Wednesday, July 18, 2012

19 days of living: day eighteen

I'm almost done. Like I said in my last post, the pressure of keeping up with this for nineteen days has been tough. There isn't much time or energy to blog once the dishes are done and the kids are in bed. I'm just like my babies at the end of the day: tired, cranky, fussy, lethargic. Also, by this time a year ago, I wasn't dying. I was stuck in a hospital room, waiting to go back to who knows what. I was numb, in shock, and very confused. It would be many weeks, if not months, before I began to realize what an ordeal we had just been through. Today, I feel content saying that I did spend the last three weeks living. I said yes to Charlie and Sofie when they wanted to play, I danced, and I sang. I stopped to look at flowers, butterflies, clouds, and people. I smiled, I served, and I told my story when people asked. It's been good.

I've crossed into a new place, it seems. The place where I have funny, smart, five year old twins, AND a beautiful baby girl waiting for us in heaven. I want to live each day humbly and graciously, while never passing up an opportunity to tell people about Mila and the new life she gave me. I feel more optimism and purpose, like I'm ready for God to use me and my story for a greater purpose.

It's surprising to me that, in these nineteen days, I haven't had a really tough day. Usually, there's at least one day every couple of weeks when I miss Mila so much I can't move. I weep for her, and I long to hold her in my arms. Maybe I'm comforted by her presence more these last few weeks, or maybe I'm waiting to be done with my experiment in 'living' so I can really let it out. I'm not sure what this is about. My fear is that, now that the first year has passed, the sting of losing a child will fade. Our experience seems to have vanished for some of our close friends and family. I was surprised by those who never mentioned Mila's birthday or the fact that I am alive and well one year later. On such a sad, yet triumphant, occasion, those people who once prayed and wept for our family appear to be over it. This, if anything, is what has been the most painful. Maybe these people didn't know what to say one year later. I understand. A friend who knows what it's like told me to teach those who hurt me so they will know what to do in the future.

 So, some advice for those who don't know how to console or support a bereaved parent: 
Make a phone call, post a supportive message on Facebook or Twitter, send a text, send a card, light a candle. 
Tell them that you didn't forget, that you know what day it is and you're thinking of them and their loved one. Give a hug, say a prayer, and be grateful it wasn't you. 

I did have one of those days last week when I just didn't want to understand all that has happened. "Really, God?" I prayed. "Why did this have to happen to us?" I found comfort in a Bible verse I am coming to know. It's one that many bereaved parents rely upon for hope and comfort. In fact, there are quite a few angel babies with the name Jeremiah, waiting for their families to join them heaven.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart."
Jeremiah 29:11-13

I've continued to document some of our special events over the last week. Here are a few photos. 
(And, please, leave my photos here. They are mine to share, not yours to have.)

 Watching the Whiz Bang Days Parade down the street from our house. It was a hot one that day. I was happy that Charlie and Sofie hung in there.

 Sitting on the curb with my babies, waiting for fireworks. See their little toes on either side of me?

I'm no pro when it comes to photography, but here are some of the fireworks. Oooh!

The beginning of the grand finale across the lake. Again, I could learn a thing or too about photography, especially on my phone. And, by this time it was after ten o'clock and Charlie and Sofie were climbing all over me because the grass was tickling their legs. Sometimes I feel like a human bean bag chair, but I love the affection. How blessed am I?

1 comment:

KG said...

Such beautiful, honest and thoughtful words. Mila is smiling down on you!