Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Make room at the table

Today a coworker told me something she's noticed in me that I honestly needed to hear from someone on the outside. She said that I appear okay, better maybe. Not like I'm 100% fine like nothing happened, but just better than the past year. She emphasized that she understands I'll never be free of my grief completely. And I think she was completely sincere in saying what she's noticed.
It was nice to be able to talk with someone about my grief outside of support group. And I realized I don't generally do that now, talk about how I'm really doing outside of that setting where everyone present is going through mostly the same thing. On the outside, it's easy to tell that people want to stay away from that topic. Maybe they feel as though they're tip-toeing around the subject, sometimes dangerously close to the edge of where okay conversation ends and sad topics begin. Sometimes I push them into it, force them to listen. But usually I let them slip by, which kind of hurts more than if we'd just had the talk instead of ignoring it. 
Today's talk was so refreshing!
As we chatted, I mentioned that in group we acknowledge that our pain never fades or leaves, we just learn how to deal with it and continue functioning. My coworker then said that I've made room at the table for my grief. I'd never heard this saying before, but it's so true. You have happiness, joy, love, grief and sadness and any others that all need a place at your table. They all need recognition and to have their own moments to talk, like friends gathered round a table in conversation. This means I acknowledge my grief as ever present, and understand that I need to allow myself moments to grieve, but that I also don't have to focus on just grief all the time.
I've come a long way in my grief journey, but I still have so far to go. A lifetime of learning.
I got a lotta love to give.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Capture a moment

As we continue with our hikes each summer, we bring our fancy camera along with us to attempt to capture photos of the amazing sights we see. During our last hike, Ry and I were sitting together eating our lunch over a lake with a spectacular view of the mountain and snow cap before us. I said to him, 'you just can't capture this in a photo.'
Thinking back, this makes me think about the missed photo opportunities we had with Korbin. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is an organization that photographers can join to do sessions with families who have lost their babies. We opted out, not really understanding what it would mean to us to have these beautiful photos, and I have regretted that decision ever since. But really, those photos would hold nothing to the memory I keep safe in my heart of my precious baby Korbin. Nothing could capture him forever for us. And this is why I am ambivalent at times about scrap booking or caring about pictures. Photos are important to me, but they are nothing compared to the pictures in my mind and the feelings in my heart.
I got a lotta love to give.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How To Grieve

It's funny how people around you either let you be, because they know every person grieves differently, or tell you what you need to do to grieve and get through your loss, because they are such an expert on how you are doing right now and know exactly how you're feeling. When I got my most recent tattoo, I received criticism from the likes of the second group, unfortunately.
March first I got a tattoo of an amethyst on the inside of my left arm. For one, it's my birth stone. But to me it's become more than that. The amethyst is a stone of healing to the mind, body and soul. And those three things have all been pretty much broken since we lost Korbin. So instead of wearing amethysts, why not tattoo one to carry with me forever? As long as I live, I will feel the pain in my heart from losing Korbin.
I got my amethyst on the inside of my left arm because of the idea that the left side is more closely connected to the heart, so maybe the blood flowing back to my heart will be 'healed' and then heal my broken heart. I know, I know. Sounds a little crazy, and like a bit of a stretch. But it's something I needed in my healing process, and I absolutely love my tattoo!

Showing and telling all if this to an old friend prompted a response I wasn't expecting, and really didn't need at that point in my grieving process. He told me that he knows exactly how I'm feeling and that what I need to do to feel better and move on is to pray. Then everything will be fine and I won't hurt any more. Sure, maybe I do just need to pray more. But if he knows exactly how I feel he should have known that at that particular point in time I was EXTREMELY angry with God. Don't tell me what I need to do to grieve and heal. My journey is mine, Ryan's is his, and we have our journey through this loss together. No one knows exactly how we feel because they did not live what we did. Every loss is different and impacts people differently. And you know what, I prayed for a healthy, perfect baby boy and Korbin was that but then he died for no reason. Pretty rotten if you ask me, and look where praying got me.
Anyway, rant over. My relationship with God is mine alone and it continues to strengthen and weaken like with any other human being. No one can dictate what it should be.
Today the Molly Bears Facebook page posted a poem that described what I hope every person knows about how to deal with a grieving loved one:

(Sorry for the picture quality....)

And this is where I need to keep my patience. People aren't trying to hurt us, they feel in their hearts they are helping. I know this. But sometimes it just hurts too much to understand this in the moment.

