The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

Discussions on grieving infant death & stillbirth; only the strength of the Lord makes it possible to tell the tale...

Friday, June 29, 2007

I Can't Believe it's Been Two Long Years


June 29, 2005

It was no ordinary day. Our baby girl had passed away just minutes before midnight, and we'd been up half the night bathing, dressing, and making her ready for her trip to the mortuary. We laid her in her crib to lay in wait. She looked so peaceful. I was numb; in a fog; crushed into fine dust.

I called the hospice nurse somewhere mid morning. She came and gave our baby her official pronouncement of death. She completed all the required paperwork to submit for the official death certificate. She took many of the baby's medical supplies when she left--we wouldn't need such supplies anymore.

My mother came and took me to the craft store so I could buy ink to take prints of the baby's feet. They turned out lovely...


Later in the day we went to get something to eat. It was so strange leaving the baby alone in her crib. I fought the urge to take her with us. I just couldn't imagine life without her; she'd become our very lives. What now?

As the evening drew late, we came together as a family: Daddy, Mama, Benny and Anne. We prayed. We anointed her head with special oil as done similarly in baptism. I swaddled her in a blanket. And then another since it would be cold where she was going. I also put on extra socks.

Then came the dreaded knock on the door. They were here to gather her and take her away from me. Two faceless, black-suited men--undertakers. They handed us a moses basket not unlike the one she slept in at home. It was to be her designated transport.

I snapped a few photos and then reluctantly gave her over to them--the hardest transaction my arms have ever known save one. They settled her in the van and as they drove away, I sobbed great hard sobs into my husband's chest. His tears dripped into my hair. We stood embraced in the sultry summer air. To say we were broken and desolate wouid be an understatement!

We buried her July 5, 2005. We went to the mortuary several times over the long holiday weekend. They would carefully bring the moses basket out of their cooler and let me hold her for an hour or so. My first night without her I'd had a horrid nightmare--vivid and ugly. I dreamed that the oil we'd anointed her with had caused her face to go black and withered from the refrigeration--like when you put a banana in the fridge. I was beyond distressed. I remember starting to ask our funeral planner to prepare me for anything hideous; but before I could finish, she opened the door to the viewing parlor and there was my beautiful pink rose bud waiting for me in her moses basket. She was as beautiful as ever.

As morbid as it sounds, I took many pictures of her during our funeral parlor visits. I had this overwhelming drive to capture time and never let it move forward. I just wanted to be frozen with her; captured in silent stillness. I just wanted to keep time from moving forward. I didn't want her funeral day to come. Once she was planted in the sod it would be finished; I'd never hold her again...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Missing You Madly


Anne Elise Bacon

April 28, 2005 - June 28, 2005


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire

I had to have a rant; sometimes it's good to have a verbal rant as you process the horrendousness of grief. To articulate the intensity of passion through words and sentence structure is productive even if most of the world doesn't understand or agree with what is written.

I grieve that we're living in a time that takes so much of God out of the picture. Science is god in our contemporary culture, even they who call themselves Christian put the sovereignty of science over the sovereignty of God. Thousands of years of history and now all of a sudden the ultrasound has become the tool by which we define life & death ethics. And yet the level of reasonable doubt that remains... I'm just stymied by the fact that we put so much stock into machines that can be so wrong.

And sadly, I doubt I'd care a single political jot if my babies were alive & well under foot, rather than dead and under the sod. It's only been the deaths of my girls and the obscenely inadequate medical care that have forced me to take stock of the insanity of where the medical & cultural ethos have turned in the world of pregnancy termination.

I'm at the summery portion of time when two years ago I had a precious little girl who was growing and smiling and doing so well. I can almost feel her in the warm summer night air. The days approach for what many in the world of baby demise refer to as her angel day; the day she died and went to heaven. My heart is weary; my health is fragile. And while it's been nearly two years, it feels as yesterday and I am still dropped to my knees for missing her.

It's not fair that she got to go and sit with the Master while I had to stay behind and attempt to make some sort of psychiatric peace with a world bent on evil and corruption; self absorption & self justification. I did not want to be a politician fighting for the rights of the preborn. I did not want to fight for the medical rights of the disabled: first, for their right to life and then, for their right to decent medical care.

