Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Capture Your Grief, Day 16,17, 18

Seasons

I found out I was expecting Landyn in early spring.  She was due in the winter but born in the summer. It is hard to say if one season is harder then another or holds more memories.  This last year has been reliving the year before. All of it has been remembering.  I'm not sure what the future holds as far as all that goes.  I can definitely see potential in the hot days of summer, the bright shining sun, bringing me back to those days. Time will tell.
Summer should be about fun...and mud.

Time

It has been 14 months exactly since she was born.  I didn't know today was the 25th until I started writing this so I suppose that is a good sign. The constant counting wears on me. Especially when my brain continues to count without me being aware of it.

Had she lived, Landyn would be 10 months old.
Her first birthday

Release

The caption for this one asked,  "What do you want to let go of on this journey of grief? Is it fear? Guilt? Worry? Deep sadness? Regrets?"

Um. Yes.  Seriously, what kind of question is that?  Who wants to live like this?

Wouldn't hurt my feelings at all if it would just all go.  But I kind of think that is impossible.  Over time I expect it all to slowly lesson, but not for an instant do I think I will ever be free from the emotions completely. 

If I could just let it all go.....

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Capture Your Grief, Day 14

Day 14, Family

 
 
I chose these two pictures to represent my family because "sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words".  This is what I see. We're un-perfect. My oldest being cranky.  My second oldest, the baby lover.  Our third boy just being himself. Our splash of pink. And a bald, squishy, slobbering 12 pound lump of wonderful.
 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Capture Your Grief, Day 11, 12, 13

Day 11, Triggers

Things that involve my whole family when I don't have my whole family. That gets me. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. 

Christmas cards that come with all of our names written out.  Every name but Landyn's.                    Of course I don't expect someone to put her name on it, but the fact that she is missing just stares back at me.

Picture day with the kids.

Even now, on our family vacation, it is just so obvious to me that she isn't here.
picture "borrowed" from bing

Day 12, Article

I've totally grabbed onto the meaning of "sorrows like sea billows roll". I understand what the writer of "It Is Well With My Soul" meant.  Often I would feel like I was drowning and other times like I was treading water but slowly losing energy.  Now is more like standing in water up to my neck.  There is solid ground under my feet.  Occasionally I have to hop over a little wave and there still are those giant waves that just take my feet out from under me and roll me around while I try to figure out which way is up. And even less often, but still does happen, the tide comes in and I'm back to the endless treading of water just to stay alive. 

So when one of the ladies in my support group wrote the article below I loved the symbolism and how I could relate.

click here



Day 13, Book

Easy.  No contest. The Bible.

Without the words, the comfort, or the promises I would have nothing. No hope. No future.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Capture Your Grief, Day 10

Day 10, Beliefs.

I wrote this post. Then I let it sit a few days. Then I reread it and deleted it. I'm still unsure exactly what I want to say.  I know exactly what I believe; I'm just not sure how to go about writing it all out.  I believe the Bible. All of it. I don't just believe God and Heaven exist; I have a relationship with God himself.  I believe my Landyn is there right now.  While there is no verse that says outright babies will be in Heaven I believe it to be true for several reasons....

 1.When King David (2 Samuel 12) lost his infant son he says, "I will go to him, but he will not return to me."  Knowing what we know about David I'd say he was expecting to see his child in Heaven. 

2. It just goes against what we know about God and his kind nature to not think he'd provide for babies also.

3. I have peace about it.  As a matter of fact, it is the sole reason I'm making it through this. There are times when I have to talk myself out of absolute insanity. I remind myself my daughter is there, I'll see her again, she is well and happy, everything she needs is there, she is cared for, and there is nothing here that compares with where she is.

I also believe I'm going to Heaven. You see, this extends much further then peace that my baby is safe and well.....I KNOW I'll be with her again.  I believe that God sent his son, Jesus to this earth as a baby. Jesus died on a cross and stood in for my punishment. I can, AND WILL, go to heaven because my sin is no more.   

