July 14, 2014 § 8 Comments
I’ve told more lies in the past 6 weeks than I have in my entire life.
Mostly to my mom and my husband. Mostly to everyone I know. It’s just so much easier to paint a smile on my face and say “I’m good” or “I’m OK” and be done with it, than to say ” It feels like I’m dying inside, and I wish I was” and have to deal with the resounding chorus of “it will get better” or “you just have to choose joy” or “just have faith, God’s got a plan” or, (oh God please no) “there will be more babies.” Because, while all of those things may be true, when I hear them now I just want to scream “It’s not, I can’t, I don’t, I’m scared.” Don’t get me wrong, I get it. I know that those uttered phrases are meant to offer hope and encouragement, and for the person that is speaking them, I believe that they do. I’ve come to realize that there is a selfishness in most of us that makes us feel the need to say something when we come face to face with someone else’s pain. Something light and fluffy and full of good intentions, to try and help lighten the mood of the situation. It’s almost like a buffer against the other persons pain. I remember being that way; wanting, needing to be able to offer words of comfort in the midst of unspeakable grief to try and make myself feel lighter. But now, standing on the other side, I have come to realize that there are no “right words”, and sometimes silence is the most helpful, healing gift you can give to a broken person.
Truthfully, as morbid as it may seem, I don’t want to “choose joy” or “fake it till I make it.” I want to be sad. I want to experience the hurt. All of it.
Because the alternative, feeling nothing, pretending to be something I am not, stuffing my emotions and true feelings deep down inside – that only leads to more pain. Pain that eats away at you every day of your life. Pain so unbearable, you self destruct in the most agonizing, horrifying ways. Pain that causes you to starve and cut and abuse your body and mind. Pain that steals your dreams and makes living unbearable. Pain that makes dying seem ideal.
I know about that pain, and even now, walking through the most devastating, heartbreaking loss of my life, I can’t go back to that place. I can’t let myself become that person again. So bring the sorrow, the rage, the fear and the emptiness. Let me walk, or even wallow in them for a while. My son is dead. My baby died before I ever got to see his eyes light up with life, or see him smile at me. That is devastating and infuriating and just all wrong even . So right now, for me not being OK, is OK. Not having words to speak or prayers to pray or songs to sing or hope to offer, is OK. In my heart I know that one day, all those things will come.
But for today and as many tomorrows as it takes, I’m not good. I want to cope in all the wrong ways. I want to scream and cry and break things. Some nights I lay in bed sobbing hearing “I’m sorry, I don’t see a heartbeat” overandoverandoverandoverandoveragain until I’m paralyzed and I can’t breath. I replay the last “normal” day of my life, wondering what I was doing when my little boy’s heart beat for the last time, wondering if he was scared or in pain. I ache for my husband, who will never get to experience teaching our son how to golf, or ride a bike or take care of cars or any of the other things a father dreams of teaching his son. So many moments, lost before they ever came to be. That’s not “good.” That is horrible. That is agony. That, is where I am.
July 8, 2014 § 9 Comments
I have been thinking about writing this post for the past 38 weeks and 2 days. I had a long list of all the wonderful things I wanted to share about finally being a mother; a dream I’ve been dreaming since before I can remember. I wanted to tell the world how awing and humbling it was to have something so perfect and beautiful and good, come from someone so imperfect and undeserving. I wanted to say that I finally understood what scripture spoke of when it talks about Mary treasuring the first sweet moments with her son and pondering them in her heart.
And I can.
But, I can also tell you that I understand the burning rage of Pharaoh, the unspeakable grief of Job, and the maddening sorrow that drove the woman in Solomon’s court to steal a living child.
My beautiful son, Lincoln Allen Hartley, was stillborn on June 5th. And now I know that silence is the loudest thing I have ever heard. Waiting, aching and longing for a cry that never comes, a heart that doesn’t beat – those are the “sounds” that haunt me.
There are no words to describe the feeling of knowing that something has died inside of you. Something that you nurtured and loved so fiercely from the first moment you knew it was to be. Something that you had dreams, hopes, and so many plans for. Something that you wanted and treasured over all things. When you love someone with the entirety of your being, losing them feels like you have lost yourself.
The emptiness is unlike anything I have ever known. Most days I want to crawl outside of myself, just to feel a moment of respite from the sadness, the longing, the pain. The anxiety and stress of simply being has never been more overwhelming. I can’t rest. I can’t relax. I have to stay busy or else I am overtaken. But every moment can’t be filled, and every morning my barely conscious mind betrays me and I find myself reaching for a baby belly that is no longer there, and it all comes flooding back. Once again I am lost in the aching and pining for the child I will never know, the voice I will never hear saying “I love you mommy.”
The 34 weeks, 3 days and 12 hours I had with my sweet son were the most beautiful, fulfilling and wonderful days of my life. In that time, I learned how to love with a capacity that I didn’t know I was capable of. In the space of a moment I learned what selfless, self sacrificing love was all about. And in the end, I learned that sometimes, God says no.
One day, I know I will be able to talk about how God has perfect plans, and how He has loved me, my husband and our family through this time of sorrow. But right now, I’m still trying to wrap my heart and mind around the fact that the arms I would normally run to for comfort, are full of my baby boy.
So here I am. Broken. Trying desperately to sort through the pieces of my shattered life and find a new strength and a new beginning.