Heart of Esther

"And who knows but that you have come to this position for such a time as this?" –Esther 4:14

recovering February 1, 2012

Last week, we found out our little “peanut” (as we affectionately named it) had no heartbeat.  

Another devastating blow.  To be given fresh hope and healing only to have it so quickly stolen again.

I was still terribly sick everyday, even after our sweet baby had no heartbeat.  Talk about extra depressing.  To be throwing up all day everyday for no reason whatsoever.  Yesterday, I had surgery.  

Today, I am recovering.  

This has been such a horrible year.   Sigh.  Part of me feels like I can’t go on.  Another part of me wills me to look ahead to healing and to see what God has in store for us.  I will focus on good things.  Playing and enjoying my children.  Restoring my health.  Loving on my husband.  This past year has revolved so much around me, it will be refreshing to focus on my family and friends instead.  

Something good has to come out of this.  

It’s strange, on one hand I have never felt so alone.  It feels as if no one can possibly understand this pain.  The kind of pain that hurts so much, you physically can’t breathe.  Your heart literally skips beats.  To feel completely rejected by God.  To feel isolated from family.

And yet, I have felt more loved on this past year than ever before.  Close friends became closer.  My husband and I went through awful things and drew together instead of apart.  I saw the best in him and he took such good care of me.  

I treasure my relationships.  

Especially those who have been there for me to cry with, or just vent.  

And the ones who have loved on my children and watched them when I was recovering.  

The many, many meals that were so sacrificially brought.  

Those who came to be by my side when I needed them.  

Those who pulled me in as part of their family.  

The ones who just let me be…me.  In grief.  In pain.  Without judgement.

We haven’t even made it to our sweet Andrew’s due date, and we’ve already lost two babies.

I will recover.  Both physically and emotionally.  

But the grief will never end.  The tears will still flow.  My heart and arms will ache with emptiness.  And I will never be the same. 

 

Picking up the pieces December 15, 2011

I feel sometimes like a vortex.  A big black hole inside of me is sucking all of me into oblivion.

But, I see so clearly two roads before me…  

The first is heavy with the ugliness of grief-animosity, anger, anxiety and depression. This road makes us bitter and hard and unable to really be filled with faith, have peace, or love deeply.

The other still has the burden of sadness but is heading down a path of healing and hope.  This one is harder.  It makes us vulnerable.  But it softens us, helps us appreciate life and the blessings we have, and makes us better friends, parents, people.  It gives us perspective into another’s struggles.  It gives us compassion, mercy. 

Grace.

I know in my heart that I can choose to surrender to the entrapment of grief  or rise above and accept His peace.  Jesus talks of a becoming like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven.  A little child doesn’t always understand but fully trusts his parents.  I guess I need to fully rest in His grace.  I know I can trust my pulverized heart in His hands.  I never imagined going through the unthinkable of losing a child and having my very heart ripped from my chest and being able to somehow still breathe, still carry on.  Though I’m not quite sure what carrying on looks like yet.  In Him, lies my only hope.  I know I can only do this with Him.  I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have Him to bring hope to my despair and healing to this deep and intense pain.

There is such vulnerability in grief.  There is such liability in vulnerability.  And yet there is power in vulnerability.  

In knowing that I am not too hard-hearted to let love wash over me.  That in this weakness, strength will be there.  Not my strength.  But my dependence on Him and His strength.  I want to make it through this to the other side.  I want to finish the race set before me.  I don’t want life and pain to conquer me.  I want to beat this.  

I want to be a survivor.

So here I am, picking up the pieces…

 

inside out December 13, 2011

So I braved a party this weekend.  I decided the only way to overcome this anxiousness is to slowly face it.  So, even though it sent me into a panic attack the night before, I went.

And, for the most part, it turned out alright.  I only broke down once.  Not bad, right?  More importantly, I faced my fears and survived.  

