One Year of Seeing Things

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As I wrapped up my freelance work tonight, I thought about the date {because I was trying to gauge how much time I have to finish what work I have left before my January 2 deadline}. It had not occurred to me until 11:00 pm that today marks one year of writing here. One year ago, I published my last post on my old blog, started this new one with an About page that reads nothing like what I ever thought I’d be writing about myself, and published my first post here on this blog. The photo I used for that first post is the one I’m reusing tonight. {It doesn’t have a whole lot to do with what I’m writing about, but I am hoping it snows on Anysia’s birthday, Friday, so I guess in a small way, it does.}

One year I’ve been seeing things… and revealing them here. Things like how much my son has changed in over the course of 52 weeks… but so much more.

I wrote in my about page that my daughter will shape the remainder of this earthly life for me. When I wrote that a year ago, I couldn’t even begin to imagine the ways that would be true. And it is true… and the ways are countless. But what I would like to think, looking back on one year… or how I would like to now state it is that it is God who will shape {and has shaped} me through the experience of having her in my life… of being her mother, very much this day and every bit as much as when she was in my arms and breathing.

I do believe that I have let the whole experience shape me outside of ways that God would have wanted. I know this. But one really great attribute of God is that he’s okay with broken. In fact, it’s where He does his finest work. So I know He can fix anything I’ve done wrong. He’s perfectly capable to handle my failure, weakness and even my reluctance to be where He wants to take me. And so, I can look at the still-broken version of myself today, through my tears as I write, and know that there is nothing lost. Not one thing.

I have a thousand things to say tonight. I’ll have them {and more} to say again tomorrow… and especially Friday.

Funny how the very last post I wrote on my old blog this day last year was titled When Words Continue to Fail Me, because, again, I struggle to find them.

When I can’t write in beautiful form {or even try}, I just put whatever I can on the page.

Whether formed well or spilled out as they come, I have not added many words here for quite some time. I’ve been the busiest I’ve ever been in my life for about three months straight. But tonight, I’m carving that time out and letting some thoughts leap out through these eyes and onto this screen in hopes that they’ll leap back to me again some day and I’ll have the record of where I was at one year into this very special place I call See Things. {I hope it won’t end up sounding like ramblings.}

Here’s what I know. I thought I was doing exceptionally well. I think I am doing exceptionally well. I’ve been telling this to friends… those who’ve remembered what day is approaching and have been asking how I am doing with it.

This is what I wrote to a friend I’ll be seeing on Friday for what I hope will be some peace-filled, reflective friend-time with someone who was very much a part of those months that I carried Anysia and the months that followed…

“To be honest, I have no idea what the 19th will be like, or the days surrounding it. I almost feel like I’ve put a coating around the day and my memory… like in a self-preserving way. I just want it to be peaceful and quiet and joyful even. I’ve never celebrated a birthday for someone who’s not there, and to do it for the first time and have it be my own daughter… well, it’s just all a bit too surreal, and I’m pretty sure my mind is playing tricks on me right now about just what to think of it all.”

But I’ve also told her and others that I have felt a peace that I thought must be from God… an unexpected peace in light of how much I struggled through the other big milestones… three months, six months, nine months. What is weird is how similar it seems to the peace I felt right after Anysia was born and died six hours later. I marveled at that peace for a long time. I wondered how it could be. I thought of it as perhaps genuine peace sprinkled with exhaustion and maybe a little bit of denial or shock.

However, something interesting happened to change my thoughts on that. Recently, Mr. B had surgery to repair two hernia. The post-surgery pain medication they gave him was the same exact kind I’d been given for the weeks that followed delivering Anysia to deal with the pain of tearing during birth.

We discussed how well the medication was working for him… how it not only dealt with the pain, but how it just put him in a very tranquil-while-not-drowsy state… just a truly feel-good sort of alertness that equally aided in creating the most restful sleep.

When he’d described it that way, it hit me. His words described exactly the almost-euphoric state I was in arriving home from the hospital last year. Please don’t take that wrong… not as though I was at all happy about our loss. I simply mean that this was how deeply I felt a sense of peace. But now, I have to wonder just how much of that was merely a very effective {and I mean that in a good way, because I don’t do well with most medications} medication doing wonders for me. Not that it matters. The way I look at it, whatever God could do or use to get me through what I thought would be such heart-wrenching days… it’s all good with me. If only I could have kept on feeling that way months in when I was struggling the most. I think those were the places of growth, though, and probably where the truest healing took place.

Well, I’ve gotten away from my point. I expected this season to be hard, very much like I expected those first days to be hard. And they aren’t difficult to the degree I thought they would be. Strangely, I can almost say they are not difficult at all. And no… I did not share any of Mr. B’s meds.

So it’s coming from somewhere else.

Time, perhaps.