No, I wanted to wash cloth baby diapers and wipe muddy patty caked fingers. I wanted to pick up toys and books and sing the same silly songs over and over & over & over. I wanted mama hugs and baby kisses and color books and bedtime wishes.

I got none of that, but instead was smacked right in the head with the fact that my first daughter didn't count as a legal person. And then I was smacked in the head again by the fact that my second daughter would have been eliminated by countless millions around the world who put more trust in termination than in God. It kills me that there are so many that wouldn't have even bothered to let her breathe, and yet she was so precious...

It's gruesome that in the midst of trying to comprehend such grief, I came face to face with the medical, legal, and cultural fact that neither of my girls mattered to this world beyond the realm of their parents. And yet they were of infinite measure to God who formed them in the secret parts... why He made them only to take them back is for Him to know, but certainly He had a purpose of great grandeur!

But in my quiet, broken corner of the world--the place where both my heart & flesh fail, I find myself missing them both so very much; so so very much. Truly they were both too beautiful for this place.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Run Run Run Run Run Run

Mama's Lullaby for Anne
adapted from Pink Floyd's Thin Ice
Mama loves her baby
Daddy loves her too
What a sweet & warm little girl
With eyes sparkling blue
ooooh ooooh babe
ooooh ooooh babe...

While I repeatedly sang Pink Floyd's little lullaby to my tiny NICU baby, I never sang her the rest of the song:

If you should go skating
On the thin ice of modern life
Dragging behind you the silent reproach
Of a million tear stained eyes
Don't be surprised, when a crack in the ice
Appears under your feet
You slip out of your depth and out of your mind
With your fear flowing out behind you
As you claw the thin ice...

But I did sing the rest of it in my mind's ear becasue I knew as I beheld her preciously perfect trisomy 18 body, that my days with her were precarious. I'd gone out on a patch of thin ice for her; I loved her past the sane point, not only in healthcare & medical sanity, but in the depths of emotional love as well... The song is a beautiful song that I miss singing to my baby. Moreover, I often feel like I'm clawing the thin ice from the underside. Has God cast me under the bus?

As the 2-yr mark of Anne's death approaches, those around me expect that I should be dancing dandy. There aren't words to describe the isolated, lonely distress I've been under. They have no idea how much harder it gets as the years roll on; the abandoned neglect that makes the heartache deeper...

We live in an abortionist's world where babies are insignificant losses. The fact that I've buried two means very little to anyone (including my own mother). Apparently, I'm supposed to cheer up carry on, and act like all the rest of the heartless world that neither notices nor cares. It's not like I lost either of them in their older years, so in their eyes I haven't really lost anything. My mother & sister both express snide remarks about how motherhood's not all it's cracked up to be (don't I know it as my son screams radical profanities at me).

So I sit in our exchange of insignificant conversation during our weekly lunch outings realizing that they don't really grasp the depth or dimension of what I've buried. They totally fail to understand that my ill-behaved niece is 19 months older than Abigail, and while she drives her mother nuts with her whining & pestering, they all fail to grasp that I would give an arm to have even one of mine back. My own beautiful, dark-haired, sparkly-eyed child is not supposed to be a silent corpse under the ground. No one takes notice of my bleeding heart as my niece plays in the restaurant fountain or makes a mess with her milk. Which one of them even bothers to remember my children, let alone care what suffering the lunch time experience brings upon me?

Moreover, I often wonder if I couldn't have made better progress in the grieving journey if my son hadn't done all he could to make the trip so agonizing. He's heartless; compassion-less; cruel; insensitive... He reminds me that I've done nothing for the world but raise up another jerk. It's been sheer torture to grieve my daughters AND endure the incredibly hostile disrespect that comes from my living child. He needs to be put out of my home, but I know not how to make it so. Where would he go? He has no relatives that will help. He refuses to go to school. He refuses to get a job. He refuses to go see a doctor, pastor or priest. He refuses to contribute. He refuses to be kind. I refuse to keep living like this. My health can't take it; I'll be lucky to see 50 at the rate my health is crumbling...

