Friday, October 31, 2014

Lessons Learned

This project has been wonderful for me. I didn't succeed in posting every day, but there's a reason for that. As I was writing these blogs I realized what an emotional toll it was taking on me. I left each post feeling spent. I couldn't bring myself to feel that way everyday for a month. So here we are at the end, and I'm wrapping it up by backtracking.

Day 16: Retreat. I truly took this day to heart and retreated for a while. I took a break from blogging, reading, writing, everything and just rested. It was definitely needed, and it's something I need to be more intentional about doing regularly.

Day 17: Explore: Where are you on your journey? I've put a great deal of thought into this this month. As I've been praying and working through it, I can see where I've grown and where I could use some improvement. Where I am today: I'm coming to grips with Hope being our only one. I can see how our losses have changed her and shaped her into the sweet, caring girl she is. I also see where our families have a tendency to spoil her in an attempt to compensate for her lack of siblings. I don't think any of us do it intentionally, but we've all done it at one time or another. Personally I've spent this month praying for peace with where I am right now. I'm trying to be comfortable in our little bitty everyone knows everyone town, I'm trying to accept that God doesn't want us to have more kids right now, and I'm trying to enjoy working at my part time job away from home. It's not in my field, it doesn't pay well, and it's not what I want to do forever, but for now it pays the bills. It's hard work changing your heart. It takes plenty of prayer and practice.

Day 18: Gratitude: I read Ann Voskamp's book 1000 Gifts and LOVED it! I really want the journal to help me do a better job of tracking my gratitude. Every day I'm so incredibly grateful God has allowed me to raise Hope. Being her mom is the most wonderful gift. I'm thankful for Shaun and his support through this. I know I'm not an easy wife on a good day, and our marriage has had more bad than good. This in turn makes me all the more grateful for our good times. One thing Hope and I have done for the past two years is a blessings jar. As often as we can we write down little things we're grateful for. At the end of the year we dump them out and write each one down in a journal. It's my hope that one day we can look back and see how many blessings we could find, even in the hardest years.

Day 19: Give: Shaun always drops change in donation jars. He donates to absolutely every cause out there. This week I noticed the March of Dimes jars at one of our gas stations. Since Carolyn died I've taken a greater interest in March of Dimes. Losing William just increased that tenfold. For the first time ever, Shaun didn't automatically drop his change in the bucket, so I quickly told him to. Then I briefly explained our MOD affiliation with the attendant, who smiled.

Day 20: Breathe: Last week I took two days off housework. I noticed I was getting exhausted and run down, and Shaun asked me to slow down at home and take some time for myself. The first day I felt uncomfortable letting the mess sit, but the second I was more relaxed and better focused at work. Of course by the end of the week those two days were affecting everything else, so Shaun acknowledged the need for him & Hope to help me more. We're discussing chore charts and schedules that we can all work around. It'll take some time, but we'll adjust to me working outside the home.

Day 21: Relationships: Grief has impacted every single relationship I have. For better or worse, nothing is the same. I don't really feel like I have a relationship with William. In fact, the thought of having a relationship with him sounds foreign to me.

Day 22: Self-Care: I really struggle with this, especially now that I work outside the home. I feel incredibly selfish if I take any time for myself. I think I'll talk to Shaun about it and maybe we'll do something special this weekend.

Day 23: Inspiration: Have your children inspired you in your life? Maybe it is someone you found because of your children that has inspired you. Share about who or what you draw your inspiration from. Living an inspired life is one of the greatest things you could ever do. Waking up feeling excited about my day is something that I never imagined would happen after our son died, but it did. I know today’s subject will not resonate with some people as the thought of waking up feeling inspired to be alive is one of the last things you are feeling. So if you feel you cannot take part today, maybe just have a look at what others are saying. It is my hope that this post might inspire some feelings in your own heart to start searching for some inspiration for your own life. 

I'm going to check out the website for some inspiration. I have nothing to say today.

Day 24: Forgiveness: Losing William allowed me to forgive someone I'd hated for years. That's something I never dreamed would happen.

Day 25: Mother Earth: Not participating. We don't own our home, so I can't plant a tree. I may look into the online sites that will plant a tree for you. That we might be able to do.

Day 26: Healing Ritual: Shaun meditates. When he first told me years ago I expressed interest in learning. Life got in the way and he hasn't been able to show me yet. I'll ask him to this weekend. Hope isn't here, and after this journey I'll need it.

Day 27: Express: Something I wanted to see this month: The chance to write a letter to our children. What would you say to them today? What would you say to the sibling that's here? How do you picture their relationship in the future? (There's an article I shared on Facebook about sibling grief. It's on Still Standing Magazine if you want to read it.)

Day 28: Wisdom: Keep moving forward. Even if it feels like each day is only a babystep, keep going. You're one step closer than yesterday.

Day 29: Reflect: What is your relationship with your grief like right now? I don't have as much jealousy as I did before. I still hate holidays, though, because I should have more children to prepare. It's not fair that others have so many and I only have one. When I think about it, I still struggle with anger at God for withholding the blessing of children from us. So I try not to think about it. I pray for my heart to change. Some days I feel it has, then other days something will trigger a whole new wave of grief. I have to remind myself I still have a year and one month in my twenties, I could have two babies before I'm 30! I don't think I will, but I have to remind myself anything is possible. My motto has always been "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst". In this, it is so hard to prepare my heart for no more babies or more losses. Each month I hope and pray this will be it. I'm praying for God's will and PEACE with whatever that is. I'm trying so hard to find peace where I am, and it's not coming at all, and that hurts. Holidays and special days I physically hurt from trying to be peaceful.

Day 30: Intention: I intend to honor my children through praying for a child their age. I know plenty of them, and I know their moms wouldn't mind me praying for them.

Day 31: Sunset: Picture Coming Soon!

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