I didn’t feel like everyone was ignoring what happened.  I felt comfortable enough bringing it up if I wanted to.  I also didn’t feel pressure to talk about it if I didn’t want to.  The hard thing, though, was hearing how “good” I look.  Like because I somehow don’t look “bad” I must feel fine?  What exactly do people expect?  Should I be bursting into tears every five minutes?  Just because I’m not a blubbering mess doesn’t mean I’m not hurting beyond words inside.  I’m not walking around in sackcloth and ashes so I must not be desperate and depressed inside?  Most of the time I feel desperate and there’s no one who understands and no help out there for me.  I have to somehow make it through my days.  Of course I smile and talk politely.  What else can I do?  Our loss is too sacred to share with just anyone and if we walked around with our heart on our sleeves it would just make them uncomfortable.    

I don’t know, maybe it makes them feel better to think I’m doing well…

 

pain December 12, 2011

Post-traumatic stress.

My Dr. said after my experience, I was a prime candidate for post traumatic stress.  Yeah.  So that is all the anxiety, panic attacks, sleepless nights, nightmares, and strange random pain in my body.

I think my heart is manifesting in physical pain.  I was offered medication, but I don’t like taking that sort of thing so I haven’t.  We are being told we need to talk to someone-a counselor.  The thing is, I can talk until I’m blue in the face and it won’t change a thing.  Maybe it helps some people, but it hasn’t helped me.  In fact, it makes me push things further down.  Then, more anxiety.  More pain. 

Writing, however, has been very therapeutic for me.  It’s also not forced, its whenever I feel like reflecting.  It’s on my own terms.  And no one is telling me what to do to make it better.  Or giving me pat answers. 

Because nothing will be better until I work through my own feelings.  Until healing comes and soothes my heart. 

Until my soul finds peace.

 

fix our eyes December 10, 2011

I’ve been contemplating death and the hereafter lately.  To be honest, it’s not something I’ve given much thought to before-not really.  Heaven sometimes seems like this far off fairytale and not real.  But its been so impressed on my heart how real and present it is.  I know as a Christian it seems silly that I’ve never mulled over the topic before, but I haven’t.  I think the reason I’ve never given it much thought is because death is so mysterious and I never wanted to dwell too much on it.

I think the Lord has been showing me that there is so much more to LIFE than this one here on earth we see and we know.   This is our temporary, our beginning.  After this, well-the Bible says its eternal.  Our minds cannot even comprehend this.  Forever.  I’ve been understanding that this life here is just as the Bible says-here today and gone tomorrow.  So brief and yet there is so much more.  My heart is full of this vision of not just death but life.  It’s understanding that this life isn’t as real as the next.

Fix your eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.  (Acts 20) 

Then I read this book, “Heaven Is For Real” and it had me thinking even of our purpose in heaven (other than the obvious-our relationship with and worship of the Lord).

Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back  -             By: Todd Burpo, Lynn Vincent

So I have been thinking lately-Andrew’s life began for a reason.  Who knows what purpose the Lord has for him in heaven?

It’s hurts so much to have lost him and all he meant to us.  So, I will choose instead to feel honored that God allowed me to have Andrew. And to even in a way that can only be understood through knowing Christ, that somehow, the pain will make me better.  The fire refines us if we allow it to.  It’s the struggle, the choice, to allow it to make me better that’s the hardest.  It’s easier to fall into my pain, anger, even bitterness.  But He wants so much more for me.  This is what it means to die to really live…


 

Today December 8, 2011

8 weeks ago today…

Heartsick and missing you, Andrew, my love!

 

A few words about him December 6, 2011

He’s the strong, silent type.

He doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, but I always know where he stands.

He’s calm and reassuring, even when the storm shakes him to his core.

He takes care of me-not just physically, but my heart, too.

He allows me to talk when I feel like talking, but he holds me in the silence when there are no words.

He makes decisions and takes care of things I cannot handle.

He lovingly has met all my needs to the best of his ability.

He is my buffer, and my guard.

He keeps me grounded in our faith.

He has brought me anything he thought might ease my pain and not judged me for it.

