HealingĀ 

Pain is such a subjective experience. A person might describe themselves as having a “high-tolerance” or “low tolerance” for pain. In the hospital, the nurses and doctors ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 0-10, and help patients to form an expectation or goal for pain management such as keeping your pain under a “4”.  It is much easier to measure physical pain than emotional pain, and it’s easier to see when the healing process begins.  
 My two preschool-aged children’s bodies are like canvases for bruises and scrapes. Everyday brings a new host of minor ailments; a stubbed toe, splinter, tummy ache or skinned knee.  Each situation calls for a different “fix”; sometimes it’s a ninja turtle bandaid, the old Elmo ice pack, a vitamin, or a spoonful of medicine.  Maybe distraction and silliness take away from some of the pain.  The one thing that always helps first is someone caring.  A big hug, some attention for the tears that are shed, a kiss to the afflicted area go a long way.

 

  When dealing with grief and heart break, it’s not so clear when healing begins or progresses.  How simple yet complex this healing business is…. How do you know when your heart starts healing?   One day you wake up and it doesn’t hurt so much that it takes your breath away.  You laughed more and got out of bed more easily than the days before. You realize that you didn’t cry today. 

   It hurts us even to feel like we aren’t hurting so much with each day. I don’t know if that even makes sense, but it’s how we feel. Healing is not the same as forgetting it and “moving on”.  Life does go on if you survive your hardships, but the truth is that things are never the same.  
Physically, scars form below or at the surface, and sometimes they ache or complicate your life.  Scars are usually considered ugly reminders of an accident or trauma.  They are also a part of you, a deep & twisted knarly mass of thicker skin or tissue.   It’s natures way of rushing to the scene to over-compensate for the hurt-ness and strengthen an area that has been weakened.  

Big knarly knotted tree trunks are an image that come to mind. The knots tell a story, symbolize strength and can also be interesting and beautiful to look at.  It makes it seem more natural to be scarred and although the branches may change directions in growth  and become twisted  rather than straight it is something to marvel at when you happen upon something so unique in its twisted natural beauty. 

  

What feels right is hearing her name.  Mary Grace, I love that.  Wearing a pendant and meaningful jewelry close to my heart.  I want to see it and hear it everyday.  You can notice our pain and scars and don’t need to walk by like we are the same as before.  

Mothering the Mother

    I cannot believe it’s only been two weeks.  Two weeks ago, I looked 40 plus weeks pregnant and we were walking into the scariest moments of our lives.  I had been gaining 5-7 pounds a week of pure fluid those last couple weeks and my health was rapidly declining.  I recently signed into my hospital records and am getting notified every hour of all the labs that were taken weeks ago; it’s like visiting the past with my Christmas ghost.  I was in chronic kidney failure, severely anemic, and had a blood clotting disorder.  I got through a dangerous surgery and lost so much blood that I had to have 4 blood transfusions.  Our baby died.  It was hard to differentiate between physical and emotional pain as they were so very connected.  A stay in the ICU, a trip to the ER and countless complications…it’s all like a fog.  Sometimes it plays like the scenes of a dramatic movie in our heads.

   Two weeks later, it’s bizarre how “normal” I look despite everything that happened.  I went from feeling so exposed by my physical appearance as an outwardly very pregnant woman harboring a deeply sad secret to so very anonymous that most people would not even detect the loss that I feel.  I am slowly re-joining my life and trying to make sure that I take care not to rush in too fast.  Tyler and I don’t necessarily want to feel like we used to, because we know we never will. We don’t even want to…feel normal.  We don’t ever want to forget.
   One of the things that makes me very sad is how much I always wanted my daughter to have a sister, like I do.  My sister and I are even closer now than ever.  She has been here for me, for us, and helped so much I cannot even imagine how I would have done this without her.  All the women in my life, especially my mother and Tyler’s mother, literally dropped everything to help us get through this.  They are so giving and so full of love for us and for Baby Grace. They are our everyday heroes.  We are so very lucky to have these strong women supporting us, and I am honored to be mothered by them and have my children grandmother-ed and auntied by such a loving team.    
  I think “Mothers Day” isn’t quite the right expression to capture the sentiment of how we feel for our biggest supporters.  It’s not even necessarily about being a mother, it’s about giving so much and loving so much.
We, as a family, are the recipients of so much love.  We know too that many Mothers and mothers-to-be heard about baby Grace and took a little piece of our burden into their hearts.   We have received so many thoughtful messages and expressions of care from so many people, and I want to say thank you universally.