It is ok to be sad

Featured

I feel you rolling your eyes, as I hit post. Another grief post you think! Your pain is no longer because it wasn’t your child you lost, it was mine, so you did feel sad for a bit after, you don’t understand how or why I am still grieving or posting sad stuff about grief. I get it its not your loss, you don’t feel it every day like I do and you don’t want to remember it  as much as I do. You might think I am bitter or want sympathy, I don’t. Just know that my heart hurts when I glance at the spot on the floor where she stopped breathing, that I have trouble thinking of moving because this is where she lived for 2 short weeks. Every time I hear a story of tragedy or a life lost I cry for her. Am I stuck? no I am human. I am a mother that gave birth to a beautiful baby that struggled to live, to breathe, that spent 5 weeks in the NICU, not sleeping, not feeling and slowly breaking. That was almost four years ago I know, you think I must have moved past this pain, I have another little girl right. She is my savior, yes. but also my daily reminder of my first little girl that is not here. Would they be best friends? or Would they fight a lot?  I wonder. And yes that too makes me sad. Immediate grief after a tragedy is overwhelming, its consuming and then time takes it away, little by little the intense memories fade and it is easier to ‘pretend’ life is what it is.

Today is October 15th- International Awareness of Stillbirth, miscarriage and infant loss

A day that makes me sad but grateful to have met and to be a part of a community of women, amazing women, that too have suffered a loss, something that is not openly spoken about but should be, something that people are uncomfortable to bring up, leaving the person(s) that suffered the loss alone. Why are we told not to share a pregnancy until 3 months? in case you lose the baby right, we don’t need to upset people like that! but then we suffer alone with our loss. Not right. After I lost my daughter, after she was born at full term, after she was given a birth certificate because she lived past 21 days (the time the government thinks your baby needs to live to be considered a human!) even though we all know as soon as we see that pink or blue line we have a child in our life, whether they live past 21 days or not, to be deemed a person! Different issue, I move on. The stigma that surrounds uncomfortable feelings needs to stop. People need compassion not shame. I don’t know how to change the world into thinking its ok to be sad, we do not need to ‘pretend’ to be happy all the time. As Buddha says ‘Life is suffering’ I believe we have pockets of happy moments or happy feelings but if you truly look at the world and live true, you see that it is about surviving, surviving tragedy around us, surviving, genocide, rape, famine , disease, homelessness, joblessness, then death. Acknowledging life’s struggles does not make us ‘negative’ it makes us real and if you let yourself feel the sad you will better be able to appreciate the happy.

After I lost my daughter, so many women came up to me and told me about their losses, a women lost her son when he was 21, another suffered multiple miscarriages’ but never told anyone, so many stories, so many women that suffered alone because society made them feel like they had to hide their shame because it wasn’t ‘happy news’ I call bollocks! I will continue to share my grief and encourage others to share because we are here for such a short time, all we have is each other. To help, to love, to pick each other up and hug.

Namaste

Thanks for reading.

Sheri

Advertisements

My Space will soon be 4

The space

There is a space in our family that cannot be filled. At one time it was tiny, 18 inches long, yet to reach three pounds, long and lean but tucked into a bundle dripping with my tears.

That space inserted itself into every day. She was milestones unmet, crib sheets unused, car seats returned. The pain of her absence stubbornly followed my every moment. Tears in the shower, aching emptiness in my chest and constant wonder over the functioning world.

Our space grew as we did. Two years old, a height evenly between her brother and sister, toddling in places she should be and shouldn’t.

This space came and went. She woke me up in the morning and reminded me over again how life had changed, she was a hair color I would never know and words I would never hear and this spot in every photo where I knew she should be.

As our space got older we got stronger. At four she was probably all kinds of things, probably tall and thin, probably inseparable from her sister, probably the one to like hugs more and dirt less.

We could almost see her, the little person she would have become and this hurt so much more but sometimes less.

When our space inched past 6 she was so far from the baby we held we weren’t sure how to imagine her. She might be the tallest or the shortest or have straight hair or curly forever tangled in a brush.

She wasn’t just remembered by us anymore, her siblings drew her into their imaginations, painted her into our world, dripping with vibrance and swirling colors. Their thoughts of her made our hearts burst and break at once knowing they had glimpsed our emptiness. She was their space to hold too.

Our space will be 8 soon, we’ve held her for that long. She would be begging me for purple in her hair or loving it cropped short. She should be trading clothes with her sister and sharing her bed at night or hiding her things so she won’t borrow them again.

