Friday, May 31, 2013

June Grief Project - Taking a Break From Grief

For the month of June I have decided to focus on taking a break from grief.  I know, I know.  You laugh, because we all know grief never really leaves and definitely not on command.  But this month I want to focus on finding joy again and being intentional about learning how to let sadness and happiness live together inside of grief.  So this month I am working towards following my second and third grief commandments:

#2. Sadness and Happiness can both live within grief.
  #3. Just because I'm grieving, doesn't mean I need to hide my Joy and Laughter.

Since my husband and I planned for a trip to France in the early days after Nora's death, one of the ways to focus on integrating joy back into our lives again is by traveling through grief as we travel to Paris.  We will see if grief follows me (I have a feeling it will).  I will also explore and use different recommend techniques to counter grief and focus on finding joy, like giving and getting hugs.  Then I will explore the helpful grievers, our pets and why spending time with Fido can help you feel better during your time of sorrow. I will also focus on laughing again and how to integrate and accept joy and pain as a part of grief.

Be ready to not only read about joy this month, but also about the dark places of pain.  My life now consists of living with both, side by side, and sometimes holding them in the same moment.  I was meeting with my supervisor at work the other day, (as a social worker you kind of have to go to a 'work therapist.' Someone you talk about your own stuff that comes up as you are providing therapy to others with.)  I told her about a client who I was trying to explain to about as humans we can hold space for multiple emotions at the same time, like anger and love, or sadness and joy.  My supervisor said something genius.  She said, "That's the awesome part of being human." I totally agree.

Pain and joy are both a part of grief and grief is love, and because of this, my grief will never end.  I will never as they say, "find closure." Closure doesn't exist as Nancy Berns, Sociologist on grief and closure, lectures about in her TED Talk I have shared with you below.  And that is okay, because I would never want to find closure for the love of my daughter.

If you have 20 minutes check out Nancy Berns Ted Talk. She eloquently describes what "That awesome part of being human is." Holding two emotions at once in the space between joy and grief.   

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Life of Grieving Grandparents

Today we will hear what it is like to be a grieving grandparent from my mom, Grandma Gerry.  Thank you, mom, for being brave enough to share some of your deeply personal emotions.  I know that is hard to do. Even though it might be hard, from your writing I have learned so much more about your experience of Nora and of grief.  And though I am far away in distance, I feel and know I am close in your heart with the words you share with me and others. 

Thanks Mom! Love You!

It has been almost five months since our granddaughter, Nora, was born dead.  I think about her all the time.  I also think about what Lindsey and Nick must be going through all the time.  I know that I have experienced some difficult times with grief so I can’t even fathom the grief that the two of them must endure.

The hours in the hospital waiting for Lindsey to deliver Nora were some of the hardest moments of our parenting lives.  I know Bob, who likes to confront things head on, had a hard time adjusting to the fact that there was nothing he could do to help or control this situation. I just wanted to be with Lindsey, but I also realized that Nick and Lindsey needed their space.  Lindsey had made it known to Bob when she called with the news that she wasn’t ready to talk to me as it would make her lose focus and she needed to focus on birthing Nora.  Part of me feels that she was afraid that I would be disappointed in her—which I wasn’t.  Disappointed in the universe-yes; my daughter-no.  A mother’s love never fails. I can see that with Lindsey and Nora.

How does one go about parenting a child who has lost a child?  I have tried hard to navigate the many signals that Lindsey has given me, along with using some of my mothering intuition.  The days after Nora’s delivery Bob and I stayed in the area with Lindsey’s sister Kristi, and her husband Zach.  We didn’t want to intrude in Lindsey’s and Nick’s grief—it is such a personal experience—so when Bob and I visited Lindsey and Nick, we did so on the premise of ‘helping out’.  And we did help out by doing some light cleaning and cooking.  But Lindsey and Nick finally told us that they just wanted us to be ‘there’ to sit with them.  They just needed us to ‘be’.  And so we did.