He has never demanded I move on or told me how or when to heal but has allowed me to work through my own heart.

His strength has carried me through and allowed me to be vulnerable.  

Even though he is in pain, he has not let it overtake him so that he can be there for me.

He has allowed me to grieve the way I do and I’ve allowed him to grieve how he does.  And its strengthened our bond.  Because no one knows the depth and dynamics of our loss but us.

I’m thankful for his strong arms and enveloping hugs that make me feel secure.  

For his quiet way of sacrificial living and loving and supporting and giving.

I could not have made it this far without him-my husband, my soul-mate, my friend.

 

green with envy… December 3, 2011

Last night I dreamed of a memorial service for our son and my husband and I left early and couldn’t speak.  There were no words.  We did not have a service.  At least not a public one.  My health was too bad (I couldn’t get out of bed for a week and a half) and to be honest, we just wanted to grieve privately.  We were just so raw and vulnerable and hurting.  I couldn’t even talk really for days.  There were no words to echo what I felt.  The words attempting to describe my heart came later.  And still they do not come close to revealing the depths of my sufferings.  I thought we might regret not having a service, but we don’t.  I think next year, on his birthday, I may be able to handle that. 

Facebook is a painful place lately…

I can count about five of my friends off-hand that were all due a few weeks after me and lately FB has been filled with ultrasound pictures and gender announcements.  It’s not that I am not happy for them, it’s just so hard to handle right now when we lost our little boy.  It feels so unfair.  It’s turning me into a jealous green monster!  It’s truly hard to describe the pain in my heart.  I know in my head it’s not right to feel this or even be jealous.  I would not want them to suffer what I went through and deep within me I am happy for their blessings.  It’s just the contrast is bringing out my deep loss…

So FB will not be seeing me for a long while….

As hard as this has been, I cannot imagine how I will feel when our baby’s due date passes and everyone else’s babies are being born…

I suppose that’s another battle for another day.


 

THIS AND THAT… December 1, 2011

Warning:  this blog is a little of this and a little of that.  I’m not sure how it flows, but this is me right now, so please bear with me!

So a friend suggested I start a project or something to help me to have something to focus on.  It was a very good idea!  It has helped me to stop wallowing in grief all day and night.  So I started a family closet.  Which led to re-organizing the clothes, toys, and garage.  You know how when you move something, it leads to another and another?  Crazy of me, I know.  I haven’t been able to stop the last few days.  I’m completely exhausted and making myself feel sick but I keep going.  I know if I stop, I’ll break down.  So I keep going.  Not such a “healthy” way of dealing with things-running from grief.  From pain.  I don’t want to deal with all the tears and feelings today.  So I am running from them.  

Until I cannot run anymore…

I have had so much anxiety. People are too much for me right now. Any stress seems too much to bear.  I don’t want to leave the house much. It seems overwhelming to me. I am really embarrassed by this for some reason. Maybe because I am normally such a people person-and fearless at that-and this feeling of being actually anxious around others is new to me. I am usually quite capable but I feel so very out of control of everything right now-especially my emotions. Is it because I’m on edge of what they will say?  Because I will feel too depressed or too guilty for not being too depressed?  Because I’m afraid of breaking down and crying in front of them?

I’m not sure…

I still touch my stomach, as if he’s still there.  It’s so hard to one day be filled with another life and be the home and the only thing Andrew knew-where his life began and ended and now to be so empty.  Which brings on other feelings of guilt and failure as a mother.  A mother’s instinct is to protect and I was powerless to help my baby.  

And so the emptiness of my womb echoes the emptiness of my heart…



 

life all around me November 29, 2011

Another dark day, I think.

Sometimes its hard to hear of all the life going on around us right now. Our lives have stopped. Don’t you know we can’t go on as always, as if nothing every happened??

It’s these days that its hard for the day to start before it has begun.  The tasks of the day ahead seem insurmountable. I feel listless and tired. I’m sad and heavy-hearted. It’s as if my strength is gone.