I got a lotta love to give.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Baby Steps

I hated hearing that term from people right after we lost Korbin. I guess more so I hated hearing the word baby since my baby was gone so suddenly. But, despite my pain and anger, life keeps going, especially for everyone else around us. Their world doesn't stop like ours did.
Maybe it's because of everyone else that we eventually just keep going too. They pull us out of the depression, slowly but surely, baby steps.
Some of it is pushing ourselves too. And recently, I have been taking my own baby steps when it comes to other's babies. First, I bought baby boy clothes for a friend who had her boy in June. That was rough. And then I went back recently to buy some baby girl clothes, and that was rough because I found the most adorable race car outfit and it made me think that I needed to buy it for Korbin but then I remembered I can't because he's gone. That was really rough. (I'm sure at this point the people at Target wonder why I'm about to cry whenever I go through the check out with baby items.) And finally, I held a baby. I have steered clear of newborns since losing Korbin, but told myself I needed to at least show up to this baby shower (in Vietnamese culture the shower is when the baby's one month old) and give the gift, maybe have a shot and then get home. Well, the baby was offered to me as soon as I got there. Not simply a 'look at her and how beautiful she is' but right away 'wanna hold her?!?' Who says no to that? A bitch. And I hate being such a bitch in the open. So I said yes. And then I went speechless and almost full on sobbing cried in front of everyone. I think this mom sensed my emotional distress and ended my emotional torment after just a few minutes. Thank God!
Now here's what's weird about losing a baby: I feel so guilty that I held this baby. Ashamed even. Like I cheated on Korbin and my possible future children. Seriously, how crazy is that? But it's really an awful feeling. Even though I literally went numb in the moment and can't even tell you what it physically felt like to hold this baby, emotionally it was still too much. 
What really gets to me now is how my joy for babies and women being pregnant was stolen from me. I used to love even just the idea of people having children, holding babies, seeing pregnant bellies. Now that's exactly what I don't want to see because I am still so jealous. It sucks. It totally sucks. But I guess I need to just keep trying.
Baby steps.
I got a lotta love to give.

Monday, July 15, 2013

We didn't need to hear that.

No, really, we didn't need to hear that.
An old close friend of Ryan's has been calling him and leaving messages a lot lately. Ry's kind of in the I-don't-have-energy-to-deal-with-this-right-now mode so he didn't call back until tonight. I thought I sensed a bit of a sort of chipperness in him saying how he needed to call this friend back. No one really reaches out to him consistently except one close friend of ours (compared to how busy I am keeping up with all the amazing people I am constantly surrounded with). I think he needed to know someone was really wanting to connect with him, to just hang out again.
Wrong. And here's where I'm still a bitch. And I seriously totally knew why he was calling. I said to myself when Ry called his friend, 'they're having another kid.' Yup, This friend called to announce three things: expecting again (stabbing pain in the heart), another boy (twist the knife so it really hurts), and they're due on Ry's and my anniversary (just rip it out already). I mean, isn't that just the best news? For them? (Maybe a bit of sarcasm....)
First I want to say that there does still exist a tiny part of me that smiles (only on the inside these days) when I find out someone we know is pregnant. I know first hand what a gift having your child with could be. But I only know because my beautiful gift was ripped from my life. I'm still angry and ask far too often 'why me, why us, why Korbin?' I waited my entire life for him, could not wait to hold him when I found out he was on his way, and then he was gone. So when people's babies don't just suddenly die in the night, or their heart's don't just stop for no apparent reason a week before their due date, or they're not just born too early to survive, it really is amazing. I can at least see that.
So let me attempt to put my odd reaction into perspective. When we lost Korbin, they said they knew exactly how we felt. Even in support group we don't dare say that to each other, and we've all had similar yet extremely different losses. Now, they did have a miscarriage. But their way of grieving and dealing was to forget and move on and just pray for a child to make up for what they lost. None of that can or will ever happen for us. Korbin will not be forgotten. We will not just simply move on. And I could never pray for a replacement child, because my child is irreplaceable. This is where I get angry because, if they even felt an ounce of what we've felt in our two very different losses, they should have never said a word. People have said the wrong thing even to this day, but not much of it has cut like that did. Especially with how much they needed to show off their first born to us after we lost Korbin. What also angers me is that they have never asked if we are okay, how we're dealing, what did we do to memorialize him. So many amazing people have surrounded us and done this in their own way. But not two of the people that before were so very close. They never even asked us what happened. I guess that's been really important to me. That people know what happened. Maybe it doesn't mean they get it, or know what to say still, but they asked and let me talk. Maybe it's so important because it explains who I am now. And why we react the way we do.
Okay, end rant! I honestly don't have this reaction with every person I know who gets pregnant. I have congratulated people, hugged them in excitement for their joy. But I still get really jealous at times. And certain things are triggers. People having boys are one. Thankfully most have had or are having girls. But when I see baby boy birth announcements I'm put into a funk for a good couple of weeks. To get such an announcement of expecting, sort of a triple whammy to my heart, was truly not what I, or we, needed right now. Hopefully I'm not back in a funk these next couple of weeks.
Thank God for Ryan, the puppy dogs, the gym, my garden, and friends and family and work....
I got a lotta love to give.

