Life

…with his heart against a thorn.

I’m sitting here with our precious Shailo snuggled against my chest, listening to my heart beat, beat, beat. His favourite place to lay, his most cozy comfy spot. Chase is nestled up next to us on the couch with his beloved stripey pillow and a warm, freshly dried blankie. His feet tucked underneath my leg to stay warm and probably for comfort – momma is close by.

I absolutely {love} this. And oh how my heart, and quite possibly theirs, needed this today.

I’ve held back a lot lately with the truth of where I am and today I just really want to share. I feel raw and open and ready for what’s to come with pushing publish on this post.

But first, a poem my momma gave me from Streams in the Desert;

Once I heard a song of sweetness,

As it cleft the morning air, 

Sounding in its blest complteness,

Like a tender, pleading prayer;

And I sought to find the singer,

Whence the wondrous song was borne;

And I found a bird, sore wounded,

Pinioned by a cruel thorn.

I have seen a sould in sadness,

While its wings with pain were furl’d,

Giving hope, and cheer and gladness,

That should bless a weeping world;

And I knew that life of sweetness,

Was of pain and sorrow borne,

And a stricken soul was singing,

With its heart against a thorn.

Ye are told of One who loved you, 

Of a Saviour crucified, 

Ye are told of nails that pinioned, 

And a spear that pierced his side;

Ye are told  of cruel scourging,

Of a Saviour bearing scorn,

And He died for your salvation,

With His brown against a thorn.

Ye “are not above the Master.”

Will you breathe a sweet refrain?

And His grace will be sufficient,

When your heart is pierced with pain.

Will you live to bless His loved ones,

Tho’ your life be bruised and torn,

Like a bird that sang so sweetly,

With its heart against a thorn?

 How beautiful, right? I cry even now as I read it again.

I could probably do a blog post for each thing that’s on my heart and mind today; depression and anxiety. feeling like a failures. finding identity in things we do and in others. high expectations of others and of ourselves. believing lies in mommahood. The list goes on… and because I don’t really know where to begin because, today I think I’ll kind of clump it all together. So if that sounds intriguing, read on. ;)

I know many dear dear loved ones, both friends and family, who struggle with depression or anxiety. Looking at their lives I never once felt it was a sign of weakness for them. Never. Yet here I am today, being incredibly raw, yes, but terrified to press publish on this post. Fear of what others might think of me or where I’m at. I always fear of someone telling me (face to face or through social media) that I speak to much of Eisley or that it’s time for me to move on or that they are tired of hearing about her and our loss. Today I’m sharing because honestly, I feel really broken and confused and my heart needs to hear from others and their experiences and wisdom, etc in this area of feeling depressed, anxious or like a failure.

It’s been a slow downward spiral for me. It wasn’t like one morning I sudden woke and felt this way. It’s been a slow digression. I’ve allowed myself to believe lies about who I am and how I’m doing things. I’ve found myself seeking for the approval of those around me that I love most. I’ve also placed high and unrealistic expectations on myself and those I love. Seeking for comfort, seeking for a way to fill this void within me. I feel lost, confused and broken. I’ve been trying to seek after His heart for me and sometimes I feel that is so abstract that I just don’t even know how to do that as well…

I’ve feared sharing the truth with people for a while now, because if I shared how I am really doing perhaps they’d think Eisley’s life didn’t change me for the better. Perhaps they’d think that the peace I talked of feeling when we lost her, was all a lie. I know that I am in an entirely different place than I was last year. Last year, I did feel peace (even though in my current state I sometimes doubt myself, I know I did). Here I am now, 15 months after her death I feel more angry and confused and broken than ever before…ever in my life.

6 weeks ago we gave birth to our 3rd. Yet we brought home our 2nd child. It’s both an incredibly beautiful and healing , yet confusing time. Even though this isn’t his birth story, I wanted to share a few photos with you that Ted captured just moments away from Shailo’s birth. It pretty much sums up how I was feeling and where I know Ted was at as well.

Fearful and anxious

Crying out to Him within. Oh Jesus, please…

Let him be okay.

Let him scream, let him scream.

And oh, did he scream (they actually recorded his first scream for us!). I “wept” (just a few tears – as much as a sedated temporarily paralyzed woman could ;)) Why am I sharing this now and not solely in his birth story? I felt these pictures truly do paint a thousand words – for that moment but also for where I feel I’m at now.