Those first few days we listened to their needs and responded as best we could.  Lindsey asked us to help with the funeral by getting food and flowers.  This was a good task for Bob, as he could finally have some semblance of control over a very difficult time in our lives, or maybe he just wanted to do something for the granddaughter he would never get the chance to know.  For me, dealing with the food and funeral flowers was like putting a period at the end of a sentence.  Finishing a part of our lives that hadn’t even got started.  After a week in Minneapolis with Kristi and Zach, and traveling to see Lindsey and Nick, Bob and I headed home after Nora’s evening funeral.  I don’t think I stopped crying for the whole four and a half hour drive.

Now our parenting comes at a distance.  We keep in touch almost daily.  I was very concerned at first about Lindsey’s seemingly lack of grieving.  Lindsey seemed to be so strong, and I rarely had seen her cry.  Unbeknown to me, she had many silent tears in the evening after people had left—just like she used to do as a child.  When she was little I would put her to bed after family had spent the day and she would cry and say how she missed everyone.  I should have known that she would grieve now as she did then.  I was relieved when she started this blog because I could follow her grieving and could see her progress. 

I spent a week at the end of January with Lindsey and Nick.  We cooked together, something that Nick really does enjoy doing and learning about, and something that I am pretty good at.  Lindsey and I spent time shopping, and I started collecting items for my scrapbook for Nora.  Scrapbooking is one of my therapies, and I needed a physical reminder of Nora.  I have pictures of the baby shower, Nora growing in her Mom’s tummy, and combined some of the posts from the blog into the scrapbook, along with some of the ‘white signs of grief’.  This will be one of my memorials for Nora.

Another therapy of mine is gardening.  I have loved gardening since about the sixth grade, and have many flower and vegetable gardens.  My scrapbooking sisters had decided that they, along with my real sisters, would put in a garden for Nora.  I decided on a whimsical, nursery rhyme theme, and it is slowly taking shape.  I attached it to a current small bed I have, and got rid of the grass adjacent to the bed with roundup in a free form.  A couple of days after getting rid of the grass I realized that I had free-formed a heart shape.  I guess my subconscious was at work here!  It will take shape over the next couple of weeks and I will happily share the outcome of the sister’s work in ‘Nora’s Garden’.

Bob is not much for openly grieving, and it is sometimes hard to determine what he is feeling.  His sadness would show in his eyes, though.  He was really looking forward to being Nora’s Grandpa.  When I asked him what the hardest part of our losing Nora was, he replied ‘seeing my wife, Lindsey and Nick, and Kristi and Zach in pain’.  Because he knows that that pain—grief—is something uniquely personal, and something he cannot control.

There will probably never be a day that I don’t grieve for Nora.  I am hoping that by making my memorials and working through the grief with Bob, Lindsey and Nick, and Kristi and Zach, that it will become less and less painful.  

When someone you love dies, you never quite get over it. You just slowly learn how to go on without them. But always keeping them tucked safely in your heart.”

~Ritu Ghatourey

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Five Ways We Grieve

We all grieve differently.  I have learned this from watching how my family grieves and by being privileged to share in some of my clients private moments of grief.  Grief is incredibly powerful, personal, and private.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve or to heal. (Unless your grief is destructive to you or others, which we will address.)

We all choose different paths to move through our grief.  Susan A. Berger outlines these different types of grieving in her book The Five Ways We Grieve. Through her research, Susan has found that grief is unique to a person, but that most bereaved respond in similar patterns as they work towards forming their new identity after the loss. Let me share with you Susan Berger's identity types of grief below and also show you how a family (mine) approaches grief differently, and that is okay.

The Nomad
Nomads have not yet resolved their grief.  Susan Berger says in her book that "these people have not had the support necessary to acknowledge their grief and go through all the complex yet necessary steps of the grieving process."  In some instances the Nomad could be viewed as the "unhealthy griever," making inappropriate choices or turning to harmful coping mechanisms such as substance abuse or other unhealthy behaviors.  Often times these individuals suffer from complicated grief, such as an untimely or sudden death of a loved one or ambiguous loss, when a loved one is never found or a goodbye was never able to be given. The trauma that is associated with the a loss like this can lead to grieving that is not integrated into the bereaved's new identity, hence the nomad.

