Lilypie - Memorial

Friday, 31 August 2012

Day of Healing

Clara's due date came and went. We started off the day by visiting the cemetery. We bought a new windmill to sit along side the flowers that were already there. We sat at her grave site, remembering our precious little girl. 

After lunch, we took a drive up to the Forks of the Credit and took a small hike on the Bruce Trail. I think Clara would have liked it. The last time I went hiking on the Bruce Trail was when I was about 23 weeks pregnant so it seemed like the natural thing to do. Hiking in the wilderness always provided me with a sense of calm. Perhaps, nature has elements of healing. I'm starting to regain my love for the outdoors and finding beauty within this world.


We ended off the evening with a home cooked meal with just the two of us. Just us, the people that loved Clara the most, remembering the life that could have been.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Eve Before the EDD

August 30th - Clara's EDD. It's tomorrow. The past few months, I've been looking at this date with much anxiety and fear. How will I feel? How will I cope? I must admit the days leading up to the EDD have been difficult, the tears are coming much more easily this week than the week prior. For now, I'm feeling a sense of calm. Perhaps fear of the day is worse than the day itself. I hope so.

Scott has taken the day off work, I'm not sure why I asked him to but it just felt like what I needed at the time. I haven't decided what we are going to do but perhaps I'll just see where the day takes us. Whatever comes our way, it will be a way to remember our little girl.

The last few weeks, I have been looking for different ways to connect with Clara to replace some of the good ol' crying spells. I have the small rituals at the cemetery and I have discovered the world of BLM blogging. Lately, I've been going for long walks with my new Clara playlist that I've compiled. I've found a good mix of songs that remind me of her or expresses my feelings for her. I suppose it's the best version of Mommy/Daughter time I'm going to get. Below is a YouTube link to one of my favourites, Gone Too Soon by Daughtry. Clara, not a day goes by that I don't think of you. 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

One of Those Days

Dear Clara,

It's been one of those days for Mommy, where I just want to be alone and think about how much I miss you. Sometimes living life without you is too overwhelming. When you were here with me, I just wanted everything to be perfect for you. I had designed the perfect room. It would have been a yellow room with huge zoo animal decals. I wanted a room that oozed happiness. I picked out a nice rocker for us too when you needed to be comforted. When I came home from the hospital without you, I couldn't bear to let go of some of your stuff like the ducky outfit you were supposed to come home in. I saved some of your other things in hopes that it will some day be a part of your little brother or sister's life. I will always try to find ways to incorporate you into our family's life. Forgetting you would be like forgetting how to breath, it's just not possible.

Clara, part of my funk today is that I feel such immense guilt for starting to move forward with my life without you. Somehow it feels like I'm leaving you behind and I would never ever want to do that. I know you would want Mommy to keep living and to be happy. It's just so hard when they only thing I want is you. It's the very thing that I can't have, not in the way I want. So baby girl, if Mommy appears to be doing better or looking forward it doesn't mean I love you any less or that I'm not missing you like crazy. Nothing will ever diminish what you mean to me or change the way I feel about you. I guess that's what I wanted you to know.

Good night sweet girl.

Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Upset

This would have been my last few days at work if Clara hadn't died. I would be looking towards a year off with my little girl. In my mind, I had already planned our first camping trip for the following summer. I would be 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow and the original EDD approaches more quickly than ever. August 30th - how many times have I repeated that date in the past 9 months? I know the odds are that she would not have been born on that date but when you are pregnant, you look towards the EDD with such hope and expectation. Now, I'm not sure how to feel about it. Now I think of it as a milestone in my grief - the past 3 months I have been using it as such. "If only I could get past the EDD", maybe that it will be a turning point. I have asked Scott to take the day off but I'm not sure what we will be doing - I'll have to think about that a little more. But I want it to be special - a day for remembering her and celebrating the joy she brought into our lives.

I think what upsets me most is the fresh flowers I left for Clara last Wednesday (the ones pictured on Wednesday's post) suddenly disappeared on Saturday. I looked around and all the other items at the different sites were left untouched. Who would remove flowers from my little girls site? Is there no respect for my little angel? Haven't I already lost enough, without her flowers going missing. Does the person who moved/damaged them even know the impact they are having on that little girls mama? Do they even care? I replaced them yesterday but it's just one of those little things that doesn't help with the pain.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Three Months


Today marks three months.Three months since I held my sweet baby in my arms. Three months of missing Clara. Three months of crying. The hysterical cries have vanished and are replaced by more quiet rolling tears. I find myself having a few good moments every now and again. At times I allow these moments to come and go and at other times, guilt flows through me. Guilty for moving forward and re-starting my life without her as the focal point. Even still, I don't have a choice but to keep going. I have to for her.

