Dull Focus

How is it possible to love you so much
When I never saw you smile, or heard your sweet cry?
I never even felt you move,
Or felt your hand wrapped around my finger.

There are so many things I miss about you already…
I miss the snuggles I’ll never get from your face on my chest.
I miss the cries that won’t wake me in the middle of the night.
I miss saying, “Bless the baby!” because I’ll never hear your baby sneezes.
I miss the giggles and the laughter you’d surely share with your brothers and sisters.

Sometimes the tears just well up in my eyes.
And I don’t want to stop them.
Not that I could.
Sometimes I just sigh…for no reason…take a huge breath and…
Let it out.

Sometimes I am irritated by everyone because I can’t just sit still and miss you.

Most of the time, I am sad.  Just so very sad.

The books I read tell me someday the sadness will lessen.  
But right now, I don’t know how that can be.  
I put on a smile and I face each day.

I put one foot in front of the other.
It’s been my mantra for so many years now,
And only now, since I lost you, my son,
Does my heart understand how truly difficult that can be.



7 Quick Takes – 44 (First-Times-Edition)

— 1 —
It’s the first time we’ve had a Pope named Francis.  I am really excited about our new Pope.  I would be excited about any Pope, I know, but I think it’s so very awesome that he took the name of Francis.  I am floored that we haven’t had a Francis before.  It seems like a perfect name for a Pope.  But maybe we haven’t had one before because it’s the perfect name for THIS Pope.  It was emotional to learn of his election and then wait to meet him on T.V. Wednesday.  Oh, who am I kidding…everything is emotional for me these days.  It brought me a feeling of peace to learn the name he chose.

— 2 —
Wednesday was my first day back to work.  I walked in.  My chest got heavy, I needed deep breaths and I wanted to walk right back out.  I didn’t know how to prepare myself to go to work, and so…it hurt my heart to be there, not pregnant, seeing everyone and everything I had seen for the last time not knowing that Gregory had died.  I entered my office and put my things down and just walked out around the perimeter of my floor, breathing deeply, tearing up a little, telling myself, “I have to go back to work sometime.  It’s never going to be easy.  Just get through today.”  I fought back the tears at that point.  I grabbed my rosary and wrapped it around my wrist and held onto the Crucifix for dear life.

About an hour later, I was reading e-mails, catching up, and I came to two that had February 28th and 12:17 and 12:35 on them.  My ultrasound started on February 28th, scheduled for 12:15 and it was over by 12:35 and my heart was broken.  So, I got up and started walking.  I wasn’t sure where I was going, but I needed to find some place where I could cry.  I walked up the two flights of stairs to a spot where there are chairs where people sometimes go to take personal phone calls.  I sat there for awhile, letting some tears out, but mostly trying to contain them.  After that I asked if it was all right if I left early and my boss was so understanding and said “Absolutely”, so, I made it through the rest of the day (stopping to go and watch our Holy Father’s first blessing).

— 3 —

I went to Confession for the first time since Gregory died on Wednesday.  It was weird and I hope to write more clearly about it.  But, I hadn’t been since December 4 and it is Lent so I knew I needed to go.  While I hadn’t spent much time in the past two weeks sinning, I had stuff I just knew I needed to confess from before that time.  But, when life changes so dramatically, so quickly and so traumatically, it’s hard to remember.  I think that is why I had always gone to confession right before going in for inductions with my other children.  It just seemed right to labor and deliver with a clear conscience and a pure soul.  Confessing wasn’t really on my mind before we went into the hospital to deliver Gregory, though. 

— 4 —
I actually made it through a Rosary for the first time since Gregory died on Wednesday.  When I packed before we went to the hospital to deliver him, I packed my Bible, my Shorter Christian Prayer book and my Rosary.  I tried a few times to pray, and even though I know all the words to all the prayers of the Rosary, they just wouldn’t come.  On Wednesday, when I left work, I went straight to Church and pulled out my Rosary.  I cried heavily, but made it through the Glorious mysteries.  I even made it through a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, too.  In hindsight, I think I really really needed that prayer and the fact that I prayed it is probably what helped me get to confession a little bit later. 

