Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Tears are Different

Not only are the emotions in my soul different, the tears actually feel different. 9 and 3 years later I grieve for my babies in different ways. When Ava first died and a large percentage of the time since that day, my grief for her eclipses my grief for Eric. Not out of lack of sadness for him, but I had 6 years of getting used to him being gone before she passed.

But it's not only that. When Eric was born we were full of joy. We had our first child. My dreams of becoming a Mom came true. Everything was a first. His birth story is filled with excitement and joy. Filled with anticipation of the future.

For Ava the sweet memories are not as abundant and flowing. I was worried my whole pregnancy. I don't know if instinctively knew that there was something wrong. I don't know if I was freaked out at the prospect of having a 4th c-section and being the mom of 4 children under 5. Whatever the situation I found myself in the hospital the night before Ava's delivery on IV fluids trying to hold off for a day to get me to 35 weeks gestation. That night in the hospital was horrible. I came home, undelivered, looking and feeling like I was beaten up. After being home for a few more hours the contractions, while unproductive, kept coming one minute apart. At 2 I went in for my c-section. I will never forget how excited the Bugs were and how I felt the need to temper their excitement. I remember thinking "Am I ready for this...." with an air of imminence. There was not much room for sweet memories. I had a rough recovery and the hospitalization was not too great. The day we discharged is the day we learned Ava could not hear. It was on what would have been on Eric's 6th birthday.  I remember the witnessing the unabashed joy the Bugs had for Ava. The plans they would make for "When Ava is 1...5...etc". I remember trying to temper their exuberance without trying to squash their spirit in hopes to prepare them for what I feared what was around the corner.

These differences are playing out as we are faced with another birthday week. I feel freer to remember the sweet things about Eric. The sweet things about Ava are muddled with a sick pit of the stomach feeling. Busting through that to HER sweetness is not an easy road. It makes all that we were given and subsequently lost so much more poignant.

Then there is the birthday observances. We try to meet the Bugs' needs. This means that Allan and I have to do things that we don't necessarily want to do.  They are kids and they need the tangible, free expression of love. I suppose that is a good thing as sometimes it's easier to bury your head. So this year, on Ava's birthday we went to the grave and laid flowers for Eric and Ava. The store didn't have yellow roses, so we settled on pink and added some yellow baby's breath.

When I first saw this, I wanted to run away. It's too much to bear. But I've learned to bear the enormity of our grief. I am trying to focus on how each of these sweet babies were God's gift to us. Because, really that is exactly what they were. No matter how differently their stories and lives are etched in my memory.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I Miss Her

Well, I realize that it may seem I've fallen off the face of the planet. As life takes over time seems to get shorter and shorter. In my months of blogging silence I find that I've been worked and reworked and God is molding and forming me in ways that I am just now begining to uncover. The tricky part in the discovery is the unraveling of the knots inside your soul. It is just plain hard to take a good hard loook at yourself, and see what needs to be untied.

I have a massage therapist who has physcially helped me achieve what I train for. I would run and beat myself up. Then she would find the knots and methodically and compassionately work them through. The process can be painful, but the release from the tension and the renewed ability for my body to respond and function to the best of it's ability is such a relief. Sometimes the muscles tighten quickly and the feeling is gone in a flash. Sometimes it hangs on a little longer and I can breathe easier.

This is how God reworks your soul. You are numb and you can't tell the source of the pain and anguish. He lovingly, expertly massages the knot. As that area in your life bubbles to the surface it is a tough pill to swallow. Then you live with it for a bit. It becomes familiar and you see it from a different angle. Only then can you work on changing the behavior, the thought pattern or the activity. Then SNAP the old grabs hold of the new, the knot is tied again. You find yourself needing to dig deep again and find courage to face the ugliness that has been laid at your feet.

Your breath becomes shallow and you want to flee, throw it aside and never look back. The realization is ugly. The process is hard. Fire has to burn hot to make metal malleable. Walking through the fires in life need to be hotter than the basic nature of our stubborn, habitual natures.

Then one day, even though the sting is still there you see it and you can learn to handle it. For me it's been the disaray in our home and how I've been parenting the Bugs in the aftermath of the last 9 years of our lives. How does God bring it to the surface? For me it's with His Holy highlighter and a glimmer of the "Amy" that has so long been suppressed. Sometimes because life has burried her, sometimes because it's too painful to remember the "before".

I miss that "Amy". I am so grateful that there are components still there. Of course they will be as that is who God created. But being made is stagnant. We are meant for change. He did not just make me. He FORMS me, He MOLDS me. He BENDS me. As I walk through this life He pulls me closer to who He NEEDS me to be; to become the one He planned for me to become. So I know that the knots will come back, the massage will be painful, but not unbearable. I have to train my mind to not fight it and to relax through it. I need to allow myself to let Him work through me as I continue on my journey. I know that it will never be easy, but it will never be more than I can work through and handle.  Through my tears and my feeings of guilt I can press on.

It can be the same for you as you miss the "you" of your happy time. The process is actually pretty stinky while in the throes of it. But the result is beyond your hearts desire. Follow His plan that is made for you. Join me on the hard unpaved path. Work out the kinks and let go of the pain. The reward is glorious. the journey is courageous.

"My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:19 (And who says VBS is for the kids?)