Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thoughts on Grief

November 1, 2003

So, I have been doing some thinking recently. I have been thinking about grief. Thinking about what it does to my body, my soul, and my mind. I think that grief is a lot like labor. While I didn't get to experience it too much with Emma (my sweet footling breech c-section baby), I know the emotional signposts of labor. I know that contractions build and build and build, then fade away. I know that the more labor continues, the harder you have to work, you get more serious and really work. I know that in transition, you feel like you can't do this anymore. Like it will never end and that you will always feel this way.
I remember the day after Emma died, telling Jeremy that my crying, and my grief was like a contraction, about 2 minutes apart lasting for hours at a time. There are times that I don't want to cry, I don't want to grieve. It is hard, it hurts, it makes me tired, it gives me a headache. But, no matter how I try to go over it, under it, around it, it always finds me and I just have to go through it. I always feel better when I am done crying, screaming, sobbing. My body shakes, I feel sick, I scream, I want to run out of my body to get away from the pain. I often think it will never end, that I will never stop crying. When I am not crying, I think I will never be truly happy again, never as happy as I was before Emma died. And, just as quickly as it comes on, it is gone again, and I can breathe, I can sleep, I can relax. My poor husband feels so helpless when I am going through this. There are no doulas for grief, no midwives to help me ease my pain; just countless other women who have walked this road before me and are willing to hold my hand as I take this journey. Their husbands, while quiet and not anxious to share their feelings, help my husband by showing him that they made it, and he will too.
I am learning so much everyday from this grief. I am learning that I am not alone. I am learning that I will survive. And, like labor, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am still too early in the process to see that light, but others have promised and assured me that it is there. When the grief is not so intense, I will not have a baby, like you do in labor, but I will once again be happy, feel joy, and I won't cry everyday. I will get through this. It won't be easy, but I will do it with the help of my friends, my family, my God, and my sweet baby girl Emma.

I have been reading quite a few blogs recently with people who are dealing with different forms of grief. But, there are two that have really stuck with me. This one hits very close to home. I found this Mama through one of my good friends. My friend, A, taught this couple their childbirth classes. Her labor, like mine, ended in a c-section. Her baby died when he was 7 months old. Just one month younger than Emma.

The other that has been on my mind, and on the minds of many in the blogosphere, is the story of Stephanie and Christian Nielson. They, and their families, are experiencing different stages of this grief, however they are in the throws of grief right now.

I post this today, almost 5 years later, to say this, there is hope. In the beginning when you are in so much pain, you never think it will end. But, it isn't always so hard. It doesn't always hurt like it does. There will always be a hole, but there is hope for healing. Whatever your grief is, losing a child, a spouse, having any kind of life altering challenge, it brings grief.

Heather, over at Extraordinary Ordinary, reminds us that grief is supposed to happen. This is how God intended it. Through grief, we heal.

May we all heal, whatever our wounds.


AbeSaves said...

You have put into words so many of my feelings. Thank you for being one of those brave mothers that guides me through this grief that feels so heavy and vast. You truly do give me hope. I really needed to hear this today...thank you Kim. Abe's Mama

Jen said...

i'm going to send this entry to my mom who is having a really hard time with her grief right now.

Maria Rose said...

Thank you for sharing. I needed that today.

Mama bee said...

That's a very timely post. Josh just lost his best childhood friend yesterday. We saw her a month ago when she came to visit. We're mourning the loss of a lifelong friend (for Josh), a new friend (for me) and an auntie (for Cora). Thanks for the reminder that we'll heal with time.

Karin said...

It's also nice for me to see you address this in a public place. Too often we grieve, alone and privately, when we need the support of other people. I've also learned that its okay to have to go through grief more than once or twice with the same event. The grief comes sharp and piercing at odd times, or times we can plan for (anniversary dates) and fades again as we deal with it. I think it's one of the tender mercies that God doesn't make us feel all of the pain at the same time. It might kill us. I often feel it a piece at a time and with it, if I am cognizant, comes a measure of the Spirit to help me through. I've also noticed that I cry in places that I feel safe. With people that I feel safe in exposing my pain. Not always, but much of the time. It's interesting to note those times as it's often a "subconscious safe". I don't realize that it's safe on a conscious level, but somehow my soul knows it's okay to let the facade slip a little.

I fell strengthened to know others are traveling the journey with me. I would never want another parent to have to deal with what I have gone through, but it's nice to know that I'm not alone. :-)

Rhonda said...

I hopped on to read the other comments and noticed mine never posted. My computer was acting funny yesterday when I tried to post and it must have cleared it and never sent. Anyways....

Grief is a crazy thing. Everyone grieves different for different things. I having lost a child know that grief you feel. I will say it's a different grief from what I feel from losing my mom last year. It still hurts everyday but it has gotten easier.

I believe there is hope. It does get easier to grasp everyday. As you know my daughter was stillborn so her birthday and date of death are the same so I only have one day to "remind me" of an anniversay/birthdate. But every other day something reminds me of what she might have been doing.

I'm so glad you posted this and it awesome to know you've helped so many moms deal. Our forum was a wonderful place as well and we shared in your pain and heartache. It just doesn't seem fair that we at sucha young age have to deal with the death of a child. But we all have each other and we can give each other the strength we need to get through the day.


Heather of the EO said...

There's a little link for you from an older post of mine. "You might enjoy it" doesn't seem like a thing to say about grief, but I don't know how else to say it :)

Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. So well said.

Hollie Wood said...

Hey Kim! I wanted to let you know of a couple of other blogs that I follow. A girl in my sister's ward just recently lost her baby boy a few weeks ago and from her blog I found a couple of other women who have also lost their children. Their posts, like yours, are inspiring and strengthening. (Tiffany, the girl in my sister's ward. I haven't ever met her) (Stephanie, she lived in Vegas and lost her baby girl due to drowning this past June) (Rachel, she lives back east and lost her daughter a little while ago due to drowning also) I have been following their blogs since Tiffany lost Jack. I hope you are able to find strength from these women as well! I think about you often. Take care!