She is the sister my daughter is sure would fix every annoyance from her brothers. The daughter I imagine would have made our life that perfect kind of ordinary. And the child I would give anything to have back.

She is the space we will always hold, she’s changed form and size and intensity over the years but there’s no force greater than what she’s left for us. A family forever holding her place.

See more of this article at: http://fourplusanangel.com/2015/09/the-space/#sthash.c9obvphA.dpuf

View original at: http://fourplusanangel.com/2015/09/the-space/

I love this post written by Jessica author of ‘Four plus an Angel’ it came in my inbox at the most necessary time. I couldn’t have written this feeling, these sentiments or thoughts any better so I have shared it with you.

Namaste,

Thanks for reading.

Sheri.

A better me because of you

We all have bucket lists of some form or another, learn to cook, run a marathon, travel etc. I always had things in the back of my head that I wanted to do, but just like the garden  I always wanted and never grew until after losing her. I never did those others things either, but suddenly I had to occupy my mind and body so I did them.

Canuck Place Adventure Race 10k, Run for water 5k, BCCH Child Run 1k and 5k, Tough Mudder16k, Vancouver Sun Run 10k

Canuck Place Adventure Race 10k, Run for water 5k, BCCH Child Run 1k and 5k, Tough Mudder16k, Vancouver Sun Run 10k

These are the races I ran over the last 3 years since her passing I have raised over $15,000. for BC Childrens Hospital and Canucks Place Childrens Hospice. I feel proud of her for encouraging me to do the things I always secretly wanted to. I’ve adopted a street I maintain in her honor and I donate blood 3x/year for her. She has made me a better person. The loss of her has taught me that life is precious, life is short and what you do should be meaningful, if only to you.

Lily’s Tree

Lily's Tree

When I was 6 months pregnant with Lily I had an urge to plant a new tree in my yard, my thought was to watch it, and her grow together, I would always know how long the tree was there because it would be the same age as her. I chose a beautiful red Japanese maple tree. I planted right in my front yard; it greets me every time I pull in the driveway.

After lily died, it was hard to look at my tree and not think of her, her name pops into my head when I see the tree; Lily’s tree.

1 dwarf cherry tree, 1 plum tree, 1 apple tree, 1 azalea, 1 lavender bush, 2 rose bushes, 3 blueberry bushes, 4 strawberry bushes, 10 hedge trees, , multiple vegetables yearly in my vegetable garden.

I became obsessed with wanting to grow things, walking in nature; I spent many hours outside staring at tree tops and crying. I told my husband I wanted to build a garden box, I had always wanted to plant and grow things and since I didn’t have a baby taking up my time why not now. The first thing I planted in my garden was Lilies of course and they come back to greet me each July.

WP_20150712_002

 

Thank you my angel.

Thanks for reading.

Namaste

 

Who you’d be today

We went away, another trip you should have been on. I miss you lily. I remember that day you left us, I prayed and begged for so many things to have you to stay, I promised you I would buy us matching bathing suits to wear the following summer, I almost bought Hope and I matching suits this trip, I couldn’t. I miss you. This morning I was staring at a photo I keep beside my computer, it is of your brothers holding you and it struck me as I stared that it was you and not your sister Hope. All the things that are missed by you, by your life being over.

WP_20150712_005

Three years ago I slept a lot, not wanting to endure the pain of the slow minutes that past without you. I prayed to jump ahead in time when it would not be so raw, so real, and so hard. And here I am, three years later and I wish so desperately to go back to that pain, to feel your hurt inside my soul so I cannot move again. I miss you. I think of you still always. I wonder who you’d be today.

Thank you for reading.

Namaste

Call me Crazy

Would you call me crazy if I told you the truth?

Would you think I am weird for the tiny rituals I do to remember my lost little girl?

If you knew I wondered if every butterfly I saw was my daughter,

If you saw me cuddling the stuffed elephant I bought her 4 days before she died, that sleeps beside my bed so if  I wake up and want to hold it I can.

Do you wonder why I have so many stone Angels’ in and around my house?

Would you call me crazy if I told you I wake up in a frantic panic at times confusingly wondering where my baby is?

Would you think I am weird for gently touching the dried blood stains that I cannot wash off her blanket and hat?

If you knew I prayed for people to ask about her would you?

If you saw me talking, kissing, holding her picture, would you call me crazy?

Some might but I am ok with being a little crazy.

I am crazy for my living children, for my husband, why can’t I be crazy for my little girl whose life was so short but has touched me so hugely.

Call me crazy.

