Five

I cannot believe you will soon be five.

You should be turning five that is.

It hurts to re-live that night five years ago, when you were born and all there is, was silence.

No beautiful wail escaped your body.

I shook in my own tears as I was expecting this moment, as if I knew it was to happen.

Throughout my pregnancy I was terrified something was wrong. It just didn’t feel right. Then it happened, first with excitement at your arrival then with shock as you were backwards folded in half turning blue on exit. The doctor and nurses worked so hard to get you to breathe as your dad held your hand begging you to try.

I was in my own shock; all was silent. I heard nothing, I only assumed you were dead. when the doctor told me they inserted a tube finally helping you to breathe but you needed to go immediately to the NICU, that I couldn’t see you. My mind could not wrap around what was happening or why. That was the hard beginning to your short beautiful life that has changed me forever. As a mother, as a human being who vows to live empathetically and compassionately helping others. I thank you for your time in my life my beautiful child.

I wish you a happy fifth birthday this Dec 30th  wherever you are my sweet angel.

Love always and forever.

mom.

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Dealing with anxiety and depression; no easy answer.

Depression and anxiety are rampant these days and with good reason, with all the tragedies happening around us, combined with us all wanting more than we need because of what marketing and the media have cramed in our faces everyday helping us to feel less than when we don’t have it all. When we cannot do it all, as we are told we should. ADD, ADHD, Autism spectrum disorder (varying levels now) too many more mental illnesses. Breast cancer, Leukemia, Alzheimer’s and devastating childhood Cancers. So much we deal with, we look at but are told to be positive, don’t cry, you don’t want to make others uncomfortable, so instead we show off the people that we are not on Facebook, we Instragram the meals we pretend to cook daily, we Tweet our ‘heroes’ for attention, sadly they are famous people(not the scientists, doctors, army veterans that it should be) that do nothing helpful to the world(some do) but encourage consumerism by showing off all they’ve acquired, with glossed over, highly filtered shots that hurt our minds and grow our insecurities. People that suffer from anxiety tend to have suffered a traumatic event in their life, events that can range in degrees of harshness but are nonetheless traumatic to the recipient. We don’t learn how to cope with PTSD or the ensuing anxiety, we do learn to pretend, to be positive and when we cannot pretend we want to hide and isolate ourselves and unfortunately some isolate themselves to the point that they lose touch with reality or with society, trapped in their evil mind of negative thoughts. They venture to a doctor brave enough to tell someone they are not coping, only to be prescribed a deadly dose of mind numbing chemicals that in the end cause dependency, just a temporary solution instead of simply encouraging exercise, a better diet, two things which are proven mood lifters, they help with sleep and connect our body to our mind. Not our mind to drugs that in the end worsen the brain and the problem. I wish there was a magical cure for all those that suffer from depression, isolation, anxiety, I do think if our young were encouraged to go get fresh air when upset or go for a walk when frustrated or angry, if we could teach simple coping techniques; like meditation when feeling scared or confused, how better off we might be. When I feel so trapped inside my anxiety all I can do is ride it out. Knowing I am stronger than the thoughts that cause me this pain. I often wonder how much worse it would be if I didn’t exercise daily. When I was fourteen I tried to take my life. I was an undisciplined, (felt) unloved, labeled some terrible names at school because of untrue rumors that I was constantly running from. My parents were divorcing; I had no rules, no goals, no forced values or concern. No one would miss me, no one needed me, I didn’t understand the point. I went into the bathroom and took what was left in a bottle of Tylenol, about 20 pills, I figured it would be enough to do something, and went to bed. As I lay there crying I eventually started to think of the future, of what I wanted. What I hoped might happen one day. I got back up went to the bathroom and made myself throw up. I never again got that sad, sad enough to think I should be dead or not care enough to live. Not until my daughter died almost twenty years later did I think death would be better than living, one reason that I didn’t seriously consider it was because of my other two young kids, the thought of them losing their mother after their sister was a hard one, but I knew they’d be fine, they had an amazing dad, so every night after I’d wake up from a nightmare filled with dread or survived another panic attack because they were not home, I considered more and more the reasons I didn’t have to keep going, the only one that kept me alive in the end was the thought of my husband, who was suffering more than anyone cared to pay attention to or notice but I saw his pain every day, I felt his sadness, and watched his mind disappear and become numb with every drink he poured, I thought how he would be ruined if he lost his wife right after his daughter I knew my kids would be fine as long as they had their dad, but saw that their dad wouldn’t be fine and for that reason, my love for him, is why I decided to keep going. Why I have kept going. For them to have him. Now four years later I keep going for myself, to see my kids become adults, to maybe meet my grandchildren, to do what I can to make the world a better place for them until then. It is so easy to question the world, to hate your life. But if you can think of how people will be hurt because of  a selfish decision, it can be eye opening. I don’t know what made me throw up the pills I took that night when I was fourteen, but maybe it was to get to this day, because god knows the hardships that followed were more than a lot deal with, but as they say, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and for the longest time that was my mantra. I became hard, I am not very sympathetic to people with champagne problems or self inflicted issues or self imposed isolation. Go outside. Take a breath of fresh air. Remember what you have that some don’t.