— 5 —
Tuesday was the first time I ever read Wisdom, Chapter 4.  On recommendation of my doctor (yes, I know that’s so cool 🙂 ) I picked up my Bible and turned to the Book of Wisdom and found Chapter 4.  The first part was a bit difficult to read, but then, the heading of “On Early Death” appeared right before verse 7.  Here are verses 7-15:

“But the just man, though he die early, shall be at rest. For the age that is honorable comes not with the passing of time, nor can it be measured in terms of years. Rather, understanding is the hoary crown for men, and an unsullied life, the attainment of old age. He who pleased God was loved; he who lived among sinners was transported— Snatched away, lest wickedness pervert his mind or deceit beguile his soul; For the witchery of paltry things obscures what is right and the whirl of desire transforms the innocent mind.  Having become perfect in a short while, he reached the fullness of a long career; for his soul was pleasing to the LORD, therefore he sped him out of the midst of wickedness. But the people saw and did not understand, nor did they take this into account.”

The parts that look like this are the parts that continue to repeat in my brain.

— 6 —

I wrote my first thank you note. Well, it is really a letter.  It turned into four pages. It’s to my doctor. You know, I always think I should write and thank him for everything after I’ve had a baby, but that’s about all I’ve ever done…think about it.  Yesterday, I sat down with my pen and my paper and I wrote him every bit of thanks that I thought I owed him. I felt the need to thank him for sharing in our sorrow as well as our joy in our lives. I can’t imagine going through pregnancy, birth and…now (sadly), a loss of a child without him.

— 7—
This is my first time writing Quick Takes since we lost Gregory.  I’m trying to get back into some semblance of a routine.  About the only thing that is routine so far is that every time I do something for the first time since we lost Gregory — doesn’t matter how mundane or how big time it is — it is hard. So. Incredibly. Hard.  As much as my life changed the minute my children have been born, my life changed that much, and then some, the day we lost Gregory.

I am linking up with Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary today.


Rambl-ey Update Post

I was planning to go back to work today. I guess that wasn’t acceptable to Someone because some physical things happened in the last 24 hours to prevent that.

And so, here I am, still at home, trying to rest a bit, maybe get the kitchen cleaned up.  When I had planned to be back at work today.  I have an ultrasound scheduled for 1:30 p.m.  The ultrasound was ordered to ensure I did not retain placenta.  My doctor was fairly certain all was good in this arena.  But some continued large clots are causing some worry in that department.  So, the ultrasound will help us figure out where the clots are coming from.

I remembered this morning as I drove Vincent to the babysitter that I have had Fibroid tumors in the past that have caused excessive bleeding.  So, this could be part of that.  Fibroids grow quickly with increased hormone levels…so the one I already knew about could be bigger now, or there just could be more of them in my uterus.  Obviously, the ultrasound will help us figure that out.

I’ve filed a short term disability claim through the insurance company so that I don’t deplete all my paid time off with all this stuff.  And that makes me feel a little less anxious as well.  I know that my doctor will approve and give me an appropriate “return to work” date once we get everything figured out. 

It is weird.  I don’t cry all the time now.  And for that I am grateful.  I have even been able to smile and laugh with my family.  My children are so good at helping with that.  But, there is still sadness that I can feel almost constantly.  The level is usually determined by how much I allow myself to think about it in a given moment.  And while it’s not all the time, when the urge hits, it is often without warning.  I find myself lost as I begin processing emotions and realize that I’m in the company of my children or somewhere else I’d rather not be while I’m crying and grieving.

Attending Mass yesterday was still painful.  The Psalm got to me this time.  “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord” was difficult.  I mean, I know the Lord is good, but right now it’s painful.  “I will bless the LORD at all time; his praise shall be ever in my mouth” was the part that did it.  And I do bless the Lord, still, but I just wish it weren’t so darn painful.  I am not angry at God.  I understand that Gregory had his place and it just happens to be with God for a much longer time that he was with me.  But even though I’m not really angry, I am still sad and I miss my baby.  And I think that is why I cry.  

Receiving Communion is still painful.  The separation rears its head nice and ugly right as I pray, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof…”  Because, I am sad that I am not worthy to be with our Lord and with Gregory right now.  I’m so pleased that Gregory is worthy to be in the presence of our Lord.  But I’m so sad that I can’t be with Gregory.  I’m still here on Earth, working out salvation in fear and trembling, and it’s painful.  I do hope that someday soon, I can receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist without tears of sadness and separation running down my face.  But for now, it’s just a very apparent separation.  And what is even odder, is that while I am sad at the separation, I am also comforted in knowing Gregory is where I hope to be at the end of my earthly life.

