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Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

Alexandra's 8 month birthday passed by slowly and lazily, as Dayne and I hung out with the dog and played webkinz. I didn't write on that day for the first time and I feel guilty. I have not forgotten my little girl, she has not gotten less important, but I find myself at a loss for words these days. I'm at that place that I believe is referred to as "Acceptance" in the Kubler-Ross model.
And yet, I am still sad. If I can accept what happened, you might think that the pain would lessen, just a little bit, but it really hasn't.
Alexandra would have been 8 months old and her first Christmas would have just passed, making way for her first New Year's, and her first Easter and then her first birthday.
At midnight tonight, I will take a minute to think of Alexandra. To be glad that the worst year of my life is over and hope that this new year makes way to positive things in my daughter's memory and in my family's life.
I am hoping all of my followers and fellow loss moms will have a peaceful and gentle New Year's Eve.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Why Hold On?

There are some things that people should let go of and move on from, losing a child is not one of those things.
I made it through Christmas with only one offensive confrontation about my daughter. To be honest, I didn't think there would be any. I knew that there were a few family members that really get how I'm feeling, and they would incorporate Alexandra into my day in a gentle and kind way. I thought that everyone else would ignore how hard this day must be for us and pretend that there wasn't a member of our family missing...lost.
I did get "How are you doing?" questions, with the look and implication of "No, but really..." And I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were a few others that are anonymously following along with my story who were kind and thoughtful in our conversations.
The bad moment is what leads me to write this blog. The moment where I thought my heart might jump up my throat and out my mouth, the moment where I felt I might involuntarily create a scene, where my words may fall out of my mouth in a way that I couldn't control, in a way that would hurt someone irreparably. That moment began simply enough, with a comment about not understanding "that whole thing" which I stupidly thought was a comment of ignorance in regards to what exactly happened to my daughter. I took the bait and inquired what the questioner meant.
That was when the REAL questions started, "Why are you holding onto this?" "Why are you doing things to remember?" "Why haven't you let it go" no amount of explaining was going to make this stop. "But WHY are you doing these things?" "I just want to UNDERSTAND" and then the point was driven home, as this member of my family, this person that I was once close to, grabbed my wrist, flipped my arm over, gawking at my tattoo and proclaiming that I am just being excessive.
My attempts to be diplomatic and respectable were gone at that point, and as I said "Remembering my daughter is EXCESSIVE!?" that family member was swooped away by what I can only describe as his guardian angel.
I just want to be clear to anyone that has a hard time understanding why *I* deal with my loss the way that I do.
I was 37 and a half weeks pregnant when I lost my daughter. I was just weeks away from my due date. My daughter's room was set up (still is) my daughter's dresser was filled with beautiful little outfits (still is) Everything was put together, my bags were packed and I was ready to go to the hospital and come home with a baby, a living, breathing, kicking, crying, baby girl, whose name we had chosen to be Alexandra Elizabeth Monique, after her two great grandmothers.
I had hopes and plans and dreams for my little girl. I made promises to her about how her life would be and how I would be as a mother to her.
I had plans.
And they were yanked away from. Stolen out from under me. I was robbed of holding my baby while she kicked and squirmed. I was robbed of looking into my little girls eyes, soothing her when she was crying, of showing her off, of dressing her up, of seeing her personality. I didn't get to meet her, face to face, before she left me, all I have are my thoughts of how she might be, my memories of her moving in my womb and of holding her in my arms, knowing she would never open those beautiful little eyes and look at her mommy.
 She was real, she is loved and she is missed.
I understand that not everyone copes with their grief the same way that I do and I can respect that. I only ask for that same respect in return.
And so what if I write about my daughter? And so what if I talk about her? And how does it hurt anyone else that I got a memorial tattoo for her? Or that I incorporate her into things?
I understand that everyone has an opinion, and I can respect that too...but those people must also understand and respect, that I can think their opinion is stupid, uninformed and ignorant.
I understand that people that haven't been in this place don't always understand how I feel and what I am going through and I am happy to spread the knowledge and understanding. However, you haven't walked in these shoes, you haven't been where I am and unless you have lost a child, back off and don't presume to understand what I am going through and how my actions and feelings are right or wrong.
A closed mind cannot absorb knowledge and a closed mind combined with an open mouth is the best way to make yourself look like an ass.
I will hold onto my daughter because she's my daughter, and whether anyone else in this world finds her important or worthy of their memory, she has touched my life in a way that no one else ever could and her gift to this world is greater than any gift a living person with a hurtful nature could give, and that is reason enough for me to keep her alive in my heart and the hearts of everyone that will listen.
There are some things that people should let go of and move on from and mean and hurtful people and comments are just a few of those things.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Tomorrow will be a busy day in this house so I am making this post today. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I would like to wish all of my fellow angel moms a gentle and peaceful holiday season. And those going through their very first Christmas without your baby, like me, I doubt this will be easy, but when you are feeling really sad, please remember that you are not alone and that I will be thinking of all of you and your precious angels.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Christmas Wish