I strongly believe that life is suffering; we need to feel the pain to feel the strength, esperience the hurt to see the happiness when it comes.

I wanted to share this not for pity or sympathy but because so many people assume only the ones who hide away, suffer or have suffered; only the ones on pills are truly understanding of mental disorders, but that is not true because all of us suffer at some point in our lives, it is just how we pick ourselves up and decide to keep going that makes a difference.

We need to keep going, to keep hoping.

Thanks for reading,

Namaste.

Sheri.

It is ok to be sad

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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

Time

I haven’t been able to write in a while, this time of year is a hard relief. I am trying to escape the reality of time. Time goes on. Time heals all. Time never stops. Tick tock tick tock. In acute grief time does not heal, nothing is in focus, nor does it feel like it will ever be again, all you want is for time to stop. So you can stop. Stop feeling, stop moving, stop going through the motions. You realize time is moving faster and faster,  your grief gets farther away and that makes you sad because there was a time when you thought (and it wasn’t a bad thought) but you thought that it would feel like this forever, so broken, so lost, so uncaring of and for the world. But time goes on and you cant stop it, you cant stop the world changing around you and your need to move on and keep going even though you don’t really want to, you wake up one day and see that it hasn’t been that dark lately. But that also doesn’t feel ok, that somehow feels like a betrayal to the one you lost. Like your leaving your grief behind, your leaving them behind, you bring yourself to look at things to feel that sadness again, and that too is a step, forever you couldn’t look at, not purposefully anyway anything that reminded you of the pain of your loss. But you can, you want to and that is a big step. A spring step;  may your journey through grief continue as peacefully as this angel watching the flowers grow. spring Angel 2015   ‘We never really get over devastating loss. In the thick of it, we almost stop breathing; sometimes even wishing we could. And we know deep within that we will never be the same. Yet, one day we feel the sun on our face again. We find ourselves smiling at a child or a joke or a memory. And at that moment, we realize we are finding our way back. Changed forever? Yes. But also softer, deeper, more vulnerable and more loving too. And we are breathing again. ‘  -Paul Boynton

“The Trauma of Everyday Life” by Mark Epstein, MD

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 'The trauma of everyday' By Mark Epstein MD Quote from (pg.94)

‘The trauma of everyday’ By Mark Epstein MD
Quote from (pg.94) “This idea, of broken dreams expressing broken aspects of our beings… It is another way of talking about the trauma of everyday life, about the bits and pieces of catastrophe we dissociate from but still carry with us. These traumatic experiences are left hanging just outside awareness. They peek out from our dreams or nag at us in the privacy of our aloneness, a lurking sense of sorrow or disquiet that underlies our attempts to be ‘normal,’ but it is rare that we feel secure enough to let them fully speak.”

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

Learning through grief

What I have learned is change is sometimes necessary to grieve. To appreciate the things that are important we must thank the ones we lost. Pain will always come and go but it can live beside the love we feel in peace as long as you let yourself feel both.

Beauty on the sky