Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Birth Story

A young mother tries to stay still, despite the waves of fear and excitement coursing through her body.

The needles and medical instruments all seem much larger than she imagined, but she is not the same girl who started this journey eight months ago and so these things are no longer cause for (much) concern.

She knows that no amount of fried chicken and sweet tea consumed, no number of TLC's A Baby Story watched, no amount of diligent internet scouring has prepared her for this moment-the moment she will meet you, her firstborn.

And she is right. For when that moment comes, when she sees you for the first time, she said is no longer she. She is, and will always be, we.

This story could be almost anybody's, but it is ours, my sweet Rip boy. And while everyone who graces God's green earth has a different ending to their story, your birth story, like many others, is a miracle.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"Good" Grief

I wrote a post using this same title soon after Rip died. 

At that point I was trying to figure out the whole grief thing, and felt like I was failing miserably. Looking back, I was doing pretty darn well- which is to say I was getting up each morning, putting one foot in front of the other, breathing in and out. I was living. I was doing my best. And when you are at rock bottom, that really does mean something.

Fast forward six years and, through no desire of my own, I’ve gotten better at grief. Or, actually, I’ve just gotten better at being a parent to a child who does not live on this earth.

I remember that first October, my first Infant Loss Awareness Month. I was such a nervous wreck that if I didn’t say or do the right thing, nobody would know how much I loved my son. The same went for his birthday, the day he died- really every day. I felt such a need to prove my love, that I had not, would not, forget Rip that I worried constantly if I was doing it right. 

Somewhere in the past years Rip became such a way of life for me that the fear went away. Just as I’ve become a more confident mother to Gracie and Sam as they grow, the same is true of my relationship with Rip. He is separate from me in the hardest way possible, and yet with me in ways that my other children will never be.

The last couple of years I’ve used the day Rip died to ask others to do something good- and it was great, so many people sending funny and touching stories remembering our boy. But, every year I worried nobody would. And it made that day feel heavy (heavier) than it already did. 

So this year, our family has decided to do something nice for someone each day of Rip’s life. Secretly. It takes all of the pressure off and still allows us to spread the good thing that he is and forever will be.

It is a blessing and a curse to be someone who looks continually for the good, because sometimes it can be awfully hard to find. But this is how we choose to put the good in to our grief this year.