3 years.

“I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all – oh, how well I remember – the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember and remembering, {I keep a grip on hope.}

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning, how great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over) He’s all I’ve got left.”

Lamentations 3:19-24

eisleysbirthdayballoonrelease-53 years ago this morning we found ourselves in a place we’d never imagined. The morning our sweet and strong Eisley-girl passed away.

In some ways I can’t believe it’s been 3 years already. But honestly, it many ways, it feels like a lifetime since I held her in my arms, since we said our hellos and goodbyes.

We miss her so very much.

The ache, the ‘Eisley shaped hole’ still ever-present.

Even 3 years later, in remembering, it feels hard to breath. I sometimes still want to stomp my feet like a child, it just doesn’t seem fair. Or cry until I can’t anymore as if it would help ease the grief. Or veg out – like I did first thing this morning – to be completely honest. My boys woke super early. I walked to the living room, made them breakfast and then turned on a season of Project Runway. I didn’t want to think. I knew where my mind would go, and I was afraid of that.

That horrible morning still takes away my breath if I allow myself to think about it. The past few years I’ve found that I push Ted away, when this week comes around. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why until today. Even with all of my months of grief and trauma counseling, I still can’t fully “go there”, to that morning, to having my fears confirmed, to what it felt like to feel alone; to be away from Ted when I heard the news… How do we wrap our minds around this? I mean, can we? Do we even really want to? And add to that, our circumstances of that day which didn’t allow Ted to be with me when we lost her. I couldn’t even muster up the courage to call and tell him myself. Which I’ve forever regretted.

I realized today that when this anniversary of her death comes around, I want to push Ted away, shut him out. I was alone when I lost her and feel confused and alone even still, but that isn’t HIS fault. He is incredible; he practically became a single dad over night, while going to College and working full time. I mean, come on. Our circumstances just totally sucked, for lack of a better, non-profane word.

I realized today, I need to let him in. I need to let those who want in, in. Just because I was alone the morning of her death, doesn’t mean I have to be alone in grieving her. Ted was alone that day too. Most of our family and friends were alone too when they heard.

Eisley’s birthday is Tuesday September 17th and we will celebrate her life. I think on the 14th it will always be especially difficult and painful, because it was and in many ways, it still is. I think I need today and each September 14th to really just let it out, grieve and not hold back. This year I am not. The past two years I’ve forced this or that to happen and this year, I’m rolling with it. This morning I needed to veg. Now, I want to feel. Ted sent me off to a cafe to have time to myself. To journal and blog and do whatever I need to do. I am so thankful.

eisleybirthdaycollage13

(Chaseyboy on the 1st anniversary of her birthday. September 17, 2011)

I’ve been somewhat of an open book here on my blog, about the loss of Eisley and our journey through grief. I’ve come to accept that this is me. This is who I am and what I have felt has helped me process. And I just run with it. Thank you to those of you who’ve allowed me to just be me. Who haven’t judged me, or at least not to my face ;) Over the past 3 years, and in all my sharing, I’ve only ever heard two comments of negativity towards my sharing. Thank you for never shutting me down. Thank you for listening and caring.

Thank you mostly for remembering our sweet girl with us. We are forever grateful and honoured that she too touched and inspired your lives.

Much love.

Jami Joann

 

 

Advertisements

my dream; the perfect picture.

(balloon pendant I bought from Mayo Mahem on Etsy)

Saturday night I dreamt I stood on a tiny little box and held tight to thousands of pink balloons. They lifted me and took me high into the sky (like you know when you’re on an airplane and you pass the first set of clouds and it kind of looks like a plain of clouds? I got that high) but then a point came where I could no longer hold onto them. The wind tossed them so strongly that little by little I let go. And I fell and as I fell I watched the balloons fly higher and higher until out of sight. I was so upset that I couldn’t hold on, that I’d let go…

I fell into the ocean and came up for my first breath only to have this wave immediately hit me and pull me under. Every time I would try to catch my breath, another wave came and then another and then another. (This was the majority of my dream until I woke)

I can’t even begin to tell you how perfectly this dream mirrors how I feel. I mean, at first I didn’t think so. At first, I felt upset and panicked when I remember how I felt in my dream, when I couldn’t hold on to the balloons. I told Ted I was afraid it “meant” I need to let her go. He immediately told me, no he didn’t think that’s what it represented. He felt it perfectly represented losing Eisley and how we felt when we lost her. That resontated in me. I wept.