I was worried that many would think Shailo’s birth would suddenly “cure me” of my aching and grieving Eisley, so I closed myself up to sharing what I’ve really been feeling these past 6 weeks.  In my pregnancy, I found myself healing in some ways with each milestone, each ultrasound and each time I heard the sound of his healthy, beating heart. At his birth, I did find myself healing in some ways. Not just in regards to losing our daughter but also healing in the birth alone. This was the first birth that wasn’t traumatizing and dream shattering for us. What I am getting at with everything that has happened in the past year and in the past 6 weeks… just as those photos above show, I am feeling an array of emotions and even in the midst of beauty I still ache. Sometimes it’s a dull ache and sometimes a sharp and piercing on which takes my breath away. I’ve been in limbo with both since we’ve had Shailo.

Celebrating his life with this dull ache in my heart. Feeling incredibly thankful for his every breath and also aching as the loss of hers. Last year I had already found the holidays to be incredibly painful without her here with our little family. This year this hasn’t changed and maybe find it even more painful, especially now that we’ve added a precious new baby. In every moment of our little family’s celebrations, victories, dreams coming true, etc… I ache and miss her and long for her to be apart of this. She should be celebrating with us.

I struggle with thoughts lately, such as; Does feeling this way and feeling depressed and anxious mean that we feel as though His grace isn’t sufficient in pain? Or is this a part of our journey? Is this a part that we will share with a weeping world in due time or can we share now, while broken and confused? Does “finding our identity in Him” mean we have to have it all together? Can we be in Him and be a broken mess too? I feel as though He’s really guiding me ever-so-gently along this journey through my grieving, through my new and growing confusion, even when and maybe especially, as these questions have risen up within me lately.

Please share your heart and thoughts with me. I know many a broken people, many with their “heart against a thorn” and I’m asking, please share with me your wisdom, your struggles, your victories, your heart…

Please.

Much love,

Jami

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14 thoughts on “…with his heart against a thorn.

  1. I recently had a misscarriage, and I still get the e-mails “You are 34 weeks pregnant etc. ” and with every one, I get angry and upset. I do have two beautiful children, but I also cant help but feel that we should be preparing for our newest addition, but we cant. I did talk to my doctor and she said you can still get some forms of postpartum even when not giving birth, but just from the hormones from pregnancy. I would talk with your doctor, because maybe all of those feelings are even stronger because of your recent birth. I hope you know it is okay to be upset and confused, and you will find the peace that you once had. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with the boys in your life. They are so precious!

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  2. A resounding amen. I found my heart feeling raw today too for some reason….holidays are hard, expectations, finding energy and time to accomplish it all perfectly, implementing new traditions….then something small triggers my pain and I find myself angry. Everyone’s journey through grief is unique and shame on those who try to impose a timeline on you. Love u friend. Wish I could hug you today.

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  3. I don’t have any words that truly relate to you . . . our first baby was healthy, I am almost 10 weeks pregnant with our second, so of course back to the constant prayers that s/he will continue to form and grow and live in these delicate days (not that I stopped praying that even for my 1-year old now, but. . .you know, these days are scary). However, I have followed your blog for a LONG time and pray for you often. My first was born on December 10 last year. . .right around Eisley’s due date. I have sobbed and sobbed for your loss. I would hold my newborn and weep for you, feeling almost guilty and not even being able to comprehend how empty your arms felt. I can’t imagine the bittersweet feeling that comes with bringing home a healthy sweet babe and yet not truly having your whole family together. I, for one, will never grow tired of hearing about the place Eisley holds in your heart and family. Never stop sharing or talking about her. She is your daughter no matter where she is. Praying for you this and every season.

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  4. Sweet Jami. There is so much truth in your words for every person, woman, momma! You even being able to verbalize your feelings is a gift for you and others. Many mommas can’t verbalize, share and are too afraid to even feel what you are sharing with others. It will help you to heal and it will continue to spread Eisley’s legacy through you. You are vividly aware of your emotions. You sometimes call it anxiety or depression…I see it differently. I see you as an amazingly emotional, feeling woman…it is a gift sweet girl! You have a gift from the Lord to feel DEEPLY what many of us either don’t feel or hide from. Keep feeling, healing, sharing and encouraging. You are doing the Lord’s work even though you may not know it.

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  5. I don’t have any wisdom to share about situations like this, but I think that we can place our identity in Him and give it all to Him without having it all together. That is the beauty in putting our identity in him. I don’t think that means that we have it together or we are exactly like him, but we are striving and we give our lives to him so that he can take care of us. What He really cares about is us trusting him and knowing that he has a plan for us and for our lives. I agree with Hannah – I will never grow tired of hearing about Eisley and your family and your struggle. I wish more people would find the strength to hit “publish” and tell others about it. God wants us to live in community and by doing this you can have community with other people all over! I’ll be praying for you all! Especially now and today after reading this.

