Rays of Sunlight

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I wrote a bit about recognizing your blessings on Sunday.  I was actually speaking to those who have not experienced traumatic or complex loss or grief.  Just one year ago, I was one of those people.  For whatever reason, I assumed I would always be (relatively speaking).  Being able to recognize my own blessings for myself has taken me a full year.  Before I realized these blessings on my own, many people counted my blessings for me.  I found it incredibly hurtful, inauthentic, and selfish.  They pointed out all of the things that were good in my life, as if those things somehow made up for the fact that my Max, a baby of only 9 1/2 months old, had died.  They just didn't want to deal with my being in pain.  There are no amount of blessings that make up for the fact that Maxie's life ended so quickly.  Not 10 more healthy children, winning the lottery for hundreds of millions of dollars, 100 brand new empathetic and lovely friends, the best marriage under the sun....nothing.  If you are in grief, if you have suffered trauma, if you are in a depression, if you are lonely....only YOU can recognize your own blessings.  Don't let anyone count them for you, because they will only feel like blessings once you are ready to recognize them.  And if you are not in deep grief but know someone who is suffering, just acknowledge their suffering.  You cannot count their blessings without them being on board.  It is like a slap in the face and it feels incredibly cruel.  Just don't do it.

I am grateful that at times, even if very rarely, I am able to see past our loss.  I wouldn't be here right now if I couldn't.  But, that doesn't make the loss any less painful.  You MUST know that (right?)  I would trade any one of my blessings for Maxie's life.  He was worth more to me than anything I have ever known.  I would gladly exchange my own life for his.  If only it were possible.  It should be obvious.  When people told me, "at least you have your health", they didn't stop to recognize that I didn't want it anymore.  I wanted Max to have his.  But, really this message is for those who cannot see the light yet.  Don't let anyone pressure you into getting there before you are ready.  Your suffering is likely appropriate.  Don't let anyone convince you otherwise.  It is insulting.  When you start to come out of the tunnel, and see your first glimpses of light, they will be YOURS and they will feel authentic.  Nobody can give you that gift but you.  It won't happen overnight or all at once.  I am JUST NOW seeing those rays and I have waited so long for them to start shining on me.  I might lose them again at the end of this week but now that I have seen them, I know they are there.  They will appear again for you too.  Some day.  That may be in a few weeks, in a few months, or in a few years.  It might take longer...but you will see them again.  They won't make up for the loss you have suffered.  They may not even really make you feel better.  I am not sure that they make me feel better.  And they may never, ever shine as brightly as they once did.  Still, my wish for you is that you will feel your blessings again.  I believe it can happen.

"The Sun Still Shines When You're Not Here, But Never As Bright, Never Ever The Same"

My new friend Jamie, who reads my blog, sent me this idea for a project in memory of Maxie that I have been working on to hang in our living room.  It has kept me busy for many hours and has given me the feeling of still being Maxie's mommy, creating something colorful and pretty for him.  Ted made stencils for all of the letters and then I cut them out of felt and sewed them to this canvas.  Thank you Jamie for giving me some creative purpose.  I'm looking for my next project.

PS - As it turns out, saying "Let's do this!" and making catchers mitt hands under your partners pelvis does not induce labor.  Bummer.
Neither does begging god for mercy with flowing tears in the quiet of the middle of the night or any other method we have tried.
Baby M - I am so lonely without you.  Let's do this!


jkbrumbaugh@gmail.com said...

Thanks Abby, I know that the blessings are there (Our girls are the biggest one we can ever have, they are the reason we are still here) but right now they do not shine. Right now the pain has clouded my sight. But I'm hopeful. Thinking always of you.


Bianca said...

Abs, it is so like you to have me both crying and laughing (catchers mitt hands). It used to be that we laughed so hard we cried and now, without Maxie here, there are so many more tears. Just want to say that I love you through joy and this total devastation. And I love Maxie and can't wait to meet your son, baby M.

Sarah P. said...

You are an amazing, beautiful, wonderful person. Your babies have one heck of a fabulous Mama.

greg said...

That sign will look perfect hanging over Baby M. A perfect reminder of what is now and what will never ever be forgotten.

And Ted, you're no Jorge Posada.

Susan said...

I like the felt hanger... I want one that says: I will always miss my child - don't ask me if I am over it. Ever" to go with it though - less they forget. Y'know - those mingbats that say daft stuff...

Just popped by to see if Baby M had made an appearance. We are in the Alps on holiday, having - dare I say it - a nice time. It has taken a long time, but whilst I am always thinking of Catherine, I feel I need a bit of space from all the grief writing. But I am thinking of you, and hoping you are all doing ok xx

amourningmom said...

I wish none of us had to live in a world without our child/children. Thinking of you, Maxie and Baby M. Sending peace and hugs.

Jenny Romanowski said...

Abby you are truly an amazing woman! You have touched so many others and are now helping others find their way on their own path. I only wish I was able to get to know you under different circustances. I wish you get through the next few days however it takes. We are all waiting on the beautiful arrival of Baby M. He will surly be embraced by prayers of a healthy delivery! I know Maxie will be holding his hand the hold time! Whispering his love in his ears on the way to our world. Warm wishes and thoughts always with you!

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