I don't believe that anyone in my family fits this description of grieving.  So far it seems that my family members are actively participating in their grief process and being intentional about their grief in an effort to integrate Nora's loss into their lives. I personally could see how going down the road of the nomad would be appealing when grief is so cumbersome.       

The Memorialist
The memorialist is the griever that needs to maintain a connection to their deceased loved one through tangible tributes such as creating a scrapbook, building a statue, or tending to a garden. Emperor Shah Jahan would be a prime example of a Mermorialist.  He created the Taj Mahal in loving memory of his third wife, after she died while giving birth to their 14th child in the 1600's.  Susan Berger found this identity type to be the most commonly adopted identity for the bereaved.

Well that makes sense to me since the majority of my family members fall into the role of the memorialist from time to time.  We all find ways to create a connection with Nora through tangible tributes.  Nick and I have created a garden, Grandma Barb has memorabilia all around her house, my dad got a tattoo in honor of Nora, and my sister created a memory box.  But the biggest memorialist of all would probably be my mother, Grandma Gerry.  She scrapbooks and gardens in order to keep Nora's memory alive and integrate Nora's loss into her life.  She has big plans for a fairy-tale garden we will hear more about this coming summer.

The Normalizer
The name says it all.  The normalizer appreciates that life is finite, Susan states.  Their loss guides them in life to create what they are missing.  The normalizers often put an emphasis on the present and appreciate even more now, the importance of family and friends.  Normalizers do not shy away from talking about or addressing the loss, they put more emphasis on appreciation for life now that they know it is so fleeting.

Nick, my husband, is a normalizer.  This is not surprising.  After all he is pretty normal. He! He!  But seriously, Nick continues to tell me what he has learned about the experience of losing Nora is how much he appreciates the relationships we do have with family and friends. He has vowed to make more time for cultivating these relationships as we move forward in life, as he believes connections are what make life worth living.  He also says now more then ever, he realizes he wants to be a dad and he wants to try for another child.  Not to replace Nora, but to create what we are missing.  The joy of being a parent.

The Activist
The activist wants to make a difference now that they have increased their awareness of the limited time we have here on earth.  Susan Berger writes in her book that the activist is "...hungry for intense and varied life experiences, they are orientated primarily toward the future, striving to create meaning through the positive impact they can have on people and the world."

Yup. You guessed it.  That's me.  I have always been an activist in life in some way, shape, or form.  I think it became apparent to my mom when I would go for walks down the country road by our house at age 8 and pick up garbage in an effort to "save the planet." (That was big in the 80's.)  So, it's only natural that in my grief I would fall into that familiar role.  Using my experience to help others, either through writing, reaching out, providing support, or raising awareness and resources for people like me.  And I am doing all of that.  This is where I differ in my grief than my other family members and that is okay.  Luckily they have been supportive of my activist role when it comes to my grieving.

The Seekers
Seekers are often those who dive into philosophical inquiry about the meaning of life.  Susan Berger writes that seekers "...value connection with one another, the natural world, and the divine."  Seekers tend to find solace in spirituality as a way to integrate their grief.  

Believe it or not, yeah.  That's me too.  Now, I must proclaim, I still have no idea what I believe or if I believe.  But, if we use the definition of seekers as those who "experience their loss as a catalyst for philosophical inquiry into the meaning of life" as Susan states, then I fit that definition.  I don't believe I have relied on faith in my grief work, but I do question the 'meaning of life.'  I always have on some philosophical level, and even more so now after Nora's death.  So, in some ways, I'm a seeker.  I like that term.

So there they are.  The Five Ways We Grieve. Maybe you only have characteristics of a one or maybe you fit into many identity types as my sister believes she does. It doesn't really matter.  What does matter is that it's important to know how you grieve, as well as how others grieve in order to honor each other's grief process.                    

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

An Aunt's Mask

At first it was a mask.  

In many ways it still is.