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

"For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

"For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

"IF you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

Translation....God loves world, world sins, God sends Son, Son dies, accept gift, believe, LIVE.
It really is THAT simple.

My Landyn isn't dead.  She's not here...her earthly body certainly didn't serve her long, but the part of her that I want to get to know, that I love, still lives. 






 
     

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Capture Your Grief, Day 8 and 9

Day 8, Color.

Purple. Light purple.  I guess because that is the color of the blanket I bought to cover the casket. The very same blanket I snuggle with and cry on. It's hers. When I think of a color for her it is definitely a light purple. 

Day 9, Music.

There have been several songs that I've played over and over. Every time they make me cry.  My go to song. 

Picture above is "stolen".  Random photo from a search for storm pictures.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Capture Your Grief, Day 6 and 7

Ritual, Day 6

Being that she's been gone only a little over a year there  hasn't been time to develop rituals.  Keeping her grave neat and pretty has been very important to me. Last year we "decorated" for each different season. Pumpkins and mums in the fall, a tree for Christmas, pinwheels for spring, balloons and butterflies for her birthday. I already have her pumpkin for this year. I'm hoping to carve or draw a butterfly on it. We also got her a tiny tree at home for Christmas, and each year I'd like to add a special ornament.  We go the hospital's ceremony in May and the balloon release in October. We also had a family day on her birthday, went to the zoo. Really it was more for the sake of not sitting around being miserable, but I'd like to make it a tradition to do something that day.  It's about including her in our family, speaking her name, keeping her memory going.

Last fall.

Christmas.


Just a few days ago at the balloon release. I wrote on my balloon, "For a know the plans I have for you..."




 
Day 7, You Now.

Where are you in your grief right now? How are you feeling? How far have you come? Are you wrestling with anything? Is your heart heavier or lighter now?

Wow. That's a lot of questions. A lot of questions that involve a lot of deep thinking.  Honestly, right now, I don't know. I'm certainly in a better place then I was last year at this point. I really think between Ian being born and school starting back up again, along with the rest of normal life I haven't really had time to think or really look too hard at where I am. I do wonder, with a smidge of fear, once life settles a little if I'll crash. I cringe at the thought of revisiting the depression. Nights have always been the hardest, well right now I'm either busy in the night, or exhausted and out cold. I'm trying not to think about what may come and just deal with what is.  I miss her. I miss her tons. The last week has been really hard for some reason. I finally pulled her blanket out and I've been sleeping with it under my pillow. Just having it there to run a hand over helps a little.  I'm glad to leave last year behind, but not to keen on going forward knowing it'll always hurt.  I'm definitely still trying to figure it all out.  I think often I look like I'm doing better then I really am.

Capture Your Grief, Day 5

Memory.

There are so few. I hate that. 
The day I took that positive pregnancy test.
The few early ultrasounds with her little heart beating and her arms and legs moving.
Listening to that heartbeat.
Knowing in my heart something was dreadfully wrong.
Crying in the shower that morning before the ultrasound, unsure exactly what was bothering me.
The blue sky.
Driving to the dr, telling God I knew she wasn't mine but asking Him to make her be ok.
The ultrasound. The circle of her head. Her tiny, unmoving body. No flickering heart.
The fear of unknown.
Her tiny, perfect little body.
The feel and smell of the flannel blanket she was wrapped in.
Her cold, little forehead where I placed the only kiss I gave her.
Tiny toes and fingers.
Watching a stranger take her away.
Tiny, white casket.
Walking away from the grave.


This was as big as I ever got. I'm pretty sure she died very close to when this was taken.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Capture Your Grief, Day 4

Legacy.

