Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ten Weeks Out

ME AT TEN WEEKS: Jack's influence on my life is beyond words. Every day I see new ways where he has changed and molded and bettered my time here on earth. Many old friendships have become new and stronger than ever. I have so so many new friends that ARE my heart. My relationships with my parents are better than they have ever been. And my husband and children are so precious to me that just thinking about how much they mean to me shortens my breath. I sometimes struggle though lately with my relationship with my Lord. I don't have doubts. I don't really even ask why or have anger. But it is almost as if I have awkwardness towards Him. I still read my Bible every day. I still pray every day and thank Him for all He has provided. But I just have an uneasy feeling. Perhaps I am angry, but have such a mix of fear and gratefulness that I feel guilty allowing that through and so it is like there is an elephant in the middle of my faith walk that I don't seem to be able to hash out with God. Sure, the experience of having and losing my son has strengthened all those relationships listed above, but don't tell me that couldn't have happened while allowing me to still have him. My other two children have taught me countless lessons and I still get to have them. And they will continue to teach me as they grow and change. It has been ten weeks since we last held our son and so much has changed. Im a new woman for sure. So new I don't even know myself. I don't feel comfortable in my own skin and I surely don't have much of a memory for who I used to be. I feel like Im stuck floating inside of myself. Im able to see out and witness all of the beauty and heartache swirling around me, but don't feel a lot of permanence from my moments. However, I am better. I am able to have conversations and remember appointments better. I even felt like spending some energy on myself recently and found myself purchasing clothes and painting my nails. A fellow angel mom (who Ive never met) sent me a letter and she said it best when she encouraged me that while my love for Jack will endure my pain will ease. And I figure that if I am already seeing evidence of this at ten weeks than there may just very well be hope for me after all. THE REST OF THE FAM AT TEN WEEKS: I don't speak publicly about my husband's grief journey because he is a pretty private man, but my very young, sweet children continue to go through stages of their own journey. My three year old daughter blows kisses up to heaven each night. She has also had a few queries about death and heaven lately. She saw some cow bones at the ranch one day and asked how the rib fell out of the cow. I explained to her that the cow died and his bones are left. She was silent for a long time before wanting to see them again and then began asking questions about how the cow died and how Jack died and I could see her wheels turning. She does that sort of thing often. I think she is a bit confused about the physical body and spiritual soul. (Aren't we all! ;) ) My one year old son is so sweet with his journey. He often points to pictures of Jack and says "Baby Jack Baby Jack!" I figured he was just copying what others said, but then once he said it towards my belly and then last week we were cuddling in the three am silence and he asked me, "Baby Jack go? Baby Jack doing?" It amazed me that he would possibly have memory or understanding of any of it. We shall never know for sure I suppose. Their behavior has not been the best lately. I don't know if it is all part of the terrible toddler stages, their grief journey, or more than likely caused by their reaction to mom's short fuse. Either way, they keep us on our toes. :) THANK YOU: Thank you for still checking on us at ten weeks. Thank you for understanding that we still hurt and remain shocked and disoriented. Thank you for the cards and letters and messages. Thank you especially for sending me photos of you wearing your jack bracelet so I know all the adventures that he is getting to experience in your heart. (I got more bracelets in - please just let me know if you want one) Thank you for being patient in awaiting your personal thank you card for the meal or gift you sent, for I have yet to wrap my head around writing them out. Thank you for reading and as always thank you for your grace in knowing that I may not always be able to express myself properly in this format, but loving me anyways. Here's to week eleven...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Jack Packs & More

