Thursday, September 13, 2012

Purging Part II

My lovely MIL sent me a book recently entitled For They Shall Be Comforted, Grieving the Loss of A Child by Camille Call Whiting. It is a fairly quick read. There wasn't anything new in it that I haven't felt or thought about but it did wonders to realize that someone out there thought the same things I have. I found myself nodding emphatically to passages as I felt I could have written them myself. I even put stars next to the passages I really enjoyed and thought they would be a great way to express things I have felt/experienced.

"I wanted desperately for them to visit me in spirit form. I pleaded with Heavenly Father to allow just a few seconds of time for me to see my two children, just to know that they were together and doing well in the spirit world. I just knew that if only I could see them for a moment then I would be at peace. But they never came. I couldn't understand why they couldn't spare just a few moment for their mother, after I had given them life and been through immense pain in their behalf."

I was quite surprised when I first read this. I didn't necessarily want to see my children, but I have prayed fervently to feel their presence and feel them near. I remember a couple dreams I had about Emily shortly after her passing and what comfort that brought me! I know my children are real, and they exist somewhere, but I am having a hard time feeling like they are real. I have never heard them cry, I have no idea what they are like, I have no memories of them or their personality to fall back on. They seem more like an idea to me and I want so badly to feel like they are tangible beings. I just feel like if I could feel them close to me, or have a dream, like I did of Emily, they would become more real.

"Eventually, my anger faded, but it took longer for my guilty feelings about the anger to subside. Intellectually, I knew that anger was a necessary stage in grieving, but at the same time I felt that I should be above that. I was striving to be a righteous mother, wife, and person, and anger was unbecoming of someone like me."

This is something I have felt a lot of. Anger is natural in the healing process, but I don't want to be angry. I have never wanted to be angry. I am sad. It's not fair. But I never wanted this experience to turn me angry or bitter. I was not raised to be an angry individual or throw a tantrum when things don't go my way. I have always been taught to turn to the Lord and have faith when things got difficult and I don't always see where my anger fits in with that. How can I get direction and comfort from the Lord when I spend my time angry? But anger is a very real emotion that everyone has to go through when they are seriously grieving. I guess the important thing is to find balance between being angry, but not letting that anger consume me.

"Subconsciously, I felt there might be a problem with Ammon's arrival. I realized this afterward as I thought about the many worries I'd had that something would go wrong, almost as if they were hints toward the future.  The same thing occurred during Kija's pregnancy, except then I was very conscious of it."

This is something I experienced with both pregnancies. About a week before Emily was born I vividly remember thinking to myself, "Life has been really good to us the last couple years. The Lord has blessed us greatly.... It is about time something bad came our way..." And then she was born! And then with the triplets, I tried so hard to remain positive about the outcome. I tried to imagine what life was going to be like once we got all three babies home, but I could never imagine taking them home as a reality. I never could picture myself getting to take care of them or raise them. When I ended up back in the hospital the second time I knew what the outcome was going to be, despite every one's encouragement to stay strong and keep fighting.

"Grieving mothers are not thinking or feeling rationally. They may outwardly appear to be, but inside they are still battling the 'what ifs'."

The biggest "what if" that has consumed my thoughts is, what if we had chose to put the cerclage in early instead of waiting? I continue to kick myself over this. Had we put the cerclage in at 13 weeks, would I have even ended up in the hospital to begin with? Maybe Braden's water wouldn't have ruptured had we done it earlier. Maybe I would still be pregnant and my babies still alive. Are these thoughts rational? I don't know. I know it does me no good to ponder it, I will never know the answers, but I will probably wonder for the rest of my life what would have happened had we gone ahead with the cerclage when it was safer to do so.

"It may be easier to accept the death of a loved one when we know that we will be with them for eternity. But in some ways I think our knowledge of the gospel also makes grieving harder. It did for me, anyway, because we believe in a loving Father in Heaven who will grant blessings according to our obedience. If we pay our tithing, He will open the windows of heaven that there will not be room enough to receive the blessings. If we honor our father and mother, our days will be lengthened upon the earth. I thought that surely having a child should have been similar to these other commandments, with a promise of a healthy, living baby attached as a reward for obedience to the commandment to raise righteous families. It may be harder to come to peace with the death of a loved one when we know that we have tried our best to choose the right and to be a good person. To a grieving Latter-Day Saint mother, this makes no sense. Yet, our faith in Heavenly Father's plan and His love for us eventually persuade us to accept the reality of our lives-we are blessed for our righteousness, but we also need to be tried and tested."

This pretty much sums up what has been running through my head. Thanks for reading.


  1. I am glad you started writing again! Writing is my favorite therapy also! Your insite is very inspirational, and I feel it is a privialage to be able to read your blog! You are one of my hero's and I truly admire you! Keep purging and keep healing, but most importantly keep feeling, no matter what it is!

  2. Some of this post reminded me of my own feelings when my Carolyn passed. Anger inside, but not showing it on the outside to be 'strong' for everyone else. (Kay)

  3. Thank you for posting this. You don't know me, and I only found your blog a few weeks ago. I can't even begin to imagine what you are going through, but these "Purging" entries really touched my heart. I just sent my 4th angel baby back to heaven, and reading these passages of you finding strength brought a lot of comfort to my heart. Thank you. I know the Lord will bless you and be with you, and I will pray for you and your husband.

  4. Hey Jess. Thank you so much for continuing the blog, and for being so open about how you're feeling with everything. I read this several hours ago, and have been thinking about it in the meantime, especially what you said regarding the "what ifs" surrounding the cerclage. Please try not to beat yourself up over it. I went back and re-read your entries from June and July, and I don't think any of your decisions warrant you being hard on yourself. I know you'll always wonder. But I think you made the best decision you knew to make at the time. The specialist gave you no real direction, and you were following your gut in feeling like the preterm labor had caused the problems with Emily, which a cerclage wouldn't have prevented. And if I have followed and understood everything correctly regarding the triplets, preterm labor was really the problem this time, too. You did everything you could to give those babies the best possible chance, and you can't ask more of yourself than that.

    I appreciate your openness through this entire experience, and especially in this post regarding your experience with the grieving process. I would never, ever equate my experience of losing a parent to the loss of a child, but I think some aspects of grieving are universal regardless of who the grief is for, and I identified with many of the things you said.

    I feel like words are often insufficient, especially when they're meant to provide comfort. But you're the strongest person I know, and your willingness to share this journey with all of us has inspired me in a way I can probably never tell you. I hope you continue to express yourself through your writing, and most of all I hope you receive the comfort you need.

  5. Thank you for sharing about the book. I have never wanted to be angry either and thankfully I haven't been so far but I don't ever know what's around the corner emotionally.

    Holding you close in thought and prayer