Posts tagged ‘“infant loss”’

August 2, 2018

Beyond Grief

As the world watches J35 grieve the loss of her sweet baby whale, I marvel at the universal sense of loss this whale brings to humanity. She moves me to tears, thinking of the deep breathes she must take in her time of panic and fear when her baby’s lifeless body slips from her control and she prepares herself to dive deep to get her baby back, a deep fall into the abyss. When will the mama let go?

That’s a question that only she can answer.

She is “beyond grief.” She won’t eat as far as the researchers can tell. All she does is try to save her already dead baby. She is on a “tour of grief” as one researcher called it. Just like J35 the whale, a human hurting mama will do things that make no sense. She will go to any depth to try to fix what has broken, while her human logic puts up the wall of knowing that she cannot fix her lost child, yet she may continue to do so at the sacrifice of all else. She will tell a complete stranger odd details or collapse into tears, or anger, at the drop of a pin.

As for J35, those from the outside want to help, but they can’t. Any interference could cause the whale to never recover, and her species cannot handle outside influence at this time of decline. A human mama cannot accept or handle outside influence often either. She cannot be open to everyone; there will be few that she can speak to without knowing that she has failed them or that they just cannot understand. Or, she will draw inside herself to avoid the pity, those looks of pity…

Yet, at the same time, it is the whale’s pod, her family, that is making all the difference today, day 9. Instead of just allowing her to fall behind or forcing her away from her dead baby’s body, her pod family is surrounding her, keeping close and being available if they are needed.

Friends, that is what a grieving parent needs! She (and he… dads, too!) needs to know that she isn’t crazy; that it is ok to be consumed by the darkness and the crazy thoughts for this brief period of intense mourning. She needs to know that if she wants to talk, you will let her. If she wants to ignore the pain for a time, you will let her.

((A side note: BEYOND GRIEF One of the researchers interviewed was correct… we need a word for this crushing period of unexplainable, fully excusable, excruciating agony. Mourning and grieving are useful terms in the early weeks (mourning) and in describing the life-long journey of loss (grief); yet, what word could somehow come close to encapsulating the original torment description? There isn’t one. Likewise, a grieving widow or widower used to be able to wear black for as long as they felt they were in the season of mourning – that time when pain and heartache fill their waking thoughts as well as their painful dreams – alerting those around them, but what can a grieving parent do? What do any grieving folks do now? There is nothing, and it causes society to fall further and further away from compassion, hope, and understanding.))

What can we do for a grieving parent? Don’t fall away. Be available, but not in her face. Don’t judge her ‘beyond grief’ period, her mourning, or her grief process. Don’t tell her what she must do. Invite her, call her, reach out, and wait. Mostly, though, pray. Pray faithfully as you never have before. You may never get to share a conversation with the grieving parent, even that you have been praying. But, you can fall at the feet of our Lord to lift up and surround the grieving parent, even from the outskirts of the group of those closer to her. Remember, for many grieving parents, there comes a point when they cannot pray. No matter how much or how deeply they have prayed before, the words, the feelings, and the thoughts of prayer will fail them. While they do not feel it at the time, God is still holding them and YOU can be one of the ‘family’ who is VITAL. Please pray.

December 8, 2015

The Object of Anticipation

Anticipation… hope, excitement, expectancy, planning, joy. Anticipation denotatively means “the feeling of looking forward, usually excitedly or eagerly, to something that is going to happen.” Just like the Japanese art of kintsugi, the object of desire—the object of anticipation—is shattered, seemingly irreparable. Perhaps the damage was done knowingly—purposefully. Often, however, it appears to completely chance, completely random and meaningless.

Kintsugi sake cup broken
As the object of anticipation is in pieces, we have a choice. Do we throw it away? Do we give it up—the hope, the symbolism, the joy? Or, do we begin the process of reforming it? The pieces must be assessed. The pieces may be jagged and cracking. They be slivered and scattered. Some may need to be smoothed. Some may not be reusable; once assessed, they may need to left out of the renewal project. Each piece is painstakingly touched, restored, or lovingly removed. Yet, in the hands of a Master, in the heart of the Creator, something beautiful is designed.