They say it’s the healer. It’s interesting how you finally give in to time in grief. In the beginning, you resist time when you lose something. You don’t want to let go. You don’t want to heal if healing means forgetting. It’s not that you want to stay in pain. It’s just that you don’t know how else to live… I think especially in the loss of a baby where a fatal diagnosis is given early on and you believe there is no other choice other than to carry her. Even more months are tacked on to loss, which means even more months of knowing that pain and forgetting what it’s like to not be in it. Time marches in. Time marches on. And you have no choice but to get pulled right along with it. Okay… maybe not right there next to it. Maybe dragging behind, kicking and screaming… or weeping. But you’re still its newest captive.

I gave into time incognito… without realizing it… or letting myself realize it. I threw myself into so much work, all of which I could have said no to. I told myself all the reasons I needed to do it, but in reality, I could have said no. Maybe even should have said no. When I think of how I let so much time pass here on this blog, I get sad. Three whole months this space was nearly neglected. I had hoped to keep writing and keep writing and keep writing until everything I ever wanted to say or document regarding Anysia was done. Now I fear I’ve forgotten so much. Friday, I’d love to write a post containing Anysia’s birth story… one year later. But I’m concerned that I’ve lost too many details which have been replaced with nothing more than vague recollection.

Anyway, I never gave time permission to take over. But time was going to whether I said yes or not.

So, is it time? I thought about how two recent nearly-miraculous things happened in my life. Well… maybe not miraculous. But two things I never thought I’d see happen. I wondered if those burdens being lifted was lightening my load so much that I haven’t felt the weight of “one year ago…” as much as I thought I would. Not sure. A big part of me thinks there is truth to this, because in all the days of this past year and the days that led up to it, I always held this belief… that in loss, it’s not the actual loss that is the hardest to go on living with. It’s the other difficult things in life that are the most challenging to go on living with… things that were already there and would have been whether our baby died or not. So I could easily see the weight of two heavy things in my life being lifted having an effect on how I’m getting through this one-year point.

But I just don’t know.

Here’s what I do know… again.

I thought I was doing well. I think I am doing well. I’m not weepy. I’m not having trouble coping. I’m not sad. {And that alone gives me peace, because I want Friday to be more about celebrating her life than it is remembering our loss.}

But something that happened tonight causes me to wonder… what might be bubbling beneath the surface? Tonight, I was playing {pillow fighting} with Izzy on our bed as we waited for Mr. B to get home from work. He’s grown a whole year’s worth since the last time I remember having pillow fights on a regular basis. When I was still pregnant with Anysia, the four of us used to hang out on our king size bed a lot. It was one of the few places I was comfortable, and I did a lot of crying, reading, praying and grieving there. But this was a place for us all to spend happy moments, too. Izzy slept with us most nights, because we wanted our two children to be close for as long as possible. During the day, we hung out there… reading, pillow fighting, talking. This occurred throughout the pregnancy, in fact… even before we found out our daughter had Trisomy 18 and would probably die.

Tonight, in an oddly similar way as those nights when I was pregnant, Izzy fell forward toward me with a pillow in his hands and his knee heading right for my stomach. Of course, I flinched… which immediately brought back to mind the days when I would have to reprimand Izzy for being too rambunctious near my abdomen during play time, and all those times I would flinch and cover my stomach so as to protect her from him and his flailing limbs.

That automatic instinct to cover my belly in a protective way happened just once tonight. But that’s all it took, because when it did, I was flooded with every detail of those days of carrying her, right up to the very last day… the 18th. And my “exceptionally well” crumbled in an instant… into a silent whimper buried beneath the pillow that was between Izzy and me… a pillow I was thankful for because it meant that he wouldn’t hear me crying as he rolled around in laughter up above. And I felt as though I could lay there for days and cry… cry for nothing more than her. The smallest little thing did all that. A simple knee to the belly, and I was exceptionally sad. Exceptionally longing for “one year ago” so that I could hold her once more and again feel what it was like to have her there in my womb. Exceptionally regretful that I went in for an induction as early as I did instead of holding on to her for one more day. Exceptionally missing her. Exceptionally confused that all of this happened. Happens.

It was a very short-lived cry, though. I bounced up and out of it as if nothing happened. Izzy was none the wiser.

Time scurried toward me and swept up my tears, then showed me the way. And then Mr. B came home and our night was business as usual.

I do wonder what’s bubbling under there. What will Friday be like, really? Or the day after. And the next one after that. Maybe nothing more than what these last couple of weeks have proven to be.

This feels like the biggest shift yet, so I have a feeling that will be the case.

So, this is where I’m at a year into blogging about this girl who changed me. Wow. A year. While the year of life after loss has flown by, a year of blogging here seems like more than that. Despite wishes that I could have spent that year writing much more, I’m so glad about what I have been able to fill this space up with.

One year ago, it was snowing and loss was looming… in my life, and certainly in my words here. Tonight, loss is a fading star.

Tonight, it’s life that looms and waits for us all.

A sweeter life—yes, truly—having had her in it.