I have stopped counting the weeks since she's been gone, it's just to painful to remind myself of the growing gap of time. I have started walking again - I think of running and cycling but something is preventing me from doing so. Now that I'm contemplating this, I'm not ready to do things that make me feel "great" but opting for things that make me feel "ok" or even "good". Perhaps the last truly great feeling I had was when she was alive and I don't want to lose that just yet. I want to hold on to it and not let anyone or anything come between or after it.

I wrote the following a few days after I got home from the hospital. I didn't want to forget any of the details of my most cherished moments of my life.


My favourite thing I did for my daughter
I got to dress her. My sister Lisa brought a bereavement kit from the hospital that she worked in with many beautiful clothes. Scott, Lisa, Jessica,  Rebecca, Sara and I went through all the different options that would be what Clara will wear forever. Our first option was a stylish white hat with a white sweater but we were concerned it wouldn't fit - this option still sits in my memory box. In the end we picked a white dress, with a pink hat, pink booties. Lisa helped me put on the pink hat. The dress was a little big for Clara but we made it work. It was long white dress with sleeves that had lace on the ends. The top 2 inches were elastic with baby pink stitching with ties on the back to close the dress. The final thing, Mommy got do for Clara was put on her booties. I started with the left foot, I turned the bootie inside out to start because I didn't want to hurt her. Then I tied the little laces. Lisa held up the right foot so I could follow the same process. The last item was her receiving blanket, a baby pink blanket with white polka dots. Lisa with all her experience wrapped her up in a sweet little bundle.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

It's in!


This is the final resting place of my beloved daughter, Clara. This past week, her marker was placed. On the upper part of the heart is my and my husband's initials. Somehow, having my initials there reminds me that I am her mother and a piece of me will always be with her. It also symbolizes our union as a family. The writing on the bottom comes from the third line of my husband's poem, for you we'd give the world.The image at the bottom is a tricycle, representing what would have been one of our family's hobby - cycling.

This is the place where I come when I miss her the most. It's one of the ways I get to perform my limited Mommy duties. I visit with her. Ensure the grass is watered, fertilized and green. Ensure everything looks as it should. Another way of loving and connecting with her.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Could Have, Should Have, Would Have

Could have, should have, would have. So much of grief is concentrated in the contemplation of those words. The dreams of what could have been, where we should be today and everything we would have to celebrate. Spending time contemplating these thoughts bury me deeper into my sadness for Clara. These days, my coping strategy is not allowing myself to go to these thoughts. Its a way to control how much time I spend grieving or it becomes all consuming and frankly unbearable.

It the early days, these same thoughts were what could I have done to prevent this tragedy. If I had known, I would have done anything to have prevent it but at the time you don't have a crystal ball. You just believe you are doing everything you should be doing based on the knowledge at hand. I'm starting to let go of the guilt. I could continue allowing myself to feel guilty but it's not going to bring her back. Even still, I'm going to have to relive my hospital documents with my doctor on tomorrow and once again have someone reassure me that its not my fault. The truth is I know I'll never have the answers I need so I just need to learn to let it go.

Perhaps to move forward I need to focus on what I did do right during my time with Clara:

  • I let her know how much I loved her all the time
  • I ate well and never skipped a meal or a multivitamin
  • I incorporated gentle exercise into the pregnancy even when I didn't feel well
  • I talked to her often and sang to her
  • I rubbed my belly with such maternal pride
  • I was so proud of how she was growing
  • We created wonderful memories that I will always treasure
I will always miss her but I need a balance of grief and remembrance.


Saturday, 11 August 2012

New Perspective

When you experience such an intense loss, it gives you a different perspective on life. I was just watching the Olympic Mens relay where the Canadian team initially thought they won bronze to later find out they were disqualified.  I understand their disappointment as they poured their hearts and souls into training for these events but yet at the end of the day nobody died. It's the same when I see people squabble over the little things. One instance in my recent memory is watching my sisters fight (in tears no less) about cleaning the sink after they finished up with the dishes. I would normally think this is ridiculous but attached to that I think no one has died. As long as you are still able to hold the people you love, what else matters? This is my new perspective. Sad but true. I think a year the person I was a year ago would have been more empathetic but it's becoming more of a challenge. I suppose this is a part of figuring out who I am post-loss.

