Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Poetry

Welcome, my name is Amanda I lost my firstborn daughter on Sept. 1, 2007 to a knot in the cord. I was 31 weeks pregnant with Emma. The days following I felt lost and very alone. Then someone reached out to me that had a similar experience. Then after a bit of searching I found BBC and a group of women that I would be lost without. When I initially posted so many of us had lost within days and or weeks of each other. I came to understand that the feelings I was having were normal. It felt good to not be alone, although I was sad that so many of us were traveling the same road. As the days went on, we become close friends.
I am now 4 months out and expecting a baby bean in Aug. again. I am still very close with that group of extraordinary women. I am truly blessed and grateful to call them my friends. I have included a list of poems that struck a cord with me in dealing with my grief. I hope they bring a bit of comfort to you as well.

My Grief is Real

From the moment of conception, she's a baby. If she lives to be 80 or dies at 31 weeks in the womb, she was a person, who was really loved and who will be truly missed. Unfortunately for you, you didn't have the honor of meeting her, but those of us who did should not be expected to get over the loss the way a person gets over the flu.

My baby, like every person on this planet, was unique and irreplaceable. I am fully aware that I can try to have another baby. While it's kind of you to try to help, telling me I can have another baby is not productive. Think of it this way: if someone loses a 2 year old, would you tell that child's mother "You can have another child"? The age of my baby does not dictate how much grief I am allowed to feel over her loss.

There are going to be times when I am sad and depressed. It's OK for me to cry. It's OK if I don't feel like laughing, or even smiling. Let me be depressed. Let me cry. Let me be sad for weeks or months or however long I need to be. Don't you get it? My baby DIED! I'm sorry, but I can't help it if my grief makes you uncomfortable. I have bigger problems to contend with than to try to ease your discomfort.

Have some decorum, some sensitivity, some decency. Remember that I'm a woman in pain, a mother who lost her child. I know it's hard to know what to say or do. But please don't pretend like nothing happened. Something HUGE happened and we all know it. I would like to be treated with the compassion and dignity you would give any person in grief.

The baby was real. My grief is real.



The Pit


The day my child died, I fell into the pit of grief. My friends watched me struggle through daily life, waiting for the person I once was to arise from the pit, not realizing "she" is gone forever.

The pit is full of darkness, heartache and despair, it paralyzes your thoughts, movements and ability to ration. The pit leaves you forever changed, unable to surface the person you once were.

Some of my pre-grief friends gather around the top of the pit, waiting for the old me to appear before their eyes, not understanding whatís taking me so long to emerge. After all, in their eyes, I've been in the pit for quite sometime. Yet in my eyes, it seems as if I fell in only yesterday.

Not all of my pre-grief friends are gathered around the top of the pit. Some are helping me with the climb out of the darkness. They climb side by side with me from time to time, but mostly they climb ahead of me, waiting patiently at each plateau. Even with these friends I sometimes wonder if they are also waiting for the pre-grief me to magically appear before their eyes.

Then there are the casual acquaintances, you know the ones who say, "Hi, how are you?" when they really don't care or really want to know. These are the people who sigh in relief, that it is my child who died and not theirs. You know...the "better them, than me" attitude.

My post-grief friends (and a rare pre-grief friend) are the ones who climb with me, side by side, inch by inch, out of the pit with me. They are able to reassure me when I need reassurance, rest when I need resting, and encourage me to move forward when I don't have the strength. They have no expectations, no memories and no recollection of how I "should" be. They want me to get better, to smile more often and find joy in life, but they also accepted the person I've become. The "person" who is emerging from the pit

~Author Unknown

My Wish List
1. I wish my baby hadn't died. I wish I had her back.

2. I wish you wouldn't be afraid to speak my baby's name. My baby lived and is very important to me. I need to hear that she is important to you also.

3. If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my baby, I wish you knew it isn't because you have hurt me. My baby's death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my baby, and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.

4. Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn't shy away from me. I need you now more than ever.

5. I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you; but I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my baby, my favorite topic of the day.

6. I know you think of and pray for me often. I also know that my baby's death pains you too. I wish you would let me know those things through a phone call, a card or note, or a real big hug.

7. I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in six months. These first months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my baby until the day I die.

8. I am working very hard on my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my baby, and I will always grieve that she is dead.

9. I wish you wouldn't expect me "not to think about it" or to "be happy." Neither will happen for a very long time, so don't frustrate yourself.

10. I don't want to have a "pity party," but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.

11. I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I am feeling miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you.

12. When I say, "I'm doing okay," I wish you could understand that I don't "feel" okay and that I struggle daily.

13. I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I'm having are very normal. Depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So, please excuse me when I'm quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.

14. Your advise to "take one day at a time" is excellent advice. However, a day is too much and too fast for me right now. I wish you could understand that I'm doing good to handle an hour at a time.

15. Please excuse me if I seem rude, certainly it is not my intent. Sometimes the world around me goes too fast and I need to get off. When I walk away, I wish you would let me find a quiet place to spend time alone.

16. I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my baby died, a big part of me died with her. I am not the same person I was before my baby died, and will never be that person again.

17. I wish very much that you could understand - understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain BUT, I pray that you will never understand.