And, yet, I know that checking out of life and not being thankful for what He has so graciously given me is what the enemy wants. Sometimes its as if He’s asking in His quiet way “will you still serve Me when everything goes wrong?”

And so on I go-sometimes in a numb kind of way, going through the motions or choking back the tears that too easily come.  

“There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief….and unspeakable love.”
Washington Irving

 

PREGNANCY LOSS November 27, 2011

Click Link:  Pregnancy Loss

 

THANKSGIVING November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. 

I’m not sure how to face the next few days…thankful…

And empty.

I will choose to focus on what I DO have instead of what I’ve lost. I will freely admit, just the basics (laundry, dishes, meals, A SHOWER) are hard to manage right now.  I have little ones pulling my attention many different ways.  I am choosing to be thankful for them.  I know there are so many of you out there who have lost a baby and do not have the comfort of another child’s arms.  So for that, I have so much to be thankful for!  Some days, knowing they need me is the only thing that wills me out of bed.  Other days, I bury myself further under the covers and wish I could be left alone to cry!  It’s hard not to feel like a terrible mother because with all these emotions, my fuse is super short.  I pray God gives them the grace to pardon me and me the grace to respond well.

I hope I do not sound ungrateful because I truly am blessed.  We have so much to be thankful for.  It’s just so hard to focus on gratefulness when my heart is full of  such ache.  So this weekend, when I know I will be thinking of nothing but the emptiness, I pray I can somehow rise above it all and truly in my heart be THANKFUL for a loving husband, my beautiful children, the brief time we had with Andrew, and my own life.  I’m thankful for medical advances that have made something that would have taken a mother’s life two generations ago, easily sustained. I will be thankful for the food we are so blessed to have and the friends and family we are able to enjoy. 

I will be thankful for the blessing of beautiful friends who have been here for us in amazing ways-lovingly watching our children, bringing meals, being there to cry on and talk to, and truly hurting with us.  We are so thankful for the friends who sent amazing flowers, books, emails, and cards that comforted our hearts.  Friends who offered to clean, take our kids for a walk, or even bring a coffee!

This morning I heard BLESSED BE YOUR NAME by Matt Redman.  His song is based on Job so I looked up these verses:  Job 1:21 “…The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” and Job 2:10 “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” 

Job had lost everything and he chose to still praise and not curse God.  But I also realize that even in Job it was the enemy who killed, stole, and destroyed-not God.  Even though the Lord allowed it.  Why He allowed it is the part that is so very difficult… 

These are the times in our walk when we are tried and shaken to our very core and all we are left with is a simple choice.  It’s a choice because it’s not what we feel, it’s what we know.

Though there is pain in the offering, I will choose to say…

blessed be the Name of the Lord.

 

ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER…

Today, I am despondent.

Some days I feel almost alright, some days horrible, and everything in between.  Even at night, I often wake in anxiousness and sadness…

There are days like today when I am so heavyhearted its difficult to function in everyday tasks.  But I must.  There are chores to be done and other children to love.

I’m trudging on.  I want to close the blinds crawl in bed and exit from life for a while.  Even from my own family.  Grief is strange.  Some moments I want to smother the children with love and cuddles which I cannot give Andrew.  Other times, I want to be far away from them because their demands are too much for my soul and my body (I am still so incredibly exhausted and weak) right now.  There are moments now when the tears have dried.  At least, for some of the day.  And when the tears dry up, I feel emptied out.  There’s nothing left to feel at all.  

I guess my feelings are so raw and so tumultuous; the wound so fresh, that the only reprieve is silence from them. Just a breath of not feeling anything.  And then I feel checked out.  Most of the time I cannot make sense of my own heart.  There are so many different feelings and sometimes all at once.  I feel that I’ve hit rock bottom but I have yet to reach upward for The Hand that I know is there waiting for me to grasp.  

Is it because I know I need this process?  Have I pushed Him away and built another wall because of the pain He has allowed me to feel?  I am angry at myself because I think of the million ways its MY fault that God allowed this.  The million ways I have failed.  I know in my head the Truth and that all have fallen short and yet my heart does not feel it.

