes and feel the life leave her little self as her spirit flew out the window and into the sun. It took a long time for me to realize that it wasn't harder on me, just different.
Initially we both sort of walked around in a daze, together, but not really speaking. I think most people who have lost a child know what I mean. We said nothing, because there was nothing to say. I was shattered. He was shattered. Period.
The day of the funeral I was inconsolable, collapsing into fits of tears through the entire mass. I could feel myself dying. My husband, stoic, stood at my side supporting me. It has sort of been like that ever since.
I never went back to work after losing Peyton. The idea of returning to my former self felt too impossible. I wanted to talk about our loss all the time. I wanted to think about and wallow in my grief. To spend days and weeks and months and now years, penning essays and poems about all that happened. I swirled into the darkest depths of grief, spending hours just sitting and crying by her grave. I allowed myself to become "that lady." The odd one. The one who preferred to spend sunny days alone in a cemetery, rather than around people. My husband did not.
Within a week of Peyton's passing, my husband was back at work, and from what he has told me, his dead child was never really discussed there again. The majority of his coworkers were at Peyton's funeral, showing their support by packing the church pews to full capacity. That being said, my husband is a private person. A very loved person, but very private. I think silence about our daughter's death came from people wanting to respect his privacy. Work was his escape, and they allowed him that.
A few weeks after Peyton's death, I wrote Thank You cards to everyone who attended, and gave my husband a pile to deliver to the inboxes at his work. A few months later I found them, wrapped in a plastic bag and tucked in the side pocket of his briefcase. That is where they sit to this day. He couldn't bring himself to do it.
Three or so months after Peyton died, we went to see her grave and my husband broke down. It was one of the first times since her funeral that I had seen him weep, and though I felt the urge to cry, I didn't. It was my time to be stoic. My time to show him support. I told him I was sorry for bringing him there. For upsetting him, and his response will stay with me forever. He said, "sometimes it's good for me to put aside some time to cry." That comment illustrated how differently this grief worked in us. I had to put aside time to remember to feel joy. He had to put aside time to remember to allow himself his grief.
I read a statistic early on that said over 90% of couples who lose their first child divorce. This statistic scared the hell out of me. We had already lost so much, to lose our marriage too would be devastating. I told my husband what I had read, and we made a vow to each other that we would come out on the other side of this thing together. We realized that to do this would mean each respecting the other's right to grieve in their own way. It is out of that respect that I didn't make an issue out of those cards going undelivered, and he doesn't out of my inability to return to work.
Anyone who knows me, or reads my blog, knows that I wear my heart on my sleeve. If I am feeling sad, everyone knows. If I am feeling joy, everyone knows. My husband is more even keeled, keeping his emotions internal. I used to worry what keeping things in would do to him, and try to encourage him to go to therapy, but then I realized I needed to stop. I had to respect that internalizing was his way of grieving.
This loss has taught me so much about my husband, not the least of which is how right I feel about our marriage. I married a man who respects me, even when he doesn't understand me. I also learned how different our emotions are. My husband has undoubtedly learned alot about me too through this process, and even when we wish the other would grieve "our way", we respect that I could no more easily throw myself into working like he has, than he could into writing like I have.
While we both love and loved our daughter, both feel cheated by what happened and wish for things that cannot be, and both grieve her, we are different, and for us, surviving this loss as a couple has meant grieving differently, but always together.
For my husband and I, our grieving processes were very different. Our first experience of it was shortly after our daughter's death, she was literally turning cold in my arms, and my husband felt very uncomfortable with this, as though we were doing something wrong and he wanted to alert the staff that our Jordan had passed away so that they would take her away and do whatever it was that they needed to do. (We were in palliative care and the nurses knew she was dying. They were giving us time and space.) I felt badly for his discomfort but I wasn't ready to let her go at the time. Where we were was special and they had a bedroom kept cold to keep her in rather than a morgue. We were allowed to spend as much time with our little girl after her death as we wanted. Although hard (and not hard) I held my little girl as much as I could over the next few days, not wanting to regret that lost opportunity. At first he would sit there stoicly keeping me company, but not looking at her, but in the end even he could not resist our daughter's beauty in death and we spent many moments holding her and marveling at how peaceful she looked without the pain and strain that her condition had caused her during life.
I admit we had some problems at first. I was wading through the pain trying to find a way to deal with it and Aaron settled into a routine that he was comfortable with. One day he came home and I had brought some things of Jordan's out into our living room. Baby girly stuff, stuff that obviously belonged in the nursery. I wanted him to hang a mobile of hers out in the living room so that I could see it on a daily basis without having to go into her room (it was too sad). He refused, I insisted. We argued and I told him that I understood that this hurt him to be reminded of her, but it hurt me to not be. We compromised, or rather he understood how much I needed to do this at that time. His discomfort was based more on what others would think about what I did, and I argued that I couldn't care less about others, this was about me. About us.
After this we were more conscious of the things we needed to do to get through. We ignored what other people thought we ought to be doing and we did our own thing. Aaron sought solace in his video games which left me free to spend many hours blogging. We did this companionably, in the same room, stopping now and then to discuss what I was working through. Often I would cry as I blogged and Aaron would simply hand me a box of tissues and leave me alone, knowing that this was just a part of my processing. Blogging allowed me to vent and I found it very cathartic.
