Friday, December 23, 2016

Life after SIDS

I recently shared my story about Trace with Des Moines Moms blog, who were so nice to ask me to be a guest contributor. It ended up being one of the top posts of the year and over 2,000 people read the story in one day- wow! I am humbled. Please click on the link above if you haven't read it already. 

It was really difficult for me to write because it forced me to walk down that dark path of memory and relive everything, moment by moment. The post talks about everything that happened that day but what I didn't touch on was everything that happened after that day. 

Burying your child is the worst thing that anyone can ever go through. It is so terrible that it is the subject of horror movies and the number one topic under the saddest thing ever category. To go through it was unreal and it felt like I was watching myself go through the motions. Even though I had to say goodbye to my little boy's earthly body forever in a tiny baby casket, what happened after that was truly the grace of God and the love of my family and friends. 

I have so much to be thankful for after we lost Trace: my parents for all their help with childcare and being there for me and my family, friends and neighbors who provided a steady stream of food on my doorstep for months, thoughtful cards and books in the mail, my job allowing me to take an extended time off, and everyone giving me space to heal and grieve. I am so thankful for my son Michael who gave me a purpose and still let me be his mommy even though I had failed at being a mom. 

I am thankful for my old school family and students who were gracious to me when I returned to school and didn't treat me like a ghost. Going back were some of the hardest days of my life, where all I wanted to do was just disappear into thin air. Getting up, getting ready, driving myself to school all seemed like unsurmountable tasks. How could I teach music to children when my heart was broken in two? However, seeing the tears in all my young students eyes when I visited them for their concert was almost too much to bear- I knew they cared about me just as much as I cared about them. I am thankful for my new school for hiring me the next school year and giving me an opportunity to throw myself into my work and students. At the time it did not seem like that big of a deal, but now looking back it feels like a tremendous leap of faith and I am thankful for it. I think the ability to be productive is a gift- both one you receive and one you can give to others. It forced me to get out of my own head for a bit and channel my energy into something good which was a lifeline for me back when the grief was so fresh. 

I am thankful for the friends and family who still think of me on all those important days like Trace's birthday, Mother's Day, and of course Christmas. 

I am of course thankful for my husband, who was so patient with me and never treated me like a crazy lady. I am thankful he didn't give up on our family growing because I really thought I had my heart made up that we would be just fine as a family of three. Could you even imagine that now? 

Every year I get so worked up around Christmas because I hate, hate, hate the fact that one of my traditions involves visiting the cemetery. It is hard for me to listen to other people complain about how much shopping they have to do and how many presents they have to wrap. How stressful it is to do all the baking and visit all their family. I just can't phone it in for that because deep down Christmas is a very sad time and it is nice just to have my family close to me and celebrate the birth of Jesus. 

Christmas has been a nice vehicle for us to talk to the girls about Trace since his stars on the tree and his stocking is hung by the fireplace. It is so sweet to hear them say "Baby Trace" or "baby". I try not to go there often, but sometimes I can't help to think what a good big brother he would have been. What it would have been like all those years with two little boys on Christmas morning. It is almost too sad to bear, and I have to remind myself that we are on a new path now and we don't know what the future would have been like on our old path. So much of this world is a mystery and we have no idea what cards the great dealer up above has in his deck. :o) 

So...I'm not really sure what the point of this post was but I wanted to get all that off my chest since my post to the moms blog could only be so many words. There was a lot that happened after that day and between the girls arriving. It is a process and it still is. I never thought that grieving Trace would be something that I do every single day, but it is. I will never get over being sad about him being gone. Is there still happiness in my life? Of course. Am I sad every minute of every day? Of course not. But sometimes I am. 

A friend posted this and I thought it was so accurate. Perhaps you have seen it before but if not, please read: 

Thanks for stopping by! 

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