Something I stumbled upon while looking for some online support…


Our lives continue…
Sarah got back into her volleyball practice routine with a practice Thursday and then yesterday.  Dani was back at her guitar lessons and Helen back at ballet.  Dominic has 2 birthday parties to attend in the next few days and Helen has one this weekend, too.  Vincent has maintained a schedule so much better than I thought he would, and he’s talking more and more and his little personality is really working itself into the fabric of our family right now (I just love 1-year-olds anyway, for that reason).  

Yesterday, I went shopping to purchase some clothes that would fit me these next few weeks while I go to work.  With previous pregnancies, I had 6-8 or 10-12 weeks to work off some of the pregnancy weight I’d gained.  Having only a week — and a week in which I wasn’t really focusing on making healthy eating choices at that — was not helpful for getting back into some work clothes.  I did go back to Weight Watchers on Saturday to get a starting point and begin the process — before anyone chides me a bit about it, I just knew if I didn’t go back to a meeting, I would eat myself into another 10 pounds to lose and I just can’t let myself do that.

Craig’s has been back to work since Wednesday.  I think I will encourage him to get a run in or a workout of some sort soon.  I think he would enjoy it, and I would like to see him do that.  It just feels like I’m going through the motions of getting everyone back to where we were before February 28 at about 12:15.  And I know it’s only been 12 days, so I’m not expecting it to all be okay right now.  But I just kind of do the routines so that we have something to do.  Some kind of normal is better than no kind of normal, from what I have been able to discern.

So, there’s a rambl-ey update post for you.  We’re putting one foot in front of the other — like we always have.  I have a post brewing to discuss just how awesome the support has been for us — from our parish, our families, our friends, the online/blogosphere and the twitter — it will be an overwhelming post I think, so I’m thinking it through.  I can’t imagine going through something like that with anything less than what we’ve had.  But I know it must happen all the time, and that makes me so very sad.

Okay, it’s Monday.  I need to get myself cleaned up to go to this ultrasound appointment.  I am praying it’s “just” (haha) the Fibroids and nothing worse than that.  

The Weekend and The Kids Came Home!

Saturday following my letter to my baby boy, I cried for a long time. Craig woke up and came downstairs and saw it printed and laying on the desk and asked to read it. And of course, I said yes. I read it again while he read it. It touched me but also pained me to hear him sob as he read my words to our precious baby boy. It pained me for obvious reasons — my sweetheart, my mate, he hurts, too. It was his baby boy that went on to heaven, too.  It touched me because the words I wrote were probably words he could write.  And his tears mingled with my own.  We hugged and held each other for a bit.  

The children were out in various places over the weekend.  On Friday night as Craig and I ate pizza, drank a couple of beers and watched rented movies, I was feeling a bit guilty that my other children were not there with us.  But then…

Then, we went to bed.  I was overcome in the dark and the silence with grief.  The sobs were uncontrollable and I couldn’t stifle them, even if I had wanted to. 

And I was no longer feeling guilty, but feeling so very grateful to our friends who had offered to take them for the weekend.  

Craig and I both lay in bed crying.  Crying for our sweet baby boy that we desired so much to be here with us still.  And yes, for the first time ever, I was so grateful…even elated…that my older children were not in our home with us at that time.

So, on Saturday, after writing, after reading over and over my own words, and after holding my husband and crying some more, I lay down on the couch, pulled up a blanket and lay with my eyes closed — an attempt to stop the horrid pounding in my head that seems to accompany my tears right now.  I finally drifted into a sleep.  I awoke and looked at the clock and saw it was 12:15!  I had slept for probably 2 hours, and it was almost time for the KU game and getting on to the time we would go to meet with Father Rogers to begin making arrangements for Gregory’s Mass.