If I could take how I feel and put them into a picture, this dream is a perfect picture.

When we lost Eisley, I felt an array of emotions. I can’t really pinpoint one. But I can say I had an overwhelming desire to hold on when I knew I couldn’t. Watching the “balloons” slip from my fingers until I could no longer hold them. The to watch them fly higher and higher, away from me, out of my reach, my heart screaming “no, no, no!” when my mind knew so clearly I couldn’t do anything to get “them” back.

And then, before I knew it, the waves came roaring in with all of their might and strength and swept me under before I can catch my breath fully. Before I even knew what was happening. And then the waves keep coming. Here and there the “waves” calm and I’m able to fully catch my breath and brace myself for the next round.

I was talking with my friend Petra about my dream. When I shared my dream with her, she immediately shared something so profound with me. I was hesitant to even share my dream on my blog but the collaboration of my dream, my feelings and the things I and others feel it means. I just had to share because I just had this feeling this would really, really speak to someone else like it did me.

(image from pinterest)

“right now you are in grief
because of the trauma and the sadness
grief = the crashing waves
suffocating
stifling
that make it feel like you will never breath again
but they will begin to ebb …you will still experience sorrow and sadness
the waves will grow gentler with time
gradually the grieving season will end
not the sadness
not the sorrow
not the missing Eisley
but the grief
the heart gripping, gut wrenching grief
it will
i promise
i know right now it feels like you can’t breath
and i don’t know how long the grieving process will take
and i also think its really important you let you know that you can have the saddness without the grief
that there will be a time where it feels as if you have grieved
don’t feel like you need to do it again
and dont start trying just because the feelings arent as deep anymore
because the seasons are all important
grief is not the goal
and its not the end
it is a process and it is so VERY necessary to embrace it
and to let jesus and those around you help be your life raft
take your time grieving
if you don’t grieve her now
and take all the time you need
then you will again later
and again
and again and agin
again
and it will eat.you.up.
when you know the season of grieving is coming to an end…let go of that part
not of eisley
that’s not what you’re letting go of
by allowing yourself to move from grieving to the next season may feel like at times you’re letting go of her
and i’m encouraging you now not to feel that way
when the time comes.
right now you have…the ache from missing her, the crushed dreams, the grief from loosing a child, the trauma from her birth,etc…, all together
the ache won’t go away
ever
you will ALWAYS miss her.
BUT you won’t always feel it as acutely as you do now
you won’t always feel all these things all together; the grief and the trauma…there will be a time when they are replaced with joy and laughter
i know that might sound trite
its not like you will ever forget that those things happened
but you will have the grace to carry on
and be able to feel his joy being your stregnth
but that ache and missing her will still be present
Whew. I copied her words during our conversation and pasted them in a note on our computer because I want to put them in my journal, they just really resonate and help me to understand my grieving in a better way.
I’ve been battling and trying to understand how I would ever stop grieving when I ache this much right now. I don’t know if I could even clearly express with words this battle within me. Whenever I hear “time heals all wounds” or anything related to with time it will get better, etc… my heart is confused. How is this possible? I don’t want time to heal this wound. I will always ache and I want to ache. I can’t explain what goes on inside of me when I think of the future and what people tell me of grief and “the grieving process”.
Slowly the pieces are slowly “falling into place” inside of my head and my heart with grieving, sorrow, loss, aching and the future. I’ve let it really bring me down but realized that I need to be in this moment now without letting it completely control me but also making sure I am really allowing myself to grieve how I need to grieve. In a healthy way. This dream and what I (and others) feel it represents helps me to understand this even more.
I need to be in this moment.
And this might sound crazy, but right now, I’d rather be in the crashing waves, banged up and bruised; feeling.
I’d rather this than be numb or to be done grieving. I’m not ready to be done.
All the while, I am carrying her in my heart.
Not letting her go, because I don’t have to.
I can face grief full force knowing this.

