Monday, October 29, 2012

Getting away

I love our house. I like being home and being surrounded by Samuel's things and the memories of our time together instead of facing the world of constant reminders of what I don't have. Yes, it's sad that those things are not being used by him. Yes, there are times when I consider putting them away. But what will that accomplish? How would moving those things to storage make them less sad?

There is this little chair of his in the living room. In it sits the monkey Bryan got for him.
I look at the monkey's face - happily expecting the little guy who will snuggle it and chew on it and sleep with it - and I'm sad. That day will never come. But the monkey just keeps on smiling. (I guess at some point we should tell him Samuel died). I tried to put the chair away a while ago. Having it gone was much more sad than having it there. So I put it back.

I love being around the things that remind me of the time I spent with Samuel. The rocking chair I used to rock him each night, to sing to him and read him stories. Those were the times I'll always remember.

I like being home...but I also sometimes just need to get away. I need to be around other things and have other things to look at. As I've mentioned before, I don't like to get out much; there is too much "out there" that reminds me of what seemingly everyone else has and what I'm missing. But sometimes I just need to get away.

This past Friday, after a very emotional week, I told Bryan, "we've got to get outta here before I lose my mind entirely!" So we got outta here. We went to a hotel and hid away from the world and people and our same old routine. It was good.

You may not understand this, but a weird thing can happen sometimes. I can be peaceful when I'm away because somehow my mind believes we just left Samuel with someone for the weekend to get time to ourselves. It must be some type of denial, but it's perfectly ok with me. I can miss him terribly, but I can also realize that we need to focus on us for a little while.

So we watched movies and napped and ate out and ignored the world as much as possible. (Get this: we go to a French restaurant late at night figuring it's probably the last place on earth to see a baby. No such luck, we were sat directly across from a mama with a new baby. Thankfully, it was a girl, which is slightly better, but goodness sakes...there is no place safe!)  I got to watch cable which is fun because we got rid of it in lieu of Netflix a long time ago. I escaped.

It was good.

Now, back home, I feel a little bit better. Ever so slightly recharged to face more of the sadness. (You may not know this - yeah right - but it's almost the holiday season. I'm ready to move to a country that has no idea what Thanksgiving and Christmas are, but for now, at least, I feel the tiniest bit more prepared to face it.)  Grief is so hard. It's constant. There is no real way around it. So I get worn out very easily. I think if I can find a way to escape - even if it's only a pretend escape - it's good to take that break.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to go away if he were with us. What does it feel like to miss your baby so much - like I always do - but know that you're actually going to see them soon? What must it be like to drive up to grandma's house and run in and pick them up and feel all the missing melt away? I don't know and I don't get to know. So I just imagine...

I bet that's an awesome feeling.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Sometimes I feel like a monster has taken me over. I scream and snarl and snap. I want everyone around me to hurt because I do. I feel a deep rage towards anyone who has a healthy baby. I'm not who I used to be, and I hate who I am right now: miserable, lonely, mean, and hurting.

A few weeks ago, I was reading an article on Still Standing Magazine about a woman who had lost her baby boy. She talked about how she felt like a monster too. She said, "I want to take your baby from you and ask you how it feels".  I know that feeling. It's this feeling that since I have to do this, then so should everyone else. No one should be allowed to have a healthy baby right now because mine died for no reason.

It's really hard to feel so much hatred and rage towards people when deep down you don't want to hate anyone. You love babies, but since you're has been taken from you, you begin to despise them. The monster of grief has stolen your normal self and all you feel is deep hurt, immense pain and overwhelming rage.

I just finished reading the book, Unexpected Goodbye, by Angela Rodman of the blog, Little Bird.  In a conversation between herself and her husband, he says, "...[baby loss parents] are backed into a corner like angry wolves, and they don’t care who gets hurt, they just want the pain to stop." This is exactly it. I'm so deeply wounded. I don't know what on earth happened, or why, and I'm angry and confused. People come close to try to help and I immediately lash out in fear and pain.

I look around my life and see people laying in my wake. I say mean things, I freak out when someone says the wrong thing (don't get me's not okay that they say those things), and I am left alone, desperately hurting and needing help, but my pain and rage keeps people away (and, really, there is nothing anyone can do anyways). 

I don't want to see or hear anything about any baby. Well guess what...almost every single one of the people I would have liked to be around has a baby or is pregnant. What on earth am I to do?

I think this is partly why I get so down. Not only do I miss my little Samuel with an intensity I can not fully explain, but I'm also no longer a part of the life I used to have. I can't go anywhere, do anything, watch any show, read any magazine, listen to any song, etc. etc. without hurting. Babies are everywhere. Just try to do anything without seeing or hearing about one. Next time you go to the store, look around at all the things that I have to deal with: pregnant people, babies in car seats, baby items, magazines about pregnant teenagers and  pregnant drugged-out-messed-up celebrities, and on and on. There is no safe place for a mama without her baby. So I stay home. All the time. Just me and the monster that has taken me over. 

