Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Exposure

Starting the blog was a great idea. It was intended to keep everyone up-to-date on Caroline’s progress. It would keep Blake from being on the phone 24 hours a day. It would give me something to occupy my time while I was in the hospital waiting for her arrival.


Here I sit with no update to provide. She is gone. Her life on earth came and went in what, now, seems like the blink of an eye. The blog still exists. Part of me wanted to end it after the memorial service. Another voice told me I would need it.

I have enjoyed sharing our latest home improvement projects-landscaping, lights. Accomplishing a task makes me smile. More than likely, Nugget and Olive will make an appearance, as they, too, evoke joy. But there is a huge part of my life I avoid mentioning. I don’t want to depress everyone by always bringing up our girls. People don't know how to respond. They don't know what to say. No one wants to “go there” because they don’t want to upset or remind me. The truth is, Finley and Caroline are ALWAYS on my mind. In avoiding them, I feel like I am denying or am ashamed of their existence. I am not. So, can’t sweep the past year of my life under a rug and pretend as if nothing happened. Something major occurred, twice. I lost 2 little girls and have been left fighting an inner battle I can no longer deny.

Initially, Blake was concerned the blog would become superficial. I might post something I did not feel just because it was the “right“ thing to say. I get that completely and know where he was coming from. Truthfully, I would love to paint a pretty picture of comfort and peace in the midst of the storm. To say that I have not felt the presence of the Lord in my life is an untruth. I have. But this journey has been difficult. It has been anything but pretty. Actually, it feels quite unflattering and at times, even scares me. My faith is being tested in ways I never imagined possible.

From where I stand, there are 2 options: Hide-And-Seek or Exposure. Option A masks the pain, question, fear, and disappointment I feel. It disconnects me from God, family and friends. Option B makes me completely vulnerable. It strips me naked, revealing the wounds and scars of this life. Oddly enough, I think the latter is what I need. The childhood game is no longer fun, not to mention, ineffective.


There were so many thoughts and emotions I held inside after losing Finley. Envy, bitterness, anger, regret, loneliness, frustration, and guilt, to name a few. Then there was the shame I felt in feeling the way I did. Seeing a pregnant woman made me cringe. Learning that someone else was expecting a child made me nauseated. The sound of an infant in church made me want to run out screaming and crying. What was my problem? Who was this person I had become? How could a Christian feel this way? I felt ugly, hateful, mean…evil.

Since losing Caroline, the pain has deepened. The horrid thoughts I mentioned above, have started to resurface. I am grateful they are not as strong, but they are here, nonetheless. I am fighting it with all of my might but at times it seems I am losing the battle. My wounds are open and I am weak.

On multiple occasions, I have been encouraged to write. I have avoided doing so because I am no good at it. I have never been one to keep a diary or a journal. It is awkward for me to sit and spill my emotions on paper. I tried it during my pregnancy with Finley. It was fun until I went into labor on April 3rd. That was the end of journaling for a while. Then, I decided to “finish the story” on what would have been her due date, August 16th 2007. After 6 hours and multiple breaks, I had managed to write 20+ pages. At times, I cried so hard I thought I would pass out. As horrible as that may sound, it was helpful to let it all go. There was healing in doing so. I don’t dare attempt to read that journal now. It is too much to bear. It would be like pouring salt on fresh wounds. No thanks.

I bought a new journal within days of learning I was pregnant with Caroline. At first, I thought I had the strength to write again. This pregnancy would be different. However, I never allowed myself to sit and put it on paper. The journal still lays in the floor, blank, empty. The details of her life in my womb have already started to fade. I will never get them back. I was too scared to write. What if the outcome turned out to be the same as before?


Is sharing all of this with the world a good idea? I don’t know. I am pretty sure the world won’t be reading this so I am safe in that regard. What I do know is I have been comforted in the words of others. It is reassuring to know I am not alone in this journey of grief. Probably sounds trite but it is very true. For the past year, I have been following the blogs of families walking a similar path. While their stories are different than mine, they know the loss of a child. They know what it is like to be in a pit of despair so deep that you don’t even recognize yourself. Their emotions mirror mine and that provides a sense of relief. I am NOT crazy. I am NOT evil. I am grateful someone else was willing to share because it has helped me in ways I cannot describe.

I am choosing Option B. I need to be vulnerable so I can experience true healing, spiritually and emotionally. I want a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father. We have been "dating" too long. As Tim Woodroof so eloquently described it to me, I have settled for a life on the first floor. There is level, above, on which I have not allowed myself to go. I could keep "control" on the first floor. I want to take the next step and experience 2nd floor living. Am I willing to move into a marriage relationship with God? Will I give him control? What option do I have? Clearly, my plans are not working out. So, I am ready to try. In sharing, I am forced to go deeper. This may be weird to some folks. It is to me. It is to Blake. But, I feel "lead" to do it this way so I will follow. I won't even attempt to figure out where it will take me.