shatter, shatter, pause, repeat.

(Eisley’s ornament for 2010)

Shatter, shatter, pause, repeat.

Sometimes the “shattering” is so deafening I just want to climb into bed and sleep the days away so not to deal with any of this. This probably seems incredibly dramatic, but it’s the honest-to-goodness truth.

Before our sweet girl passed away, I would have break downs, but never fully shattered because I had {hope} that she would live. September 14th so began the shattering …and it didn’t end there. It follows me and sneaks up on me as I’m reminded of dreams we had for Eisley, or even in the little things,  like today when I watching Chase play by himself in the bath.

There is an Eisley shaped hole everywhere I look, in everything we do.


I’m walking a road I’ve never walked before this year;  the road of mourning the death of a loved one. I’m 23-years-old and this is the first time I have lost a loved one. I was still in the womb when my biological father passed away and even though it did affect me growing up, I still didn’t feel loss in such a way as I do now. I lost my great-grandfather when I was 2 and honestly I don’t remember much. I’ve stood beside my husband as he grieved the death of his friend Phil, which was heart wrenching for me but in such a different way. I still have all my great grandmothers, all of my grandparents, my siblings, my friends, etc.

My first time ever losing a loved one and I’ve lost my daughter, my Eisley. It’s completely overwhelming that I sometimes wonder how people survive after loss. Some days I struggle wondering if I will ever be able to move forward. I struggle with not letting my mind go to the “what ifs”. There is just SO much that swirls through my mind, so many questions…. Will I always grieve? Will this ache ever cease? Do I really want it to? What would life have been like with Eisley? Should I even go there?  Will I be the voice I want to be for my daughter? ETC.

Or things like, How do you cope with seeing reminders so often? How do you rejoice in others joys as you ache so deeply? How do you respond with someone downplays what you went through? How do you respond to people who wonder why we’re still grieving, as if Eisley wasn’t a life?

Or things like how I’ve overreacted;  to people who didn’t say a word to us throughout everything, like how I, the very day I got home from the hospital, deleted a lot of people from my friends on facebook just because they didn’t say a word to us. Or how I’ve allowed reading/hearing things affect me to the point I was in tears. Or how I’ve taken certain things people have said directly/indirectly to us when their heart intentions were probably pure.

I’m learning a lot right now, in my first time walking through loss.

It’s. so. so. so. overwhelming.

My mom just called me as I was blogging this and asked me how I was doing after the let down after the holidays. Oh…that might partly explain the sudden overwhelming I-don’t-wanna-get-out-of-bed feeling I had this morning.

I’ve been so busy making gifts for the past month at least, I’ve had a dear friend visit me and my mother-in-law come to town for a week, 3 Christmas celebrations, etc. It’s been busy, busy, busy and now it’s all calmed down. I never once felt completely okay over the holiday, but I also kept busy (sometimes intentionally) because I knew it would be hard to just sit still. I didn’t really think of after the holiday. I didn’t expect waking up this morning to be so difficult.

Bleh.

In November, I found myself in this pivotal moment where I knew if I didn’t pick myself up… I might never. So I began creating things for fall and Thanksgiving, and suddenly realized how therapeutic it was for me. I can’t explain it fully but it was so very healing. I realized that it was helping me and kept going and decided instead of giving up my goal of creating handmade Christmas gifts, that I would try. And I did it and it was {so} good for me.

