Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Scrapbooking My Grief Away & Meredith's Birthday

I have always loved this graphic of an angel pushing a baby into Heaven. If  Meredith had to go to Heaven early, this is how I imagine her arrival. Today is her 38th birthday - 38 years of missing her, loving her, mourning her and the memories we didn't get to make, knowing she is safe with Jesus.
About four years ago, I started making a scrapbook for her. I put it aside for other projects and worked on it every now and then. One scrapbook turned into two. I made pages with the get well cards I received when I was on bedrest and the sympathy cards we received when she died. Even though she lived three days, we received only one baby congratulations card. Can you imagine how utterly special that card is to me? I then scrapbooked poems about baby loss I found on the internet. If I found an appropriate baby card, I bought it for her scrapbook. I searched many scrapbook embellishment aisles for the ones I loved best. My niece, who is a somewhat professional scrapbooker, gifted me with lovely papers and embellishments from her stash, as did my daughters. If the twins were shopping and saw something they thought I would like, they would get it for me. Then I started collecting things I sent away for, like Carly Marie's Names In The Sand from Australia. Another lady offered names in the sand in Hawaii and a tiny sack of sand from there, too. Kind people sent me many keepsakes for Meredith. The flat ones, like cards and pictures, were used in her books. I have a lovely handkerchief from Debby and angel wings from Lea, to name just a couple of these gifts.  And I also made several of the tags for her that I love to make for other bereaved moms. This summer I decided I was going to finish her books once and for all and I completed them last night. The one scrapbook expanded into four scrapbooks, two memory boxes, and a sweet paperbag scrapbook, a gift from another baby loss mother. I cannot express my thanks enough to all the special women who have written her name on beaches, sent up balloons and lanterns with her name on them, made graphics with her name, released butterflies for her, embroidered her name, taken pictures of roses, crafted bracelets and pendants, created paper butterflies, placed pinwheels dedicated to her in gardens, made Christmas ornaments - the list could go on and on. The baby loss community is an extremely giving one.
In completing these books and affixing these gentle pieces of love received from others and the things that I collected, I felt layers of grief slipping off my soul. I left the hospital with a book of names I was given before her birth and a beaded bracelet that I know she never wore. This was after I begged the lady from the morgue to give me her paper and plastic hospital bracelet but she sent the beaded one instead. Making these books of memory for my daughter helped strip away some of my hurt. I know it is not all gone, but I do feel better. I hope this feeling lasts. I hope this winter when it is cold and gray that my heart remains healed. I pray that I don't melt into tears as much as I have in the past. I just want lasting relief and I don't know if it is possible. But I do know this - Meredith will always be loved and honored, and that doesn't mean I have to suffer emotionally to do that. Happy birthday in Heaven to our precious first little girl - we love you!

" untimely frost upon the sweetest flower in all the field."
                                                                  - Shakespeare

Monday, July 16, 2012

Is It Too Late For A Mother's Day Post?

Even though it has been over two months since Mother's Day, I had a post in mind, and as usual, I procrastinated and never wrote it. I hope that everyone had a gentle Mother's Day. If you have a child or children in Heaven, I hope that someone remembered and let you know that they remembered, too.
We took all our children and families to Outback, as that is one restaurant that everyone can agree upon. We also honor all the yearly birthday celebrants since hubby and I only take our family out (with us paying for it) this one time a year. I received some beautiful flowers in a special vintage vase - the vase has flowers on it that look like Capidemonte roses - and I also received some wonderful scrapbooking material, photo albums, and some books I had on my wish list. I  had a great time and think everyone else did as well.

Mother's Day Gift Exchange, 2011

I participated in a BLM Mother's Day gift exchange last year and the specifications were that we had to send our partner some kind of bouquet of flowers. The lady who had my name is a wonderful artist, Amy McCarter. Amy incorporated my favorite colors of pink and blue, adding sweet lacy embellishments. I just love this painting! She took this photo and gave me permission to use it on my blog. And here I am doing that, a year later.
My sincere thanks go out to all of you who have prayed for me and continue to do so. I am feeling a bit better. I have felt surrounded by your love and prayers ever since I published my last post. What an outstanding community I am a part of!
In closing, I would like to leave you with a poem I found months ago and saved for this occasion. It is very old fashioned, but I love old fashioned things.

            by Gladys McKee

Something of you I own and wear,
Curve of mouth, color of hair.
And other things that Time proves true
Are part of me, and were part of you.
Clean lines of wash by Monday noon,
A whistle for worry, a quarter moon.
Spoiling children, and such small things
As teapots, bracelets, and silver rings.
Old books and lilacs, faint cool rosewater -
In these you live on as long as a daughter
Has tongue to tell and heart to hold
This curious coin of mother gold.
Something of you I wear and own,
Frail as a dream, certain as stone.

Love to all of you - I so appreciate everyone of you. Many thanks to those of you who remember my little Meredith Helen, my first little girl, in any way. Those of you who walk this same road know how important those little remembrances are to one's heart.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Returning From Battle

I feel like I have lost seven months of my life. I looked at Meredith's ticker tonight and it has been over seven months since her birthday. That is when my downward slide began. In October, I became a bit more depressed than usual. As the cold weather started, I became more blue. Then right after Christmas a family member hurt me so badly. It was not about babyloss, it was another matter, but I cried for days and days. Sometimes still, tears come to my eyes when I think about it. This is a person that I love and I know it was not done intentionally, but I was hurt nonetheless. It hurts to see this person and remember her words. For months I have been paralyzed with depression. The doctor wants me to take more medication and I refuse. (That is usually the first thing he thinks of.) I've taken lots of medication before and I don't want to go back to having more. He wants me to see a counselor and I refuse. Some sadnesses of life are just meant to be and starting over, telling your story again to a stranger, does not sound good to me right now. I don't know why when Meredith died in 1974 that depression had to emerge so strongly and eventually overtake my life. I just want to be well. Would you please pray for me or send good thoughts my way?  I have missed my BLM friends so much. I couldn't even face IBMD yesterday. It hurts to be on Facebook or even look at blogs for very long. The things that I used to love seem foreign to me now. Please know that I have not forgotten you, my friends.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Haven't Forgotten You

Sweet baby girl, I posted about your birthday and I have been kind of in a fog ever since. Why your birthday hit me so hard, I don't know. I guess that is the way depression works - there is no rhyme or reason for the waterfalls of grief that can come pounding over the rocks of our hearts.
For your actual birthday, your twin sisters took us to Commerce, Texas. It is a small east Texas college town. Without the college, there would not be much of a town. It is where Dad and I met at the Baptist Student Union, where he told me that same night that he would be marrying me some day. The same town where we did live after we married, the town where we lived when you were conceived. It is a place I very much connect to you. It's strange, but the town doesn't look much different than it did when I first saw it in 1973. We drove around and looked at the places where we lived, the places where we dined, the stores we frequented, the college buildings where we attended classes. The five & dimes I loved so much were closed down. The movie theater was something else now. We released pink balloons for you and bought ice cream. I saved the receipt as a memento from your birthday. Your sisters and our granddaughter went into a couple of thrift stores to look around and then we left to go back to the metroplex to find an Outback Steakhouse. That is where we ate to help celebrate you. I have to admit that everyone we invited last year to your party was not invited this year. We don't love those people any less but they didn't understand our need to celebrate you. It was a good day, and after that I began to miss you so much - so very much. The days rolled into weeks and then months. Christmas came and I still felt bereft. Then after Christmas, someone hurt my feelings very badly. But I will survive and soon I will begin to feel better. Baby girl, I just wanted to say that I love you so much and miss you.