October 7, 2008

Thankful? Really?

This post has been rolling around in my head for months and I don't write it because I'm afraid someone won't understand. Or that they'll misunderstand. Or that I'll offend someone or make someone uncomfortable. And then today I decided to write it because it's my blog, dammit! Anyone else's issues are theirs and they can deal with it in their blog, I write what I want to.

I stumble upon dozens of blogs each day and in the mix are the ones written by mothers who've lost their children in one heartbreaking way or another - stillbirth, miscarriage, cancer, drowning, SIDS... None is less tragic than another and the point isn't which situation hurts more. This is about how I feel. I'm not speaking for any other mother.

I read the words of a mother who had to make the decision to take her daughter home and not fight the cancer anymore. The mother who checked on her son during a nap to find him cold. The mother who delivered a full-term, perfectly healthy baby boy except that he didn't breathe and there are no answers as to why. The mother that finds her toddler at the bottom of the family pool. There is no easy way to lose a child. But I've been thanking God that I didn't get the chance to fall any further in love with Anna and then have had to say goodbye. I didn't have to hold her in my arms and watch as she breathed shallower and shallower until she didn't breathe anymore. I didn't have to make the call to discontinue nutrition - I think is how I've read it described. I didn't have to make sure she had enough pain medication so that she neither felt the pain of disease nor did she resemble the child she was before the disease stole her. I didn't have to stand screaming while the paramedics kept trying to make her breathe after who knows how long at the bottom of the pool. I think about the nightmares these women must have. I wonder how they manage to swing their legs over the side of their beds and get up each day. And I've been asked the same thing.

I guess I feel the meaning of God doesn't give us more than we can handle. Somehow God knew that I could survive losing Anna in the way that we did and that I simply could not survive holding her as she died after months or years of having her here to attach myself further. And as twisted as it sounds, I thank God I lost her in the way I did. If it had to happen, I couldn't have taken an ounce more than I took. It's almost blasphemy to be thankful for anything regarding the death of your baby. But thankful I am.

16 comments:

Sarah said...

I think it's ok to be thankful. You understand your emotions. You understand the pain you would have felt compared to the pain you have come through. It's ok to admit that you are thankful you were not asked to bear more. It's ok to be thankful for peace. You are a wise woman.

Jen said...

I think that it is alright to be thankful for that and it makes perfect sense. I get what you are saying.

~Ronda~ said...

I totally get what you are saying, and it's perfectly ok to write it and talk about it freely. So just be you, and we'll continue to love ya for it!!

Posey said...

You are totally okay with writing what you feel and not worrying
about someone taking what you say or feel the wrong way.

Mom said...

There is no wrong way for you to feel, Sissy. I sure do love you.

Ashley. Unscripted... said...

(((HUGS)))

This post brought tears to my eyes.

I worked with pediatric cancer patients and their parents during my last year of pharm school. These were some of the most amazing families I have ever seen. I don't know how I would get up and face each day dealing with what they were dealing with, but they did it with such grace. I constantly remind myself of these families whenever I get upset or annoyed by something minuscule and irrelevant in the big scheme of things.

~aj~ said...

I totally get what you are saying. But I've also talked to parents on the flip side that thank God that they did have those minutes/months/years with their children before they passed away. I can't imagine either scenario. It has to be the worst thing any parent could ever experience, no matter what the circumstances.

If having more time with Anna would have only made it that much harder on you, then I'm glad things happened the way they did (never thought I'd say anything like that!). The thought of you being in that much pain is just too hard to think about. :(

Miss Blondie said...

i totally understand what you're saying. Its definitely okay to feel the way you do. It worked out in a way that allowed you to continue to be strong for your family. Thanks for sharing!

BPOTW said...

Thank you for submitting your post. And thanks for being so open and honest. It wouldn't help anyone, especially yourself, to try to sugar coat anything or make it seem what it' not.

Alyce said...

Ok, I'm crying over here. I had a miscarriage a few years ago, and I have felt both ways. Thankful that I didn't have to go through a painful pregnancy, but always wishing I could have at least held my child and known what he/she looked like, to know if it was a boy or a girl.

Anyway, I can see both sides.

Elizabeth said...

I am not a mother, but I can totally understand what you mean. There's nothing else I can say.
Visiting via BPOTW. This was a great one to submit, I'm sure many will get some strength from it.

Susie said...

I am here via BPOTW. I think that it is very healthy of you to be thankful about a tragedy in your life. Once you reach that point, real healing must be setting in. Good for you:-)

Deb Burton said...

Anyone who has survived the death of a child (I lost my first by miscarriage)and done so with sanity and marriage intact has probably done so because their focus was on God during the whole ordeal. I can't possibly see any other way of getting through a loss of that proportion without drawing strength from the One who gives life. My little one has life in a place called Paradise, and I have life here on earth until I can see him or her in the Lord's arms.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I just found you on Best Posts of the Week - so I don't know your story. But I appreciate your honesty and I've often thought the same thing. I haven't lost a child, but I often think about being able to deal best with what I have been given. I have a child with some special needs, not a child with a terminal disease. There's no better or worse (well - I suppose there is always worse - but I just mean that one person's difficulty is never actually negated by someone else's more serious problems). I wonder if it's that I'm better able to deal with the challenges that I have or that ultimately we just have to adjust to whatever situation we have and make it something that can be endured. Either way - it's all about survival. It isn't easy - but what's the alternative?

This was a beautiful and heartbreaking post. Thank you for writing it and sharing it.

Joy in the Burbs... said...

I can't imagine the pain that you have gone thru. Although I did suffer a miscarriage, my pregnancy did not go as far as yours did. I admire the thankfulness and grace that you have. I'm glad God gives the ability to work thru things over time even though we'll never completely understand them. The Bible tells us in everything give thanks. That so hard to do, but I'm glad you shared your heart with us.

JourneytoFamily said...

I'm very sorry for your loss. I had several miscarriages, but the thing I learned is that there is always someone out there who has gone through a more painful experience than me. And so I'm grateful too, that though my loses were significant, they weren't more than I could handle. And I'm grateful for my two youngest children, that I wouldn't have, if I had been able to give birth to more children.