Sunday, January 2, 2011

Loss and Grief

I guess it is time for me to talk about grief. I am not a professional, I just know how I feel, though sometimes I don't understand why I am feeling a certain way. I have never been comfortable with grief, I remember being a little girl at my beloved grandfathers funeral and not being able to cry, even though I felt like the world was ending.

When David was born sleeping I didn't cry, I felt numb like this was happening to someone else. The first thing I remember hearing upon waking from my C-section was someone praying, and my husband crying, it was a lady and she had a strong voice,she was performing a dedication ceremony. I remember laying there with my eyes closed and not wanting to wake up. I remember thinking "why is she dedicating him to God,he belongs to God and has always belonged to God." They brought him to me to hold him, I was in pain from my surgery, I was groggy and sick. He was perfectly formed, he had all of his fingers and toes, I could even see the little bow shaped lip that looked so much like his two year old brother. I couldn't cry, I felt like I was in a dream, I didn't cry, it felt unreal. I still had two babies in the NICU so I turned all of my thoughts toward them, then I had a brush with death myself, a Pulmonary Embolism, which landed me in the hospital several times in the following months. We were miles away from home, no family to turn to. Though I did make some friends who became like family to me, but that is another story.

During one of my hospital stays I was called down to the NICU to speak with the boy's doctor. I was told that Lucas had been having problems with his bowels and that a X-Ray showed that he had lost all of his bowel to Necrotizing Endercolitis (NEC), a disease that often strikes in premature infants. The doctor told my husband and myself that this was not compatible with life and that Lucas would have to be removed from life support. I remember asking if they would give him pain medication first, they said yes. They took us to a small private room, they rolled him in. He was already unhooked from the life support but they were bagging him to keep him alive until we could hold him, this seemed sort of cruel to me at the time, but I understand why they did it.
They put this little tiny baby boy in my arms, he looked exactly like the brother he had already lost, exactly like the brother he had that was still fighting for his life, just like my four year old had looked as a baby.

The doctors had told us that they did not know what he could see, if anything. I do know that he looked right into my eyes, right into my soul. I saw that he recognized me, I saw so much in my dying babies eyes, I swear it was like looking straight into heaven. He didn't die right away, he was born fighting, he didn't know how to do anything else. I held him in my arms, I could feel him leave us at the moment of his death, I could see the life leave his eyes. I felt the presence of God in the room, I knew that my baby was not alone, but that he was being carried home, to be with God, to be with his brother, and to wait on us to join him there.

After he left us we went back to his little bedside for the last time, we helped the nurse bathe him, it was his first and last bath. Through all this I didn't cry, I went up to my hospital bed, I was given strong sedatives, I slept. By the time I got well enough to stay out of the hospital I had cried over my boy's. I was still trying to be strong for my baby who was living. I spent the next four months with Elijah in the NICU, watching him fight for his life, afraid to get to close, afraid he would leave me too.

Now, almost three years later we are home. Elijah is a true miracle, though he has his battles, he has been facing them with all of the strength and fight he showed us in the NICU.

Grief is there, it hits me in different ways. Sometimes I feel fine and then I see a set of twins, or someone tells me something that sends me reeling. I have learned that many people do not understand grief, they don't understand how I can grieve a child I never "bonded" with. I just read a great article on grief, it talked about how when someone loses their parent they lose the past, but when they lose a child they lose the future. That is so true....please read this article on grief and try to understand....