I miss these little feet and sweet ankles and knees I used to nibble on.
I miss this mighty little man of God. This picture was taken one year ago today. There isn't anything I don't miss about Noah. I wish the tears that were flowing right now were soaking his head, like we used to do so many nights...
I've been too busy lately. Some of the busyness has been self inflicted and much of it is the reality of having to close on our house in less than two weeks. One thing they have tried to emphasize in grief counseling is slowing down, simplifying, and taking time for self-care and grief. I'm not doing this right. I'm too busy and I feel like I haven't been a good friend to any one of my family members or friends, and quite frankly, I do not have the emotional fortitude to be that to anyone presently. It wouldn't feel so hectic if we were moving right into our new house but we have a month of homelessness to figure out. We need to organize storage of our belongings, pack suitcases for the month of December since we'll either live in a hotel or do some house sitting, mail for the month, etc. This wouldn't feel so hectic, I am sure, if every day I weren't reliving hospital life in my head and heart, missing Noah's sweet presence, missing nurses, and quite frankly, missing being a caretaker and researcher. I guess there is a reason why the grief facilitators emphasize not taking trips or moving during the 9 week session.
We covered a lot of material on Monday. A few questions posed were:
"Where is it that you find a sense of hope?" I find hope in knowing that Noah is whole and healed and in God's presence. I find hope in God. I find hope that I was not created for here, but I am here, so while I am here, my purpose is to be used for God's glory. I find hope that one day Jesus will return for the Bride of Christ. I find hope in the God of the Universe who threw every star in place, designed every living creature, and Who knows my name because He loves me.
"What makes you want to go on?" Deep in my heart, I am ashamed that Christ's short life and gruesome death were not enough of a wake up call for me. I didn't learn in 19 years, at the time, of knowing what Jesus did for me what 7 months and 2 days with Noah taught me. What makes me go on is knowing that I am not my own. I was bought with Jesus' death on the cross. As a mom, no, as Emily and Noah's mom, I will not live this life half-hearted nor for my own pursuit. If I don't love God out loud in front of Em, I'm not worthy of being her mom. I'm not worthy of being His child...
"What would your child tell you to do now?" This one was difficult for me to answer because I can be quite literal...since Noah would be 17 months old, he'd be calling me 'Mama' about now. I suppose that's what I am supposed to continue doing, being his big sister's 'Mama'.
Our assignment was to make preparations for the holidays. This was a powerful time because each parent in the room had different fears or apprehensions about the upcoming dates. Many plans have been rearranged or changed altogether in order to lessen the pain. One mom will be trudging through her second holiday season without her daughter. Her husband has left her, his family no longer comes around, she made no mention of her own family, just she and her two boys, alone all day, her not motivated to cook a meal and finding no reason to celebrate. The dad in the group that has lost 3 children in the last 3+ years encouraged her that perhaps all she stopped doing the first year may be reintroduced over time. Just because she didn't do that particular tradition the first year doesn't mean she has to stop it altogether. Sitting there, I couldn't help but think of so many other people who have lost someone they love, whether a child or spouse or parent or friend or whomever. The point of our discussion and the goal of our homework over the next week and even as time continues, is to establish memories, ways to remember those we miss dearly. I am very grateful that this is our topic for the next couple of weeks because even as I think of Noah on countless occasions throughout the day, I have not made memorials, really, and it makes the last year and a half all the more distant.
One facilitator stated that this is where we as the grievers need to state our thoughts and desires plainly so there is no guessing. We need to take responsibility to mention our child's (or your loved ones) name and say that for which we are thankful. They gave us a sheet titled, "Creating Memorials", which has many suggestions as to ways to remember and help others remember. Our experience is different, as is the next guys, but we were in the hospital last year at this time. We spent the holidays and my birthday in the hospital and so, for me, not being there this year will leave an emptiness in my heart. We will likely head over to the new hospital on Thanksgiving to try to encourage other families experiencing now what we did just one year ago.
Please, understand I am not stating this for my own benefit because my life is full and my heart runs over with love and generosity everyday from family and friends. I really do hope this has become a resource of encouragement for others who are also grieving or for those of you who are standing alongside friends and family in their loss. But as the holidays quickly approach, don't let the time pass by without acknowledging the memory of the person who is no longer here. Light a candle, make a toast, lead out in prayer, giving thanks for that person, give the widower flowers...whatever you do, don't ignore the elephant in the middle of the room or it might just sit on your face.