Kintsugi sake cup repaired center
The pieces will not, ever, fit back together exactly as they once did. Something has been lost, fragments of dust even, but a loss has occurred. The Master recognizes this loss, acknowledges this loss, and must gently and painstakingly make a filling that is specific and unique to the missing fragment or space. The object of anticipation is not, will never be, the same again. But, the beauty in the acknowledgment. The beauty in the change of anticipation. The beauty in the process of recreating. They are all so valuable to the Master and to the piece now recreated.
Anyone who has the opportunity to touch this piece knows that they hold something thoroughly and meticulously touched by the Master who thought of every line, every edge, every angle, and every depth of filling, every width of space… He has touched and detailed it all.

Kintsugi sake cup repaired inside

As time moves on, it may appear that more and more is repaired, yet, the reality is that the pain, the grief, the missing pieces, will be missing forever. The perspective or aspect might change, but the loss never will, and, thankfully, neither will the love the Creator!

Five years ago today my object of anticipation—the expectation of a sweet new life in our family—also included many “negative” anticipations… fear, dread, concern. We had lost Savannah Grace, nothing seemed to be going right in our ministry, jobs, or home, and my pregnancy just felt “off.” On December 8, 2010, we found out why. I have always wanted to be used by God and for God, but I never wanted to feel the pain of the shattering, the pain of loss and removal. I can say with certainty that God loved me enough to piece me back together; I am golden because He has pieced me back together and created beauty from my pain.


NOTE: These pictures were copied from Lakeside Pottery. I do not have an endorsement or anything of the like from them. I use these pictures with respect for your craft. However, if you wish for me to remove them, I will do so. Thank you for the beauty you create. It is such a gift.

October 27, 2015

Memory explosion

As I rubbed cocoa butter on my dry, cracked hands, I was reminded of the day we received Jedidiah’s diagnosis. As many of you have read before, one of the first things Jim did when we met up after I received the call from the doctor was to massage my cracked, bleeding hands with lotion. It has been almost 5 years since that day. I have had many times of hurting, dry hands. I wonder why tonight the memory exploded?

I wrote those above words ten days ago just before bed. Just a day before my “rainbow” baby and I both got sick, and I spent four days constantly monitoring his temperature (which was higher than any of my other kids ever, for longer than any of them had had a fever, too), wondering if he was going to be ok and if I was doing everything I was supposed to do to take care of him. The fear that grips when one of my boys is ill or out-of-touch is different now since losing Jedidiah. The fear threatens to explode just as my memories do, and the fear is paralyzing.

I don’t have time for the fear. Not because I am busy but because I am busy living! I need to live for my husband, for my earthly children, for Jedidiah, but mostly for myself.

I need to live, so

I welcome the memories.

I welcome the tears.

I welcome the triumphs,

and I reject the fears.

I need to love, so

I love out loud.

I love with hope.

I love with abandon,

and I reject the fears.

If you have lost a little one, may the memories some day bring you joy, but for now, if you need to cry, cry. If you need to scream, scream. But, please, please, work hard and work long to reject the fears.

May God bless and keep you.

April 8, 2015

Four years ago…

I was sure that I could never come to a place where I would wear the shirt I wore in Jedidiah’s nilmdts maternity photo shoot. I had bought the shirt for that purpose; it still had creases from where we folded it to show off my Jedidiah belly. On Easter, three days ago, I wore the shirt for the first time in more than four years. I had left the shirt hanging on its hanger, moved when we moved. No one knew what the shirt meant. It is just a shirt, after all. But, to me, it was so much more.
Four years and a day ago I would not have put that shirt on. At no time in the last four years could I have brought myself to do so. Am I a freak? No, I am grieving. “But, Kim,” you say, “it has been four years today. Surely, you are beyond that by now.”
Four years and a day ago I may have thought the same thing. The reality is that for 36+ years, I walked through life not knowing the grief process. Oh, I could list the stages of grief and I could sympathize with someone, but I did not KNOW the grief process. And, the truth is, the grief process is a life-long process. As many have said and as I recently read in an article about Keanu Reeves, “All you can do is hope that grief will be transformed.”
Grief is transformed when I receive a hug from my “love letter from God” and his big brothers. Grief is transformed when I look at Jedidiah’s precious pictures and smile. Grief is transformed when I speak of his impact. Grief is transformed when I choose not to speak. Grief is transformed when I trust (but possibly not always feel) that Jedidiah’s life and his death were God’s plan, His plan A. Grief is transformed when I receive the outpouring of love that so many of you, my friends and family, have expressed.
I am transformed for having held my son, weathered the dark months of nightmares and pain, coming out the other side to KNOW that there is a God and He loves me, loved me enough to trust with me with one of his precious ones.
So far, today has been Jedidiah’s hardest birthday for me. I don’t know why. Maybe because I don’t have specific plans because so much of everyday life could not be altered. Maybe because what I had wanted to do to commemorate his life this year was not able to happen. Maybe it is simply one of those days where God is holding me tight as I relive the loss so that as we walk into a time of ministering to others, I am better equipped to meet their needs. Whatever the reason… THANK YOU to those of you who have prayed and who continue to pray for me. I could not make it through without your prayers. God, please give my baby a hug from me.