Christmas is less than a week away. I am unsure of how I will feel that day. I already have plans to stop at the cemetery after we open gifts to drop off Alexandra's "first Christmas" bear that I bought. I get a lump in my throat thinking about that day. It makes me sad that we won't be showing off our little princess that day...Instead, I will be showing off my memorial tattoo.
It's hard and we are sad over here. But, for reasons Dayne related, we can't cancel Christmas this year and stay in bed...I wish we could.
I posted last month about my Christmas wish. I asked for people to do random acts of kindness and send them along to us. I am touched by the response we've gotten, some perfect strangers have done amazing random acts in memory of our Alexandra.
At this time, I wanted to bring it up again, so those people that missed that post can see one or those that have forgotten can remember!
Thank you all for your support and kind words...I didn't realize when I started this blog that there would be so many kind people that would offer their support. It has really touched my heart.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Amazing

This morning I had an amazing moment.
Dayne is sick. We were up most of the night so our morning got started a little late. Between getting some cleaning done, tending to this poor sicky and trying to take care of myself, I have been a little bit busy. Much later than usual I climbed into the shower. We have a window in our shower, that should be opened to let the steam out whenever you shower, but I usually forget.
Today was one of those rare days that I remembered to open the window. Now, perhaps this is too much sharing, but as I was bent over shaving my legs, something blocked some of the sun coming in the window. I glanced up, expecting...well, expecting nothing really, I wasn't even really aware of the glancing, it was basically an instinct, something blocked the light, so I looked up. When I looked up, I saw something amazing.
It was a bird tail. I gasped and took a closer look. The bird was moving around, it had landed silently on the house outside the window. Maybe the shower steam had drawn it's attention, maybe it was just a total fluke, but there it was. I moved quietly to see it's head, the bird was brown and I was thinking to myself, "there's no way..." But as I saw the birds face, I realized...this wasn't just any old bird. This was a hawk! This doesn't make sense to me, being that it's December and hawks migrate in the fall, but this was a hawk, I am positive of it.
As I stood there, it flew to the neighbor's roof and perched. I grabbed my glasses to get a really good look at it, but it was gone when I turned back around. Completely silent, it graced my day and completely silent, it flew away...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Cemetery

Since we buried Alexandra there have been eight other babies buried around her. Eight. That's one baby a month. Whenever we see a new mound of dirt, Steve and I always do the same thing. We both see it, there's a split second of silence...shock that there's another baby, how can there be another baby? It's not fair! Then we both saw "Oh" and we always stop at the grave to acknowledge this new baby, to acknowledge the loss, to remember the baby, to have a moment of complete silence for the baby's family.
Something else I noticed was the lack of footprints in the snow. The snow is fairly deep, and you can really tell who is visiting and who is not. Not just in the children's area though. I can't help but wonder if these people are never visited, or if it's just in the winter. And if it is in the winter, why do people think it's ok to leave their loved one all winter and visit them all summer? I mean, if they can somehow know that we are there, don't they wonder why they aren't important enough in the winter?
Maybe it's just me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

Dayne has been asking and asking about the Christmas tree. I have been putting it off for a while. I had planned on putting it up the first day of December, but it's just seemed like such a sad thing to do. To hang Alexandra's little angel kitty, to really face that fact that that's it for Alexandra's Christmas stuff, there will be no gifts under the tree for her, there will be no "My first Christmas" outfits, gifts, pictures and ornaments. None of that. It's hard.
But the tree had to be put up because I don't get to cancel Christmas. And I had to go to the toy store and buy gifts for other kids and see all those cute little girl things. We included Alexandra in gift buying by purchasing an angel star and marking it as from Alexandra. There is still time and we plan to donate some more things in her name, which help. And we got her stocking, handmade by a dear friend. It even has her name on it. Which we are hoping to be able to fill up with the random acts of kindness that everyone has done in her honor.
So, while it was difficult, we got to the tree last night. The first ornament I put on the tree was Alexandra's. I put it right at the top, in the front, just down from the tree topper angel. It's the first thing I see every time I look at the tree. It's sad, but at the same time, it's nice to know she's being included.