I honestly can say I hate my life right now. I don't want any part of it. But there is nothing I can do; no escape. I just keep going, hoping someday the monster will get sick of me and move on. Then maybe I'll be able to find what's left of who I once was and start again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Unanswerable questions

*Note: This post is about suicide. I've been thinking about writing about this for a while because it's a very real part of my grief. If you can't handle me talking about it, or if you're going to freak out on me,  please stop reading now. 

Since he died I think about suicide a lot. There are weeks when not a day goes by that I don't imagine myself leaving this horrible world and never coming back. In the early weeks/months, I actually had times when I would have a knife in my hand to cut vegetables or something and I'd think, "one firm shove into my heart and this will all be done". Or I'd sit in the car and imagine closing the garage door and just drifting away. It comes to my mind quite often. But I can never bring myself to do it. The main reason is Bryan. I could never (and will never) do that to him. How could I possibly leave him here all alone? I can't. The other reason is that I'm too scared. I don't really know what lies beyond. I'd like to think it's beautiful and I'd get to instantly be with Samuel, but who really knows? (Plus, knowing my luck, I'd be the person who tries to kill herself only to mess it up and end up a vegetable for the rest of my miserable life). So I stay around.

Reading that, you might have a few reactions: 1. If you've lost you own baby/child, you might say "oh, I've been there..." 2. If you haven't, you might say, "oh my gosh! We need to get her help right this minute!" or,  3. You might say "What a terrible person to even think about that!" I'm not, I'm just endlessly sad.

If you've never been through this, you can't possibly understand how hard it is. My life, the world, my faith, everything I've ever believed in, is irreparably distorted and damaged. I look around and all I see is people living these blissfully ignorant full of faith, talking about how much God has blessed them. (If God has blessed you, then what does that mean for me??) So many happy moms with happy little babies. I hear people talking about "miracle this and prayer that" and it rips at my soul. 

I try to go out in the world and all I see is mamas with babies. E V E R Y W H E R E. Young moms, old moms, moms who seem to hate their children, moms who are cooing to their babies... it all rips my heart out. It all makes me think about death. How will I ever be ok again?

People say "I'm praying for you". I think, "That's nice that you care, but don't waste your time". Prayer, God, Faith, Healing, Miracle....these are all words that bring bile to my throat. Once you've put your faith to the test and it fails, where can you go from there? How can I ever pray again when I've seen what "prayer can do" (blah!)?

I'm just lost in this world that no longer makes sense. How can so many, many, many undeserving people have perfectly healthy babies and our baby is sick for absolutely no reason? How can anyone believe in a loving and powerful God when He just sat back and watched while our baby died? (Not to mention all the horrific things like rape and war and murder and such that happen every single day!) Why is everyone I know either pregnant or cuddling with their precious new baby?

While we're on this subject: Why do people keep telling me about their pregnancies and babies? I honestly can not think of one reason why on earth I need to know. I've tried to say it nicely but here is the truth: When you tell me your pregnant, I lose my mind. I usually end of crying for days and screaming and making plans to run away for ever  (and it's poor Bryan who has to try to console me while simultaneously feeling just as bad himself). The wound in my soul rips back open and I want to die. When I see you with your baby, I imagine how I should be with my baby and my heart breaks. I question why you and not me and there is no answer. So I want to die. (You may think I'm mean and rude for saying that, but I think you're mean and rude for telling me, so I guess we're even.)

It's really hard to be a part of this world anymore. I love my family and friends, but your happiness just reminds me of what I should have. My joy was stolen away and I'm left with tons of unanswerable questions, a deep hurt and nothing but endless days of misery. 

Everyday I'm plagued by these questions: why us, why him, why didn't God save him, why didn't I get to hold him, why did I ever buy into the nonsense of "miracle healing", why don't people understand how painful this is for me, why isn't he here, why is this my life?

Endless and unanswerable questions. This is my life. I honestly don't know what to do anymore.

I'll just keep on going until one day I don't have to anymore. 

I miss him.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

In his own words: A post by Bryan

Bryan recently wrote a post to his own blog. He told me I could share it here. He loves his little bunny <3

Samuel Evan, My Little Fighter

It's been more than 2 years since I've posted here. Hopefully I'll find time to post more often in the coming weeks.

The biggest, well actually the smallest, reason for that (besides my very busy schedule) is my firstborn son, Samuel Evan. He was born on April 14th, 2012. He is the son RaeAnne and I had been wanting for a long time, and he came as a welcome surprise in our lives. He was quite active during pregnancy, and the ultrasound technicians often had a difficult time getting a good picture. He waved at us on the first ultrasound image. I knew right then I would never be the same as before. I already knew that when RaeAnne told me the news, but that really made it sink in. As he grew, we really got to know him as well as we could. We talked and read and even sang to him each night. He knew the sound of our voices and I'm told he would often move or kick when he heard me.

