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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life Lessons From Loss

I am a firm DISbeliever in that old saying "Everything happens for a reason." I refuse to say it, I will disagree with most anyone that says it to me, I will become irate if someone says that to me regarding my daughter. There is something that I do believe though, and that is that, you can take something terrible and use it to bring goodness and love to someone else.
Alexandra has taught me many lessons and her loss has brought me to a different place in my life than I would have been otherwise. This place isn't my ideal place, it's not the best place, that place only exists in a world where she does, but this new place is a place where I am needed.
I wish that Alexandra was here with me, right now. She would be 14 months old right now, walk and bothering her big brother. She would be wearing pretty little sundresses and she would accompany us on our daily walks, cooing and chattering while Dayne and I discussed one of the many topics that he is pondering. I still miss her, every single day. I still imagine what she would look like, what she would be like, what would her favorite toy be? I still think about her, every single day.
Every time I think of my beautiful daughter, I think about what I can do to spread her memory some more, to take my loss and use it to help the next loss mom. Alexandra's spirit has inspired me to be a better person, a more kind and giving person. I believe that Alexandra is here with me, making sure her mommy doesn't get stuck in a rut. Sometimes I wonder if her little hands are on my back, pushing me forward, encouraging me.
We recently found out that my request to have pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day recognized in my city has gone on to the next step. It is being reviewed and we may have this day here, this year. This is a huge deal. When I applied, I didn't know what would happen and when I got the phone call to discuss it I realized that I had to do something more, to get this day out there than just tell people. And an idea was born. I sent some emails to get the ball rolling on SOMETHING for loss families to do on that day and I wondered...will there be a time when I feel like everything that I can do to help this loss community has been done? Will there be a time when the support for this community is the best it can get? I imagine it will take years.
With little hands on my back though, I am up for the challenge.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lauren's Walk

Today we got to attend Lauren's Walk. A walk and butterfly release in honor of Lauren, a little girl who was lost too soon.
It was wonderful to meet more loss moms. Though I kind of feel like wonderful isn't the best word to use, it's not wonderful to hear about someone else having lost their child, but to know that other people understand just what I've gone through, it's like coming into a room full of old friends.
It was cold and rainy, but well worth braving the weather. They had signs for so many babies, with messages from the families. Alexandra's sign had a quote from the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. And not only did Alexandra get a sign, but the baby we lost to an ectopic miscarriage this past February got a sign as well. It was touching to see them and know that everyone there was going to read my little girls name.

And as Dayne released his butterfly, he whispered to it "Tell Alexandra that I love her and she's beautiful"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Aunt Diane

My Uncle Mike is a pretty cool guy, he has rough edges, but a kind heart, it's easy to tell if you have spent any time with him. I remember meeting Diane, his new girlfriend and thinking she was pretty neat, she was working in a field I was greatly interested in, so I was fascinated by her. I remember when my Uncle proposed to her as well, in front of the whole family, it was romantically out of character for the Uncle that I had grown up knowing.
It was obvious though, the love that they shared, it was obvious and real and amazing. I have always believed that they were soul mates.
Over the years we fought a bit, I was a different person then than I am now, and I lashed out easily. Still, my Uncle Mike and his lovely wife accepted me, acting as if nothing bad had ever happened.
When we lost Alexandra and I wasn't taking calls I got a message from my Uncle Mike, they were thinking of us and if we needed anything we should call. At my Ross's birthday party (my grandma's husband, my Ross) Diane and I had a moment, she had recently lost her mom and we connected over our losses. We talked about how we both thought that those that we lost were still around us. We talked about the signs that they leave us, letting us know they're still here checking in on us.
We made plans for Diane to come to a psychic party that I was planning. Diane, who I never called Aunt, gave me $5.00 for the pregnancy and infant loss bracelet that I was wearing. She asked about it and I explained what it was, why I was wearing it and that we were going to sell them to raise money for the pregnancy and infant loss program. She said she wanted one, but didn't want to take the one off my wrist, she was worried that I didn't have another like it. I laughed because I had hundreds! I happily gave it to her, and she insisted on giving me the money for it, to help.
My psychic party didn't end up happening. The weather was terrible, it was too cold and nobody wanted to drive. I was looking forward to visiting with Diane again and was disappointed, but thought it was no big deal, I would have the party in the spring, or for my birthday and we could continue our conversation.
At Christmas they were there, we all chatted. My Uncle Mike and Diane, they gave everybody gifts, wine for the women and leather work gloves for the men. I remember thinking how those gloves were soooo my Uncle Mike. That was the last time we had a visit with my Uncle Mike and Diane.

On Alexandra's birthday I received an email from my mom telling me that Diane was in the hospital, she had cancer and they weren't sure what exactly was going on, but it didn't look good. I waited to hear more, but when news got progressively worse, I called my Uncle to let him know we were thinking of them and wanted to come visit.
I tried to visit the hospital twice, the first time they were having tests done and the second time Diane was sleeping. I was upset, I just wanted to see Diane, to talk to her. I guess I wanted to be reassured that she was ok...even though she wasn't.
I finally got to see her on June 11th and 12th, I went two days in a row to make up for the two days
I missed, I wish I had gone even more. I got to meet Diane's sisters, sister in law, and brother. They are all so kind, it's not fair that they have to go through such pain. And when I saw my Uncle I found it very difficult to remain composed.
I want to say something, to take his pain away, just for a second. I want to bring him a single moment of peace and I know that I can't.
I was an adult when they were married, too old to call someone new an Aunt. I was stubborn and selfish because she was just like any other Aunt and she deserved that title...And maybe it's stupid because it's just a title, but it's one of those things that I think might have meant more to me than I realized at the time.

The other day Steve was working in the yard, when he was done he carried his leather gloves into the house and handed them to me, I glanced at them and thought of my Uncle and then I remembered Diane's laugh and I missed it. I assumed that I would see her again soon, happy and healthy and laughing and drinking some wine with me at my psychic party and that wasn't going to happen.

Diane was a kind woman, with a giving heart. She was a good person who helped others. She was lively and out-going. Everyone that knows her has amazing memories with her as the star. Her laugh could light up a room and wherever she was, whatever she was doing, she was sharing that laugh with the world.
I didn't get to see her enough, I didn't spend enough time with her. I am heart broken for Diane, for my Uncle and for Diane's family and I am sad for myself because I will miss her.

On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Diane passed away. She will remain in the hearts and memory of everyone who had the chance to meet her. She will be forever loved and never forgotten.

Do not stand at my grave and weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Penguin

I'm not a huge super hero movie buff. I don't really care for most action movies actually...Well, I love the Transformers movies, but those are different, of course! But, when I was young I did enjoy such movies, and Batman Returns was one of my favorites. I liked cat woman, and batman is cool, but my favorite was the penguin. I don't know why, I've just always thought he was funny in a tragic sort of way.
There was one line from that movie that I always remembered and used to say now and then.

"Still, could be worse, my nose could be gushing blood." And then of course he laughs and bites someone's nose.

It's become a bit of a motto of mine. I've actually only ever had one nose bleed in my life, so I feel like it kind of fits for me. It's something to say, something to think, when something terrible has happened. It makes me realize that I can take this in, deal with it and move forward, because it COULD be worse. I don't think that acknowledging that takes anything away from my own grief and my own terrible situations of course, it just makes it easier to take.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Memories of Memories

Yesterday it rained. Actually, it's been raining for a little while here, on and off, but yesterday something happened. Dayne and I are both feeling under the weather so I kept him home from school so he could work through whatever it is that he has. He was laying on the couch watching a show and I was sitting in the bedroom, I thought maybe if I let him lay there he would fall asleep, but that didn't end up happening! As I sat there I heard a sound, it started out softly, a pittering. It came from outside and my window was open so the sounds came right in. The pittering got louder and faster within seconds and I quickly realized that it was rain. No, not just rain, it was rain and hail, pouring down on our house. I jumped up and rain to the living room calling, "Dayne! Look outside!" as I went. He jumped up and ran to the window, "Is that HAIL!?" he asked as we pulled the window open. "Yeah, it sure is."
It's so ridiculous, but Dayne and I get excited for rain, we love the rain, and when it's pouring enough for it to hail, well, that is exciting! We run around pulling open all the windows, sniffing the air. "Can you smell it bud? Doesn't it smell nice?" I always ask Dayne that, every single time it rains. I love the smell of the rain, the smell of wet cement and grass, there's just something about it that makes me feel peace, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes.
The rain passed quickly, it was one of those things that blows through and is gone as quickly as it arrived. Dayne settled back onto the couch with his pillow and blanket to relax and I walked towards the bedroom, as I did it, it struck me...a memory...of last year, like deja vu, but not. I was remembering the feeling of remembering doing something with Dayne while I was pregnant with Alexandra. A memory of a memory. So this is it right, the second year will be filled with memories of the pain, then the numbness, then the pain of the first year.
I have thought a lot about if this journey is going to get easier as time goes by, and I have decided that "easier" isn't the right word. It isn't going to get easier, just different and new. My cold desolate mountain of grief just gained some trees and I guess it's my new job to maneuver through them without forgetting where I'm headed or where I've come from.
Not easier, just different...and more complicated.