It will be interesting to see how I integrate this into my professional and personal life. At work, I was always anxious about meeting my deadlines and worrying about producing stellar results - a bit of a perfectionist. At home, I had my routine - come home, prepare dinner by a certain time and prep for the next day. I like executing things on a certain timeline or on time - I think time limits have always made me anxious even if they were self imposed. I liked control. What I've learned from this whole baby making business is that I have no control.

Personally, I'm not sure how I've changed. Not sure if its the grief talking or the new me. For example, laundry - my DH is ok waiting until he's reached his stash of what he calls the emergency boxers (the ones that should be in the garbage). This use to bug me to no end because it meant that I would have to keep on top of the laundry. I no longer care. I used to like cooking and eating but what's the point when you can whip up a sandwich in less than 5 minutes. Ok - it sounds like the grief talking. But it will be interesting to see how I come out of all of this with my new perspective.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Clara

She's become every breath I take
She's become every step I take
She's embedded in every fibre of my being
She's held in all my thoughts and deep within my heart
She's my strength
She's everything that I am 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Small Steps

My husband is back at work after having the week off. My sister and her husband were also here the past week but have returned home. I think having Scott and more family around helps with the healing process. In their activity planning for the week, it gave me a reason to get out bed in the morning. I was able to look at scenery and appreciate its beauty. I think this is a huge step since the weekend we went camping and I quarantined myself to the tent. Another huge step is a went for a walk, the same route I used to walk with Clara - although it took all my strength not to turn around and jump back into the safe haven of my bed. I'm starting to feel her strength bringing me back, making me stronger slowly. I feel the depth of her love when I'm afraid. She's alive in my heart.

In my grief, I'm now in the world of progressing and regressing. I'm making some positive steps but at times I find myself drawn towards habits I had during the initial weeks of my loss. Sleep is either a hit or miss these days. Last night was a miss and I cried out for her. Perhaps it was the anxiety of my husband going back to work? It's a concious struggle now not to let myself slip into the dark thoughts that lead to more dark thoughts that leaves me in the pit of despair for hours at a time. It's so easy to find the pit but so hard to keep the dark thoughts at bay. I suppose this is where I heed the advice to be patient with myself and accept each day as it comes.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Little Gifts

Integration, the first step. I need to believe Clara is with me in every step through this journey. That every good moment, that she somehow is responsible for these small gifts. Her love is somehow transformed into the love of family and friends. This weekend, we went to the cottage with friends. I know I'm not the festive and bubbly person I once was . They are understanding and patient. They are a distraction from the constant pain. Clara cannot love me here on earth but I choose to believe she can love me through other means. I just need to open my eyes to these connections. That I will always feel my daughter's love and feel connected to her. She has shown me the strength and intensity of a mother's love - That in itself is a gift.


***


As much as I try to stay positive, something always has to hit me smack across the face. Triggers - I didn't think I had them. I mean I see children and I'm able to manage - I don't want other people's children, I want Clara. So, my mom took us out for lunch and I thought I knew who was going to be there so I can prepare myself if necessary. Well, the "pregnant" relative shows up unexpectedly. I've never felt betrayed. So, I raced to the washroom within 5 minutes of her arrival to cry my eyes out.  I felt so low and ashamed. I felt so unloved and so hopeless. So, the lesson is I can't handle pregnant women. They are so full of hope. It reminds me of how I felt when I was pregnant and how it was all taken away to replaced by grief. It reminds me how much I wanted Clara in my life and how much I miss her.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Bad Day

It's a continual series of ups and downs. And today I'm feeling down. I really can't believe that this is my life. The life that is continuing without Clara in it. How will I ever again see beauty and joy in this world? Everything is tainted by grief. A perfect beautiful baby whom was so loved was taken away from this world. How does this happen? How am I suppose to accept this? How will I live without ever understanding why this happened to her, to us? 

This month should have welcomed my daughter and now I live in the month with dread. Dread of her due date and all that it was suppose to stand for. Joy and happiness is replaced by pain and suffering. This is a world in which I never thought I would have to live in. I never knew I could hurt this much and for so long. I don't know what to do to make it better. The pain is constant - a lesser degree at times but always there. Sometimes I don't know how to make it through the day, I suppose its one step in front of the other. Today grief has overcome me and overtaken my day and I have no choice but to roll with it. Hopefully, tomorrow will see a better day.