The caption beneath the subject for day 4 said, "Do you believe your child left a legacy behind?"  My daughter lived for only a few months, I never even knew her. But her short life, and I guess her death, has taught me so much. The first thing that came to my mind was Angel Blankets.  If I had thought of this idea on my own without losing a child I think I still would have done it well, but I know for certain I would not be able to do it with understanding.  Her leaving gave me  an inside view to a world many will never see.  I know the comfort that can come of having that blanket to snuggle with. I've sent out almost 300 blankets to individuals and hospitals. Sometimes it feels so small, I wish there was so much more I could do for the mommy's that hurt, but I know there is significance in making something special for their little angel and using that baby's name. It acknowledges that tiny life and the very real pain many people live with every day.  There are the times when I receive thank you cards or as messages through facebook, moms who name their baby after I reassure them it's not too late, women who joined support groups twenty or more years after their loss who have never truly talked it out and grieved, and see the pictures moms send back of the blanket they received and I feel myself telling Landyn, "Look what you've done."  The brief moments I was given with her and the emptiness I now feel gives me opportunities I never would have had otherwise.

I've also certainly been through a test with my relationship with God.  I'm happy to say I've clung to Him tightly the whole way...as a matter of fact He's carried me through most of it.  I'm glad I was never tempted to walk away. That's not to say I haven't questioned Him. I mean, why me? Why a baby that was wanted? Why a baby that would have been taken care of and loved?  There really isn't an answer, the only thing I can do is take what's been put before me...Angel Blankets and literally hundreds of women and the chance to do my best to be a friend, to listen, to support, to remember tiny angels. Yes, I'd say she left me with something, something that hurts when I really think about what I'm doing...but something that also gives back to me and gives me something to do with the hurt I still feel.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Capture Your Grief, Day 2 and 3

Day 2, Identity.

We named her Landyn Alana Mullaney. Pretty, isn't it?  Our first 4 children's names start with J,K, M, and N.  Not in that order...and no, we didn't do that on purpose. But, I knew if we had another one we needed an L name to complete the sequence. Landyn was my first choice for a girl (which I totally stole from someone!) and Liam was our boy name. We ended up with Alana because it is Hawaiian and this baby was "supposed" to happen on our anniversary trip to Hawaii.  Of course, that didn't happen, but we enjoy a surprise baby too and kept the name anyway. Usually we have our baby names picked out once we know gender. This time, however, we did not know gender until she was born. We stayed with the name we had picked out ahead of time, though, because it was meant for her when we chose it.

She was 5 1/2 inches long, from the tip of my fingers to my wrist. She weighed only 2 1/2 ounces,  small for her length and age. Whether she had not been thriving and didn't gain correctly or was the correct size and began to lose the weight once she had died we'll never know. So small, but every tiny part of her was just perfect. She certainly had more growing to do, but you could easily tell she had the same nose as Kylee, 3 knuckles on each finger, and the tiniest toes. She was beautiful.

Day 3, Myths

This one is supposed to be myths about grief. There certainly are a LOT. This one came to mind right away. "At least you have other children" "You can always have more" "Now that you've had a new baby you can move on"  HA!  Each one of my children is unique and loved for themselves. I don't love my children as a group and think that as long as I have a few everything will be ok. I also did not give birth to Ian and gain the ability to skip happily along. No, I want ALL my kids with me. Every last one of them is wanted and loved. No one replaces another.

I see this and I see who is there and who is missing.  We aren't complete...

 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Photo Challenge, Project Heal

So I came across a neat idea for the month of October, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. It is CarlyMarie's Project Heal, Capture Your Grief 2013. A different photo for each day, each working through different aspects of grief and healing after child loss. You can find the page here.  With life being as crazy as it is I don't know that I'll be able to do one for each day and I certainly won't be able to make a separate blog post for each. I may even be a rebel and do them out of order.  Let's get started..

Day 1, Sunrise

When I saw this I was glad the last few days had been very foggy mornings. I feel like a foggy sunrise represents where I'm at. It's not all dark and scary any more, but neither does the sun shine brightly. My life feels like a fog, the light is out there and eventually it'll burn through that thick fog, but for now I go forward carefully.  Of course, the next morning there was absolutely NO fog and the sun was out and shining quite happily. Haha, oh well, took some pictures anyway. Oh, and the kids thought I was crazy as I ran around the front yard in my fleece pajama pants and bare feet.  =D

I liked the way the sun reflected off the dew