My daily grief as a baby-loss Aunt started out as a barrier I put up between me and the rest of the world.  As a full-time, newbie teacher, my daily grief took the form of a mask that I put on for what I thought was the benefit of the rest of the world. Literally a week or two before Nora died I was given a new job as a teacher at the school where I worked.  I was excited to take on the challenge of being a new teacher and a new aunt all within the span of a few days.  Was I going to be overwhelmed?  Yes.  But I looked forward to the challenge.  If anything, I was worried the birth of my niece would distract me from my new teacher duties.

In the end I was right, just not in the way I had anticipated.

Right after Nora's death, I had to find a way to blend my daily life of being a teacher to energetic and hormonal 7th and 8th graders (more consumed with their dramatic issues than anyone else's) and navigate this all-consuming and unfamiliar territory of grief.  I chose to hide it from them and from the majority of my colleagues.

To my students, I wore the mask of an energetic, goofy and nerdy teacher.  Too excited and eager to teach them everyday.  I told dumb jokes, that I knew would get me the all too common teenage eye roll.  Sometimes my jokes were actually funny and they would laugh (mostly at me, but sometimes with me).  I put all my time and energy at school into planning lessons and praying that they would go well.

To some of my colleagues (not all of them knew what happened with Nora), I wore the mask of a new teacher, handed an interesting situation with my new position.  Those who knew about Nora offered their condolences but mostly asked about how my sister and her husband were doing.  And that only lasted about 2 weeks. I still get some of my colleagues asking about my sister and her husband, but rarely...if ever...does anyone ask how I am doing.

For weeks I came home exhausted from wearing my mask.  At work I would often think of Nora randomly during my teaching, and wonder to myself about this mask I was hiding behind.  Was it healthy to act like this?  To completely try to ignore my feelings at work?  To not let my personal and my professional life overlap?  That is unfortunately what our society expects, so I was following proper protocol according to society.  But was I doing what was right for myself?  This was a tricky territory to navigate.  

After awhile, I noticed that my mask wasn't a mask anymore.  I had used it as a tool for ignoring my grief so completely that I almost stopped grieving after awhile.  Or, more like I stopped acknowledging my grief consciously.

Grief was taking over my life.  I didn't plan for my lessons when I came home (I could only do that at school when I was removed from my personal situation).  I didn't get into any of my hobbies like painting, reading, or sewing.  I just sat and lost myself in TV and benign internet searching--oh and lots of wine.  The only way I can describe how I felt is to say that life didn't feel as "shiny" as it did awaiting Nora.  Overall there had been a shift in my perception of life after she died.  Grief made moments in life seem duller.  I believe this was due to the fact that I was so over the moon excited for Nora, that life seemed amazing, wonderful, new, and magical awaiting her arrival.  All pregnancies probably seem this way to families.  Losing Nora meant I had further to fall.  Things that once excited me didn't anymore, but this was (and still is) temporary.  Just part of the grief journey.  

At some point I finally realized I needed to figure out how to let my grief be a part of my life and not put a mask up instead (I needed the glitter back).  Slowly, my grieving became remembering.  Instead of masking my sad emotions about losing Nora, I chose to turn them into happy and SHINY memories of my niece.  I still don't share too much with my students, but some of them know about Nora now, as do my colleagues.  Not having Nora here will always be sad, but I can choose to be sad, angry, and forlorn about it, or I can choose to be happy and grateful for the few months she was in our lives, even if those were only when she was in my sister's womb.

Life is slowly getting shinier and my mask has come off.  I have started painting and sewing again.  This past weekend I went dancing with a friend and had a moment where I truly felt the shiny-ness of life return.  I was happy to be alive and to have had Nora in my life.  In fact, it made me realize that she is a very shiny part of my life, despite the circumstances.

