How long has it been since you lost your child/ren? Has your grief changed at all? Is your life becoming any easier or is it just harder as time passes?
In June it will be 3 years since we said hello and goodbye to Caden. My grief has changed in many ways many times. At first, I didn't understand how I would be able to move on with my life. I was in deep disbelief and a horrible depression. I was literally sick with grief. I ended up in the ER 1 week after Caden's birth with them running CT scans trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I had flu like spells off an on for the next 3 months. I was worried about my living son and what kind of a mother I would be able to be to him. I was worried about my career (I was mentally unable to work) and my marriage. I was lonely even though I had such a wonderful support system. I felt trapped and like my grief would be like this for the rest of my life. Finally, my health returned and I started back to work. I think this is when my life began some normalcy. I started thinking about another baby. I started to begin that I would survive this and I could go on to live a happy life. I have since had many beautiful things happen in my life. Sometimes I feel guilt, but sometimes I am able to enjoy these moments. I can think about Caden and smile and I can think about Caden and cry. My grief will never go away, but it does become easier to go on.
How do you feel when you see pregnant women when you are out and about?
It was very difficult at first. I definitely had a certain resentment toward those women even though I didn't know them from Adam. Why me, why my baby? What did I do to deserve this and why is it so easy for every one else in this world? As Brian and I decided to have another baby and it took so long, my resentment continued. Why is it so easy for other people to get pregnant? Why can all these people who don't even want kids, end up pregnant? I thought I didn't deserve to be a mom to any more children. I questioned my worthiness and my husband's worthiness. Finally I did get pregnant and my outlook seemed to change overnight. How selfish is that? I guess it is pretty darn easy to feel sorry for yourself when your baby dies though! I now feel excitement and wonder what each woman's story might be...
Whats your therapy in the aftermath of losing your child? Do you go to counseling? Do you do artwork or some kind of exercise or do you simply just let yourself be? What helps you?
I did go to a counseling group that our hospital had for bereaved parents. It was difficult as Brian was unable to attend most of the sessions with me. It was hard. His work schedule just didn't allow him to be there. I felt cheated and like he would never understand my pain. My sister was my support and she went and cried with me. Thanks Deb. A great support for me was through my babyzone message board. There was a board related to loss and the girls there were amazing. It was a comfort to know you are not alone and there are others out there that understand your pain. I have stepped away from support in the last year, but recently had been longing for an outlet. I think it is important to always have SOMETHING. Blogging the last couple months has been great therapy for me. I have realized that after 3 years I have not forgotten the details about my baby. I find comfort that I am now documenting these memories so I DON'T forget. Caden will always be with me and sharing our story is something that does help.
Imagine this... Driving through the gates of a perfectly manicured lawn as far as the eye could see. All through the lawn beautiful trees and plants abound - some of them must be over a hundred years old. Pretty brick structures scatted here and there, adorned with sprigs of flowers and little roads that wind through sections of old and new. If you look closely, you can find some amazing artwork and some little pieces of history. It is peaceful, yet dotted with activity. If you look even closer you will see something that doesn't seem to belong, something a little too bright and cheery for a place such as this. An angel is the centerpiece and surrounding the angel is a bright and vibrant land. A land of pinwheels, teddy bears and toys. A choo-choo train passes by and siblings run about. This is Baby Land at Mt Olivet Cemetery. For those precious ones that were lost too soon. Unfortunately there is such a place that parents must go to hang their heads and speak to their babies they cannot hold, but as you look up and to the West, the beautiful Rocky Mountains reach for the sky setting the perfect backdrop for the land below. A near perfect home for our little angel.
Yesterday I posted that I had unfortunately never dreamed of my angel Caden. What do they say? Be careful what you wish for?
For the first time (that I can remember anyway) I dreamt of my baby. It was a very strange (and disturbing) dream. The weather was bad - cold and snowy. I had to get to this car dealership for some reason. My parents were there waiting for me. There were many other random people wandering the parking lot. I left them outside in the cold and said I would be back. I went in and it appeared to change into an old high school. I walked past the 30-something aged cheer leading squad, in these mega sparkly, mega tight uniforms. They were all beautiful. I walked into the next room - dingy and only had a couple regular girls in it waiting to practice for some secondary dance squad or something. It seems like I was supposed to be a part of that group. Then I just wandered into the next room. In that room was a mess of stuff stacked high, dust and cobwebs. Things strewn about and honestly I don't know if I even want to saw what I saw next in my dream. It is worse thinking about it now than when I saw it in my dream (nightmare). I can't even type it, but it was my baby I saw. Part of him - his face was clear and perfect looking on one side. The other, not so much. I took it well in my dream. Like it was expected, but when I woke and as I think back to it now, it was gruesome. It leaves an empty feeling in my stomach. This was the only appearance Caden made in that weird dream, but it makes me wonder what it all means. I went back to get my parents and my husband showed up at that point. I told them what I saw and I was ok. I don't understand it at all - it is weird that I say how I never dreamt of my angel yesterday and then this happens. This shows me that time does not heal. Eventually you move along with life and function, but you are never fully healed. The hurt and worry is always there.
Do you have a special place in your home for your baby/ies? What is it like? Do you have any rituals that you perform in memory of your baby/ies? Absolutely. We have a little curio cabinet in our dining room that has all of Caden's stuff in it. Photos, his baby book, his coming home outfit, hand and foot molds, candles, stuffed animals, angels, his baptism shell and all kinds of other things. We celebrate his birthday every year with him at his grave. In October we attend the Walk to Remember honoring our boy along with all the other angels. And we participate in the Oct 15 Wave of Light.