13 comments:

KTL said...

Danielle,
I'm not really sure I should even try to leave a 'comment' to your post, but felt compelled to say something...I can't imagine your loss and sometimes I try to, but know even my guesses are nowhere close. But I do thank you for opening yourself up to all of us in blogger world and those of us who are lucky to be a part of your life. Your openness about this journey is an amazing example to me and I'm sure others, of how hard having faith can be even though we know we serve a powerful God. I'm praying for you constantly and I would love to listen or talk about Finley and Caroline anytime you'd like. I think about them often.
Thank you and love you.

JDL said...

Sis,
I am so proud of you for doing this. As Katie mentioned, its impossible for us to know what you are going through. But know that we love you and pray for you.

If you want to "get coffee" we're here ;)

Bre said...

Danielle,
I was very moved by your blog and you made a lot of very great comments about the grieving process. There's no one way to deal with hard times and however you deal with it is fine. Just know that I'm always here to listen and I don't get tired of hearing about your two girls. I appreciate you showing your vulnerability and being willing to go the next step in your relationship with God. You are a great example for the rest of us. You're in my prayers whether you ask for prayers or not. Love you girl.

The Maguet's said...

Danielle,
I stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say just how sorry I am for everything that you are going through. Reading brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of my experience losing Adelide and Belle at 22 weeks. I, too, went into premature labor that couldn't be stopped. All of the emotions you discussed are normal. I understand your pain in seeing a pregnant woman or hearing a baby cry. I was angry at the world and wondered why I had been chosen to endure such pain. I know that we are never given more than we can handle, so you must be a real trooper. I admire your courage in sharing your feelings and hope that in doing this the healing process will begin. I do not mean to say that you will ever be "over" these tragedies, just that weeping uncontrollably eventually will fade and you will be able to talk about your girls without breaking down. It has been 4 years for me and I feel as though I am finally "in that place." I know that I will be with them again and the precious short time spent with them here on Earth, though sad, is etched in my memory forever. I only wish I had written down my feelings like you. Please feel free to contact me at erin_maguet@yahoo.com if you ever need any reassurance. I know, from experience, that while family and friends are terribly important at this time, sometimes they cannot truly understand the pain as well as someone who has experienced it. I spent countless nights searching the internet for someone in a similar situation and had a difficult time finding anyone. I know that you don't know me, but please know that I am thinking of you daily and praying that your burdens will be lifted.

Anonymous said...

i love you both... and we are still praying...

sybil

Anonymous said...

Danielle,
I am so moved by this last blog. I don't normally communicate with you through the blog, but I felt the need to write words to you.
These are the times when I wish I lived much closer so I could just hug you. Your writing held very honest and heartfelt meanings and I could feel the emotion through them as I read. I know I may not always know what to say, but I will always be here to listen. You have a huge heart and others that don't even know you are seeing that through this blog. You are talking with people (like the Maguets) who know exactly what you are going through. I am thankful for those people as they are reaching out to you.
You mentioned you aren't good at writing, but I feel you couldn't have been more poetic. You are a dear friend and I love you.
LeAnne

shelley said...

Danielle,

It seems like yesterday I was asking you question after question about how to get pregnant and what it was like to have another being inside of your belly. You told about the one time you actually threw up, the whirlwind of choosing nursing bras, and the never ending hunger. You were about 3 months pregnant with Finley when I became pregnant. Now Evan is 5 1/2 months old. Often I look at him and think, Finley would already be sitting up, eating solids, and probably look like a spitting image of her mother. Then I wonder, why? You continued to provide support to me through my pregnancy. I can't imagine how difficult that had to have been. It should have been me to support you. It should have been me to visit you, blake, and finley at the hospital in august. It wasn't. I often think of your visit to come and see evan after his birth. The picture of you holding him brings sorrowful tears to my eyes when I flip through his album. It shouldn't be this way. Then I came into work one day, sat down and we began to catch up on the latest news. You told me that you were having to start those awful shots. Being the absent-minded person that I am, I didn't realize that the time to begin those shots were when you became pregnant again. Obviously,I didn't get the hint. Then, finally, I got it. We were out in the hallway coming back from getting our lunch drink when we both became so giddy after your confirmation of the good news. I was so relieved. The funny thing was, I was sensing that this was the case for a few days. Your eyes were so full of joy. Your presence was that of relief and hope. My suspicions were right! Then...another heartbreak. I mean what is going on here? Not again. Not Danielle. Since I don't have internet at home I kept all family members checking the blog every five minutes waiting for the news of Caroline's birth and knowing that she was going to be fine. The nurses were there with her bed ready. Surely the hesitation in the blog didn't mean bad news, though that is what i was feeling. Then the text came. My mom was over at the house. Immediately I ran away to hide. Covering my face and trying to breathe, I sobbed. Regretting that I had ever bought Caroline those white bloomers intended for her monogram in a shade of pink, I felt so guilty. I do think of your sweet girls. Marking Finley's birthday this past April on my calendar revolved those same feelings. Apparently I am writing a book. I have so much hope for you and blake. My dreams include your family growing and becoming bigger. I can't tell you enough how precious you are to me. In "the great sadness" there is an end. I know that yours will too, one sweet day.