My Shoes

I am wearing a pair of shoes
They are ugly shoes uncomfortable shoes I hate my shoes
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them
I get funny looks wearing these shoes
They are looks of sympathy I can tell in others eyes
that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs
They never talk about my shoes
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them
But once you put them on, you can never take them off
I realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes
There are many pairs in the world
Some woman are like me and ache daily as they walk in them
Some have learned how to walk in them so that they don't hurt quite so much
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go
before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman
These shoes have given me strength to face anything
They have made me who I am
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

-Author Unknown -


From the heart of a bereaved Mother...

This is now what "normal" is...

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your family's life.

Normal for me is trying to decide what to take to the cemetery for Birthdays Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Valentine's Day, July 4th and Easter.

Normal is feeling like you know how to act and are more comfortable with a funeral than a wedding or birthday party...yet feeling a stab of pain in your heart when you smell the flowers and see the casket.

Normal is feeling like you can't sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don't like to sit through anything.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's & why didn't I's go through your head constantly.

Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.

Normal is having the TV on the minute I walk into the house to have noise, because the silence is deafening.

Normal is staring at every baby who looks like he is my baby's age. And then thinking of the age they would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in my heart.

Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my "normal".

Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your child's memory and their birthday and survive these days. And trying to find the balloon or flag that fit's the occasion. Happy Birthday? Not really.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special my baby loved. Thinking how he would love it, but how he is not here to enjoy it.

Normal is having some people afraid to mention my babies.

Normal is making sure that others remember them.

Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives, but we continue to grieve our loss forever.

Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare. Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is taking pills, and trying not to cry all day, because I know my mental health depends on it.

Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.

Normal is disliking jokes about death or funerals, bodies being referred to as cadavers, when you know they were once someone's loved one.

Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone, but someone stricken with grief over the loss of your child.

Normal is sitting at the computer crying, sharing how you feel with chat buddies who have also lost a child.

Normal is feeling a common bond with friends on the computer in England, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and all over the USA, but yet never having met any of them face to face.

Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying together over our children and our new lives.

Normal is not listening to people make excuses for God. "God may have done this because..." I love God, I know that my baby is in heaven, but hearing people trying to think up excuses as to why healthy babies were taken from this earth is not appreciated and makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.

Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did laundry or if there is any food.

Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have two children or one, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that my baby is in heaven. And yet when you say you have 1 child to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your baby.

Normal is avoiding McDonald's and Burger King playgrounds because of small, happy children that break your heart when you see them.

Normal is asking God why he took your child's life instead of yours and asking if there even is a God.

Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.And last of all,

Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "normal".
------ author unknown ------



Wish List

I wish you would not be afraid to mention my baby. The truth is just because you never saw my baby doesn't mean it doesn't deserve your recognition.
I wish that if we did talk about my baby and I cried you don't think it was because you have hurt me by mentioning my baby. The truth is I need to cry and talk about my baby with you. Crying and emotional outbursts help me heal.
I wish you wouldn't think that I don't want to talk about my baby. The truth is I love my baby and need to talk about it.
I wish you could tell me you are sorry my baby has died and that you're thinking of me. The truth is it tells me you care.
I wish you wouldn't think what has happened is one big bad memory for me. The truth is the memory of my baby, the love I feel for my baby, the dreams I had and the memories I have created for my baby are all loving memories. Yes there are bad memories too but please understand that it's not all like that.
I wish you wouldn't pretend my baby never existed. The truth is we both know I had a baby growing inside me.
I wish you wouldn't judge me because I'm not acting the way you think I should be. The truth is grief is a very personal thing and we are all different people who deal with things differently.
I wish you wouldn't think if I have a good day I'm "over it" or if I have a bad day I am being unreasonable because you think I should be over it. The truth is there is no "normal" way for me to act.
I wish you wouldn't stay away from me. The truth is loosing my baby doesn't mean I'm contagious. By staying away you make me feel isolated, confused and like it is my fault.
I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be "over and done with" in a few weeks, months or years for that matter. The truth is it may get easier with time but I will never be "over" this.
I wish you wouldn't think that my baby wasn't really a baby and it was blood and tissue or a "fetus". The truth is my baby was a human life. My baby had a soul, heart, body, legs, arms and a face. My baby was a real person. My babies due date, Mothers Day, celebration times, the day my baby died and the day I lost my baby are all important and sad days for me.
I wish you understood that losing my baby has changed me. The truth is I am not the same person I was before and will never be that person again.
I wish you wouldn't tell me I could have another baby. The truth is I want the baby I lost and no other baby can replace this baby. Babies aren't interchangeable.
I wish you wouldn't think that you'll keep away because others will be there for me. The truth is, everyone thinks the same thing and I am often left with no one.
I wish you would understand that being around pregnant women is uncomfortable for me. The truth is I feel jealous.
I wish you wouldn't say that it's natures way of telling me something was wrong with my baby. The truth is my baby was perfect to me no matter what you think nature is saying.
I wish you would understand what you are really saying when you say "next time things will be okay". The truth is how do you know? What will you say if it happens to me again?I wish you would remember the father. The truth is he is suffering too.
I wish you don't think bad of me for posting this list. The truth is it needed to be said.
~Author Unknown~

"There are two responses to trauma: to hold onto it in all its vividness and remain its captive, or without necessarily "conquering" it, to gradually integrate it into the day-by-day."

2 comments:

Jack's Mommy said...

Amanda - (((HUGS))) Thank you for sharing your story and your incredible words of wisdom. I've said it before - but how true - it is amazing to meet people who live so far away - but know what we're going through better than anyone directly in our lives. Thank you!
-Karry
Jack's Mommy

Christine (Lucy's Mom) said...

amanda- thanks for sharing these i have been meaning to post these poems. lover you!