June 10, 2014

I haven’t posted in a while.

I haven’t written in a while.  There are many reasons why.  One, our lives have been so turned up side down with a new little one.  Yes, Joseph Michael–whose name means “God will increase; who is like God?–made his way into the world in early March.  Two, I wanted to announce it in grand fashion, yet, at the same time, I wanted to keep everything to myself.  Three, what do I say?  Will I repeat myself? Joseph’s birth brought up many past struggles.  Four, will it matter?  I am a rain poet.  My writing, my blogging, is designed to help me get through the tough stuff and to stay honest, open, and transparent (H.O.T.) in this world of fake smiles and breaking hearts.  I want to glorify the LORD, always, in all I say and do.  I fail miserably at times.  In fact, my Bible reading and devotional time has been sorely lacking in the past four months or so.  How do I point everyone to Him when I haven’t been keeping focused on Him myself?  Five, it is hard for me to sit down and write the good stuff.  And, thankfully, there has been so much “good stuff!”

But, here goes.  In December, my family had the opportunity to participate in a research study about how parents help their children grieve the loss of a sibling.   Through that study, I realized that I wanted a huge juxtaposition from Jedidiah’s birth for our new baby.  Whereas, anyone and everyone was welcome to join us for Jedidiah’s labor, delivery, and few hours together, with Joseph I asked everyone, including my own mother and children, to stay away as Jim and I welcomed this new little one to our family.  I see other mamas invite in their family, and I felt selfish and rude, yet I needed to begin this little one’s life focused on him and him alone.  Ever try getting out of your own way?!

And, quite honestly, I had no idea how I would react.  I have had five unmedicated births, and with three of them now, I am a screamer.  Not the whole time, mind you, just during pushing.  (Guess what?  It helps.   But, I digress.)  Knowing that each birth is unique (and unmedicated childbirth is tough enough), I didn’t want an audience this time.  I just didn’t know how I was going to be able to get through another birth after giving birth to my little man and losing him.  I didn’t want anyone around to see me lose it if I lost it.  I didn’t want their opinions, their sympathy, their looks to each other from across the room, their sighs, their tears, or their joy, their elation, their praises when I might be feeling the opposite of them.  I was selfish.

With all my other deliveries, I remember minute details; it is kinda creepy.  With Joseph, my husband tells me he was rubbing my back through most of the last two hours.  I do not remember it.  Labor with Joseph was prayer after prayer after prayer with every contraction except one.  One contraction in five hours was the only time I was not falling at the feet of our LORD.  Why? Well, one reason… labor hurts. 🙂  But, also, because I could not possibly have gotten through bringing this sweet blessing into the world without the LORD holding me as He always has.  Would I be able to give birth or would I just give up?

In a way, I did give up.  I just let contraction after contraction wave over me even though I was complete.  I was spent, and I didn’t want to face my inadequacy of possibility not being “over my grief.”  God had shown me His love and His power and His glory, and, now, He had blessed me again with another son.  I should be focused and strong.  And, I was, but what if I wasn’t at the moment it was needed?  I overthink things, and I just couldn’t think, feel, or move anymore.

So, the LORD made sure that Joseph needed my focus (he was decelling–sp??) and He made sure that I realized that I just couldn’t do this alone.  My doctor, my husband, and the technician were there helping me stay focused and strong to bring Joseph into the world without emergency surgery.

I needed to be led through the birthing process; I had to return to the step-by-step process of the details of delivery.

I need to be led to the glory and refreshment of God’s Word;  I need to return to the step-by-step process of spiritual disciplines and deepening relationship with the Creator of the universe, the Creator of my heart.

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