If you believe in an afterlife, do you receive signs from your baby/ies? Have you ever felt their presence? Do you find them in nature? Do they visit you in your dreams? Unfortunately, I have not had any dreams about my little boy. I am one who is definitely searching for answers and seeking signs since he was taken so unexpectedly from us. I like to think that we have witnessed little signs from Caden though.
We took a road trip to get away a few weeks after Caden was born. When we returned, my mom was looking a the pictures we took and noticed there was what looked like a baby's face in one of the family photos of us. It just happened to be the way Jayce's hands formed with Brian's leg. Looks just like a little face!
Shortly after that, the lights in our family room ceiling fan would turn on or off by themselves. They never did that before. They still occasionally do this in our new home to which we transferred the fan to. It creeps Brian out, but I love it when it happens!
I had a tattoo done a couple months after Caden was born. The tattoo had 2 dragonflies in it, representing my living son and my deceased son. I began seeing dragonflies all over the place - I don't know if I just never noticed them before, but I had never really seen them here in Denver. 3 sightings really stand out. 1) After they bury the babies and plant sod, they mark the grave with a little orange flag so the landscape crew is careful. Anyway, we were visiting Caden one day and a beautiful little blue dragonfly landed on his flag. I knew it was him. 2) The 2nd time we were in a motorcycle shop near downtown and a HUMONGOUS brown dragonfly was trapped in the windows of the store. He must have been pretty old. He was trying to get out and was really struggling. I finally got him out the door and he flew up and away. 3) The last dragonfly I saw (last summer) was just hanging out in our garage. Again, he was pretty big. I got a few photos of this guy. Seeing the dragonflies is one thing that does bring a lot of peace to me.
Do you have a special poem, song, prayer or quote in memory of your baby/ies? 1) The song that my blog is named after. Far Away by Nickleback. Something about this song just gets me and have just recently been able to get through it with out crying.
2) The quote on Caden's headstone, "Those we have held in arms for a little while, we hold in our hearts forever."
So this is a really cool support system I found on one of the blogs I am following. You can read all about it on Carly's blog here.
How long have you been blogging for? Why did you start? What do you want from writing? I have only been blogging about Caden for about a month. I have my other blogs, but I wanted something specifically for Caden. The main reason I started was because I had a photo website for Caden that I had posted on a few memorial sites and I am letting my subscription run out. I wanted to get something up in it's place and I thought this would be a great outlet to come and write my memories and thoughts, post photos or any other thing that reminds me of my boy. So far, I am getting a lot of my memories out and documented. It is a relief that I can remember almost 3 years back in the detail that I am. I don't ever want to forget anything!
Where is the safest place for you to share your feelings? Is there anywhere you feel completely accepted just being however you are really feeling? I honestly feel safe sharing my feelings anywhere. I really don't care what anyone else thinks. I am sure there are people out there that wish I wouldn't talk about my angel as often as I do, but like I said, I DON'T CARE! :)
Can you recommend any books that you have read that have given you a new insight, hope or courage in this new life you find yourself in? I can't. I tried reading through some books when I first lost my boy, but just couldn't do it. They weren't a comfort for me - more like a consolation. I found hearing personal stories and sharing mine, were far more beneficial.
How would you describe yourself before you lost your baby? How have you changed, who are you today? I took things for granted. I was ignorant before. I had no idea how many babies that moms and dads have to say goodbye to. How can this still be happening in this day and age? I seriously thought things like this only happened to people who didn't nurture their unborn children. I guess I learned my lesson in the worst possible way!
I am obviously a different person today, not in who I am and how I act, but what I have become. I am a bereaved mother. I am sad more often than I used to be. I worry more. But I certainly appreciate what I have more.
How do you think you are coping? Do you see any light in this road or is it all dark right now? Where do you imagine yourself to be in a years time? I am coping - I am healing, but I will never be the same. I harbour a lot of negativity and I have learned life is not fair. I am incomplete. I will always long for my child. I feel robbed and I feel sorry for myself. And I think it is perfectly fine to feel that way! Many people find faith through difficult times, but I am different. I have yet to make amends. I am angry at God. I hope that I can work on that eventually. But with all this I do see light - it has been nearly 3 years. My heart will go on and beautiful things have happened in my life. I will continue the lifetime healing process in the next year and hope that I will be able to control my anger & anxiety without medication by then! haha (see I can still laugh!)
It has been nearly 3 years since Caden was born and memories are becoming fuzzy. I feel the need to write and reflect back on the days after Caden went to Heaven, but it's hard to think about the details. I guess I'll just start writing and see what surfaces. I remember coming home from the hospital, Brian's family was in from Wyoming. When we pulled up to the house, his brother was mowing our lawn. Why I remember that, who knows? Maybe it was because I realized at that point how much we NEEDED our families in this insanely difficult time in our lives. I remember wanting to go home from the hospital so we could be alone. I didn't want anyone intruding on our lives and us having to cater to anyone. I guess I realized at that time that they we there to cater to us and help us through our grief. What a gift. I sat in our family room wavering between tears and sleep that first day back home, thinking about my angel, thinking how empty our house seemed, thinking about all the things we had to pull together in the week to follow. Is it really fair to ask a mom who has just given birth to scout out a final resting place for her child? It is not something that could be delayed. We HAD to do it. I remember my parents driving us all over town looking for the most beautifully amazing cemetery for our baby. Is there such a thing? It was horrible - nothing was good enough for our baby, except in our arms! I remember standing in baby land at a cemetery near our home, cars rushing along the highway just beyond the graves. I lost it. I dropped to my knees and just lost it. Remember that list of hard things? This was another one. My family took me away and we continued our search on another day.