So I haven't felt much up to blogging lately. I actually haven't felt much up to do anything, but I thought that I'd have all of this time of not being able to do anything that would give me the chance to catch up on my blog. Obviously that is not happened since I'm feeling in a rut with this whole blogging thing. In fact, I'm wondering if I should do it at all.
Soon after I started my blog, I knew that there was more to it than just a chance to document the goings on of my family. I realized it was an opportunity to share my testimony about the gospel of Jesus Christ and my belief in the church that I belong to, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder M. Russell Ballard reaffirmed that when he spoke about the importance of blogs and using our voices on the internet by saying, " You have a great opportunity to be a powerful force for good in the
Church and in the world. There is truth in the old adage that “the pen
is mightier than the sword.” In many cases it is with words that you will accomplish the great things that you set out to do."
He went on to say, "Now, may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the
Internet to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms
the message of the Restoration. Most of you already know that if you
have access to the Internet you can start a blog in minutes and begin
sharing what you know to be true. You can download videos from Church
and other appropriate sites, including newsroom.lds.org,
and send them to your friends. You can write to media sites on the
Internet that report on the Church and voice your views as to the
accuracy of the reports. This, of course, requires that you understand the basic principles of the gospel. It is essential that you are able to offer a clear and correct
witness of gospel truths. It is also important that you and the people
to whom you testify understand that you do not speak for the Church as a
whole. You speak as one member—but you testify of the truths you have
come to know."
That is what I've tried to do. I've kept my blog public for this reason. As I hit the greatest trials of my life, the loss of my sweet little Gabriel....and then my little Reese, I continued to keep it public. I was very open with my heartache over their losses, but I've also tried to share that I have a strong testimony in the Plan of Salvation and that I have no doubt in my mind that I will see my babies again. It has been very therapeutic for me to get out my feelings. Rereading over those feelings I wrote when Gabriel died have helped me get through losing Reese so much. I've always felt that if my words helped just one person, even a stranger, then I was helping. When that one person was me, I was so thankful that I had written it all down.
Now my blog is not my personal journal. I have one of those that I keep and record the things that I have found much too sacred to share with very many people. Without sharing too much, I will say that without a doubt in my mind, I have felt my babies, literally felt my babies, by my side. I know they are there when I most desperately need them the most. I have known people that have lost loved ones and prayed for this kind of experience and yet have never received it. I feel incredibly blessed to have had these sacred experiences, but I will leave it at the plain and simple truth that my babies did have spirits that continue to still be a part of our family....now and forever.
When I lost Reese, actually while I was in the very middle of my excruciating and heartbreaking labor with Reese, I got a text from someone I considered a good friend. It said, "Don't let this define you." I was just blown away at those words. I still think of them every day and hurt. How could I not let these experiences define me? I know that they are not all that I am, but they are such a part of me. I am daughter of my Heavenly Father. I am a daughter of my earthly parents. I am a wife. I am a mom. I am a mom to babies in heaven. These are all things that define me....now and forever. I have now been pregnant 7 times....3 times in the last 2 1/2 years. I have 4 living children here. How could almost half of my children not being here not contribute to defining me?
Knowing what people expected of me, even these good friends, I've tried to put on a good face. I've tried to "get over" this, to move on, to be strong. I know it will never happen. I know I will only get through this. A friend of mine recently wrote on her blog about her own miscarriage, "Sometimes moving on implies forgetting, but we definitely haven't forgotten." How can you forget and why would you ever want to? Of the three babies I've lost, I've held two of those sweet perfect bodies in my own arms. I've marveled at their tiny features, their 10 little fingers and 10 little toes, their resemblance to my living childrens' & my husbands' features, and I've just loved them, just like any of my other living children. I love my babies. I truly, truly do and every day, every single day, that I can not be with them is heartbreaking. I've learned enough with Gabriel's loss and the separation of time from it, that it won't always be completely excruciating, but because they were part of me, they will always be a part of me. I don't expect to ever be "over this", even at age 80. I expect, just like Emma Smith, the wife of a prophet, at the end of her life, to eagerly be anticipating the reunion with my babies soon.
