Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All Aboard the Crazy Train

I'm so tired of doctors. They sit on their twirly stools, in their unassuming scrubs and with my medical records in hand (which they DON'T BOTHER TO READ).

And they talk.

And talk...

And talk...

Occasionally they even throw in a question that they don't really want the answer to like, "How are we feeling today?"

So, if I tell them about the aches and pains that have just about ripped my body apart - with this being my EIGHTH pregnancy - they pat me on the head and say, "Well, I hate to tell you this my dear, but that's just part of it." Cue the placating smile and pat on the leg.

And what if I tell them I feel a deep fear and desperation to have my child now, while I know he's alive and would be healthy? "Well, I have two patients...I feel that's a decision you would regret...I don't have the authority to induce you..." Try the rueful smile this time, and the concerned brow wrinkle.

What if, after nine months of waiting and praying and holding it all together, I cried in my doctor's office - twice?

What do you think that would get me?

Apparently it gets my husband interrogated. Because, APPARENTLY, this means I must have lost my marbles! I must be contemplating hurting myself...or my family. "Is she really ok?" they want to know.

And as he relays this conversation to me on the way home, I have to laugh. It is a laugh that is weary, and tinged with tears, but a laugh nonetheless.

Because who are these men?

They may have faced hundreds of mothers to tell them their babies have died, or delivered a thousand stillborn children to their mothers' hands. But do they go home with them? Can they, in any fashion, conceive what it is to carry a child? To have your body fail you so completely? To turn, bewildered, to medicine, only to find no answers?

Where they there when I made birthday pancakes for Diva...the morning after delivering Nathanael? Or when I had to explain to my daughter that her baby sister was safe from worms and bugs? When she cried in fear that her baby sister might be hurt - and I had to explain that she feels no pain where she is?

Did they hold my hand through the first baby shower I went to after holding that tiny perfect person?
Or help me fight my demons through each successive pregnancy? Did they see me pray over a struggling nurse in the hospital as I delivered Isaac?

Who exactly do they expect me to be? What do they expect me to be?

Because I can only be what I am - a mother, with a mother's heart..for all her children.

Somehow, in the hustle and bustle of their books and tests and charts, they lost sight of something very important.  

Love cannot be quantified. And where there is great love, there is also great Loss. Great loss cannot be dismissed with the wave of their hand. Tears and grief, even fear, do not mean crazy.

At least, no more crazy than I have every right to be.

What they do mean is that I am human, with a rather large capacity for both Love and Loss.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Daily Dose of Disgust

Sick angry. That's what I am. Deep down inside my heart aches. And my stomach churns. My throat closes up with the words I want to scream at the TV.

Those bastards.

They hide behind children. They trot out their platitudes, and their laws...they pretend they care. But they don't. Unless they've stood there - they don't understand. It makes my breath come harder, my chest heave and tighten. I am so angry I want to cry. Do they have no shame?

My children were not lost to violence. They died quietly, drawing their last breaths in the safety and security of my body. They did not, as far as I know, experience pain - though it's possible they did.  But I've made those decisions: cremation or burial. I've slid my hand across that tiny marble casket, and read a poem at that graveside. I've written my child's name in stone

And my very soul cried out to God in anguish...wanting to know why, wanting to make sense of it all.

But I couldn't.

And those parents in Newtown won't be able to either. Because it doesn't make sense. Because it can't...and shouldn't. In what world would the loss of a child make sense?

They want to pretend, though, that our children are what they care about. They smile sadly on news shows and trot out different plans - to restrict guns. Or to curb violence. We owe it to the children, they say.

And all I can think is that behind those perfectly coiffed facades....they are snakes. Slithering through the grass, some milking the situation for political gain, some pushing their own agenda, and some just too stupid and careless to see how wrong they are. 

They have planted their flags on the graves of children - attempting to rally the people to their cause. 

But they have no care for the millions of children who lose their lives in car accidents, drownings, beatings or neglect, to illness or wars. They don't care about my children either, the ones they do not count, the ones who are not people, and whose lost potential they do not mourn.