He now lives in Heaven with Jesus. As the blocks with the letters of his name say on the top of them, he "grew his wings" about 4 hours after being born on a rainy, stormy Saturday night. We had prayed for his healing for 5 months after learning of a condition that existed in his abdomen that could not be corrected. We received his diagnosis from the doctors at Mayo Clinic (Methodist) in Rochester, MN, and if there was anything that could be done to fix the issue with his bladder, it would have been done there by some of the best doctors in the world. But after about a week of ultrasounds, amniotic procedures, and lab tests, we were told there was nothing they could do. So we put his life in God's hands and we prayed. But our request was not granted.

The last 6 months have been a blur of emotions stronger than any I have ever experienced. Intense sadness and depression mixed with numbness and shock and tears have combined to make most things in life seem irrelevant. I'm walking through a darkness that I can't see the end of, and I know there is light somewhere up in the distance. But there are also plenty of obstacles in this darkness, and it's like being lost in a deep, dark forest where you can't see the end in any direction but you know it's there somewhere. That last part is paraphrased from a book I'm reading called A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser, and I've found it to be very true.

Our dreams of raising our precious baby boy are shattered, and we are left with his things and his ashes while trying to pick up the pieces. We don't know what to do, but somehow we make it through each day without him. Grief is exhausting. Sometimes I wonder how I get out of bed in the morning. But there is hope, since I know I will see him again and someday get to share with him all the things that I couldn't on this side of Heaven.

As I held my Samuel in the NICU after he died, I believe that God was also holding him in His arms at that same time. As I laid his body down and eventually walked out of that room, I knew I had left a piece of me in that room that I could never get back.

I love you Samuel, and I always will. I will never stop missing you. But I know that you are the lucky one. But I will never stop missing you. Thank you for fighting to the end so that we had 8 very memorable months with you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Daddy's Love

Tonight, Bryan and I were talking and missing our little guy together. It's been a while since he's talked about the night Samuel died. Tonight he told me.

He told me how hard it was.

He told me how sad he felt.

How time just stopped and how surreal it became.

He explained how the doctor told him, "there is not much time now" and how he rushed in to Samuel's room to be with him. He explained how he got close to him, held his hand and caresses his head. "Daddy's right here Samuel. Daddy loves you so much and so does your mama! You're going to be all better now. We love you so much!" He spoke to him as he took his last breaths.

He cried for his baby.

He misses his little guy.

He hurts for him.

He doesn't get the support I do because he's "just the dad". No one asks him how he's doing. They ask about me, or not at all. They don't say to him, "I'm so sorry your baby is gone". They don't do special things to help him grieve.

I see his hurt. I feel his pain. I hold him while he's hurting. I know he does his best to be strong. I remind him whenever I can how thankful I am for him. How much I love him and how much Samuel loved him too.

He did what I would imagine very few men would do in the same situation. He was a daddy and a mama to Samuel when I couldn't be there. He held him and bathed him and rocked him for hours and hours.He gave kisses and snuggles and so much love. He did this because I couldn't be there, but also because he wanted to. He is an amazing man.

It hurts my heart that he couldn't keep him. He was and is an amazing daddy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Six Months

I haven't had a lot to say here lately. I'm not exactly sure when it happened... sometime between the last few weeks... but I'm starting to get people telling me to move on. (We're still on this... that's old news!) I've received letters in the mail (yes - handwritten, "you need help," letters) and messages on FB. Weird. I guess I am only allowed to miss and be sad for my son for a little while. Then I need to shut up and move on to other things. Needless to say, I've been hurt by people who tend to say "but I love you so much and so does God" at the end of their very ignorant and hurtful notes. It leaves me hating the world and wishing them horrible tragedy just so they will get it. (And also realizing why some people can't stand "Christians".) So I don't write. I keep it to myself. I know how much I love and miss him so I'm a safe place to keep my words.

I love you, Samuel! I miss you so very much! I will never, ever stop loving or missing you!

Then, I get a card from my aunt Vicky. It's a loving and beautiful and encouraging card. It reminds me that some people DO get it and will love and miss him right along with me. I remember there are some real Christians out there. So I decide to write again.

I'm not really sure how else to say this: If you think I should be moving on, if you don't get why I'm sad and that I will always miss him, this place is not for you. Please leave now. And never return.

If you are here to love and support me, if you want to try to understand what it's like for me (without judgement), you are welcome here.

Yesterday was a very emotional day for me. Firstly, it was Samuel's six-month birthday. I can't even believe it's been six months. How on earth have I made it this long without him? I don't want to keep doing this. I just want to be done missing him. I want to have him with me. I hate that this is my life. I miss him endlessly and deeply. Sometimes I still can't believe this really happened.

