Hope

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing, and no good thing ever dies.”

-Andy Dufrane, Shawshank Redemption
    
    Hope is a theme that has come up a lot over our medical journey of the past 7 weeks.  We started with all the hope in the world, and then had to face some harsh realities.  I felt guilty at times after I lost my hope and explained the finality of our situation to family and friends, but hearing the “what ifs” from people who didn’t have all the information was frustrating and painful.  It felt more reassuring to prepare for what we did know and accept it.  We purchased a grave site, we designed a headstone, and we took time to think about all the ways that we could honor our soon to be lost baby with memories that we could collect in our short time with her.  As horrible as that is, it gave us a little view of the future.  I have always been someone who squirms a little bit when I cannot imagine the future, although I have taken many leaps in my life that showed no visions of the future.  I’m proud of all those moments that I leaped, and even prouder of where I landed.  
     I never could imagine my children before they were born, and I always said when asked if we were finding out the sex of the baby, “yes, there are enough surprises for me.”  Our first child was born with a full head of beautiful copper colored hair.  He looked like he had gone to L.A., and gotten it highlighted and styled for his birthday arrival.  He had a fiery little attitude to go with that gorgeous head of hair.  His birth was also not what I expected; it was a lot more arduous, long and medical than I expected for an uncomplicated pregnancy.  
  Our second child came to be in a more happy- go-lucky manner.  The first pregnancy was a more focused and calculated effort, while the second was not.  We had just moved from Northern California to Boston practically on a whim for my husband’s work, when we found out that she was going to be joining our family.  My head was still spinning from landing in a brand new city and living in a sea of boxes.  I never had time to imagine what she would be like, I was simply trying to get my bearings.  We lived in a 2 bedroom loft-like condo in “Southie”, and I was a little nervous about the logistics of making room for one more.  I set up for her by putting a bassinet attachment on my side of the bed and a place in every corner that I could put her down, so I would be able to handle a newborn and a 19.5 month old wild toddler.  As fate would have it, she was like her brother as a newborn in that she never let me put her down, so she lived in a pouch strapped to my chest for 2+ months.  I had a great little moms group that I met with frequently at local playgrounds and houses that were my lifeline during these times.  I accepted every offer of help from neighbors and friends that I got, and we survived those first couple of months as a family of four.
   For some reason, I decided to throw my husband a surprise party 1 month after our daughter was born, and I lured an unsuspecting (but very capable) babysitter over that we had used a several months ago.  I hadn’t even even told her that we had a new baby!!  When she arrived, I said, “our situation has changed…. we have 2 now!”  My instructions for the new refluxy infant were kind of vague, along the lines of, “we just met her and are still figuring her out, but you may just want to hold her most of the time we are gone.”  In my defense, I will say that I’m pretty sure we had already bathed and put our toddler to bed.  I guess we just needed a break so bad (laughing).  
   I have strayed pretty far from where I started out, thinking about hope…..Hope and perhaps control over your fate.   Many new parents feel frustrated by their lack of ability to control their new way of life and soon learn that everyday is a little bit about “letting go”.  (Please don’t break into song).  How do you learn to live with what you cannot control?  I guess you must just live it, and enjoy the parts that are enjoyable in the present…and make memories maybe.  I definitely don’t have all the answers to this one.  Sometimes it feels hard to keep on living, especially when there is no end in sight to the pain that you feel in your heart or body.  I think the little things become really important during these times, and are worth treasuring every time you encounter them.  I hope that didn’t sound too depressing…it’s hard to know what to hope for these days.
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6 thoughts on “Hope

  1. Ms Meredith, aka Mercedes…. I am sending so much love through the ether to you, Tyler and your beautiful 3 little ones. I want you to know how much it hurts to read about little Grace and what you all are living through. But. I am so glad you are writing. So glad you are moving THROUGH this time and allowing the pain to be processed. I remember from our BBF days how much I needed to share about the loss of a client. I remember when our dear friend Daniel passed two years ago how much David and I needed to share with each other and our community. Your community is all around you and can hold whatever pain you need to share. There are so many of us and so we can bear it, each a little bit.
    When we lost our dear friend Daniel 2 years ago (a surprise, an undiagnosed heart issue, in his sleep), my kids lost an adult they’d known since birth. They lost an “uncle” figure in their lives. They were 5 and 7. I had to have conversations about death, dying, health, illness, broken parts with my little, little ones. To this day, they think and talk about it regularly, more so than I think I ever did until my teens.
    When you are ready http://www.moyerfoundation.org/programs/camperin.aspx have amazing resources to help you support your older two. If you call them, they will send you books, materials, both for adults and kids. Its all free, amazing, and very well done.
    Keep writing. xoMariah

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  2. Dear Meredith,
    I have been thinking of you many times a day, and as your words flow through my mind and heart it reminds me to breathe and to be present. These profound events in life have a way of keeping us connected with what is most important – family, friends and a community of caring people that we may not even have known were surrounding us. I’m so glad you are reaching out, and it comes as no surprise to see the strength and wisdom you so beautifully express. I wish you could sit with us at Char’s house wrapped in a fuzzy blanket and sip tea and talk, but know that we are all sending you that warm energy and that you are part of us.
    Much love to you all,
    Pam

    “As he was about to climb yet another dune, his heart whispered, “Be aware of the place where you are brought to tears. That’s where I am, and that’s where your treasure is.”
    ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

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    1. I am so there in spirit, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket with a belly full of flower flour crepes. Our tokens of wisdom from IMH with Char are certainly a strength and comfort to me. No one can ever be prepared for this type of experience, but I do feel like I have some awareness of what might be happening more than just a freight train running over us. We are exactly in the eye of the hurricane when it comes to the many forces that influence these very rare and difficult circumstances. Xoxo to CA and BBF

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  3. Meredith & much loved Family,
    Pam told me/us about your love of your daughter, Grace, and the extreme trial you are all enveloped in. I am thinking of you as my own heart is so stirred. You have a profound way of describing your experience at this time. May that hold you, along with all those who love you & are touched by your time with Grace.
    Con carino,
    char

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