WP_20150712_003

Away on a family trip, a beautiful butterfly just like this one, landed on my 2 year old daughter Hope, who we had after Lily died. She freaked out a little because the butterfly didn’t seem to want to leave her shoulder, all I kept thinking was – It’s ok Hope its your sister.

Thanks for reading,

Namaste.

3 years.

My daughter Lily was born still.

That’s what would have been my statement had we waited any longer. She was born blue and was resuscitated; because of her beginning without oxygen she suffered brain stem damage, she was frozen for 3 days to help heal her brain damage, the first time I held my baby girl she was 4 days old. But she was alive so I was grateful.

Weeks passed with so many tests, all with a negative conclusion and after having a feeding tube surgically placed into her gastro intestine we were able to take her home. What gets me is that even though they did 3 MRI’s and multiple other scans, they missed what would eventually kill her. That was her trachea. They were so close too, they found the holes in her heart, they found the valve that pumped the wrong way, all of these would need surgeries to be fixed but she needed to be bigger and stronger to endure them, had they looked an inch higher they would have seen her abnormal trachea.

The night Lily stopped breathing and I performed CPR on her plays out as a nightmare in my memory, for the longest time I wanted to move because every time I looked at that spot on the  floor where she lay, my heart stopped, but then we replaced the carpets with hardwood and I was sad that that was now gone too, so I knew I couldn’t leave the one place she had been. When they found out about Lilys trachea, the doctor phoned and told me she would need a tracheotomy to live- that’s a hole in her throat to breathe, he said she would never have a good life, would never speak, would never taste anything and would have a shortened lifespan because of it. That surgery was on top of the other 4 heart surgeries she needed. This one would now be 1rst though. He said I will do it if you tell me to but even on a healthy baby the chance of survival is slim. What the fuck do you say to that!? We had company downstairs that day, I didn’t go back down.

We went back to the hospital 1rst thing the next day probably our 100th drive then. I suffered from ptsd every time I got into the car after she died. 4 days later we signed a do not resuscitate order, they took out her breathing tube and we held her until she died 30 minutes later at 4:55 pm on February 18 2012. I am forever haunted by this. What if we did the surgeries? Most likely she wouldn’t have died in our arms but on a table. What if we accepted the transfer to Canuck Place? We probably would have had a nicer end of her life together as a family. What if she was born still? None of these traumatizing experiences would have happened, we would have still grieved but differently I imagine. The hardest, what if she continued to breathe, what if she was that 5% that survived.

So as life goes on, as we try to understand the why’s of it all, we want to grow, we hope to learn, we try to accept, we continue to live. We chose to remember.

Raku Spirit Angel

Handmade Raku Angel By Artist Jeremy Diller Raku PotteryWorks

Handmade Raku Angel By Artist Jeremy Diller
Raku PotteryWorks

‘It is believed that we each have a guardian angel that watches over us. Let this raku spirit angel represent your divine protection. Tell your spirit angel your fears and troubles. Then, let your angel protector deal with your worries and fears while you focus joyfully on your goals. Expect Miracles.’

I bought this  beautiful hand made angel in ‘Old’ Scottsdale – Arizona, as a gift for my daughter who should have celebrated her 3rd b-day this past December 30th 2014. Happy Birthday Angel.

Wed.Oct.15th 2014 Child Loss Memorial Service for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

langley lawn cemetery childrens plaque

Mourning Mothers held their 12th annual Child Loss Memorial service at 1:30 yesterday(October 15th- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day) at Langley Lawn Cemetery4393 208 St, Langley, BC There was  a dove release and a display of “Angel Gowns” made from wedding dresses, for stillborn babies or those who have died after birth. We lit a candle for Lily, placed an angel on the cemetery’s Angel Tree. I am so grateful to have found this place, I have been longing for a place to visit where I can remember my girl, having had her cremated, her ashes sit in a love box on our fireplace, we always felt like we had nowhere to go. We wanted to ‘buy’ a bench and have an in memoriam plaque placed on it but unfortunately Langley has decided it appears too negative to have ‘In memory of’ or  birth and death dates, so we decided against it. I cant even begin to describe the anger I felt when they told me this. Anyway, we do have a plaque outside the NICU where Lily spent most of her life but its just too far to visit and a little awkward to stand in a hallway with people and doctors passing by, also when we saw the plaque for the 1rst time we of course took a picture and a security guard told us we were not aloud and questioned why?? We thought are you kidding?! this is OUR plaque for OUR daughter, WE paid for and we will take a picture if we damn well please! Anyways after the service yesterday I felt so completely and utterly drained. But so glad I went.

“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

lily dovetree