Friday, October 17, 2014

Capture your grief. Day 10. Support (and Eva's fourth birthday).

When Eva was sick we had an outpouring of support. When she died, that support continued, for about two months. And, just when I felt like I needed it most, people moved on with their lives...but some stayed and I was thankful, and years later, I realize that some is all I needed. 

Some left in a whirlwind of pain. 

One friend, Holly, was struggling with depression when Eva died. She came and sat on my couch with me for days and weeks. I don't even remember how much time she spent on my couch. And it was what I needed. Someone to just show up for me, and BE there. I told her once that I liked having her there because she wasn't too happy. Her depression and my complete lack of joy made us a not completely joyless match. The time after Eva's death cemented our friendship in the same way it shattered so many others.

On another note. Yesterday was Eva's fourth birthday.

 I redid her table.

The banner with her name on it on the bottom was made by Holly.

And here is Eva at six weeks old wearing that same corduroy dress.

And, oh, how I wish I could turn back time...even for just an hour...

I got my hair cut yesterday. Because, well, what do you on your dead daughter's birthday anyway? Although I must say I did think about how much I would have liked to take her to the salon with me. 

We had artichoke hearts with our supper last night for our heart girl. We also had sweet potatoes because she was so sweet. And angel food cake. The only day of the year when we eat angel food cake. My wee four year old girl, eating cake with the I miss you.

Altogether the day wasn't too terrible. 

Felix slept through most of it.

Samuel wrote about it in his journal. 

In addition to birthday candles we also lit a candle for October 15th stillbirth and infant loss day. The irony never ceases to amaze me that her birthday is on that day. 

Good night dear ones. May the day be brighter tomorrow. One day closer to heaven.

xx Em

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The birthday girl will not appear.

It's in the silence of the night before your birthday that I miss you most. 

Tomorrow will be's tonight...

Tonight I should be piling your presents on the red plate. Starting your birthday cake so we could decorate it together tomorrow morning. Writing you a message on the chalkboard. Blowing balloons. 

But instead there is nothing to do tonight. So I do nothing. 

The birthday girl will not appear. I miss you my princess Eva.

 I wish I could go into your room and snap a picture of you sleeping. Our last moments with you as a three year old. But I cannot. And I miss you with every ounce of my being. I miss you.

Capture your grief. Day 9. In memory

We have several little things scattered around the house in memory of Eva. 

By far and away though the biggest event we do in memory if our girl is Eva's ride for Ronald McDonald House. A fundraiser for RMH.

It's a huge undertaking for me. And while I love it I also hate it. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Capture your grief. Day 8. Resource.

When Eva died the only thing I wanted to do was get together with parents who had lost a child too. There was no compassionate friends group in my town. There was nothing. But what there was, was a lot of mamas who had children who died in our small town. An inordinate amount of babies have died in our small town. So many. I mentioned wanting to have tea with baby loss mamas to a friend. She organized a grief tea and invited a few mamas. It was good. A spinoff came from that in that two other mamas and I met monthly for a few months for grief tea. Unofficial. But healing. I also saw a grief counsellor weekly and then monthly for a few months. I still see him occasionally but the need isn't as great now. The pit, the pain, the darkness...they are familiar now and I can handle them differently. 

Other than that my resources have been mostly online. Glow in the woods. This blog. Facebook groups. But there is something real in real talking with a real person in real time about real pain. And that's what I would like to be able to do again. There is an organization that has started since Eva's death but you can't bring a baby to the group out of sensitivity to those mamas in the throes of early grief. Which I totally understand. But has also limited my ability to attend. Nathan was too young to leave with Mike and now Felix is too young to leave. But I'm looking forward to attending when Felix is a bit older.

I don't know what to put as a photo for this one, so, true to my love of words, this entry will be only words.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Capture your grief. Day 7. Sacred place. (And a holter monitor for Felix).

Sacred place. Officially, Eva's trees are a sacred place. Somewhere I go to feel close to her. Im looking forward to making that space beautiful over he years. Next year we can bury her ashes and have a gravestone which I think will be another sacred place.

But the truth is that the place I feel closest to her and most connected to my princess is at the hospital where she was treated and died, especially the cardiology department, and at Ronald McDonald House. The hospital feels the most sacred. I cannot go there without quietly crying in a corner somewhere and then pulling myself together to get what needs doing done.

I'm tired of saying that I just miss my girl so much but how I do. How I miss that itty bitty bit of sweetness. 