Secondly, we held the event for Pregnancy and Infant Loss. It was beautiful. But also hurtful. Of the 14 families who signed up to attend, no one showed up. It such a terrible feeling then when you put tons of time, work and money into an event to show love to others, to have them reply "yes, I'm coming and I can't wait!" and then find yourself alone at the welcome table, surrounded by gifts and flowers and programs all created for those very people who never came. It's defeating. There were so many days when I was tired and sad and just wanted to cancel the whole thing. But I kept working because I wanted it to be a special day for families missing their loves. I wanted to gather with them and people who love and miss Samuel to honor their lives. I guess it's too much to ask of people. I'm hurt. (I realize things happen, but, really, everyone!?)

It ended up being a very small, but very beautiful night. We were surrounded by lights and candles. The poems and words and music were beautiful. I hope Samuel was able to see our love for him. My friend Erin, who helped me organize the event, and her family were able to remember their precious babies (Hannah and Charlie) too. Also my aunt Lea, who lost two of her own, was able to share and remember them with us. My parents and siblings (who did SO MUCH WORK to get ready) were also there. (Thank you for your hard work. I know Samuel would have loved to see it.) We lit candles for our babies and also read the names of, and lit candles for, the other babies we know who are gone far too soon. We sent Samuel a white "happy birthday love!" balloon.

It was a hard day. I got home, I looked at all the unused gift bags and craft items and I cried. It's kind of a representation of my life. So much work and love put into something that almost no one appreciates.

I cried.

For him and for me.

I just really, really miss him. All I wanted was to keep him. All I got was this mess.

Mama misses you, love! Are you getting so big? Do you sit up now and smile so big and laugh? My heart aches for you little guy! I hope you get lots of hugs and kisses every day my sweet boy. I can't wait to do it myself.

All our love, Mama and Daddy <3


Tonight is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. We will light a candle at 7pm for our precious boy, and for all those babies so loved and missed. Will you join us?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Test

Let's say there is a really important test coming up. So I prepare my very best. I study hard, I take practice tests, I memorize: I basically do everything in my power to ace it. On the day of the test, I notice there are people there who haven't been in the class before. They haven't bothered to come because they just don't really care. Their books are still in the plastic. I'm sure they are hoping to just pass and move on with their lives. They can't be bothered with working hard (even if it is so important!)

As the test begins, I find myself well prepared. I read and answer each question with confidence and I feel proud and glad my work is paying off. Meanwhile, I hear people cheating. Asking others answers and looking at others work. I know the professor must be noticing, but he does nothing to stop them. Oh well, back to my test. When the time is up and I hand in my work, I'm feeling quite sure I've not only done my best, but that I will most likely have earned an A for my efforts. I thank the teacher for all he has done to help me learn the material. I go home, satisfied of a job well done.

A few days later, everyone gathers back in the classroom to receive their grade. For some reason, the professor has decided to announce the grades out loud. Person after person stands up and is given their grade: A, A, A, A... on and on. What? How on earth is everyone getting an A? Clearly, some of these people were not prepared at all...not to mention they didn't even care. What's going on? Oh well, I guess it's ok. Clearly I'm going to get an A as well. Finally, after everyone in the class has received his or her A, my name is called. RaeAnne Fredrickson: F. What?? What do you mean, F? People stare at me with disapproval and awkwardness on their faces. (She is one of those students.) I sit back down, looking over my paper. I even ask to compare it to another students paper. Every answer is the same. We both did the same work. Yet, here I sit with an F while they have an A. Disappointment, confusion, anger and sadness overwhelm me. I don't understand!

People around me say, don't worry, the teacher really likes you and wants what's best for you. Ok, I think, then I'll go talk to him about it. So I ask him, What happened here? What did I do wrong? Why did I get an F while everyone else got an A? He just looks at me and says, No reason. These things just happen sometimes. I immediately protest. What do you mean? You could have given me an A just like everyone else. I deserved it just like they did (and, really more than a lot of them who don't care)! Why aren't you helping me? He just stares blankly at me and I have no choice but to go sit back down. All that's left is hurt and resentment and sorrow. I had done the same work as everyone else. I had done all I could do. But I failed.

I look around at everyone with their happy faces and big red A's on their pages and I am wounded. What did I do wrong? What did they do right? I'm lost in confusion and there are no answers.

Other students tell me, Don't worry! You'll get an A next time. But I wonder...

They say, the teacher really cares about you. But I wonder...

Everyone walks out the door with their A's; both deserved and underserved. They are content.

I sit looking at my F. I'm hurt and alone and confused. But I have no choice. I get up and walk out the door, wondering if I'll ever have the strength to do it all again.