I know there will still be dull days and times when I need my mask, but throughout it all Nora will be a bright, shiny star that will help me remember the glitter that life holds.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Letters to Nora - A Letter from Grandma Gerry


My Darling Granddaughter Nora,

I am your grandmother.  I anticipated your entry into the world with such excitement.  I was so proud that I was your grandmother.  I told anyone that would listen to me that I was going to be your grandmother.  I made plans—baking and cooking together, reading books to you, sharing pictures and events of your mother when she was a little girl, taking you to the zoo, gardening.  I could hardly wait to show you the joys of finding an earthworm, or eating fresh peas, or picking snapdragons, or tasting a chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven.

I already knew you would be a girl.  Even though your mother didn’t want me to overdo on pink, I couldn’t help myself.  I found you such cute outfits.  Even Dr. Suess had a pink outfit that seemed to be meant for you.  I could hardly wait to hold you in my arms.  I have loved you from the first moment I first heard about you.

My dreams of being with you, of being your grandmother, were shattered when we got the news that you did not have a heartbeat.  In those moments Nora, my heart broke into so many pieces.  Not only for you, but for your mom and dad, your aunts and uncles, cousins, and for your grandparents who would never get a chance to know you.  I couldn’t imagine NOT doing all the wonderful things of grandmotherhood with you.

It was such love and despair that I felt when I finally got to hold you.  I loved you from the first twinkle in your parents’ eyes, but I fell in love with you the moment you were in my arms.  You were a beautiful baby—the prettiest I have ever seen (just don’t let your Mom or Aunt Kristi know that).  If I think hard enough, I can still imagine you in my arms.  You had such cute chubby cheeks and button nose, and full lips.  You would have been a heartbreaker! 

I have been reading your mother’s blog.  She writes about you all the time.  She loves you so much.  She also has links to other blogs from hers.  It makes me so sad to read about the pain these parents are going through.  But dear Nora, people don’t realize the depth of pain that I as your grandmother, or Bob as your grandfather, have gone through.  We as extended family members seem to be the forgotten ones.  I may not have given birth to you, my little Nora, but I did give birth to your mother.  I have felt every nuance of sadness that each of my family members has endured; have felt it in every fiber of my being.  (I really never knew what that meant until now.)  So when well-meaning people say that we as grandparents don’t really understand what they are going through, they are sadly mistaken.

Not a moment in a day goes by, Nora, that I don’t think of you.  You have left your imprint on my heart, and it will be there forever.

Grandma Gerry

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday at Grandma's - The Forgotten Grievers (Special Edition) by Lindsey

Nora was my child.  I created her.  I formed her.  I carried her.  I protected her for those 9 months.  I am her mother.  So at times it's easy to fall into the trap of  "this happened to me, not you" when it comes to relating my grief to other family members.  Sometimes I could think, "I am the only one who is truly affected by this loss!  I am the one who is suffering."  Well....that is not the case.

I knew I would have to share Nora as soon as she came into this world. Once she was born she would no longer be just my baby and my baby only.  And that is okay, because that is the point of bringing a child into this world.  To create a person who will experience the immense joy and love of others.  That is what we hope for our children and that is why we have baby showers and family members waiting at the hospital to meet this stranger who will be welcomed with open arms into the family circle and showered with unconditional love.  Babies are born to be shared with the world and those who are waiting to love them.

I was reminded of this during our visit to my in-laws last weekend as I walked into their home.  I haven't been there since Nora passed and as I entered the cozy North Dakota living room of my in-laws my eyes immediately were drawn to the mantel of the fireplace.  There, front and center of the house was a picture of Nora's hands.  Then off to the left were her hand and foot prints displayed nicely in a 8 x 10 frame.  My mother in-law even had a pink rose from her funeral displayed next to another picture of Nora's beautiful photo.  I was moved to see such a display of continued love for my deceased daughter.  Nick and I were obviously not the only ones grieving a loss here.   Her picture was even centrally displayed at my sister-in-laws house, which I was surprised by. 

I realize that I would not have owned Nora in life so I don't own her in grief either.  She is loved and missed by everyone who anxiously awaited their turn to have moments with Nora.  To play their role that Nora would have created for them.  If it was Grandpa again, or first time Grandma, or Awesome Aunt in waiting, or the older cousin who was excited to lay claim to that name.

