Thursday, October 31, 2013

The End of "Capturing Your Grief" (my catch-up attempt)

I stopped doing this project for awhile.  I have enough trouble sleeping as it is, generally blogging at night. I often spend my day exhausted, arriving at a second wind just when the house is so temptingly quiet and the computer is waiting for me, with no distractions, finally.  This happens, oh, around 10 PM or so.  This ain't good.

Also, it wasn't always helping blogging about grief topics right before bed.  So I stopped for  a bit.

But meanwhile, Facebook closed down the event due to a complaint that some people were posting pictures of dead babies.  Uh guys, that's kind of the point of the project: it's where people grieve about dead babies, in a specific place where bereaved parents didn't have to feel like freaks for having inadvertently experienced a loss.  Well, I'm going to finish anyway.  Here's a picture of my baby, hand by her face.  Man, I wish it was 3D.  Man, I wish I could hold her now:

And here are the topics:
18. Release: What do you want to let go of on this journey of grief? Is it fear? Guilt? Worry? Deep sadness? Regrets?

Fear.  I don't want to be afraid of this happening again.  I'd like to release that, most of all.
19. Support: Share about what has been the best support for you since the loss of your baby. Maybe it is a special friend or family member? A pet? An organization? What have they done for you? Where would you be without them?

You guys.  :)  Having this blog, and people who read it, has been a huge help in my grieving process.   People who have the courage to mention Pepper, or simply ask how I'm doing with the sadness of the event.  Oh, and grief counseling helps a lot too; gotta love sound psychology in a world full of "Don't think about it, don't talk about it, just get over it, right now." :) Without such things, this process would take a lot longer, and be more painful.
20. Hope: Do you have hope for the future? What do you hope for those who will join this club in the future.

Remember that strange story about how Solomon demonstrated his wisdom?  How two women each had a baby, one baby died, and the bereaved mom claimed the live baby as her own... Solomon sussed out the true mom by suggesting that the baby be literally divided between the two, causing the real mom to insist the baby live apart from her, as long as he could live.

I used to think, "What a bizarrely wicked lady this character was."  But today I think, "Poor, crazed, bereaved mom.  Unable to cope with the reminder of what she had lost."

I talked about a "cocoon" awhile back: that once out of the pre-loss cocoon, you can't get back in.  If we live long enough ourselves, all of us will experience some kind of loss.  That's just the reality of being mortal.

So to those who are still happily able to stay cocooned: I hope that your hatching happens gradually and in the fullness of time, like a beloved grandparent passing on at the end of a long life, peacefully surrendering her soul while surrounded by family.  That's how I'd wish for you to become acquainted with grief.

But if you ever happen to see a colorful creature with torn wings who did not have a peaceful hatching: Don't turn away.  Don't change the topic to the weather.  Don't urge them to focus on the positive.  Know their condition will improve, but the grief never goes away.  That they may weep at the mention of what was lost, but still deeply appreciate your acknowledgment of a life so loved.

(And this is what happens when you blog late at night: you compare yourself to a wounded insect.  Moving boldly along...:)
21. Honour: Is there anything that you have done to honour your baby since they died?

I once heard a woman who'd miscarried three times say that the loss of a child is like a flood, which changes the landscape of your life forever.  At the time, I simply felt awful for her and thought that was a rather dark perspective.  But now, I just see it's true.  Baby loss changes who you are on a fundamental level.  And odd as it sounds, though it feels catastrophic, I'm finding that the change isn't a bad one.

The main thing I've done so far in honor of Pepper is to join the OB Council at the hospital, working towards changes that will ensure other mothers who have losses will have a more caring experience.  I'm also getting trained as a grief counselor starting in January, and am working towards getting a better camera with the aim of becoming a photographer for "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep."  Unlike what I went through at the hospital, I would love to give others more beautiful memories, honoring the lives of these little ones that are so precious.  Plus, I live right down the street, and there are very few of such photographers.  Praying about it...
22. Words: Share your favourite quote, poem, song lyrics, scripture that you have found.

Jeremiah 29:11
23. Tattoos/Jewellery: Do you have a piece of jewellery in memory of your baby?

I've shown this one before.  Made in honor of Gabriel and Pepper, from a very dear fellow loss mom friend of mine:

24. Artwork: Have you created a piece of artwork in the wake of your baby’s death? Or maybe someone has given you some artwork to honour your baby? Please feel welcome to share links to your own website or to other artists.