Friday, July 12, 2013

On top of the world!

Today we hiked, and conquered, Mt Si. A hike I've been wanting to do for quite some time but we've stayed away from as it is a bit daunting. Roughly 4000 feet elevation gain in only 4 miles! We were definitely not in the best shape for this hike, but we did it! And it was such a great feeling when we reached the top and finally took a few minutes to enjoy the amazing views.

It really was a fantastic hike, and a great accomplishment for us to achieve together. I really do enjoy hiking, especially with Ryan. There is something about communing with nature together and witnessing the beautiful world around us that reminds me how amazing the universe is and that we really need to enjoy it while we still can. 
"Life is an occasion. Rise to it." I'm definitely putting more effort into rising to the occasion that is my life. Putting my phone down more often. Reading good books. Gardening. Relaxing with Ryan. I need to do those things for me, and to keep going in life too. Thankfully I can enjoy them so that my time doesn't feel wasted. But this doesn't mean my heart hurts any less, or that I'm suddenly perfectly fine with the life Ry and I have to live now. I almost cried on the drive home today thinking how amazing it would have been to have Korbin strapped to my back for today's hike. What an amazing accomplishment it would have been!
I got a lotta love to give.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Only in my dreams

A while ago I had the most beautiful dream I've had in so long. After restless nights and horrific nightmares I said a silent plea in desperation, 'please God, just let me see Korbin again.' That very night I dreamed of a much older Korbin.
I'd say he was about 3 or 4, still with the golden ringlets of an angel, glowing and healthy. My little baby angel. We were at my grandma's and Korbin suddenly had something to give Ryan and was saying excitedly that he has a gift for daddy. It was just precious to see him so delighted to see his father and give him whatever was in his hands. I still have no clue what it was, but that doesn't matter. What got me most was how complete our family was, only in my dreams. The smile on Ryan's face, the sound of Korbin laughing and talking. I cried from immense happiness, and actually woke up crying! Tears of joy.
This dream was again just such a relief after the many nightmares I'd been having. Though it's never enough to only see Korbin rarely in my dreams, it has left me content for now. And my heart feels fuller and maybe even lifted. I even feel happier than before this wonderful dream.
I got a lotta love to give.

I wish I could be that parent

When Ry and I are out and about, trying to enjoy this life we get to live now, we witness all kinds of parenting which tend to open up some discussion. Would you do that? Oh my God, I can't believe they let their kid do that! I would never say that in front of our kids, would you? Most of the time we become overly critical of what are probably harmless things every parent has done and will do at some point (sorry, I can't think of any examples at this moment). But then there are moments of amazing parenting witnessed that actually bring me to tears.
Yesterday we went to a park with a great friend of ours (Korbin's godfather, actually), and had a random discussion about a board placed in the water feature and what it may be used for. It was tied into place so I thought maybe it's for the ducks to leave or enter the water. Then a family with three small kids walked up and the father began the same discussion. But the way this father asked his kids questions to steer them in the right direction and then praised them when they guessed correctly was just so beautiful to me. He was teaching but allowing them to still think for themselves. It was beautiful. I mean, that's exactly how I hope Ry and I are as parents (someday).
I know it seems odd that talking about a board could bring me to tears. But what really got to me was the sudden image of us with Korbin in a moment just like that. Most of the time when I see babies who could be Korbin's age I am transported to another dimension where we're a happy family of three. I imagine what milestones he'd be at now. How we'd be handling work or family events. But in a moment like yesterday's I see and hear him talking to us. Exclaiming, excited, laughing. It's so incredibly beautiful, and it breaks my heart at the same time. It's bittersweet. The moment can be so happy, but the fact that it will never actually happen is so heartbreaking.
Thankfully, with Korbin's godfather, I don't have to worry if my tears are noticed. I generally can't stand crying in front of people (it is such huge a sign of weakness in my mind, and I don't need everyone thinking I'm so weak), but we have friends and family who I am actually becoming comfortable crying in front of; which is good because holding it in is awful.
Despite how heartbreaking and bittersweet these moments can be, and the tears that may follow them, I hope to continue to witness amazing parenting. Maybe it will all make me a better parent when I get the opportunity to actually be a parent (I am, I just don't get to be).
Because I got a lotta love to give.