Remembering Faith Elizabeth

Remembering Faith Elizabeth

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm Not Blind

Jamie said to me last night..."I'm not blind anymore."

He meant that we don't live in the world that we used to...we don't live blindly, assuming that nothing bad will happen. We live in a different world than many people...which a lot of people don't really understand. I will tell people, "I don't live in your world," and they often look at me like they don't know what I mean.

I mean, that nearly two years later, we miss our daughter every single day. We look at a room unused, a crib never slept in, a house empty of toys and sippy cups and bottles...eyes wide open. We spend time with friends - and their kids - often feeling as though we're left out of a club.

It's no one's one intentionally makes us feel left out. Our life makes us feel a bit left out. After all, how do you contribute to a conversation about when kids walked and talked, and who's potty trained, and what summer camps they're attending...when your child isn't there? It just becomes a painful reminder of all that you are missing out on. How do you contribute to a conversation about preschools and school shopping and day care costs when the only thing you can think of to say is, "I wish I had something to say...I wish I knew."

Sometimes, my frustrations are warranted and listening to a complaining parent who does so without gratitude for what they have been blessed with. Sometimes those frustrations are less rational - mind you, they don't feel less frustrating, but my brain knows that they aren't rational...they're just emotions, and emotions aren't always rational.

I certainly don't pretend parenting is easy, or that I understand the day-to-day grind of it, but I can't stand listening to parents who go on and on about how hard and how miserable things are...or listening to pregnant women that do nothing but complain about being pregnant. I often want to scream at them to count their blessings. And it's only the people who can't see the good through the bad that bother me the most. The average parent, who gets frustrated with their strong-willed 3-year old telling them "no" doesn't phase me, as long as what I see is a parent who loves their child and knows, "This too shall pass." Like Jamie has often pointed out, people just assume that you get pregnant, wait nine months, and get to bring a baby home. When your story doesn't work out like that, it changes everything about cuts deep, it affects every part of your life.

People who know us will probably tell you, if you ask, "They're good...they're fine." And we are. We get up, live our lives, and go forward. We go to work, the bills are paid on time, the lawn gets mowed. We cook dinner, go on vacations, laugh at ridiculous things that happen and cherish our time with the people we love. But, below the surface sits something that isn't visible...something that other people don't see, but something that Jamie and I feel everyday.

So, while we're "fine" most days, there are still those moments that feel a lot harder than they should. Hearing the news of a pregnancy from an acquaintance...sometimes that hits hard, though it often depends on who it is. I don't wish anyone ill, but there is a part of me that so frequently wishes one thing...

I wish so much that someone would truly get this without ever having to truly experience it. I want people to know that while we're "fine," we're not the same. I just never, never, never want anyone we love to truly know what we feel every day of our lives. Because that would mean that they, too, buried their child. And no one should ever have to do that.

Though I wish for this, I have found some friends and family whose sensitivity and compassion has gone far beyond what I ever expected. The friends - a word that can't begin to describe this relationship - that show up for every walk, every anniverary, every remembrance, every event for Faith. Who bring us a plant on Mother's Day, call Jamie on Father's Day, and ask about Faith's birthday before I ever bring it up. Those people that aren't afraid to say her name in conversation, to tell me that they stopped at her grave...those are the people where we don't feel left out, where we feel included in every part of life, despite the fact that they are busy raising two boys. Because, there, with them...we feel like we aren't the only ones who aren't blind. These are the friends that walked our journey with Faith, side by side with us, who held us up in our darkest days.

For us, sometimes the greatest comfort comes in knowing that they, too, don't go through life blind. And as always, simply knowing you're not alone is the greatest comfort of all.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Butterflies and Fireworks

I'm sitting in my living room tonight, drinking the first glass of Chardonnay I've had in over a week. We spent the last week on vacation at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. And, apparently, they don't have Chardonnay. In fact, when I asked for it, they kind of looked at me funny...alas, I survived the week on Corona and taste-testing a variety of other cocktails. Hard life, I know.

I was sitting here, enjoying that glass of wine, feeling very guilty and very unpatriotic...hence the guilt. It is July 4th, and I could honestly care less about watching the fireworks. Our neighbors will shoot off some later tonight (I'm already hearing some booms), but other than maybe peeking out at that, I don't know if I'll even care to do that. I am just fine sitting in my house, drinking my Chardonnay, catching up on recorded shows, and maybe doing a little reading.

I started doing some catch-up reading on some of the blogs that I read regularly, and one of the women was talking about her late son's upcoming birthday...and it crossed my mind that I don't think I care much about July 4th right now because in a way, it was the beginning of our journey with Faith. I remember being at my in-laws that year, enjoying the fireworks and the 4th of July...telling people we had a doctor's appointment on July 7th...expecting nothing more to really come of all the ultrasounds and tests and visits. And then, days later, being so completely wrong, and so utterly devastated. Since that year, this holiday just doesn't feel the same. I can't help that my thoughts go to those dates in my head that we are approaching. It just seems the beginning of a rough time of year for us, leading up to Faith's birthday and the day she left us...followed by her burial. July 7th, July 8th, July 10th, August 14th, August 17th, August 22nd. Forever, those dates are burned into my mind. I don't think I will ever look at those dates on the calendar in the same way...they will forever have those other events inked in. July 7th happens to be our wedding anniversary, and July 9th is my birthday, so there are good moments in there.

Almost as much as her birthday and those few days after, these days in July are difficult, too. I think about the fact that I should be chasing around a 2-year old, making play dates with friends and their kids. We went to Mexico for a week, and more than once while we were there, I thought about how different our life should be. Would we have gone to Mexico? Who would have watched Faith? So many many "what ifs?"

Part of this journey is learning that there are so often no simple answers. For many people I've met, butterflies have a special meaning to them in relation to the loss of their baby. There are some stories about the meanings that butterflies have, and that they carry a spirit with them. When we were in Mexico, there were butterflies everywhere. We drove down one road on our way to a snorkeling spot and there were hundreds of butterflies...I sat and thought about all of the babies that I know whose spirits might be on those wings. It made me feel a little better, thinking that a piece of Faith was with us there.

Now, we're back to reality. Life is still here in St. Louis...and July is still going to pass us by. Those dates will still be in my memory...that will never change. I guess that I'm still struggling with exactly how to weave those dates into a calendar that has other things penciled in.