JACK PACKS: I have assembled a large packet of information and ideas for pregnant mothers who will deliver a baby that has a life limiting diagnosis. The purpose of the Jack Pack is to pass on these ideas so that mommas can make the most of their special moments and have memories forever. Often the shock and grief and hope of the situation fogs the experience and I think the worst thing would be to look back and wish you would've known to do this or that. I figured that I already did the footwork so perhaps I should share the information. Jack Packs will be placed in areas where pregnant woman are most often as well as places where pregnant woman may go for support. Please tell me if you know of someone who could use a packet. Here is what they include: 1. Memory making ideas for pregnancy 2. Memory making ideas for the hospital delivery and birth 3. Hospital Bag Idea List 4. Recommended Connections 5. Funeral/Memorial Planning 6. Memory making ideas for later 7. Our Story (briefly) 8. Example Birth Plan 9. Grief book list for adults and children 10. “On the Night You Were Born” (a special book from us to you) LABEL MAKER: I've been having lots of 'nesting' lately. Perhaps it is because I finally have some energy back or maybe just that I have spent a lot of time at home this month. I have major urges to clear everything out, have a sale, and stick labels all around. We are coming up on the one year mark being in what I hope is our forever home and I am wanting to finish up the areas like the library, storage room, craft room, and garage that have yet to be set up. These tasks are difficult with my limited energy, but even more difficult with my special toddler helpers. Speaking of... MY BABES: Little Miss seems to be adjusting to preschool well and while Bubby misses her I can tell he enjoys his mommy time. Ever since Jack was born my one year old has seemed a bit more mommy attached and wanting to cuddle more. I cuddle and rock him more than I used to for sure. Often I cry while rocking him wishing I could rock Jack too, but am quickly brought back to smiles when Bubs sits up, smacks me, and demands "sing mommy!" Oh these kids... They keep me going that's for sure. My daughter has been naming her baby doll 'Jack' lately. She says that her doll died but then that he got to come back from the sky. She has different ways on different days of coping with her grief. Whatever she needs we are here to help her. It doesn't bother me for her to talk like that. She also enjoys looking at Jack's things and reading child grief or heaven books together. Her teachers at school said they wouldn't know she's had any home issues and say she is adjusting well. So that's a huge blessing. ME? How am I? Oh I don't know... Depends in the day. The moment. On a good day I feel blessed for the moments and experiences I was granted with my son and get excited about helping others in Jack's memory. Im able to move about my day's tasks and go in public and speak openly. On a bad day I feel alone and empty and extremely anxious to talk to anyone or go in public. My arms and belly feel like they're trying to grasp into something and there's nothing there to hold. My heart physically hurts inside my chest and I have trouble breathing. On those days public is not an option and I avoid it at all costs so that the store doesn't close in on me. I find I can easily encourage other angel mommies for the most part, but then will have moments where my vulnerability sneaks through. I have started a grief group for parents. I get to go with a dear friend whose son also passed from trisomy 13 and I like being with her because she makes me feel safe. Also in the group is a woman who is probably in her mid eighties. Watching her cry when she speaks of the child she lost like fifty years ago scares me. She has had to Iive with a lot of regret though so Im sure that has drastically slowed her grief process. So Im hoping my 'no regrets' approach will allow my next fifty years to be a bit kinder on me. JACK: Jack has been gone from our world for seven weeks. I miss his sweet smell and his hair and his soft hand. I used to rub his fingers back and forth across my lips while I spoke to him. I have a plaster mold of his hand now and sometimes need to feel his fingers again. He had so many fussy times, but would often quiet right down when he would lay right on my chest. I want my seven week old baby back. I bought a bassinet for him. I had a cradle with my first two kids and then quickly moved them into their room after the first few weeks. But since my one year old is still in the crib I planned to have Jack stay extendedly in our room. I had also bought a carrying basket for him so I could take him out in the yard while the kids played and he would be up Off the grass. We had friends over tonight. I wish I could've taken him outside with us in his basket. Instead it is in the basement with his bassinet and all the tubs of little boy clothes of his older brothers that Id hoped he could wear. Oh gosh, I just miss him. I have a secret... You may think Im crazy, but Ive yet to worry about that so here goes... Many people think butterflies represent the loved ones we've lost - i think I agree - in some way - spirit or thought or something - well when we walk out in the yard with our kids a butterfly always joins us on our walk down to the lake. Always. It makes me smile. It makes me feel like baby jack is out playing with us. Our sweet family of five.