Over time, the need to vent and cry lessened. When I became pregnant less than a year out from Jordan's death a new wave of grief hit us. Fortunately for us my sister had moved back in with us by this time and Aaron and I started walking late at night (we needed someone to stay with my son). We'd talk about Jordan and our grief and where we were. There were many, many tears on those walks but they felt oh so good. We both got a lot out of it, we were so connected, so in tune again. I think by the time Jasper came we had processed so much... the pregnancy itself forced many issues and pains to the surface. We were forced to deal with them. And I say we simply because I think my insistance on talking about Jordan, and Aaron's obliging of that, forced him to process as well. Though he'd be processing the things that I'd been processing weeks earlier which goes to show that we were still doing it at different stages but that it was still compatible.
It's been this second year of living without Jordan that Aaron's pain shows up more clearly. The different stages of grief we worked through have become more obvious. Sometimes it seems as though he is holding onto it more than I, as though my active processing has pushed me to a different place. He struggled more with her angel day, struggles more with other people's pregnancies and babies and other peoples ignorance.
So to answer the question as to whether we are closer or not, yes, Aaron and I are closer, but you know what, we can absolutely understand how this could easily have torn us apart as well. We were very determined that Jordan's death would not be the death of us, but at the same time we knew that it takes more than determination to make it work. I guess we learned not to take each other for granted. Nothing is set in concrete.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
If you have not already seen Carly's latest project please go and have a look! Send a babylost mother a flower while you are there!
We plan to make this a much more interactive page this year. Not all of us will write each month, we will be taking turns. We plan to have a featured guest write each month too which will be lovely. Please if you had the old Secret Garden Meeting button on your blog we wanted to let you know that we now have a new button for the Sunset Meeting. You can find it on the right hand side bar.
After writing on your blog for this months meeting make sure you visit a few of the other bloggers that link in here to share your love and support.
Our love and peace to all,
Carly, Sophie, Sally, Sky and Kristin.
For the first meeting of the month we thought we would speak about the holiday season and how you coped. What was it like for you? Did you do anything special in your childs memory? Tell us about it on your blog and then pop back over here and link your post in the Mr Linky below.
I went into last holiday season with grief hanging over my head, we had just lost Charlie, two days later I had friends and family trying to celebrate my birthday when I was in no mood at all and Christmas day passed by in the blink of an eye with no holiday cheer to be had.
This year I wanted it to be different. I wanted our son to have a good time, I wanted to smile and laugh and I wanted to honour Charlie.
We knew that first we would have to get through charlie's first birthday in heaven. We marked the ocassion with a trip to the beach and we let pink ballons go up into the sky, I thought it would be a day full of tears but it wasn't. It was a day of celebrating and honouring our precious little girl.
The one year mark since losing Charlie was very significant to me, as the day was ending and I was sitting on the beach watching my husband and son play a voice popped into my head and told me "don't me sad anymore it's time to start living". So that's exactly what Ii did.
We went out and brought a new Christmas tree just for Charlie and decorated it with pink and silver. Baubles, stars, tinsel and butterflies. We hung decorations around Charlie's special place in our home and we even put up the Christmas lights.
Christmas day came and was full of fun and laughter. We remembered Charlie and I cried a few silent tears. I couldn't help but wonder what it would have been like with Charlie here, celebrating her very first christmas.
This Christmas we have learnt to smile, to laugh, to appreciate and to live again.
I had hope that this year the holidays would be different. Different in the sense that maybe they would be better than last year.
It was different though not in the way I thought it would be. There was a distinct build-up, though not of the sadness that surrounded me last year... instead the build up was the anticipation of her birthday on Christmas day. Everything had to be just right. I needed her to be honoured and yet I needed my boys to have their Christmas too. There was much juggling.
The moment the tree went up for me it was all about Jordan. I lit her candles at night and we turned the lights on on the tree. It was beautiful. And then Christmas day came and we spent it with family during the day and good friends in the evening. The only point that tears came was as we released the balloons my mother in law had purchased just after lunch with all of Jordan's cousins. I clutched Jasper to me and was overwhelmed with her loss and his presence in my life. Such confliction. Loss and gift.
Strangely Christmas was a non event for us after Jordan's birthday. The lights on the tree stopped getting put on. The lights in the garden and on the house stopped being put on. It was as though for my husband and I, the holiday, the special day was done with the passing of her birthday. I felt bad for my eldest son but he didn't seem to really notice and if indeed he had, we'd have done something about it.
So I guess in a way we survived the birthday itself very well. We did what we felt we needed to do. Surrounded ourselves with trusted friends and family who joined us in honouring her but also in just honouring life and family and friendship in general. These were people we could have cried with had we felt the need, but instead we were able to laugh and enjoy each others company. I guess I consider that successful. We survived Christmas and indeed, two years on it was easier... (and you know what, easier isn't really the right word and neither is better, but I hope you understand what I mean.)
We love and miss Jordan so much. We love our precious Jasper too. It makes it very difficult to wish Jordan with us when to do so takes our Jasper away. Oh the absurdity of loss, the ridiculous complexity of emotion... We want them all. Here. Now. And that is just something that will never be while we are living. And that is what we are doing now, two years on. We are living again.
Perhaps next year the holidays will last beyond Jordan's birthday. I guess that is next year's challenge.
Friday, January 29, 2010
We are coming into this new year bright and fresh ready for a new year of conversations. Our plan is to have this website updated much more often. We have a slight dilemma though. I have found many people who are searching for The Secret Garden on the internet that are just looking for the book are finding themselves here. Now as much as this is a public website we would prefer to keep it as quiet as possible. So we have to come up with a new name and address.
I apologize for this as we have already been through this problem once before. I will be posting the new link and name for the site on my own personal blog within the next few days. We are not sure what will happen when we change the address even though the page will still be open. We hope this will not affect those of you who are following the page.
Thank you so much for your patience and understanding.
Carly and the girls.