Under the Tree

Carly (who gave me the precious gift of the picture seen waaaaay below of Raelyn's name in the sand on the beaches of Australia) has started a monthly series of questions on her blog that help us reach out to other mamas either in support or for support. Come join us under the tree.

How long have you been blogging for? Why did you start? What do you want from writing?

I started this blog in January as a way to let some of my feelings out. I have tried journaling before but found that my hand didn't move fast enough (or neat enough) for my mind. This way, I can have a fashionable, yet flawless hard copy of my journey through this period in my life. I hope that through this blog I can let loose some of those difficult feelings that I can't quite verbalize to people in real life. I still have so many buried feelings that aren't exactly kosher to talk about and I plan to use this as a place of release. That said, not everything on this blog will be roses and happiness, but not everything will be tears either.

Where is safest place for you to share your feelings? Is there anywhere you feel completely accepted just being however you are really feeling?

As I said in my answer to the last question, I have many feelings that I am not even comfortable expressing in solitude, much less to anyone else. I guess that means that this blog should be the safest place for me to share. I hope that it stays that way as I will now have readers (at least occasionally) who may or may not agree with my feelings or the ways in which I express them. In real life, the safest place for me is anywhere alone with my husband. Many times, I am afraid to ask his opinion of my thoughts or let him in on my darkness, but most often I find that when I do let him in, he is having or has had the same feelings. Both of those places sound obvious, so my next safest place is with our friends from our old church. They are both very grounded in faith and they really encourage us when we are at our darkest moments. They experienced an ectopic pregnancy at the beginning of their marriage, so they know these feelings too and have emerged victorious!

Can you recommend any books that you have read that have given you a new insight, hope or courage in this new life you find yourself in?

I tried to find a book that I could read that I could relate to and most that I found were indirect studies of Job. I would get so irritated and angry that I would just put the book down and never finish it. I was so angry at the thought that God would allow this to happen, that He could and yet chose not to heal Raelyn that the last thing I wanted to read was some other sob story about someone else He allowed awful, unthinkable things to happen to (these are some of those buried feelings). I never did find a tangible book to read but the absolute best piece of writing that I found was Angie Smith's blog Bring the Rain. Her heart-writing was so real to me. I sat at work and just balled (it's a good thing my desk faces a wall) through her story of beautiful Audrey and her family's incredible strength and humility. Her words and Audrey's story helped me begin to heal. I only wish I had found it before Raelyn's death so that I would have been better prepared for the onslaught of emotion and brokenness that the death of a beloved child brings.

How would you describe yourself before you lost your baby. How have you changed, who are you today?

I think I was like all first-time mothers. I thought pregnancy was always pink and blue and healthy babies. Sure I knew about stillbirth, trisomies, and all that misfired biology stuff from school. I knew it was out there, but it wouldn't happen to me. I had great prenatal care, ate well and exercised, took my vitamins every day... It is horrifically amazing (like watching a car wreck) to go in an instant from praying that it's not Down's syndrome to praying that it's only Down's syndrome. Explaining to five first-time grandparents that there is no hope, that there is no cure for 'incompatible with life'... one of them cried with me, the rest were silent in shock.

I have lost my innocence. I no longer take anything at face-value. It is still so fresh (how long ago five months feels, and yet in the blink of an eye), that I still have anger and raw sadness and bitterness at the intangible things that are lost--the pregnant bliss, the excitement of all the 'firsts'. There is an overwhelming numbness in my life and in my heart that I have yet to break through, but with God's help, I am healing.

How do you think you are coping? Do you see any light in this road or is it all dark right now? Where do you imagine yourself to be in a years time?

I think I am just coping, nothing more. Obviously I think of Raelyn every day, but some days it is with happiness as I envision her dancing and singing before the throne of God, wrapped in everlasting love, and some days I struggle to breathe at the thought that, on this side of Heaven, I will never know her hair or eye color, I will never know the sweet sound of her voice, I will never know her heart. Those days come and go as they please with no warning.

There is a light--a very, very distant pinpoint of light--and an unfathomable hope that can only come from Jesus, but it is a hope for the future. It is hope for the present that I currently lack.

The only thought I have about 2/27/2010 is that I hope to have one of Raelyn's siblings happy and healthy in my arms. I cannot know the plans God has for my life, but I pray that this desire is God-given.

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this. ~Psalm 34:3-5


Julie said...

Hi Dana, I can so relate to how you are feeling. I am so sorry that your darling Raelyn is not with you. My church didnt embrace me as a grieving mother either, we have now left. Have you read "The Shack" its a novel but it explores this pain very well, I feel it helped me. Thanks for comingunder the tree, I hope we can get to know each other better, Julie.

Laura said...

I enjoyed reading your blog. I haven't yet answered the questions- but hope to soon. God Bless!

Barbara said...

Dana, your story was so touching. It has helped me see the pain that you have felt. I have not lost a child but it has helped me be aware of those who have and do what I can to help them. You have a wonderful ministry to help those couples who have lost a child and help them through their pain. Blessings to you and Philip.

Chelsea Pang said...

This is so fresh for you, I hear your grief and I love your honesty. My heart breaks for you. You are not alone in your feelings!