Sunday, March 9, 2008

Grief - what do you do with it?

I know we all handle it differently - and I find this true for myself even throughout the day.  I've pondered whether it is best to just distract myself by staying busy and try to move on OR if I really need to sit, be still and just work through it.  For me, it's probably some of both.  I've been trying to keep myself busy - and at times it helps.  At times though, I find that the sadness will all come crashing in.  It could be something I see, a thought or even for now, pain from my own body which serve as reminders of our loss.

I wonder too for my family how best to handle my grief.  I do think it's good for them to see the pain.  Yet, I sometimes wonder how much to share.  It's easier with my daughter as she needs to talk and is deeply grieved herself.  With the guys in my family it's a little harder to know.  Roger and I have talked.  I've also been doing a lot of praying.

Yesterday my oldest daughter and I went to a consignment sale.  I didn't really want to go.  This sale is a real blessing to our family though and it's where we buy a lot clothes for our children!  I didn't feel like I could pass it up.  I had earned the privilege of shopping early (thanks to the help of a dear friend and my family - thank you Rebecca! - who completed the work for which I had signed up).  

I decided we should go - and if I couldn't handle it, we'd just come home.  So Rebecca and I went.  At times it was fine, a distraction, especially when looking through all of the cute little things for Eliana.  Other times, it was harder.  One time we overheard someone talking about her pregnancy.  Rebecca just reached for my hand and gave it a squeeze.  She is so very tender-hearted and is taking this loss hard too.  It was especially hard for me seeing other women pregnant.

As we grieve, there come the questions.  Questions my children ask and those in my own mind - though I find that I have fewer of them now.  Perhaps I have learned a few things from this past year?  When we came home from the doctors office, we gathered our children to tell them the news.  Eliana had fallen asleep, so we had taken her straight up to our room to sleep.  When we shared the news of our baby's death, our youngest son looked horrified and managed to say "Eliana?"  Oh no, we quickly assured him.  She is fine and asleep upstairs.  I thank God that our sweet Eliana is alive and well!  Oh, am I so very thankful that this was not a trial we had to face!  We are indeed very, very blessed!

Later that day we heard, "Thank you God for the baby that is in Mommy's tummy that has gone with you to heaven."  (3yo)

Sometimes I just cry - usually when I'm alone - and tell God that I really wanted this baby.  He knows that.  I remind myself that even this small amount of time with this baby was a gift.  We have been blessed with this little one, even though it was for a much shorter time than any of us would have liked.  This baby is a gift!

We have been blessed by many people praying for us.  I've had so many of my friends on the FIAR boards post sweet notes and prayers, friends sending emails, cards and making calls.  We've had several friends bring meals or homemade bread.  There are always friends during times of struggle that surprise me - in a good way.  Often it is someone that I may not know too well who really reaches out to support, encourage and bless our family.  It is a reminder to me that I have been given so very much - and that I need to continue looking for ways to give to others. 

I am reminded often of others who are struggling with grief that seems overwhelming to me.  I am thankful that God has not called me to more than He has.  I am thankful that He walks with me. 

I read of a question that someone was asked during a time of grief.  What have you learned about God during this time?  Its a good question.  One that I have been asked too.

I have learned a lot about God.  I thought I'd share a few of them.

*God is good - no matter my circumstances.  No matter what happens.  No matter the outcome.

*God is faithful.  He is with me - to carry me, hold me and love on me even when I feel all alone.

*God is love.  He shows His love to me in many different ways - in music, through His word, a whisper to my spirit, through the loving words or gestures of another and many other ways.

*God is enough.  When I want or think I need more, I need to remember that He is enough.  HE is the only one I need to please.  He is the only one who can meet my needs. 

*God is worthy of praise.  Not because of what He is has done, but just because of who He is.

Dear Father,

Thank you for the gift of this little baby.  Thank you for the sweet memories of this time that are stored up in my heart.  This baby was loved from the start.  This little one was prayed for and welcomed with delight.  Father, I miss this baby.  I so wanted to love and hold and raise this little one, but I am thankful that he/she is safe with you.  I am thankful for the promise that one day we will all be with you in heaven. 

With love and tears,