So, I must share her in death as I would in life.  I'm glad we did for the brief moments we had with her.  After Nora was delivered still, Nick and I met and held her sleeping soul for a brief while before we invited our family into the delivery room.  I, holding Nora's lifeless body in my arms with Nick by our side, introduced our family to Nora as each family member filed in and encircled the hospital bed where I lay with their bodies, but also with their love and their broken hearts.  It was beautiful.  I wish I could describe this moment to you in greater detail.  Even though it was horribly sad at the same time, it was also amazingly beautiful.

There standing around Nora, Nick, and I, was my dad, first time grandpa. My mother, first time and forever heartbroken grandma. My sister and brother-in-law, grieving aunt an uncle not to be.  My husband's favorite Aunt and her grown daughter with tears in their eyes.  My father-in-law, lost for words, with his silent and strong heart shattered, and my mother-in-law with quiet tears streaming down her face.  It was beautiful.  It was heartbreaking.  It was family.

This week we will be hearing from these grieving family members.  We will hear what it is like to be a grieving grandma, a bereaved aunt, and some short but profound words from grieving grandpa's too.  These are the Forgotten Grievers.  Let us pay homage to their grief and love.         

Friday, May 24, 2013

5 Ways to Heal Together as a Couple After Child Loss.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring – all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
~Gary Chapman in The 5 Love Languages

Traveling through grief after child loss is difficult on your own.  Sometimes it can be helpful to have someone on the journey with you, like your significant other.  However, at times adding someone else's emotions and grief to yours can make grieving even more challenging and strain your relationship.

Remembering to nurture your relationship has always been an important factor in creating a love that lasts.  This is even more important now during your time of grieving.  Borrowing techniques from relationship guru, Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, ideas from Gretchen Rubin's, The Happiness Project, and advice from other books about grief after child loss I have developed my own list of 5 things to do to heal together as a couple after the loss of your child.  I have used these techniques since Nora has died in my relationship with Nick and focused heavily on these ideas during the month of May with the focus on healing through your relationships.

5 Ways to Heal Together as a Couple After Child Loss

  1. Say "I Love You." Gary Chapman in the Five Love Languages refers to this love language as "Words of Affirmation" and writes that, "Many couples have never learned the tremendous power of verbally affirming each other." Often times we need to load up on kind, affirming words and statements when we are experiencing intense pain, grief, and insecurity around the fragility of life.  Affirming your partner daily and reassuring them that you still love them deeply, despite the loss of your child, can strengthen your relationship by validating that even in times of great struggle you have each other's love to lean on for strength.

  2. Hold Hands and Cuddle.  To Nick and I this one came natural after the loss of Nora.  As I have mentioned before, we were physically drawn to each other.  Which I believe occurred because we were missing that important piece of touch that comes from holding a newborn. So we held each other close instead.  We need touch as human species. It's essential for human life and growth.  Studies have shown that touch increases the chemical oxytocin in our brain, which when released in the body makes us feel safe and connected.  Wouldn't you want more of this chemical rushing through your neural pathways during your greatest time of grief and sorrow?  I know I do, and I believe it has helped me personally with my pain and connected Nick and I in healing our grief.
  3. Go on a Date.  I know you might not find any joy in going out and having fun on a date right after the death of your child, but when you are ready grief and child loss experts recommend it.  In Father's Grieve, Too it is recommended that you keep dating.  You can reminisce about why you fell in love, how you met, and share what you like about each other. Gary Chapman refers to this love language as "Quality Time," which can help you and your partner re-connect and remember that you are more then just a grieving parent.  Also, when you do spend "Quality Time" together, remember to shut off the T.V., put down the cell phone, and just be with each other and revisit why you fell in love.  It might bring a little light back into your life and marriage during this time of darkness.  
  4. Give "Proofs of Love" In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin says, "Whatever love I might feel in my heart, others will see only in my actions."  So go out and "do" things to show your significant other how much you appreciate themThe act of "doing" for others was labeled as a love language by Gary Chapman as "Acts of Service."  In your time of grief help each other out around the house, leave a note telling your husband how much you appreciate him being supportive of your grief, or send your wife a text telling her how you appreciate all the work she put into mothering and taking care of your deceased child.  These little "proofs of love" will brighten your day and hopefully lift some of your sorrows, while reminding us how much we appreciate our significant other. 
  5. Make Space...But Keep Lines of Communication Open. Not everyone grieves the same way.  This often times is especially true for couples trying to manage the different ways in which the opposite gender communicates and deals with emotions. Sherokee Ilse writes about the need for space and open communication in Couple Communication After A Baby Dies, where she says, "Our different wavelengths got in the way sometimes."  In order to remedy this common problem, she advises to, "Understand your coping style, and communicate it to your partner."  So, remember that you both need space to grieve differently, but don't isolate yourself from your partner.  Remember to keep the lines of communication open so you can come back to each other when you are done being alone with your grief. 


