Thursday, April 26, 2018

The After

It's been 15 days...

Our lives are now split into two parts.

Before and After

We now abide in the after. The after is full of questions and wondering. The after is full of tears at unannounced moments and finding joy where we can. The after is full of emotions that swing like a pendulum and minds that go crazy with the whys or what ifs. The after is different. We are different. 

There are weak moments. Moments when I want to kneel on the floor of the shower with tears streaming down my face and scream "Why?" at my Maker and hers. But asking why won't bring her back or make me miss this child I never got to know any less. Talk about a strange feeling. Missing a child you never held or kissed like you would miss a limb if it was suddenly cut off. This after I live in is a place where a piece of me is missing but that piece is whole and perfect dancing with her Savior. 

I know there is a purpose in this. We both do. We know we did not go through this pain to keep it to ourselves. I want to talk about it. I need to talk about it. I will talk about it. I won't apologize if it makes someone uncomfortable, because this is our story to share and in that sharing, we can heal...and maybe help bring healing to others. 


Who would have guessed that my healing would come in the form of a garden and getting myself dirty to plant flowers - doing yard work that I would otherwise loathe. But Zivah's Garden, our garden to honor the memory of our baby girl, is just that - healing. Every time I look at it, sit in it, add something to it, or try to clean up the leaves, I feel the pieces of my heart being put back together. It is full of contributions from people that have loved on us incredibly the last 2 weeks - people that would have loved Zivah immensely. 

What also heals is finding the purpose in Zivah's short life inside me. I look for it. I crave it. Today, I received a sweet message from someone saying I was an inspiration and encouragement and that my faith during this time helped lead her back to where she needed to be. I cried as I read these words that I found almost hard to believe. How could my broken self be an inspiration to anyone? Sometimes I feel like I'm barely holding it together...but I guess that's the point. I'm not holding me together. My Heavenly Father is. Just as He is holding our sweet Zivah in His arms, He is holding us together and giving us His strength to walk this journey. 

I wrote a poem last night that my husband said I should share. He's usually right so here it is. 


Sometimes when I say I'm okay, I mean it
Sometimes when I say I'm good, it's true
But most of the time when you ask me
I tell a lie just to get through

Sometimes I make it without crying
Sometimes I give a genuine smile
But if you're asking me to be my old self
You'll probably be waiting a while

Sometimes I can joke and laugh
Sometimes I think of her and grin
But when I think of what I don't get to do
It can send me into a wild tailspin

Sometimes the grief takes a backseat
Sometimes it doesn't hold on
But then there are the times it chokes me
And tries to bury me until I'm gone

Sometimes I give in and let it
Sometimes I try to fight back
But then I remember my Father
That He has everything that I lack

Sometimes I feel at my weakest
Sometimes the darkness tries to drown
But He's always my light in the darkness
He's always my strength when I'm down

Always He knows my name
Always He holds my heart
No matter the valleys I walk through
He's held my hand from the start

First flower being planted

Beautiful hibiscus bloom

Zivah's Garden stone with Psalm 91:4 verse

Zivah's Garden sign

Full view - my happy place

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

With His Feathers

It's been a week.

A week since our world was wrecked.

A week since our lives were turned upside down.

A week since we went in for an ultrasound to see our precious baby girl and walked out with our hearts shattered and broken. 

It's been a week.

You hear about these things. You pray for those that go through them. You feel sympathy. But you never once think it could happen to you.

Until it does. 

December 29th, those 2 beautiful lines crossed on a pregnancy test and we were saying, "Ready or Not!"

March 15th, we were told we were going to have a sweet baby girl, our Zivah Noelle. We were overjoyed. So many prayers answered and dreams coming true. Having a girl was about more than just having one of each. It was about more than just future mani/pedi or shopping dates and about more than princess dresses and playing with makeup (all things I was looking forward to). It was about breaking chains. There is a long chain of strained father/daughter relationships in my family and I wanted to break that. I wanted to watch my little girl get her daddy wrapped around her fingers and watch as they broke the chains of lacking father/daughter bonds. 

April 11th, those dreams seemed to shatter before our eyes. I threw up in the parking lot with my husband holding my hair. We drove home in stunned silence, one of my hands extended to hold my son's hand in the back, his 7 year old mind wondering why his sister wasn't going to be with us, and the other one gripping my husband's. We drove home to a house containing clothes our girl will never wear, diapers she will never use, and sandals I will never get to put on her little feet. 

At 12:33am on April 14th, I delivered our little girl. After one dose of pain medication, I didn't need more. My sweet heavenly Father took my pain away long after the pain meds wore off. He also gave me the most precious vision I could have ever asked for. As I lay there, breathing through the pain and the drowsiness of the pain meds, I saw her. I saw our girl in a white flowing dress in an ever-reaching field of beautiful wildflowers with her hands wrapped in our Savior's as He twirled her around. She was laughing and smiling and it gave me so much much peace to get through the next several hours. 

When the grief grips me and the anxiety wraps around my chest like a vice (like it did yesterday as I collapsed on the kitchen floor in a sobbing heap), I am able to go to that place, see her, and breathe again. 

This pain is unlike any other. I can't describe it. Only those that have walked this dark valley can truly understand. But we have been held up through so many prayers and support and love. It is amazing the people that come to surround you when tragedy strikes. We are holding on tightly to each other and even tighter to the One who will continue to walk through this valley with us. He is the midst of the madness. 

I don't know when the raw pain will dissipate for us. I don't know when the stages of grief we seem to cycle through daily will finally stop cycling. I don't know when "normal" will feel normal again, if ever. But I do know that our God is still good. I do know that my husband and I are even closer and this will make us stronger eventually. I do know that "He will cover [us] with His feathers and under His wings, [we] will find refuge."