All that to say, I’ve decided I am opening a Etsy store because creating is so very therapeutic for me. I feel like this is a really good outlet. I am hoping to get my Etsy store going soon. I think I need to because it’s healing. (Maybe it was perfect that I didn’t get the 2 nanny jobs I interviewed for?)

One thing that will help me immensely in the area of creating are a few of the gifts I received this year… I was pretty shocked to get a Cricut and a sewing machine plus Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabric gift cards! It’s so perfect and the best timing!

Please pray for me all around?

Thanks for loving me, even in my all over the place state.

Love, Jami

p.s. I’m doing a small giveaway on my blog this week. I will be posting it in the next two days and will announce the winner on 1.1.11!

The “F” word (not what you think).

Tonight I can’t sleep for many reasons but the main one is that I can’t stop thinking about the  f word.

Funeral home.

The place I sometimes passed on a drive here or there but never imagined I would someday be walking into to plan the burial of my daughter. Today marks 6 weeks since we have birth to Eisley and we have yet to burry her.Yep, you heard right. Part of the reason F word is always on my mind because our daughter is still there. We have yet to even buy a plot and I’m reminded of that every day because we live a few blocks from the cemetery where she will be burried. I can’t even bring myself to call and make the final arrangements for her burial and honestly I think it’s for that very reason. Final arrangements seems so official.

She is gone.

We are reminded of this everyday and yet sometimes it still stuns me that this is our reality. She is gone. I don’t want to watch them put her in the ground because it feels so awful even thinking about it.

The other reason the F word is still on my mind is because they are going to call us any day now and tell us we need to come and get her body or we need to buy a plot and get it over with. Of course, they will probably not be so direct and blunt as I just was, but that’s pretty much the jist of it.

The first time we walked into the funeral home, they had no idea who we were. There was a mix up and somehow a different Alnutt Funeral Home had all of our information. It took so much to muster enough strength for us to even walk through their front doors and then they didn’t even know who we were or why we were there.

The second time we went in, just a few days later, they had us sit in a room with a really nice lady and fill out a bunch of paper work. When she asked me the name of my daughter and how to spell it, I made it through E-I-S-L-E-Y and by the time I got to her middle name I couldn’t even speak. I just kept thinking, “this isn’t happening” although clearly it was. After the paperwork came the hardest part… picking out an urn to put our daughter in. She handed us a booklet with a bunch of different urns. All of them just looked so awful. Like death. Like I was in a funeral home picking out an urn. As we were looking through the choices, she told us that she knew of a few really pretty ones and ran and grabbed another book.

Ted and I both just really wanted to get out of there quickly, but we had both talked prior to coming in, about picking out a beautiful urn so we waited. When she came back we flipped through the pages and Ted stopped and pointed to a beautiful pink and black coloured urn with a flower on the front of it and said, “That one. It reminds me of you.” We’ve talked about how Eisley probably would have been a lot like me  so that one just felt so perfect.  That might sound weird, picking out a “beautiful” urn and I can’t really, honestly find the words to explain why but it helped a little.

Walking out of the funeral home was a relief  and an incredibly sickening feeling all at the same time. It all just seems so official. And to think of burrying her… I can’t even go there. It’s going to take the same strength to burry her as it was to walk into the funeral home the first time… and then again the second time. The same strength it took to go through 3 days of labor (and I don’t mean physical strength), the strength it takes to get up everyday, the strength it takes to get out of the house, the same strength it took for me to go to my follow up appointment, etc, etc, etc…

I feel like we’re in a valley right now, where the sun can’t shine because it’s so deep. It feels so lonely and dark and scary because there are a lot of unknowns behind and ahead of us.  Along the way we’ve stumbled again and again at the painful reminders that she is gone and sometimes it takes us a day or two or more to get back up. But I know, deep inside, that if we can keep moving forward, our feet will once again walk upon ground where the sun is shining bright.