Ironically, he could live off of us forever if only he'd exhibit some sort of compassionate demeanor. But I am at my wits end for being thoroughly sick of his hostile abuse, but I don't know how to change it. His verbal abuse is killing me, and what's worse is I think he's doing it intentionally. I'm so very heart broken that two of my children are dead, and the third exhibits such ugliness that I can't stand to be in the same room with him.

What's more, he brings out the total coward in my husband. I had no idea I was married to a man with such inability to rescue his wife from the abuses inflicted upon her by our son. There are two fully grown men living in my home and both of them are like pathetic immature 14 year olds. My 22nd anniversary approaches and I look back over the years and ask myself, "what have I to show for any of it?"

It's no wonder I absolutely & completely anguish over all the sweet & wonderful girlie kisses that I planted in the ground; all the cuddles that are lost forever. Ben hasn't been cuddly since his elementary years--a very very long time ago. In fact, I haven't had a real life hug in so long I think I might shrivel up and die. I don't know what I did to make the boy hate me so much; I'd redo it if I could. He knows I'd do anything for him. He knows he's the only thing I get out of bed for. But he's just plain mean, and he just doesn't care. I mourn over his godlessness.

I beg God to give me answers and give me strength. And yet, I can't remember the last time God actually answered one of my earnest prayers. Ben screams at me that prayer is a waste of time. The events in our lives the last many years would prove his opinion correct. I mean, all those prayers for Abigail and Anne and look how they were answered...

So how do I convince him that God really does listen; that He really does care; that He really does love us??? How do I convince myself?

I'm sorry, but today's one of those days where I absolutely and completely hate my life.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Goodness Gracious You Were Sweet

I called her my little May Bee. She was due in May; and as anyone who's endured a pregnancy after a full term loss can attest, there are a lot of maybes to get through before the pregnancy is done.

As it turned out, she came two days before May, and "maybe" took on a whole new meaning. She had a hole in her heart that they would not treat. She had a third 18th chromosome and they said that meant they would NOT treat her heart defect; they said it was pointless--infuriating political jargon that I refuse to accept. She was showing them otherwise; her fight was astounding--what was wrong with a little bit of medicine?

I do NOT understand why they didn't even want to try. Why did they brush her aside figuring she was good as dead? Medical ethics based on who's agenda???My gosh, what evil lurks at the foundation of their ideology! She had so much spunk; so much fight; so much vigor, and yet they left her to meet the challenge of life alone: no medicine for her heart, zero cardiac followup.

They called it "comfort care" brushing her off for dead for her to hurry up and die. Why couldn't they look past their textbook "ethics" and look more closely at her as an individual??? Could they not see her will to live? Did they not care about her as a person? Did they not care about how very little they really had to do in order to give that cardiac muscle a fighting chance--some simple cardio-pulminary medication would have made her battle a little easier--it worked wonders--until they took her off!

Why were they so quick to brush her off for dead? Why did they think that brushing her into the rubbish bin was better than helping her? How do they conclude that such a despicable verdict is "comforting?"

Every day throughtout the month of May we hoped & prayed that today would not be the day. Every single day, we prayed that "maybe" God would not take her; not today... And thankfully, all through the month of May God gave us our wish. He did not take my little May Bee in May.

Instead, He took her at the end of June--sixty onederful days following her birth. Her untreated heart defect just couldn't keep fighting. She tried; oh my gosh, how she tried. For the rest of my life I'll be so very proud of her. She accomplished more in her 61 days than any of those doctors will do in a lifetime--and goodness gracious how much more loving she was than the lot of them combined!!!

It's two years later now. I'm in a time warp of grief wanting her back. For this entire month of May I've nursed a profound sting to my heart; a wound left there by a most preciously sweet little May Bee. She did not mean to sting me. Like most bees, she was gentle & docile and oh so very patient. She only did what was forced upon her. I proudly keep her little stinger tucked deeply in my heart. The sting of her departure reminds me of her profound will to live--that she did so much without their help. I miss her sweet flowery pollen to the profound depths of my being...