Monday, July 22, 2013


I know I've written a few times in the past about the ways in which our experiences since October have changed us - there are certainly many. The one that has been most on my mind lately is a change with which I cannot seem to make any kind of peace. Fear.

There are a million ways in which this new companion manifests itself. Most prevalent is the overwhelming fear that something is going to happen to the rest of my family - I am positively terrified that something horrible is going to happen to my girls, my husband, my parents, my siblings, my nieces, my nephews and the list goes on and on.  In fact, there have been weekends when Chris was supposed to take the girls out somewhere and I have literally been in tears begging him to just stay home that day because in my mind, I was certain they would never make it home if they left. God love him, he always hugs me and agrees to change plans for that day so they are relatively safe at home while I sleep. I know that it isn't a terribly rational request and I usually feel guilty for it, but at the same time I can literally feel the panic welling up in my chest in those moments and unwillingly begin to envision my life without the three of them.

Just as prominent is the unsettling feeling that we can never again expect to have a healthy "normal" pregnancy.  After the shock of receiving Aaron's diagnosis and the time that I have spent talking with other parents who have survived devastating losses, the odds of anyone ever having a healthy pregnancy seem dire, at best.  Even if we are blessed with another "healthy" pregnancy/baby, there is no doubt that I would spend nearly every moment of that pregnancy waiting for something to go horribly wrong.  At this point, I know too much - the innocence that I used to have about pregnancy is long gone and I am all too aware of the fragility and blessing in creating and sustaining life.

When I'm not in a panic about something happening to a loved one or potential loved one, I am just waiting for some expensive catastrophe with the house or the van or with one of our jobs.  In my mind, the van is a ticking time bomb just waiting for a costly repair bill, every major appliance in the house is just biding time before it quits working and needs replaced, or one of us will unexpectedly be unemployed and our finances will simply crumble.  The fact of the matter is that things do go wrong and we should probably expect them, but it's like I exist in constant waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under us again.

I am well aware that this level of anxiety, fear and apprehension is far from healthy.  It comes as no shock to me that I have trouble sleeping or that I am in an unending state of turmoil.  It is no surprise that this constant conflict is exhausting.  Unfortunately, simply knowing that many of my fears are irrational does nothing to make them any less real.  This is one of the wounds that leaves a deep scar on those whose lives have been changed in less than the blink of eye.  While some may feel it less intensely than others, there is a part of the soul that will never heal completely from that kind of life-shock.  It is actually something that I have heard others in the babyloss community mention frequently and I would suspect that it probably holds true for other sudden, life-altering events as well. 

I think that's one of the reasons that I have had such a hard time facing this particular demon.  It isn't just something that I need to "work through" or "wait out."  I'm afraid this one is going to be a lifelong change - I may get better at coping with it and I will probably learn not to let it dictate so much of our lives, but I will never again feel the blissful ignorance that comes from lack of experience. 

So I have to confess that my original intention was to end this entry above the picture, but as I was searching for a fitting image, I came across this one.  It led me to do a little reflection (which, after all, is one of the points of keeping this space) and here is where I ended up: I can still be depressed about losing our son; I can still be anxious about what may lie ahead...but I need to be more mindful of this: every moment that I spend lost in either of those is a moment where I miss the beauty in front of me.

Monday, July 8, 2013


When I came here the other day to create a post, I was shocked to see that the total pageviews had exceeded 30,000 and that the views for Aaron's birth story alone were over 1,000.  I never dreamed that so many would read the words that I have written about our sweet son.  This blog was something I started with the primary purpose of helping me begin to heal and my hope was that somewhere along the way it would help someone else too.

There are times when I am simply speechless when I realize just how many have been reached by Aaron's story and his brief life with us.  I know what an impact he has made on us, but to hear others share the ways in which he has touched them is amazing.  I have been contacted by people from all around the world who have read these words or who have seen Aaron's story posted somewhere.  Many have reached out to express condolences, others have sent prayers on our behalf and still others have been in contact to let me know that they, too, are going through a similar experience and have found strength in the words I've written.  That last group, of course, is always the most emotionally charged for me.

In the days and months following Aaron's diagnosis, I spent countless hours searching out and soaking up everything I could read that others had written about their journeys.  Something about hearing the words of others who had traveled a similar path was comforting.  I found many that were inspiring, most were heart-breaking, a number of them offered helpful tips and advice, some were full of bitterness and anger, and others conveyed a message of faith and hope. 

I have never really chosen a specific direction that I wanted for this space, but I knew that I wanted the overall feel to be one of hope and of gratefulness for the time that we were given with our son.  There have absolutely been times when I've written a piece that was angry or painful or sorrow-filled, but my goal, both in life and in my writing, has been to avoid dwelling in the pits for too long.  Most of the time, it's a goal that I achieve...sometimes it's a little tougher than others.

As we approach a time this month when our son would have been five months old, I find that the grief we feel is often just as strong as it was in the very beginning while other times it takes on a more dulled edge. I am so grateful for this space and for those who allow me to continue sharing the story of our little boy on the good days and the bad.