And in the midst of all this, I am grateful. Grateful to the parents of Newtown, who have shown so much grace. They are determined that their voice will be heard - and I understand why. If their children are to be the rallying cry, they want their voices to be heard. I hope someone listens. And I am awed by their courage.

But that is what those others don't understand. To truly speak for a child gone...you have to love them.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Speaking into the Void

It is amazing to me that one minute in my life made such a difference. One minute was all it took to divide my life irrevocably into Before and After.

The plans, friends, and life Before we lost Kasey.

And the sorrow and loss that came After.

Before Kasey, I had no doubt that my friends and family would be there for me. And After, I discovered that some could only come to me, love me, if it didn't mean them facing hard things...if they didn't have to say her name. Perhaps Before, I was as blind as they are. But After, I discovered that I could not carry my own sorrow and still live with their Silence. It was too heavy a burden.

Their Silence continues, to this day, to hurt me sometimes. "How can you love me," my heart cries, "when you don't see me?" Because to see me, to know me, means acknowledging them. My children, each and every one.

I have forgiven them for their Silence, because to do otherwise burdens me even more. That hurt could easily turn to anger and bitterness - and I do  not want that. I want, instead, to remember them fondly. Knowing that in this, they failed, but that they were still incredible people to have in my life. I remember the funny, or the silly, or the generous things they did. And then I thank God for them, and pray that they may prosper in all they do...and that they will never know this pain. I don't ever want that for them. 

It's one of the reasons I'm so attached to the STILL Project. One of the reasons I want so badly for it to succeed, to be wonderful and enlightening. I don't want it to be a tool for me, really. I want it to be a tool for all the others - the ones who find themselves locked in Silence when tragedy befalls their friends or family. A way for those of us who know...a way for us to share, in a BIG way, what losing a child means for us.

The STILL Project is important because it not only gives me the opportunity to speak....it gives the rest of the world a chance to Listen and Learn.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wisp of Wanting

I bought him a book.

It is the first purchase I've made for him.

A book.

After about thirty minutes of wandering through Target evaluating car seats and bassinets, I left empty handed. Tired...defeated. And I couldn't imagine my child - my son - in those. They didn't fit.  I didn't have the drive to buy those - even though I know it's time. Time to prepare...for him.

So I stopped by the bookstore to enjoy a cup of coffee. I needed to rest - and books are a quiet place for me. I like looking at the photography books and thinking that I'd love to have a few for the coffee table I don't have. I love the weight and seriousness of the biographies, the beauty of the bibles, and the colorful covers of the paperbacks. I've spent hours in bookstores. 

And after winding my way through the bookstore for a good while, and sipping a cup of coffee, it came to me...

I want to buy him a book.

So I headed to the children's section. And instead of turning away and not looking at the tiny board and cloth books for babies...I took a deep breath and waded in.

And I picked one out. Paid for it. Left.

When I got home I sat it on my desk, right next to the beautiful jumble of pictures that feature Dancer and Diva.

Every time I see it sitting there, waiting so patiently...I can see him. For the first time, I can imagine him.

Cradled in my arms, nursing. Me, reading to him, making funny voices and faces like I did once for my girls. And him, soaking me in. 

Somehow that made it easier to go to the store yesterday and buy something else...something to bring him home in. A little blue pajama with polar bears and walruses ice fishing together. And a matching hat. It made me laugh. Just a little. A little sigh of laughter at how cute he would look in that outfit...and how appropriate it is given our rocky introduction to real winters here in the mountains.

So now he has exactly two things. And I had to listen to myself carefully. I had to not be impatient with myself. I had to forgive myself for not being ready yet. Not ready to brave the baby stores and the paraphernalia...not ready to dive in and go full speed ahead.

Because now, I can feel it. The readiness to buy a few things, and accept the gifts my friends and family have offered. The need to make him real in our home - while we continue to pray for his well being. It is time.

Ecclesiastes says there is a time for everything. Everything in its time. It is OK now...it is time. To be, if not confident, then...hopeful. It is time to be ready.