There is no footprint too small to leave an imprint on this world.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Count Your Many Blessings

You know what decisions really suck? Deciding what size you want your daughters headstone to be. Deciding which color of granite you want and what designs and fonts to be used. Especially the very permanent "October 1, 2012 - November 16, 2013". I hate that dumb hyphen. Is it weird to hate a punctuation mark so much? Because I do. Why does my daughter's birthday already have a hyphen behind it?
Bryan and I have been talking with the mortuary, designing and deciding on Jane's headstone. Today he called me to chat about it while I was home alone. When we got off the phone I cried and cried. I miss her so much.
And then I knew she was with me.
When I feel Jane or know she is with me I don't hear voices or see things. I don't want people to think that I believe I have some special powers or anything crazy. It's much simpler and quieter than that. It is usually very clear, yet simple thoughts that I have. It's different than if I was thinking on my own, much more of a sacred feeling then that. Today felt very sacred, and for that reason I am not going to share all the details of how I felt and what happened. Sacredness is lost when it is shared too much.
I believe when we get to heaven we are busy. There is work to be done and Jane's work must have been very important to be called back so soon. Because of this, I don't feel her around all the time. And I'm glad I don't. I am happy to know she is busy, working hard and doing the things she needs to. Whatever that is. Maybe missionary work, I don't know. I think hanging around us all.the.time would get kinda boring and sad for her. So I'm happy that she isn't always with me. But oh I am so grateful for the times that she is.
When I know she is with me I feel calm. Though I still cried and cried, I didn't feel anxious. I didn't wonder why this happened, I just felt sad to not hold her. I also feel her love for me. It is a very peaceful and consuming love.
The words to the hymn Count Your Many Blessings kept coming to me. But the lines that I kept thinking are from different verses "Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey's end." Perfect and 100% accurate for the moment.
Gosh I love my perfect little princess!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Spiritual Rags (to riches)

We all love those rags-to-riches stories. You know, the underprivileged person who despite the insurmountable odds became rich and successful. Like Oprah, John Rockefeller or Sarah Jessica Parker. What is it about them that strikes such an emotional cord?  
It's their courage to keep pushing forward in the face of challenge. Real, dirty, ugly challenge. They are inspiring because they had a difficult journey yet carried on.
Who has had a difficult journey? Umm...everyone! There is not a single person who does not experience some sort of turmoil.
Wealth is tangible so it is easier to visualize the success of the people mentioned above, but what about the emotionally and spiritually destitute? The people who are so overwhelmed by life situations they feel abandoned by God. They are depressed to the point of being unable to smile. Despite the prayerful pleadings for their desires (even righteous ones) they feel empty and void of the comfort from the Holy Spirit. I know many people who fit this category. In fact I have been one of them three distinct times in my life.
About 5 years ago, after a particularly difficult time in my life, I had a very inspiring and humbling thought. 
The strongest people are not those who seem to glide through life with perfect hope and faith all the time; the strongest are those who keep surviving and keep praying despite feeling abandoned and alone. The strongest are the ones who have earned their faith. They have prayed through dirty, scary, ugly times while feeling empty and scared because they merely hope to feel the promise of the Comforter in their life again.
That is real strength. That is real faith. That is real courage.
I feel like I am in the middle of my own spiritual rags to riches success story. It has been scary and dark and lonely at times. I miss Jane so much my body slugs along with depression and aches from the pins and needles of anxiety.  But I can see Heavenly Father turning my faith into something so much stronger and more successful than I ever could have done without this trial.
So if you are feeling helpless today, tomorrow or just in general for the last 6 months I hope you know that you are NOT weak and you can make it. Everything strong has been made that way through times of trouble. Like a muscle being exercised, use the weight of your troubles to strengthen your soul and character. "Don't give up. Don't you quit. You keep walking, you keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead."
(By the way, I have had a handful of people ask if they can share my blog. My answer is an emphatic YES! If you think anyone could benefit from Jane’s story or anything I have to say, then please share away! I mostly do this blog to get thoughts out of my head, but I also really want Jane to continue to influence those who most need her. And if you feel it is appropriate, tell me you shared. Every time someone tells me they have learned something from this experience I feel a little relief in the purpose of it all.)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Three Months

Three months.
 Depending on where you are in life, three months can feel like a hiccup or an eternity. Our last three months in Vermont felt like they were on hyper speed. Yet, the last three months of my pregnancies seem to last foooreeevvveeerrr. Right now I am in some weird place between those two. It seems like forever ago that we buried Jane, but it feels like maybe a month since I held her in my arms. Sometimes I forget my groggy early mornings with her because they seem so long ago, yet I can still vividly remember her little scream when she wanted something. I call that her diva scream because it worked! Man she was spoiled and I am so glad she was! 