Saturday was another day of Craig and me.  Together.  Just the two of us.  We watched KU.  We went to get our hair cut.  We scheduled the Mass for Gregory.  We ate sub sandwiches and popcorn purchased from the movie theater while we watched rented movies again.  And drank a couple beers.  We just hung out.  Together.  We needed it so badly.  When I went to bed Saturday, I worried if I would be overcome again.  But this time, I was able to go to bed and fall asleep with minimal tears.  I thanked God for that.

Then on Sunday, we knew the kids were coming home.  I got my shower in, I did my hair and I put on makeup.  I put on nice clothes for church.  I kind of felt a little bit like I was okay.  The processional hymn was “Be Not Afraid.”  As soon as I saw it, I shut the hymnal and grabbed my tissues and said to Craig, “I can’t do this today.” and I regretted putting make up on.  Of course, I fell apart.  I pulled it together by the Gospel reading.  And then, they prayed for us in the petitions and I began to fall apart again.  And then, I went to receive the Holy Eucharist and could not stop the tears.  There is a very real feeling of separation for me right now because receiving the Holy Eucharist is the only way I get to be with Jesus…and Gregory is already fully with Jesus, all the time.  And my heart breaks because of my two desires:  I desire to be with our Lord and with Gregory so very badly.  I also desire to be here with my husband and my other children because being separated from them would hurt so badly at this time…and, well, I’m still living in the world.  And so this crazy split personality completely blooms right as I approach our Lord in the Eucharist.  I want to say so badly, “Lord, I want to be with You, and Gregory, now and forever and always, but yet — here I am on EArth and I can’t be with You and Gregory right now and it’s a real and a physical pain in my heart.”

I know our Lord must understand.  But my human brain cannot wrap itself around the idea and the pain is enough to bring the tears.

After Mass, we got to take Helen home.  I hugged her forever and I kissed her so many times.  I told her how much I missed her and that I loved her so.  We went to the Funeral Home to take care of things there.  Then we went home and waited for all of our precious children to make their way back.

The hospital had sent a soft, quilted bag of sorts that had momentos and pictures the hospital photographer had taken of Gregory.  I hadn’t opened it.  But I thought that I should look at it before the kids were there so I could offer for them to look at the things if they wanted to.  So, I took the items out…the tiny teddy bear that weighed about as much as Gregory had, the tiny rattle, the little block with the letter G, the blue, crocheted baby blanket and hat.  Finally, I picked up the envelope with the pictures, I took a deep breath and I took them out and looked at them.  The tears came, though not violently, as I flipped through them one by one.  My precious baby boy, so tiny, so beautiful.

Finally, all the girls were back and we told them that the baby was a little brother (we hadn’t known that from the ultrasound) and his name was Gregory.  When the girls looked through the photos, oh, how they “ooh’d” and they “ahh’d” and they said, “Aw, look how cute he is!” and they said, “He’s so tiny!” and “He’s so beautiful!”  I cannot tell you how much that right there made me feel so good.  My heart swelled for my children.  Of course, I knew they would love their little brother, but to hear them verbally affirm him so positively took days off my grieving time, I am sure.  It make my heart so happy to hear them all loving on their baby brother.

Later in the evening, Dominic started talking about his “baby sister” and I said, “No, Dominic, the baby was a boy, remember? And we named him Gregory. And he has gone on to be with Jesus.”  The tears started coming and he put his head on my chest and said, I miss my baby sister.  And I just let him say it that time.  Then I remembered he hadn’t seen the pictures yet and I asked him if he wants to see some pictures of his baby brother.  He said yes and so we went to get everything out again.  I showed him the tiny teddy bear.  As I showed him the pictures, I was explaining about Gregory’s skin and Dominic asked me, “So, he is red?” and I said, “yes, that is how he looks because his skin wasn’t like ours yet” and Dominic very matter-of-factly said, “My baby brother has red skin.”  And he cried a little bit more and told me that he misses his baby brother.  And I tearfully told him that I did, too.  There were other moments, but basically, my children have been my lifeline out of some of the deep grief I feel right now.

My children seem to understand that the baby is not coming home.  They seem to have appropriate levels of sadness to that and they seem to have a strong understanding that Heaven was God’s place for Gregory right now, even though we miss him so.

I know this is only one day.  There are more days coming and it might not be so clear to us all on those days.  But for now, I’m just clinging onto this day, loving all of my children and my husband, and praying to get on to the next day.