Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Little Bit of Learning

I have always been one of those people who spend a good deal of time looking forward to the future, anticipating what will happen with my family... how my kids will grow, what vacations we will take, what kind of a house we would raise our family in. It wouldn't be far-fetched to say that I would often remark, "Won't it be nice when..." I look back now and think that maybe it was a little bit of a control issue. I truly liked to have everything planned out. I must have driven my husband nearly insane with revisiting our five and ten year plans over and over again. Sometimes I am surprised that he puts up with me, but I'm extremely thankful too!
So one of the hardest things through all of this has been getting a grip on not being in control at all. Completely recognizing that I am no where near in control of life's circumstances has changed me in more ways than one. I won't lie and say that this is the only reason that I tend to shy away from thinking about the future now. Of course I miss Brinley and a huge part of me has had a difficult time finding anything to look forward to after her death. I struggle daily with anticipating a joy filled life and yet knowing that she will no longer be a part of it. However... and here is the good part... I am realizing that the less I long for, or worry over, or try to envision what the future holds for me the more content I am in the moment. I am so thankful that I can sit with my children and love the time that we are sharing together in such a different way than I did before.
Enough of the heavy stuff... my family is going camping this weekend for Labor Day. I am beginning to wonder how we managed tent camping with three wee ones so many times last year. I did miss going this year but I didn't miss someone waking me because they had peed their sleeping bag as I had just dozed off to sleep. And of course it never fails with another one screaming halfway through the night because they aren't sure where they are. It always gives my heart a workout because I am certain that the high pitched alarm indicates that there is an animal of some sort that has made its way into our tent. For some odd reason it is awkward to face the rest of the campers the next morning when your children were the sole reason that the entire campground didn't get any rest! This year we have flashlights and I have explained that they are to be used to check out where they are if they wake in the middle of the night. And as my five-year-old so boldly describes, "So we don't freak out!" Yes this year we don't want anyone to "freak out."
Truth be told I am just grateful to get a chance to hang out with some friends and be away from the routine for a few days. Let's hope that I can enjoy "being in the moment" with my family this weekend... especially when I have to take a little one to pee in a portable toilet in the middle of the night!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Sweet Day

Today I had a wonderful glimpse of hope for my family's future. Just fyi during the grieving process it is almost impossible to think that one day you will look forward to anything ever again. Somehow the world becomes this bland place and you feel completely apathetic about everything... from what to have for dinner to who the next president will be. So when God leaves an impression on your heart and gives you something to look forward to once again you just cling to it. I have been praying that the Lord will give me a heart for adoption once again. After Brinley died and I delivered Nathaniel six days later, I can remember telling my good friend in the hospital room that Brinley made space for another child in our family. I was convinced that it would be the child that my husband and I always had intentions of adopting.
It didn't take long for me to feel completely apathetic about this life long dream. How could I expect anything more out of myself having just lost my love? I have been crushed feeling like things that were always so important to me meant so little. Today as I was driving my family home from an outing I just felt the Lord pressing me to think about what I might like for the future of my family. It didn't take long for me to discern that He was telling me not to fret so much, that He would light the fire again somewhere along the road of healing, and that adding to our family by way of adoption would be such a wonderful tribute to my sweet Brinley. So tonight I am just clinging to what He has promised me for the future and that one day I will be excited about it again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

From Letters to Brin

My baby girl,
We are 5 months along in this journey of grief, in this journey of trying to make peace with the loss of you. I will say that through all of this knowing Jesus doesn’t make it easier but it does make it easier. I can feel that the pain is less intense for now. I can will myself (by the grace of God) to have a better day if only to make things better for Daddy and better for your sisters and brother. I try so hard to be a good Mom to them Brinley. I don’t ever want them to forget about you but I also don’t want them to say that I was never a good Mom for them because I lost you.
Brinley, your death has taught me that I know so little about the God that I serve. There is much that my human mind can’t fathom or even wrap my brain around. But loosing you has also taught me that what I do know about Him, I know well. I know that He has been faithful to our family. I know that He has provided for us and has a path for us and a purpose set before us. I know that no matter what that way may hold for us He is there with us and He is walking right along side of us. I am holding on that He has a reason for everything that He allows to happen.
I was telling someone just the other day that I have always identified with Moses’ Mother on some level and felt such compassion for her when your sister and I would read the part of the story where she obeys God and puts her tiny baby in a basket and lets go of him. Haley and I always did cry together over that even before you were gone. She has such a tender little heart. In that moment I can remember explaining to her that first Moses’ Mommy had to obey Him, even though it was so hard to do, but that after she obeyed God gave Moses back to her. I believe with all of my heart that God said to me, “You see, Brinley is in My hands now. Your job is to obey Me, I have faith in your faith, and when you do obey me I will give Brinley back to you just like I gave Moses back to his Mommy.”
I can do that Brinley, I can obey Him and follow Him not even because, but ESPECIALLY because if I do I know that one day you will be given back to me. Of all the things that I have learned this is the one thing that helps me most to keep my focus on Jesus. Sometimes I fall into bed at night and the only prayer that I can muster up is, “Lord thank you for getting me through this day. Thank you that it is over and that I am one day closer to heaven. Please let that day come quickly…that day where my entire family will be whole and completely healed.
I miss you my sweet, sweet girl. There isn’t a day, hardly a minute when I don’t look at your sisters and brother and see you in their face or their actions or laughter and play. Our newest struggle has been that we don’t know what you would be doing now. Would you be stepping up getting ready to be the big sister as Haley prepares for school in the Fall? Would we have gotten you a haircut by now? Would you be leading Corinne or following Haley around as they play? Would you like your new room? Would you be trying to carry Nathaniel around to comfort him when he cries? What would your personality look like in our family that is so very different now without you? Sometimes it is even hard to envision where you would fit in all of this. It is during those times that I close my eyes and try to remind myself that I cannot picture you here but I can try to picture you happy and healthy and perfect in the presence of the Lord.
I hope that you are proud of your Mama. For a long while I couldn’t write in any of our baby books because I knew that I wouldn’t get the chance to write in yours again. I struggled with guilt over not keeping up with them. Daddy tried to reassure me that my other babies would understand. It took almost everything in me just to pull them out and begin but I did with tears streaming down my face the entire time. Nathaniel had just gone to the Dr. so I was comparing everyone’s four months weights and I realized that I have one more comparison between you and Corinne (the two year check-up) before she will pass your age by. I don’t want for us to change Brinley. I don’t want for us to be people that you wouldn’t even recognize but it seems to be working out that way. I can’t freeze time and just skip to the end to be with you. At the same time it is just so painful that we are making all of these new memories that we don’t share with you. On some level I feel like I still haven’t figured out how to keep your memory alive while accepting that you won’t have a place in our new memories.
Will you be there Brinley when I put Haley on the bus for the first time? I wish I could know for sure. Do you get to see the same things that we marvel at as Corinne and Nathaniel grow like weeds? Do you get a chance to see your sisters and brother open up the gifts that I leave for them at the curb on special days? I let them think that they are sent from you. Do you see their faces light up when they see a gift from you? One day I am confident that I will know but until then I am hoping… Love, Mama