Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What Grief Looks Like at 14 Months

I had intended to get this post published on Monday, December 7... 14 months since Isaac was born. It's a few days late, but I still wanted to share these thoughts.

To some, the title of this post may even seem like an oxymoron. How could "grief" and "14 months" even fit together at all? What many people don't realize is that grief is a process. Often times, when a person has finished intensely grieving, others may figure that the grieving is finished. Truthfully, though, it doesn't quite work that way. I am not sure that I will ever be through grieving our loss of Isaac... at least not until that day when I get to see him again in heaven.

Yes, grief at 14 months looks a lot different than it did 14 hours or 14 days after Isaac was born and went home to be with Jesus. It's no longer the piercing, sharp, debilitating pain that seemed like it would last forever. While there are rare moments of that sort of pain that still creep in on occasion, grief at 14 months is more like a dull ache that's always there. The silence of not hearing a newborn baby cry is no longer persistently deafening; but, there is a persistent feeling that someone is missing... because he is. And I still miss him very, very deeply.

I spent some time reading on the M.I.S.S. Foundation's website recently, and in one of the articles I read, a bereaved mother shared this: "Parental bereavement is a permanent condition. The hopes, dreams and aspirations you had for the child now gone is lost forever."

Because you see, while all of the "firsts" this past year... the first Christmas without Isaac, what would have been his first birthday... were incredibly difficult, those difficult moments don't end after the first year. There are many moments still to come... no first steps, no first day of Kindergarten, no first dance, no prom, no high school graduation... and the list goes on.

And while those aren't thoughts that we dwell on, they creep in once in a while. And when they do, bereaved parents grieve again. I also came across this article that explains parental grief quite well. While not written from a Christian perspective, it still does offer a lot of insight into the experience of a grieving parent. I would want to add to this article, though, that there is still hope through a journey of grief... hope in the fact that our God is one of restoration, a God who makes beauty from ashes.

So at 14 months, grief looks a lot different. There are many, many good days... not just as we anticipate Eliana's arrival (did I mention that at my ultrasound last week her estimated weight is already 1lb 7 oz!?!), but as we are just enjoying life a lot more again. But the ache is there, the balance of trying manage polarized emotions persists, and our desire to glorify God through this journey abounds.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.
~ Hebrews 10:23


Miche said...

The other day I was driving down the roading thinking about how you were talking about in your last post how such polarized emotions can exist in one single person.

I just love reading your post because they make me think about my own journey and where we are at certain times.

Thanks for sharing as always and way to go Eliana!

The Writer Chic said...

Stacy, God continues to bless the words you type out here at this blog. What a wonderful post. I'm again reminded how great a Father we have, that He would have allowed our hearts and journeys to be knit together so inimately these past two years....and for many to come, I pray. Love you, sweet sister.

Nellie said...

So beautifully and perfectly written.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago after losing my baby to an ectopic pregnancy and as the holidays come and as I work through the first few months of realizing no baby will be coming in May I thank you. . . this post gives me hope that this will pass.

Thank you.

Sonya said...

I think that you will always grieve the loss of someone you love, no matter if it is 14 hours, 14 days, 14 months or 14 years. That persone will always be remembered and will always be missed. I would say that I am still grieving the death of my brother and it has been over 6 years. I miss him teribly. I hate every Christmas that passes that he is not here and that is still grief.

belle said...

how beautifully said!

for me, i can also add that each time i say those words, "the baby is gone" the grief pattern changes. the first time the crushing gut-wrenching newness of the first feeling that my body had betrayed me and "how could God allow this!" had to be painstakingly worked through. those issues did not need to be re-dealt with when it happen a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time. but each time, though i did not deal with the theological/spiritual side of it, i ached for that child.... that unique being and personality that would never know on this earth. each one was special and unique in circumstance too! none of my loses are related in anyway to each other. how odd is that??? each loss was as likely as being struck by lightening! the fact that lightening has hit me 4 times in scientifically astounding! though i see God's Hand in it all (i can minister to 4 different kinds of mommies).... this last time we did not know until she was gone until she was partially delivered! this time, it's a new ballgame. with 4 other living kids in the house, her silence is deafening. God's love is amazing. that's the only thing i can say.

today a friend sent me this song, i hope it brings joy to you as well:

Stace said...

You words are so profound. I understand what you mean about grief moving form a sharp pain to a dull ache because that is completely how I feel lately.

Good work Eliana! :) Keep growing safe and healthy for your mommy and daddy!

Holly said...

It definitely is a permanent thing. I've realized that when I talk to family members who are 10 yrs and 19 yrs out and the church member in his 70s who couldn't bear to come to our daughter's service b/c it hurt too much and reminded him of the baby he lost.

Happy 14 months in Heaven Isaac

Karen said...

Beautiful post...My own grief has definitely changed from those first few days. This week was the first week I have not cried every. single. day. I keep thinking, "am I forgetting her?" But blogs like yours confirm that I am not forgetting her but still grieving in my own way.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Jen said...

Every time you post it is abundantly clear why God chose you to be Isaac's mom.What a blessing it is to feel God's strength in you, through your words. Isaac is so so thankful to God I am sure, as well, that for the time he was on Earth, that he was with you. Thank you for sharing your heart with us, and Isaac of course. I'll never forget him, and I thank you for the chance to "meet" him.

Rachel Tenpenny Crawford said...

I like your scripture at the end of this post. It really spoke to me. I know EXACTLY what you are describing in this post. I lost my twin daughters 18 months ago and I am pregnant again expecting in August. My grief, although incapacitating at times, is more like that dull ache you describe. Something will always be missing, two somethings, in my life and there is simply no way around that. And it will be that way until Heaven. Thank you for sharing.

Cynthia said...

What beautiful words. You continue to be an inspiration to me.

Grow stong sweet baby, can't wait to meet you.

The Bilslands said...

Thank you for your post and your blog. I have been following along after learning that my daughter had a rare chromosome disorder. We lost her last week at 36 weeks. I am just in a daze right now, I don't even know how to process the fact that she is gone. Thank you for the link to the MISS website. i think that will be a great help.

I am praying for your family! you have a beautiful faith and talent with writing.