As I slip off my fuzzy slippers and crawl into bed the moment my head hits the pillow the quietness of the night starts to surround me as my eyes remain wide open.
It’s then that my mind starts to spin like the wheels on a car. With what could have been and what is now.
I think of life while I was pregnant with Angelina, her birth, her beautiful 6 months here with us, her passing and life now.
None of this is what I planned. In my mind I had this plan for our life. I am such a routine person and all these things I had planned. This simple perfect life. This doesn’t seem to line up with my expectation of what was supposed to be my family’s life.
Then in the quietness I lay in bed as the crickets sound like a symphony outside my bedroom window and I think to myself.
This isn’t what I planned, but I wouldn’t change it for a second. It’s not what could have been but so much more. I wouldn’t trade this life God has mapped out for me for our life.
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” -Isaiah 40:31
The hard and messy is when we learn to cling and turn to God the most in life.
As I rise because I just have to get these words down on paper because I can’t stop thinking and also because I made homemade double chocolate brownies and didn’t workout today (I never can sleep if I don’t workout). I quietly walk up the stairs to Angelina’s room.
The door it always had a creak and still does. I try to open it just right not to wake the girls who are sleeping. I grab a blanket etched in blue and yellow given to me by a dear friend and slip into my desk chair in my new office.
It’s been about six weeks since we unbolted the baby crib and took the mattress out. It was such a sad day. The place where I rocked all my baby girls. The place where I snuggled them and gave them the nurturing love that a mother gives her child.
Now I sit here clicking away on keyboard in that very same place. With Angelina’s and my other daughters memories sitting all around my desk.
It was hard to make this move in my grieving process but there is truly and never would be the right time to take these tiny steps. You just muster up the strength and do it.
It felt right and I feel so safe and comforted in this tiny nursery, forever Angelina’s room as the girls still call it.
As I sit here in the darkness and stillness of the night I keep having this recurring memory to a visit from my Aunt and Uncle back to when we had been home close to three weeks with Angelina and they stopped to visit. It was after Christmas and a few days before Angelina went into Acute respiratory failure and I rushed her to the hospital.
We were visiting and my Uncle looked at me and said: “ what is normal anyway.” We laughed because he is just a fun-loving guy and he brought a lot of truth to a situation in which we were trying to figure out how to care and do life with Angelina at home.
It’s seems like just when we found a new normal, how to care for Angelina and helped her thrive and accepted we would be faced with the challenge that she could be chronically ill that things again changed and we would be finding ourselves facing a new challenge of life without Angelina.
It seemed like so many people said I would find this new normal and that life will never be the same without her and I think of a brief memory from Angelina’s calling hours, I don’t recall much except my back hurt from hugging people and one women a distant relative told me I’ll never get over this.
I have been waiting for my new normal over the last year. It hasn’t made it’s grand entrance, I’m still trying to make sense of this and yes you are probably right lady, I’ll never get over this.
However in the last passing few months. I have come to this conclusion that normal is a word that I would like to toss out of the dictionary at this point and that healing and redemption could take it’s place.
I am ready to heal and yes I will never get over this because how does any mother who looses a baby she carried in her womb, birthed, nurtured, loved and gave her all to really get over moving through life with empty restless arms.
My arms ache, they ache for my sweet baby, every single day.
Healing not normal is what I am ready for. This last year has been an up and down cycle of highs and lows. As year two begins there is no new normal, it’s truly about meeting grief where I’m at on any given day at any given time.
It’s about embracing this season instead of searching for this normal. It’s about finally unleashing bottled up grief and after a year and a half crying with close friends and family. It’s not about making sense of this situation because I will never understand Why, God took my child away but realizing that through proper healing and restoration that he will continue to use Angelina’s life and story to impact lives every single day.
This summer as corny as this sounds and you can make fun of me for all that matter. I feel like as I wager with God and ask him Why, What, Where do you want me. WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO WITH THIS.
“We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us, we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be”. – C.S. Lewis
He says, Michelle bloom. Trust me, be still, heal, and bloom right where I have planted you.
If you know me I love flowers, you can find me barefoot in the garden on most afternoons in the summer and I haven’t gardened much in the last two years. I have no energy to can this year which breaks my heart.
But the girls and I planted tiny little flowers and they have flourished and bloomed with little attention and hardly any rain.
When I look at them, I keep hearing God Say : Bloom. Just like these flowers you barely watered there were brittle, weak, and I grew them. Let me water your soul and bring strength to your brittle bones and joy to your heart again.
When I look at my girls I see Angelina, as I tie Ava’s hair in a pony tail the back of her neck looks exactly the same as Angelina’s and Amelia’s abnormally long tongue hangs out while she concentrates as she colors and I chuckle inside. Angelina is here, she is all around us and this is always going to be hard and it’s ok if I never get over this but I can learn how to live with the pain. I am ready to experience joy and the simple things God blesses us with each day to bring beauty to this tough life again.
I am ready to begin to heal. With that still comes the grieving, depression, extremely hard days and I think Mary Beth Chapman says it best in her book: Choosing to See:
“Even in this free fall of pain, I’ve landed on a solid foundation and my faith has held…..on most days. I have learned That God is good….always. Hope is real. I have found even in the awful pain of tears and grief so intense you think it will kill you that my family and I can do hard. We’ll never get over our loss, but wer’re getting through it. And so I have prayed that our journey through the shadows of loss might be of some help to those who have experienced similar pain.”
Today I decided I am ready to bloom right here in the mist of my grief, and my prayer is for those who are struggling with life’s hardships that you to can bloom right where God has planted you.
“Great is our Lord and mighty in power. His understanding has no limit.” -Psalm 147:5
God he keeps reminding me of his almighty power. He has the ability to heal me if I allow him to and to completely surrender the unbearable to him. A mothers love has kept me from that surrender, it has kept me from wanting to let go. My stubborn heart has shown how deep that love flows for our children and over the last month God has shown me that in surrender I will find healing and peace. That I can turn the pain into sweet memories. That God’s purpose is greater than my pain. That my continual hope is in heaven when I will see God and be reunited with Angelina again.
For those who walk the road of miscarriage, infant and child-loss October 15 is a day to bring awareness, for the 1 in 4 women affected by pregnancy and infant loss, this post is dedicated to all of the sweet babies and children who left this earth entirely to soon. Sweet friends as my knee’s hit the floor often and I cry out to God to take this my heart is breaking with you. Continue to look up. When your strength fails you God will carry you.
In Memory of Angelina Hope 5/25/14 This little life was so little yet so mighty and continues to impact our lives each day. We Love You So Incredibly Much