I know I've made people uncomfortable by being so open with my grief and my love for babies that they would just like me to just forget about. I've actually seen people go out of their way to avoid me...like crossing the room kind of thing. People don't talk to me anymore at church and running into someone is always uncomfortable. Some of the people that were closest to me in my life before Gabriel died are now only acquaintances at best. Some of my heroes before have now proven that they aren't worthy of that title. This doesn't make them bad people, just people that I can't allow to hurt me anymore. It's sad, but it's okay too. I have been able to realize who my true friends are and who will be there for me and honestly, that has been a gift.
So here's the point, I'm thinking about going private on this blog because the fact is, I will continue to write about my babies.....all of my babies. I will continue to ache for the ones not with me and I will continue to let them contribute to defining me, because they are part of me forever. People don't have to read it, but someone is reading it. I have at least 50 page views a day according to my stats. I get all sorts of unwanted spam comments and because my comments have to be approved, it's annoying. I rarely get comments from friends anymore so I don't even know if friends are reading or if it's just complete strangers or robots or whatever. Are you reading friends? Do I even have friends anymore? On the other hand, I worry that maybe there's a stranger out there that is reading my blog and has felt validated in their own feelings of loss. Or maybe there's someone out there that has been touched by my testimony of the gospel, despite my trials, because I can truly say that I believe it with all of my heart. Maybe when they hit a life-changing trial, they will know where to turn for peace. Strangers, are you out there too? Am I helping anyone?
I'm asking friends and strangers alike to comment on this post. I won't publish any comments at all. I just want to know if there is anyone that is getting something out of this blog staying public? If not, I don't see the point in even doing it anymore, except doing it privately, where I know that the people I approve to read won't judge me. I've wanted to help someone and I know I have done that, even by helping myself....maybe that's all that needs to happen anymore.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Friday, January 4, 2013
ONE LITTLE WORD:
"A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything"
Last year I chose a word of the year, BE.
I thought of it throughout the year as I somehow survived one of the hardest I've ever had to. Yes, 2012, the year of heartache, hope, and then shattered dreams once again. I know for most people an early miscarriage might not be a big thing, but after waiting so long for our rainbow baby, it hurt me immensely. We didn't expect to get pregnant and in fact, had been told it probably wasn't going to happen. Although it was what I ached for more than anything, I was coming to terms with it. Then in late January, it happened....for a day, we were having another baby. I thought that maybe 2012 would be our year. Then it was gone. Everyone said that it was okay, that it meant that we could get pregnant, that there was hope, but it still hurt to know that maybe that was our only chance, and I grieved, hard, and almost entirely alone. It was confusing too, because as early as I was, we didn't really think of that baby as having it's spirit yet. In a priesthood blessing, I was told I'd have my babies (plural) to raise in the Millenium. I just accepted that Heavenly Father knew what was meant by that. I was promised that I'd have more babies to raise here on earth too....and I hoped.
Then, almost immediately, we were pregnant again. I was amazed. There was hope again. The blessing I had been given was coming true. I was having another baby that I had been promised to get to raise. A new pregnancy, a new life, a rainbow with a heartbeat and an active little body....a perfect lifeless body that I would hold in my hand just a few weeks later and ache for, another loss to survive, another chance at happiness gone for the rest of this life, another very unexpected disappointment because after all, I had been promised. In so many ways the loss of my little Reese was a million times harder than the loss of Gabriel. Of course, most people wouldn't think that, but no one could even imagine the miracle that baby boy was, the hope he brought after such a long time, and the complete heartache his loss brought to all of us. All I could do for the rest of the year was to concentrate on that one little word I had chosen for the year....to be.