On another note today Felix got a holder monitor done. It is a monitor that checks your heart rhythm for 24 hours. Eva only went into the bad VT rhythm when she was sleeping at first so when we took her to well baby checks there was nothing indicating a problem. Here he is looking completely happy and normal.

But hiding beneath his sleeper is this

Eva looked so perfect on the outside. But hiding away inside her chest was a heart that was breaking...and we couldn't tell. She looked so perfect on the outside.

Capture your grief. Day 6. Books

I'm a reader. It's in me. So when Eva died that's what I did. I read and read and read. I read blogs and I read books. Too many to count. I tried to make sense of her death through words. My own and others. I still haven't managed to do this. But now I know I never will. Her death will remain a senseless tragedy until the day I am finally home in heaven. At which point the questions will not matter anymore, I believe. Here are two of my favourite books. Gifted to me shortly after her death. Simple. Perfect in their own way. I like that they are illustrated and simple. Although I have also really enjoyed the deep ones. Holding onto Hope by Nancy Guthrie would be my favourite deep book. But I don't have it to photograph.

 Tear soup. I read Tear soup when I did a doula course while pregnant with Eva. It was suggested to keep one or two copies on hand to gift to couples who have a stillbirth. Never in my wildest dreams was I expecting to be gifted that same book less than a year later. 

Mommy please don't cry was gifted to me by my lovely neighbour on Eva's first birthday. Two months after she died. I don't love the title because how can anyone or anything tell me not to cry and I only read that book when I have the time to really, really weep. I like how the beautiful illustrations show children in heaven playing with other children and doing fun things like a birthday party and other normal things that I wish so much I could do with my precious Eva.

This is the last page and if I ever manage to read the book without crying this page always sends me there. I can't wait!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Capture your grief. Day 5. Journal (and Vincent's birthday)

I was given about five journals when Eva was in hospital. I kept random notes in one of them. It hurts still to read the hope and the procedures now whilst knowing the outcome. I also posted on care pages and had plans of getting it bound. But, for none and some reasons I haven't done it yet. I still write in a journal. It is sporadic but I don't beat myself up about it if I don't write for awhile. I'm even more raw in there than I am on my blog, so it's not pretty. But sometimes it is. Sometimes it is beautiful. This is the one I'm currently filling. Still leftover from the many given to me. It's with my bible, and, tonight, my youngest son.

And having nothing to do with grief but a lot to do with our lives. Oct 5 is also my second son's birthday. He is a joy and a workout. Love my Vincent!

October 15 is fast approaching. Infant loss day and also Eva's birthday. I snapped this pic of Vincent's presents the night before when I got them ready. The empty chair screams at me despite Vincent filling it the next morning. Ten days later we will be getting ready for Eva's birthday where we celebrate her but she never comes for her presents or eats a piece of cake. Simply missing. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Capture your grief. Day 4. Now

Now I am happy. Happy in an incomplete kind of way. Never completely happy. Always the lingering feeling of someone missing because, of course, there always is.

Loss has made me at once more fearful that another one of my children will die because I am acutely aware how quickly those precious little people can go from alive and laughing to limp and dead. I am also less fearful and hold my children gently, knowing they are not mine to keep forever. They are God's children. My only hope is to die before them.

Sometimes I wonder if my pain threshold has been maxed out. 

I rarely leave the house without my sunglasses. Still. Three years later.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Capture your grief. Day 3. Before


My life is sliced very cleanly into the me before Eva died and the me after Eva died.

I neverinamillionyears thought my child would die once she made it out of icu. 

I was so lucky I didn't know how lucky I was. When I look at pictures of me before there is no glint 
of sadness in my eyes and I looked young.

I loved my family and felt complete with them. I also was fearful for my kids in a different way than I am now. 

Here I am with my two oldest boys when they were just about the same age as my two rainbow boys are now. I no longer look this happy.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Capture your grief. Day 2. Heart

We first noticed Eva was sick when we were at family camp in June 2011. Within two days from camping with our healthy kids we were in Edmonton in icu. The worlds collided. I was lost. This summer we went back to family camp and the kids painted crafts at a picnic table. I painted Eva's name. The process of creation felt good. 

Eva. Always in my heart. Oh my little Eva girl. My little girl with a broken heart.

Capture your grief. Day 1. Sunrise

Capture your grief. Day 1. Sunrise. 

I am participating in Carly Marie's project heal for the month of October. Starting today one day late.

The sunrise from our bedroom. It's neat how the sky is almost white and the tree line so distinct. It makes me think about how far away heaven is. But also how beautiful the world can be. 

Also October is the month of the sunrise of Eva's life. Her birthday is coming up soon.