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  6. After losing my sister 7 1/2 years ago much changed for my family. I was 15, old enough to see what my parents went through. After having my own little girl last year… I cried for them cause I couldn’t imagine my girl gone. I still grieve and long for my sister. The beginning of summer is a really hard time of the year for the family. Sometimes it won’t be the anniversary of her death, but the days leading up to it, or following that are agonizing. I never saw my Dad openly cry until the last few years of my life. When one of us kids has a baby or gets married, even during family dinners, Birthdays, Holidays, my family is SO happy… but there is that ACHE that is so in our face that someone is missing. Time heals some things… time also just reminds you how LONG loved ones have been gone. I don’t live by my family… I started a new life with my husband in Illinois. Sometimes I feel so isolated and don’t know what to do with the feelings I have and wish there was someone here. God always is though… I am a mess. I am reminded that God lost a son, He knows. God’s grace IS sufficient in depression and anxiety, He’s holding you, walking with you through this. You are perfect and deserving.

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  7. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was so distraught he wept blood. It is okay for you to feel all the different feelings you are experiencing right now. It is okay for you to be talking about Eisley, and to be experiencing all the bittersweetness that this time holds for you with your new baby. Share it when and with whom you feel led to share and ignore any guilt that might come your way. Be in your moments and invite Jesus to be there with you. He will help you through, because He understands what you are going through. Praying for comfort and peace for you. Merry Christmas and Congratulations on the new baby!

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  8. Your honesty and openness are truly inspiring. I wish I had your courage and could share my feelings of loss with close family and friends (or even myself) but I’m too weak (and scared) even for that. I lost a baby at 14 weeks- February 13, 2008 – and to be honest, I have never let myself grieve that loss. Instead, I buried myself in work, and that has worked so far, but not very well. On the surface, I seem pretty calm and balanced, but on the inside, the loss has been eating at me all this time. I now have an almost 2-year old son, who is truly my sunshine, but I still feel like something is missing, though I don’t want to admit that I know what it is I just want to thank you because through your blog, I have (slowly) begun to let myself feel my own grief. Let me tell you, I hate crying so much, but it’s so much better than feeling numb most the time, which has been my status quo since that day in February.
    Sending lots of hugs!

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  9. I’m a totally random person who stumbled upon your blog. Your post moved me and jesus and our heavenly father are the only ones who know exactly what your going through them is how we are healed and find peace. Check out http://www.lds.org. I promise if you look at the site you might find a little bit uplifted, and more hope that things will get better with time. No we don’t have to have it together all the time. Life is about finding ourselves through him and experiencing the ups and downs with him. Hope this helps

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  10. Jami: You can’t measure how you are doing compared to anyone else. In your own time, the pain will fade, the joys of those two beautiful boys will give your soul the warmth you need to carry on. Your baby girl is never far. You are doing amazing. Let yourself have time, all will fall into place. I am amazed at your strength. God Bless You.

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  11. My husband and I have had two miscarriages and have also lost our baby girl at 37 weeks (stillborn). We have two young, healthy children and are expecting our sixth child in just three months. I was very angry at God for the first year after Esther’s death – I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone and I could barely drag myself out of the house some days. It’s now been four years since our Esther Hope died and there are still no answers as to why it happened. But I can promise you, Jami, that if you continue to cling to the Father, He will use your daughter’s brief life to mold you into someone more and more like Him. Grief is messy; you don’t have to have it “all together”. And there is NO time limit for healing….you can take as long as you need. There will always be events/music/smells etc. that trigger your grief but that’s okay! Please feel free to email me if you want to talk more!

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  12. You are amazing my Granddaughter. Your words have to touch so many people’s lives. Keep sharing as it is therapy for you and I know it blesses so many people. Just the fact that your faith has never waviered thru all this has to be a blessing to so many. Grief takes a long time and effects everyone differently. Just keep walking your walk .I love you beyond words.

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  13. Jami – I have followed you quietly for sometime and finally feel compelled to reply. Grief is a very personal process. After the death of my sweet Mom it took me about three years before I could finally start to pull out of the grief and anger. The anger almost destroyed me. The one thing that opened my eyes were the sage words of my wise 8-year old son. He said, “Mom, you know anger is a choice. You don’t have to be angry all of the time.” That’s when I realized that it was time to STOP being angry. I then felt guilty wondering what my anger and grief were doing to my sweet boy. I know it’s not quite the same, but someday you will start to come out of grief and anger. So don’t let anyone tell you to stop talking or stop grieving Baby E. Depression and grief go hand in hand. You will know if you have descended too far in your depression and grief, then maybe you will ask for help or recognize that yes, sadly, life goes on. You will always carry Baby E in your heart. Until then know that God is there and Baby E is your angel above.

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