After all I had learned since Gabriel died, I knew that I could survive, if I chose to. So I did. I tried. I existed, I made things happen, I occupied my life, I went on as things had before. I did all of President Hinckley's bes, I was grateful, I was humbled to my core, I was courageous, and somehow I was happy in so many aspects. I did it. I survived. I survived the lonely months of grieving, although they are still not over. I survived the heartache of baby announcements and births without letting jealousy consume me and instead really genuinely being happy for those who were blessed with babies because I had been reminded of just how happy I had been when I was. I survived the two due dates for the year, the holidays without my babies here, and the heartache of ending the year I had two losses, knowing that 2012 was the only year I could say that I had two chances at hope, even if that was gone. I survived the hardest year of my life. I did it with the help of my amazing husband, my sweet little ones, and my two angel babies holding me up. I survived it with the few friends that are still there for me. I survived it by knowing that in reality, my Savior, alone, had survived it with me. I couldn't have done it alone. I survived. I was (which is another form of be).
Now, a new year is here and it's time for a new word. I've been bed-ridden for the last little while....more on that later...and as I've laid here without much to do but think, I thought it would be so easy to come up with a new word. It hasn't. I thought about hope. I am trying to be hopeful, but I'm not quite ready to even expect that hope will stay, so hope was not the word. Last night my new word hit me, either in a dream or in those moments of subconsciousness that I've been experiencing because of being bed-ridden and heavily sedated. But it was there and it was clear and it made so much sense then. My new word:
1. to turn one's eyes toward something or in some direction in order to see: He looked toward the western horizon and saw the returning planes.
2. to glance or gaze in a manner specified: to look questioningly at a person.
3. to use one's sight or vision in seeking, searching, examining, watching, etc.: to look through the papers.
4. to tend, as in bearing or significance: Conditions look toward war.
5. to appear or seem to the eye as specified: to look pale.
Now, in the light of the day and a much clearer head, it doesn't make as much sense and I can't as eloquently write my thoughts down as they ran through my head last night, but I know that this is my word. Like last year's word, it is a verb and requires action but I love that it also requires choice. I have to choose to look, and so I will.
I will look at the present and enjoy it. It might not be what I envisioned in the past, but I am learning to accept that this is my life and although the things that I have been through in the last few years haven't really been my choice and I wish with all of my heart that my present was different, that I can still enjoy the true joys I have now if I will remember to look for them with a grateful heart. For me, being grateful really helps me. A friend and I have already challenged each other to look every single day for God in our lives and we've been reporting to each other how we've seen God each day. It has been a wonderful thing so far and I'm so excited to do it all year. I have a beautiful and blessed life and I will treasure every single moment.
I will also look to the future. Like I said, I'm not in a stage of real hope yet. I honestly have no clue what our future will bring. I have the promise of that blessing, but I know not all promised blessings come true. I have to accept that my future just might not include another baby. It's obviously not happening again and I have to be okay with that. I have to find hope in other things. I have to go on with the life and the children that I do have and plan a future without more babies. Of course, we'd welcome that chance again, but I'm not holding my breath anymore, so I will look towards the future with the hope that things will go the way the Lord has planned. I know that no matter what, whether in this life or the next, I have so much to look forward to already by simply being the mother to those two boys that have gone ahead. The future is as bright as my faith and I know it will be wonderful because Heavenly Father has promised it.
President Uchtdorf wrote in the December 2012 Ensign, "The things we hope for are often future events. If only we could look beyond the horizon of mortality into what awaits us beyond this life. Is it possible to imagine a more glorious future than the one prepared for us by our Heavenly Father?"
I know that I must also actively look and learn in the gospel. As Nephi was told to look to see what his father before him had seen, I will look also for understanding in the gospel and in His plan for me. As the people of Moses were commanded to look and be saved, I will look towards what I know will help me, the gospel, to get me through the hard things. Alma also talked about looking. He said, "The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever." (Alma 37:46)
One of my favorite Conferece talks in recent years was by Carl B. Cook in which he talks about looking up. Here is a link to it:
I've been blessed with a wonderful husband that reminds me of this all of the time, to just look up. Although he thinks I never listen, I do. This year I will concentrate on looking up, looking for God in my daily life, looking at the now, and looking forward with faith and hope in the blessed life we have been given.
See, Ben, I might be stubborn, but I'm always listening and I'm finally looking!!