 

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Awkward Moment

So, Steve's friend had a housewarming party on the weekend. I don't normally see these people, they are Steve's pool friends and they only really get together to play pool. So, this is the first time I have met most of these people's significant others. I was nervous about going, but put on my happy face and off we went.
Everything started out fine, we had a tour, got our drinks and sat around in the kitchen. Everyone was really nice, the small chat was great. As the night went on people started to realize we would have to go soon, a few made comments about where Dayne was, the few that I assume knew what happened with Alexandra.
But then, that moment happened. The awkward moment. The girlfriend of a friend of Steve's commented, "I guess you have to go pick up the kids" after we said that we would be leaving in a few minutes. We both caught the comment, "pick up the kidS" Plural. We shot a glance at each other. I begged Steve, in my head "Please just say yes, please say yes, please don't make this THAT moment, we've gotten so far without having this moment. PLEASE, just smile and nod yes." Steve was not prepared for this moment, he had not thought about it like I had. He replied "Uhhhh, yeah, we have to go pick up the boy" to which this poor girl got a puzzled look on her face and said "Well yeah, because didn't you guys just have a baby?"
And there it was. That moment. Again, Steve and I glanced at each other and we both quietly said "No." I glanced back to Steve who I know was begging me in his head "Please don't say anything, please just leave it alone. Don't tell her the story. PLEASE, just leave it at no." And I turned from him, looked this poor girl in the eye and said "Our daughter passed away." I felt like it would be denying our daughter to not acknowledge her. I mean, if I deny her existence, what is the point in everything that I have done to keep her memory alive?
But my insistence on including Alexandra in my every day life, in everything that I do, had caused that awkward moment and I felt bad for that girl. For Steve, who acted as if he had heard nothing. For myself. And she responded with "Oh. I'm sorry." and quickly exited the room.
My life makes people uncomfortable. My reality makes people feel awkward. My "situation" is taboo, nobody wants to talk about it, to acknowledge it, to admit that the unthinkable is too sad for them to comprehend. Nobody wants to go there in their own mind, and I push them there by talking about Alexandra...and maybe it's not fair to them, but I just don't care, because it wasn't fair to me either and here I sit.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Tattoo...

Well, it was a rocky road, but yesterday was my tattoo appointment. The night that I got the call that I could come in was a week, to the day, before. I couldn't sleep that night, I was so excited. I got the email on Thursday with the artists idea and it was so perfect, not one little thing had to be changed, I loved it! It was exactly what I wanted, and even better than I had envisioned.
My excitement was at a minimum until yesterday, around 3:00pm, when my appointment was an hour away and we were preparing to leave. As we drove, I commented on how I was afraid it would hurt, and the excitement of it all, combined with the amount of coffee I had consumed had me just jittery.
We drove around downtown looking for a place a park, and when we finally found one, Steve walked me to the building. An old building, which we discovered is actually the very first skyscraper in Alberta! It's just so small, it's comical to think that it was once considered a sky scraper.
The floors are all old hardwood, the building has this feeling about it, like it's almost magical. The energy of all of those before, is still there, hanging out, welcoming people into the old place. We took the stairs to the second floor. One of the things I love about old buildings is the floor. It's so loud. You can always hear people coming.
We walked down the hallway, nearly to the end and into the tattoo shop. A tiny place with one wall of windows, looking out into downtown. The other walls were red halfway up, and then white. The walls were covered in artwork, Egyptian artwork, drawings, paintings, little mirrors shaped like birds, some awards. The rest of the room had tables with Buddha's, a large Ganesha, a huge vase filled with flowers and peacock feathers. The bookshelf had books about anatomy, birds, warriors and Taoism. The feel was eclectic and comfortable. This was a place that had an energy of complete openess, of non judgement and peace. As I sat there waiting, I knew that I was in the right place. Later I would tell Steve that all the pitfalls on the road to getting this tattoo were for a reason, Alexandra wanted me to be in that place, on that day, having that artist doing my tattoo.
And she picked the right person, because my tattoo is perfect in every way...and well worth the pain ;-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sittin on my plateau

Six months ago I never would have thought that I would go one day without writing, let alone several! I mean, besides being busy, I just have not been able to think of anything to say. I'm sitting in here on my little plateau, looking out as the rest of the world goes by and I there is nothing of substance running through my head.
Tomorrow is the day I get my tattoo, and I am excited! The woman that was supposed to do it got back to me and told me that I could go in tomorrow and of course I said yes. The picture she drew up is amazing. I'll post pictures after it's done, so everyone can see it.
Tonight there's is a candlelight service for families that have lost a child and I will be there thinking of my little Alexandra.
Other than these things, we are slowing getting in the mood for Christmas. Seeing all of the little girl Christmas gifts is hard. I'm really concerned about how this Christmas will be for us. I don't think that it will be easy, in fact, I'm afraid for how difficult it's going to end up.