Three months has made me a new person in so many ways. Most of which I appreciate. My ability to be kinder and less judgmental. I have learned to not care as much what other people think of me because I am okay with me. I have infinite more compassion for everyone around me. My faith was shaken. but not to the core. It is just going through a  remodel. I can tell as I gain back pieces of my faith they will be with a deeper understanding and more eternal perspective. I have an increased desire to do and be good. I am able to empathize, not just sympathize, with those who have lost children. I don't just feel bad for them, my heart knows how they feel and it breaks mine all over to know their pain. I am able to love these strangers with perfect love. I like this new part of me. It feels good and makes me feel more whole.

Three months has also brought some not so good things.  Significantly increased anxiety. A realization of my inability to control mortality. Panic attacks. Shaken faith; yes that is a good and bad thing. Sometimes I miss it and it scares me and I want it's comfort. Yet I know rediscovering it piece by piece can be beautiful and enlightening and I will be better for it. Emotional highs and lows that are dramatic and acute. I was laughing hysterically to tears with my sister tonight then 10 minutes later praying and sobbing uncontrollably into my pillow. 

Is three months what society deems an acceptable amount of time to grieve? I have heard that society typically give the bereaved around 3 months before they feel like the grieving should move on. When people start to get tired of the sadness and the stories start to get uncomfortable. That's crazy to me! I just got started! I have a lifetime of grieving ahead of me. Please be with me through it, I could get on my knees and beg people to not want me to move on. Let me have that hole in my heart forever. It will be there whether its hard for you to hear about it or not. It will always be there. Jane, her life and death doesnt have to be discussed all the time, but it should be sometimes. Please don't ever hesitate to ask about Jane or bring her up. I love talking about my baby girl. I feel better when I talk about her. If she were alive, she would be a part of my everyday conversations and I ache to keep her there. 

If you know someone who lost a child 3 days ago or 3 decades ago, sympathize with them. Tell them you love them and you think about the person they are missing. I guarantee they haven't forgotten, acknowledging and validating their memories brings comfort. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

It still hurts

I have been having a hard week. I don't know why, but my anxiety has been really elevated. It is constant. Constant heart palpitations. Constant "needles" in my skin. Constant spinning in my head. I am taking long deep breaths to try to find relief but that usually doesn't help. People always want to know what my anxiety is about; if I can identify it then I can work through it. But I have no idea what it is specifically. I am still trying to figure it out. I find myself "living" with it. I'm still around people a lot and am able to smile and have fun and enjoy myself sometimes, but my body is still physically manifesting its anxiety. It's like my new normal, and that scares me. I don't want this to be the rest of my life. But it may be.

Along with the anxiety has been my heartache. It is just as strong now as it was 2 1/2 months ago. The difference is I have lived with it longer so it isn't as unexpected anymore. But I still ache so much when I think about her.

I miss her teeny body, dainty fingers, gentle touch and soft skin.
I ache to see her scrunchy nose smile.
 I want to feel her face burrow into my shoulder because she is be so happy I am holding her.
 I miss when she would be nursing and we would catch each others eyes and she would smile really big at me, then go back to eating.
I still hear her scream. The "give me what I want" scream. It was loud and shrill, then she would smile and sigh and be happy to have our attention. She was a spoiled little princess and I secretly loved it because she was unashamedly a mama's girl.
I wish I could see her crawl to Bryan when he walked in the door again. We would get really excited and say "Jane, who's at the door?!" She would stop what she was doing and get a look on her face that said she knew exactly what was going on. She crawled as fast as her little body could go and Bryan would sweep her up. She'd give him a big kiss and nice long snuggle then do her little scream to get back down.

Those little moments of our life are what I ache for the most.

Sometimes I scream or cry or moan in my head "I want my daughter back!!!"
 I miss my baby girl. So so so much.