Also as mentioned before, I was honored to be selected to have a calendar page designed by Franchesca Cox for my quote.

I've also ordered some of the fantastic prints by Carly Marie, such as:

25. #SayItOutLoud: Say It Out Loud is The STILL Project’s famous hashtag. STILL is a feature-length documentary film project aimed at breaking the cycle of silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. If you could say anything out loud about your journey with grief with the death or your baby, what would it be? What do you want the world to know? Is there a cause that touches your heart that you want to raise awareness for?

I was completely pro-life before all this; I think my loss experience just really highlighted this for me, again.  I feel that society's stoic ignorance of the frequency of stillbirth and miscarriage is coupled with a general disrespect for the lives of these little ones.  Any work I do to help moms who have or will have losses I feel is truly "pro-life" work, and I'm honored to be a part of it.  
26. Community: What does this community mean to you?

The people who surround you wherever you are.  In my case, the people who've had the courage to surround me with love and support during something as supremely uncomfortable as the loss of a baby. And this does take courage, because for most of us, acknowledging such things can happen is to face one's own greatest fear.  
27. Signs: If you believe in life after death do you believe your child has ways of contacting you? Have you had any signs?

Yes to the millionth power!  :) I've shared some of this before with you, from avoiding close calls in car accidents right after her loss, to finding my necklace reappear, even the fact that suddenly I keep winning raffles and contests now, seeming to indicate that I'm getting extra behind the scenes assistance.  :)

Mostly, and strangely: the more I miss her, the more I'm convinced that she's right there, with me, trying to comfort me.  Not like a baby, but like a 16 year old version of herself: capable, smart, sensitive, and completely loving.  
28. Special Place: This could be your baby’s place of rest.

And it is.  Still have to get a headstone though.  I also find the upstairs of my house is special, because we renovated it for her.  My older girls use it as their bedroom, and in the straightforward sensibility of children, have used some memorial cards of Pepper's for decor in spots.  They also sleep near a large picture of a sunset that they drew for her, and missing the right word ("dedicated") by a wee bit, it reads, "Donated to Perpetua Dancause."  Makes me smile.

My four year old knows we go to visit a garden-like place once a month, and we talk about a girl named "Pepper" when we do.  Last time we had guests over, Cecilia asked, "Mom, can't Pepper come over to play too?  Please?"  Made me cry.  Which confused my earnest preschooler.

Oh, if only, babe.  If only.

I have trouble with what would have been.

I'm so lucky to already have beautiful kids.  I'm so sad that these beautiful kids are missing an important playmate now.

29. Healing: What has had the most healing impact on your life through this journey of grief?

Seeing how much people care.  Overall, it's called out the best in everyone around me, which has been humbling and wonderful to witness.
30. Growth: Do you believe you have grown or are growing as a person since the loss of your precious baby? How? How do you see other people now? How do you see the world? Do you believe you have a higher purpose? Do you believe your baby had a higher purpose?

Yes to all.  Having had a taste of this kind of suffering, I just appreciate all the good so much more, and want to make things better for those around me.  And Pepper and Gabriel help me, I swear they do.  It's cool having my own personal saints up their, who are the patron saint of, well, me.  
31. Sunset: "To close this project and this month of Baby Loss Awareness I thought that we could all photograph the sunset from wherever we are in the world. If there is no sunset where you are, you can still take a photo of the early evening sky. You just need to be able to get to a window. Remember to caption what State/Country you are from and the time."

Tomorrow is Halloween.  At sunset, I will likely be sitting at my grandfather's, very much inside, with my costumed doctor, Native American, panda, and Cleopatra.  (No, we don't--apparently--do "themes.")  So I'll post my favorite sunset picture of the month here--featuring my oldest daughter--to end this grieving exercise.  Thanks for your patience with my process.  I don't expect to do anything formal on the blog regarding my loss anytime soon, but I'm sure the issue will pop up now and again on my blog as it comes to my mind.  And given this is a mom blog, and I'm the mom of two angels too, that's all kinds of a good thing.  Love to you all, thanks for sticking around, and have lots and lots of fun with kids tomorrow.  I know I thoroughly intend to. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment