Friday, February 16, 2018

Tackling Grief Head On

According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler, there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Over the past week I can say that I’ve done my best to actively walk through whatever stage of grief has come my way.   

Denial.  As soon as we found out about the baby, the dr. recommended the procedure take place the next day out of concern for my health during the miscarriage process.  In the first 24 hours following the procedure, I drank alcohol post anesthetic despite recommendations not to do so.  I absolutely avoided being alone with my thoughts, and I barely spoke the word miscarriage.  Instead I used terms such as we “lost the baby” and “no more heart beat,” etc.  I couldn’t bring myself to say what had actually happened.  I was denying the fact that we were walking through this and that it was now a part of our reality.  Finally, on Wednesday, I got into the Word and that is when I was able to write my farewell letter to our baby and stop denying what we were walking through. 

Anger.  I can honestly say that I have not been angry with God during this process as much as I have directly discussed how unfair things felt and how confused I was about hearing from him on pursuing another baby.  I will tell you that last Thursday, when I posted my first-ever and hopefully last, Facebook video, I WAS ANGRY.  If you could have seen me at my office that morning, I went into a straight up yelling match toward Satan.  Not only had I had enough of the hurt we were experiencing but I was ticked off that my friends were walking through very difficult things as well.  As some of you may have seen in my video, I decided at that point when processing through my anger that now was not the time to back down.  It still isn’t.

Bargaining.  10 days before we found out we lost the baby I had just cleaned my closet out of all my regular clothes and replaced them with all of my maternity clothes.  My maternity clothes are still sitting on my shelves.  I am trying to decide if I should keep them in sight to keep myself hopeful for another pregnancy or if I need to put them away because they are a painful reminder of my no-longer growing belly.  I am working with the Lord on this.  Is this my bargaining? 

I am praying through releasing the desire to have another child.  What’s difficult is that even before we had children, I had resolved that having kids was not within our control. Yet, the Lord has used each of our pregnancies to remind me of His faithfulness and his hand in forming our family.  The deceiver slivered right in there without me realizing it and managed to convince me that children and pregnancies are something I have a say in… welp, fell for that one.  Now I am working toward getting back to that frame of mind that I had before and let me tell you, it feels like being hit by a semi, once again.  I would say that I realize that I do not have anything to bargain with God on.  Instead I am choosing to just fold on the whole additional kid thing.  I’ll let the Lord fill me in on the path our family will go on. 

It is a bittersweet feeling for me to grieve the thought of not having a third child yet joyfully embrace the BEAUTIFUL life I have with my husband and our sons.  Our family has always been committed to fulfilling God’s plan for our lives, number of children aside.  We have always said that God will be glorified even if we had no kids – we remain committed to letting our family glorify the Lord – no matter the party number. 

Depression.  Oh my friends, this is such a highly sensitive and scary place for me to go.  I’ve been here, I know when I am headed this direction, and I know what a dark place it is if I let my mind and my spirit go here.  It almost defeated me once.  And this is when I go into BATTLE mode.  Yes, I have been very very sad, and yes, I have had zero motivation to do ANYTHING over the last two weeks.  Yes, I’ve wanted to stay in bed and not face the day.  Yes, I have wanted to wallow in my sadness and pity myself.  Yes, I’ve wanted to forego my health and choose to do all things unhealthy for me.  It is so EASY to want to do those things.  It is so easy to not want to care.  What is difficult is choosing to battle against those temptations.  Daily, I have to make a choice to fight to crawl away from that space and to pull away from that state of mind.  I have had to CHOOSE to PRAY through that darkness and BEG God to carry me out of that pit when I haven’t felt strong enough.  I have also had to actively seek out the spiritual support and prayers of those I know strong enough and faithful enough to battle on my behalf.  I’ve had to FORCE myself to simply open my Bible and allow the words to jump out at me – even it is just one verse.  This takes effort. 

Acceptance.  It has been less than two weeks since this has become part of our story so it would be easy for anyone to say to me – you are not at acceptance yet.  Nonetheless, I am accepting the fact that the Lord has already used this child’s story and our family in incredible ways as a result of this tragedy.  I am gratefully accepting the fact that the end of this child’s life in my womb did not mean the end of this child’s legacy or this child’s impact on the world.

Also, this child has proven to me that angels still walk among us and any one person can be the hands or feet of Jesus.  I say this because there have been those close to us that are willing to dig in and talk about this baby with us.  Those that have been willing to dream of this child in heaven and to remind us of the joy, health and perfect goodness that this child is experiencing with our Savior.  And finally, someone, a living angel on earth, took the time to write us a letter from our Angel Baby that was so specific to my own personal letter that I wrote it brought tears streaming down my face.  While I know that this comfort and absolutely beautiful gesture was done by someone we know who wished to remain anonymous – this gesture brought warmth and joy to our hearts that can’t even be described.  Thank you to whoever you are. 

The only way I am actively experiencing healing is to face this sorrow and grief head on, and to walk into and through it with my Savior as my guiding light.  That is how I know we will come out of this.  That is why I can accept that there were bigger plans for this child than I am able to realize.  Some have said it is brave of me to be so open about such a difficult and sad circumstance and time period in our lives.  To some of you I seem strong, to others, I seem brave, and to others I may seem “too open.”  As a reminder, my main goal in life and in writing is to speak the words the Lord has laid on my heart.  None of this is about me.  Yes, it is my story and my experience with grief but the Lord directs it.  The perceived strength, the perceived courage, rawness and other things all come from God.  He is the source of all of those things and He will always get the glory. 

Ultimately, I realize that many people grieve and carry things in different ways and for different amounts of time.  My timeline has nothing to do with your timeline nor my process to do with your process.  The one thing I will say is that my God, my Jesus, WANTS everything to do with your process as much as He has wanted everything to do with mine.  He is willing to have the hard conversations and sit in the tough, sad, and difficult moments with you, just as much as He has done for me.  I hope you allow him the privilege of doing so. 

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