Anonymous said...

Danielle,
We're sorry we don't live closer and are unable to provide you all more immediate support as you grieve your loss. Know that we have hung on every word you've written and cry with you as you tread this path. We are praying for you daily and we just wanted you to know that you have friends in Kentucky that care deeply about you and Blake. We have always loved and admired you both and you are both such wonderful Christian role models. You are allowed to write, think, say, and pray to God your true feelings and He understands. In fact, He wants you to express exactly how you feel. Just know that we are here and we'll continue to pray for you.

Love, Ginny and Dale

Anonymous said...

Oh, sweet one, how I tremble as I begin to write...I am so overwhelmed by the bravery and honesty that you were able to put into words. I sit here and think, "I am a therapist, I hear this kind of anguish every day, I should know what to say". But, no, I don't. The words I and other colleagues are "taught" to say could never justify what you have just written. There is nothing to say to this kind of heartbreak. I was with Juli's little Jack this evening thinking about the great depth of a mother's love, and I simply cannot imagine feeling that, as I have not yet gone down that most intimate road. Here's what I do know...nothing could ever break that bond of love that has tied you to Finley and Caroline...nothing else could supercede that ongoing love. Billy and I continue to talk about how a human being can pysically live after such a loss, and it blows our minds those who continue to wake in the morning and get through the day. Please allow me to give you the green-light to scream, yell, cry, and be still for as many days, months, and years as you and Blake need. Those precious girls are watching their mommy love them to the end. And I know they couldn't be more proud to belong to such a graceful, courageous, yet human mother. You are defining for the rest of us what "real" is, and I thank you for sharing it. Your support group is incredible from the comments I've read, and that speaks volumes about the kind of people you and Blake are. Never feel guilty or ashamed of expressing your "exposure". The rest of us just aren't that strong!

In awe, Jill F.

Anonymous said...

Danielle,
I have to tell you that I think you are a wonderful writer. You are touching so many people and spreading God's word. You are an inspiration and we call all see and hear Jesus within you. Soren and I continue to pray for you and Blake and think of Finely and Caroline often. They will not be forgotten.
Kim

Ginger said...

Dear Danielle,
I am so touched by your precious heart and spirit. In writing your feelings about grief I know others can be helped going through the same difficulties and sadness of loss.
I don't know what God has planned for you both but the fact that you are being lead by God to share your feelings will help make a difference and heal another or many others.

God's health and protection around you and your husband in the days ahead.

I hope you can feel the prayers and be encouraged through them.

You are not evil. You are one of the greatest friends my daughter has ever had. Your friendship and compassion is a great gift you share in many ways. Do not let Satan attack your family. Stay strong in the Lord so that Satan doesn't win.

Ginger in Columbus, MS

Carla and Daryl said...

danielle,
this is the first time i've read your blog and i don't have words to really express how moved i am by it. i am just in awe of how articulate and expressive you are about your feelings. i wish i had hugged you one more time and said more while you were visiting with leanne. you see, i am the one with inadequacies with words and those like me who do not know what to say or how to say it should never stop you from expressing yourself. you are such a sweet person and i already love you even though we've met only once. you are such a nurturer, i can tell, and finley and caroline are very blessed to have such a wonderful mother.
carla

keLi said...

Danielle,

Shelley directed me to your blog as we were praying and waiting for news about sweet Caroline. I have checked back periodically, and I have also felt, sometimes out of the blue, God leading me to pray for your family. I am convinced that "he who began a good work in you" is delicately weaving even these toughest elements of your story into something that will bring Him great glory. Reading this post, I can see both the continuing pain and some of the early fruit of your trials -- I will continue to lift you up to our Father, who knows something of losing a child, who intimately knows your heart, and who alone has the power to bring comfort.

i can relate to shelley's post; i, too, as one of the "lucky ones" who has a little guy screaming at me from his highchair right now, cannot possibly know what you feel. but i know that your story is important, and i can personally attest to the fact that it has a ministry beyond those who have been in your situation. please continue unabashedly to be authentic in your "exposure." in a culture where we are becoming perpetually more isolated behind our stacks of material "stuff" and our chock-full day planners, being honest and open in community with other believers is a rarity. you're one brave lady.