Sunday, November 3, 2013

A birthday

Today is Daniel's birthday--I can hardly believe it has been a whole year since he was born and died.  The year has been long in some ways, and yet sometimes a wave of sadness will wash over me that is as fresh as it was a year ago.  It isn't as debilitating now, but I think about him every day.

I was thinking about what I wanted to write on my blog for his birthday, and I have decided to share a few things I've learned or experienced with grief.  I am not an expert, but I know more now than I did a year ago.  And maybe something I share can be helpful to someone else.

Those first few weeks and months I found the grief very intense.  I would cry all the time and hold his blankets and stay in bed.  I was recovering physically, so that didn't help either.  I think my kids were really worried about me, they hadn't seen me so sad before.  While I was very sad, there was also a very real sense of peace in my heart.  I know that Christ's promise that "blessed are they who mourn, they shall be comforted" is very true.  Not only did I feel His presence and love very strongly, the people around me acted as his hands and fed, loved and cared for me and my family.  I am amazed at how helpful all the kind notes, gifts, and words of encouragement were to me.  When someone is grieving, it is best to act, even if it is something seemingly insignificant, all of it is meaningful.  "I'm sorry for your loss" works well, if you don't know what to say.  Just acknowledging the loss is helpful, I know I felt more comfortable around people that I knew had already heard what had happened.

As the months went by, I started feeling better and getting back into life more.  The puppy was a big help in some ways, and a total nightmare in others!  But she gets me out of bed every morning and makes me take a walk which is a huge help.  But getting back into my old lifestyle was very hard.  I have had to work to keep up with the basics of caring for my family, where before I could do that and extras.  I got very frustrated with myself and felt very overwhelmed.  My grief counselor told me that sometimes it is in the 3-8 months after the loss that things are the hardest.  I certainly found that to be true for me.   I felt very alone and that life was marching forward without me.  Part of me wanted to stay behind and grieve, while part of me was ready to move on.

A few months ago, I started to feel really pretty good--almost back to my old energy levels at times.  But then at times, the sadness sweeps in and I feel overwhelmed again.  And I get behind and start a cycle of feeling overwhelmed.  I have to work extra hard in the times that I feel good to even stay above water.

I learned that it is very important to take some time out and mourn my loss.  I learned that grief and mourning are different and that mourning is essential in healing from the grief.   It is something I haven't done as well as I should.  I have also learned through cancer and this stillbirth experience, that life is so short.  So I have a tendency to want to do fun things with my family and over commit myself and just get the very most out of life.  But that wears me out more than it used to, and so many simple things have suffered.

Today the sadness hit me harder than I expected it to.  We woke up to a snowstorm--great big flakes of white snow.  It felt like a little sign somehow that God hadn't forgotten either, and that somehow it will all work out.




12 comments:

  1. You are such a good writer. I thought about Daniel all day. We love you guys!

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  2. You inspire me...you really do. I love so much that you can just be honest. That you can admit sadness and grief, is a gift I think. Not something I do very well but crave most of the time. To me, those are all signs of a person of strength, dignity and grace. Thank you.

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  3. I still grieve with you Sonja, and from what my Grandma told me about losing her little girl, a mother never really stops grieving.

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  4. The snow reminded me of Daniel all day - those huge, soft snowflakes just like last year.

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  5. I was thinking of you these last couple of days, remembering that you should be hitting the year mark. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Sometime I am afraid of something like this will happen to me and that I won't ever recover from the grief. Seeing someone like you and hearing about how you feel helps me to know that there is hope and life continues. Thanks so much being the example that you are...Rob too. It means so much to have such great family members to share life with. Love you!

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  6. What a beautiful post. I have actually been thinking about you a lot the past couple days. Sure love you Sonja!

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  7. Snowflakes will always remind me of Daniel. I thought it was fitting that it snowed on his birthday, almost as if it was the Lords hug for the Earth who lost such a beautiful boy. Love you! Thanks for letting me be part of his 'party' on Saturday.

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  8. I've been thinking of you all weekend. Thanks for sharing-I loved reading all of it.

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  9. Thanks for writing about this... I hurt for you and pray for you. I appreciate what you wrote particularly on this post as my best friend just suffered a loss of her son and so I am trying so hard to know how to help her. Your post gave me more insight... thank you.

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  10. What a great post. I love you!

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  11. Sonja, thank you for sharing your heart. Those pockets of grief in our hearts are portals through which we can receive love and comfort from the Lord. He is the only one who knows the depth and pain we experience and can give us solace. I do love you so!

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  12. I think of you often Sonja and my heart breaks for you. I have no idea of what your grief really is. You're an inspiration to me and please know that you're in my thoughts and prayers often.

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