So I know I must go on.  I must keep going.  I must keep pouring out that which I do not have within me to give.

It seems while He is there to comfort me; there is still silence to my questions.  It brings me some reconciliation to think of Andrew’s peaceful face and perfect little form-fingers, toes, mouth and all-with Jesus.  I know He can somehow give him the love from my heart and tell him it’s from his mommy.  Somehow, knowing that Andrew is being taken care of-that Jesus is holding him instead of me-is okay.  Even though I don’t know why and my heart screams to have him here with me, I have no choice but to take peace in that image in my head.  

I realize there is nothing else to do but make myself get up again today and put one foot in front of the other…

 

IMPLODING November 22, 2011

I am strong enough now to put on a face around others.  And I’m even brave enough to venture leaving the house now.  Sometimes I wonder if they think I am okay now.  It feels as if the inside of me is a big black hole.  As if all of me is continually being sucked into this dark place.  My very heart is imploding.  There is heaviness.  Sadness.  Guilt.  Sorrow.  Despair.  Aching and longing.  Emptiness.  I feel so sad inside that when I’m left alone for a moment and without a task I feel as if I could fade away.

Sometimes it brings perspective to hear of the pain others go through.  That other parents have carried far larger burdens than ours and somehow survived.  Today I heard of a friend whose three-year old has cancer.  They are enduring surgeries and chemotherapy.  I shutter to imagine what they must be going through.  Or the other stories we’ve heard of parents who have lost their children.  How do they find the strength to endure?

But it doesn’t lessen our pain. And that’s alright, too.  But, somehow, they made it through.  They found a way to get out of bed.  They found strength to forgive. So there is hope that I will too.

 

KISS HIM FOR ME November 21, 2011

Sometimes other people are frustrating.  They may say things that aren’t very thoughtful.  I know their intentions are good.  Sometimes people just don’t know what to say.  Someone said I didn’t have years with him and loose him.  Yet others have said I will come out of this stronger or that God has a plan. 

That doesn’t lessen my pain.  We DID loose a child-no matter how brief his life here on earth.  He was still our precious child.  We still miss him.  We still long to hold him and plant kisses on his sweet cheeks.  To gaze into his eyes and know him.

My son said to me today that Andrew is in a beautiful place and that God has a special place for him.  Then, Lord will you hold him close and kiss him for me?  😥  I miss my baby so!  My arms ache to hold him and nurse him.  All the plans and dreaming of him-GONE.  

And I’m helpless to change it.

 

RAW November 19, 2011

I am continually touched by my children’s hearts through this grieving process.  They are raw and real as they speak of their little brother.  They grieve as much as we do.  They wanted another brother or sister so much!  They were SO excited for him to come!  They cry often.  They pray for another baby.

It’s very difficult to put into words the depth of the pain that is in my heart.  My heart is completely broken.  The circles, the ebbs and flows, the intensity, the numbness…

Some days I’m SO angry at God.  WHY did He allow this??  The anguished cry of my heart repeats…what did I do wrong?  The beautiful part of having such a loving Savior is that I can have my moments of anger and he covers it.  I can question Him, and He allows me to.  Some things coming out of the grief of my soul may offend others, but He is not offended.  He is still there, waiting for me.

Other days, I am at rest (purposefully, not naturally) in knowing simply this:  He is GOD.  He created me.  He created Andrew.  Who am I to tell Him what to do or question Him?  Even if His reason does not seem right to me-who am I?  In His Almighty wisdom and power He can do what He likes.  

 

Before the mountains were brought forth, or you had formed the earth and the world,  from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalms 90:2)

 

So that’s where I am today.  

Trusting and resting in His understanding because, honestly, I have none…

 

ONLY IN MY HEART November 18, 2011

How precious all the words of love and comfort we’ve received-emails, cards, flowers-from those who were touched by our grief.  As the flowers are dying off, my heart wrenches for fear that Andrew’s memory will also die off…

It never will in my heart, but others will move on as though he never was.  People who look at me will not see the hidden tears or the piece of my heart that’s missing since he’s gone.  I used to carry him with me and dreamed of when I would hold him in my arms.  