For more information about the secret to love that lasts check out
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

For more information about communication with in your relationship after a baby dies check out
Couple Communication After a Baby Dies, by Sherokee Ilse and Tim Nelson


Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Fairy-Tale Magic of Love and Loss

In life, I have learned, that it is the people you laugh with, cry with, and love that are what makes life amazing.  The friends that make me smile and the family members that I lean on in a time of need are what make life enjoyable and bearable.  But, there is always one person, one person who can make everything else in the world fade away. They make the sunshine, the stars sparkle, and the earth move.  When you are with them you feel like you are flying, you’re so far off the ground you lose touch with reality and that is where you want to stay.  You can look into their eyes and see your whole world. 

 Eye Art by Svenja J√∂dicke

This person for me is Nick, my husband.  I knew the minute I met him something magical was to begin.  I walked up to him on our first date, not having met in person yet, and he turned to meet my eyes and his face glowed and his smile grew.  In that moment he gave it away.   I knew he was hooked!  But, it took me a minute or two to realize that I was the one who was falling head over heels in love.

Since that day, five years ago, Nick has brought magic into my life.  No, he is not a real magician; he doesn’t even know how to shuffle a deck of cards.  But, his magic is a deeper kind.   His enchantment is filled with love.  

That is why I die a little inside every day, knowing that I was not able to bring the magical creature made from our love into this world.  I miss her, yes, but I miss all the magic of love she created.  I wanted to revel in her magical essence in my arms, not only in my heart. I wanted Nick and me to be able to do this for the rest of our lives together. We eagerly anticipated doing so, hoping to watch her grow out of the love that Nick and I share for each other. Our love, it’s a fairy-tale love that deserves a happy ending.  

 "Pure Love" Artwork by Mila at Fairy Drop Studio's on Etsy

We didn’t get it.   That didn’t happen.

At times, I feel as if I am the cursed one in this fairy-tale and by loving me, maybe my husband is cursed too.  My womb is the killer in this story.  He is the victim, along with my beautiful daughter.  My body is the evil witch. 
I guess what I am saying is that I so hoped that I could be the fairy-tale princess that lives a charmed life with her handsome prince and her child in her arms when (THE END) flashes on the screen. (It’s curious when I think about it, why do they always end the story there?) Oh, because sh** gets messy!  Even charmed lives have moments of being unlucky.   

But, who is to say that the story is really over.  Our marriage isn’t.  Our love is still magical and even more beautiful than before.  Maybe we are in the middle of our story.  Maybe Nick and I will slay the evil dragon, or kill that bitch of a witch, with the power of our true love. Because I still see the whole world in Nick’s eyes.  The possibility.  The love.  I know that Nick really doesn’t have magical powers that make the sun shine, the stars sparkle, and the earth move.  But his love sure does feel like magic. 

I hope ourfairy-tale ends more like the nursery rhyme, The Old Woman Who Lives in the Shoe.  With a revised ending of course, Nick would be there too.  We will have so many children we don’t know what to do, and our shoe is going to be the a primo expensive shoe, Manolo Blahnik’s $14,000 stiletto boot, baby!   

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