The Path to Healing: My Grief Journal

I am continuing this journal in blog format so from this point forward the NEWEST entries will be at the TOP.

Use the links at left for the older entries:
Month 21 = May 2004,
Month 22 = June 2004, etc.

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

It came back. That old familiar sick feeling. I got it last night when I was talking with a friend at church. She mentioned that her daughter will really have her hands full this summer when her third child is born, her first girl. I just felt that sick feeling and the tears almost started, but didn't quite, as I thought, "that's what I thought, too. My hands turned out to be full, but not how I expected." I was hoping I'd be ok when this one is born, and I know I will, but I think there'll still be a rough spot or two.

Then this morning, I found out that C. from work is having a girl. Now of course, since I'm no longer working there, I don't see her very often. But hearing the news gave me that sick feeling again. It's still hard to see others having babies, especially when they're girls. And my SIL is expecting a girl.

The clothes I sorted through, that were Sarah's, could be given to any of them. But I just don't think I want to see another baby in Sarah's clothes at church; it may hit me sometimes that Abigail should have worn them. And I can't bear to see my SIL with them either; it will be too hard to see it in the pictures and at holidays. But I think I could give them to C. since we won't be seeing each other much at all anymore. So I'll gather them up and give them to her.

The sick feeling passes much more quickly now and it doesn't hit as hard (thankfully!); I can't wait until it just stays away altogether.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Abigail is remembered! A friend from church is a nurse at the hospital where Abigail was born, and she gave me a copy of their bimonthly newsletter. There was an article about "Ethics of Caring for Neonates", and it was all about Abigail. In addition to the fact that it has been 2 1/2 years since she was born and they are still remembering her, some of the things that were signficant to me were:

Our learning experiences from the family helped the staff grow in assisting families of infants with severe problems. Abigail's parents developed a plan of care for the birth of their daughter that included a DNR-Comfort Care. Because of this experience with Abigail, the maternity and special care nursery staffs were able to learn about some difficult ethical issues when caring for neo nates.

The time spent with Abigail and her family was a learning experience and should assist the staff when caring for other families with End of Life issues. This experience actually has helped some staff members in dealing with other issues in their own lives.

It brings me joy and comfort to know that she is still remembered by name, and that her life impacted them professionally and personally.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Yesterday I sorted through baby clothes to give away. I was delaying doing it, afraid that it would be very emotional. The last time I looked at those clothes, I was pregnant with Abigail and was sorting the boys things into one container and the girls into another. It was a couple weeks later that I had the ultrasound that found the CPC's, and the rest is history.

I was afraid that when I looked at the girls' things I would miss what Abigail should have had. But I was surprised to realize that I thought entirely of Sarah, remembering her wearing them. In my mind, they belonged to Sarah, not Abigail, and so it was fine.

Actually its been much that way for the past 2 months. My grief has not been intense nor in the center but very much in the background. Granted, I have had a lot of major life changes that have taken my focus, but the lack of emotion is surprising me somewhat.

I have left my engineering job and have been prayerfully considering what direction to go next. And my husband and I are becoming more and more convinced that it is for me to stay at home with the kids. This is no small thing, since I have been working as an engineer the entire 17 years we've been married, and he has done all the cooking during that time and has been the kids' primary daytime caregiver as well. Now I am suddenly feeling very led to take that over.

So it's a major culture shock at home, not to mention a huge financial shock since my income has been the biggest part of our income and has provided the health benefits for 17 years. So we are trying to sell our house, looking for another house closer to the church and hopefully with a lower mortgage payment. And we are trying to figure out which one of us needs to get a job with benefits, what it should be, etc. Right now I am so burned out that I don't have the slightest interest in working as an engineer. And the kids can really use me at home right now.

So, my emotional energy has been focused in this direction. Very interesting, though, how much happier I am since I left that job. I didn't realize just how stressful it had become, and how the stress from that job had surpassed the grief as the biggest emotional burden in my life.

So, strange as it may seem, I have to say that I am currently happier than I have been in years. I am home with my kids, enjoying being a mom, helping out at my son's school, and focusing most of my energy on my family instead of on work or grief. It feels great.

Abigail's life sometimes feels so unreal. A. said the other day that sometimes our girls' lives just seem like an abstraction. I agree with that. I have moved a long way from the days when I was defined by my loss and by the grief.

The other day I was even thinking about what life would be like if we had never had Abigail. We had sort of decided that 2 kids would be enough, and Abigail was a surprise. And I started thinking that if we hadn't had her, just stopped at 2 like we had decided, that our lives would be pretty much like they are now. Physically, that is. Our activities, the freedom that comes with having children that are more independent, having both kids in school come this fall, etc.

But we are different because of her, so it wouldn't be just like this. But it's changed a lot. I don't feel her presence all the time, nor do I think of her all the time. I probably do think of her every day, but always in context with something that reminds me of her. She doesn't keep coming to mind "just because" like she used to. But I know that I am different because of her, and in that way she is always with me.

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