Now he only remains in my heart.

I will carry him with me always, but some will never understand.  We’ve heard things like “it was meant to be” or “its better than having a child for a long time than loosing them”.  They don’t know how deep our pain and grief remain.

I know someday I will be on the other side of this.  There will always be pain but I’m told not so raw.  But my heart will forever have a piece missing.  Andrew, my love, I miss you SO much!

 

PANIC November 16, 2011

Lately, I’ve been having panic attacks.  If you’ve ever had one, you know they are extremely scary!  They said it was because of the trauma of losing our baby and the trauma of hemorrhaging (I brushed death).    My heart will begin pounding and racing and nothing I do slows it down.  I feel I cannot breathe and I begin to pass out.  That’s what happened at the hospital shortly after I gave birth to Andrew and it scares me every time.  Fortunately, there are ways to handle these attacks without medicine.

First of all, realize you may have “triggers”.  One of the triggers for me was the fear of death.  Not so much the actual dying maybe but when I began to think about fading away at the hospital and leaving my family behind and my babies with no mother, that’s a trigger for me.  Another thing you can do is to focus on good things and that everything is OK and not the horrible fear that you cannot breathe at the moment.  Sounds hard, right?  It IS!  But I prefer to not use a pill to help me deal with this.  It’s part of the grieving process for me and I guess I need to, well, process through it.  For me, having my husband nearby and telling him that’s what I’m experiencing so he could support me through it helped.  He would hold me and tell me I would be alright.  Just his reassurance and knowing I am not facing this alone has helped me to calm down.  Something else that helps me to get through these without medication is, for whatever reason, they generally last only 5-10 minutes.  It helps me to know it will be over soon.  And, lastly, I am praying for peace.  I know how easy it is right now to shut Him out, but He is the only true peace.  I have to resist bitterness and learn to accept what happened.  I have to focus on being in His control, taking what He has given me in that moment to get through. He tells us to forget about yesterday and not worry about tomorrow for today has enough worries of its own.  So here I am, straining to REST.

 

THERE ARE NO ANSWERS November 15, 2011

Nothing makes sense to me right now.  I know things in my head but my heart does not comprehend.  Everything I believe has come in to question.  But my spirit knows the truth and though I lost my way (temporarily) I know my way back.  I could allow bitterness to take root, but I refuse to.  My heart is still His.

I saw this quote (based on Colossians 1:15) on Facebook today and I know I was meant to see it:  You were made by God and for God and until you understand that, life will never make sense.  

Andrew was made BY God and FOR God.  Though I desperately want his life to be here with me, he’s not here.  But God still made him.  Somehow, there is comfort knowing that Andrew was made for Him.  I don’t know his purpose, but his brief life meant something.

Maybe this will help bring me some level of acceptance…

 

Another truth I know-the devil cannot take what I freely give.

So as much as it hurts and as much as it’s not what I want-Lord, I give baby Andrew to you. 

He is yours now, to keep and to love.  

 

WHY? November 13, 2011

I must warn you this entry from my journal is pretty raw, but it is real.  There are always the “right” things to say, but this is my heart and I’ll share it with you…

I try to fight the anger.  The outrageous fury that screams within me!  Why did you let this happen, God? WHY?

I want to hate God, but I cannot.  He is inexplicably woven into the very fibers of my being.  He is so apart of me, I have no life without him.  

So though with grief I try to reject Him, my soul cries out for Him alone.  He alone can restore peace and hope.  He is my comforter and my strength.  Even when comfort and strength seem unattainable.  Though questions, fear, even doubt pull me away-my heart is compelled to return to the One who loves me.  Within Him is my only rest.

So, instead, I hate myself.  What did I do wrong???  Why is this happening to me??  Why are you silent, Lord?  Where are my answers?  If you love me…why??

 

 
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