It is overwhelming to think that tomorrow will be one month since our sweet Elyse went to be with Jesus. I still miss her just about every minute of every day, which will probably remain for a while. We got a pack of info from Angel Babies, a ministry in Fresno through Hinds Hospice. There is a page with some insights for friends that I wanted to share. It talks about things I have been feeling, but have been unable to communicate, at least unable to communicate them well. Okay, here is an excerpt:
To our Family & Friends: Our Grief Experience Shared.
We want to share with you some of our feelings and how you can help and support us. We have suffered a tremendous loss, and we need to grieve. Even though this may be uncomfortable for others around us, it's something we MUST do. We won't be over this in a few weeks as most people expect. We will be able to adjust to the loss of our precious child if we are given the time needed to grieve. (Avereage intense grieving is 18-24 months). However, we will not be the same people we were before our loss.
We may need to talk about our baby, how much we loved our child and the details of our experience. Even though we may not have many memories we suffer from broken dreams. During this time we need others to be there and listen to us time and time again. This is the kindest thing a person can do for us. We do not want to forget our baby and we will need to mention her in the future. It would be appreciated if you would remember our baby, especially on difficult days such as anniversary days, birthdays, Christmas, and Mother's and Father's Day.
In our struggles with our grief, we may have difficulties with the following:
* Understanding our many emotions and feeling emotionally balanced.
* Coping with feelings of guilt, anger and jealousy.
* Dealing with normal daily functions due to lack of energy.
* Deciding what to do with our baby's belongings.
* Coping with the individuality of our grief as a family and as a couple.
* Sharing family celebrations.
* Seeing babies that are the same age our child would have been.
* Need to make major decisions such as subsequent pregnancies, moving, job changes, etc.
* Visiting the cemetery and purchasing a tombstone.
* Remembering our baby in special ways that are acceptable.
* Feeling different and subsequently feeling isolated.
* Dealing with physical symptoms that arise due to grieving.
Dealing with these many emotions takes a lot of courage and tedious work. It is worth it so we can have peace of mind and physical well being.
If we sound a little selfish, please understand. Only after we are able to adjust and experience the journey of grief can we reach out and help others. One day we will be able to live life in a fuller manner.
We try not to criticize others. Before our baby died, we didn't understand the full impact this loss had. We want to share this painful experience with you so others can understand our need for support. No one will be able to take our pain away, but perhaps they can be there and listen.
Reading this has been so comforting; it helps to validate some of the feelings and emotions that I have. A couple things in particular have stood out to me, the statement about grieving over broken dreams. That has been such a reality for me, you picture your family, life and future to be a certain way and then in an instant it has all changed. So not only am I missing my sweet little girl, I'm missing what I imagined her life and our life as a family would be. I'm so saddened over her and Pete not being great friends. I'm saddened over future siblings missing out on their older sis. There will always be a part of our family that is missing...
Also, the timeframe of intense grieving, 18-24 months, that seems like a long time. And yet it is hard to imagine this pain and suffering leaving us anytime soon. I think the encouraging side of that is that what we're experiencing is pretty 'normal' so to speak. I know some people expect us to be over this soon, not so much spoken expectations, but silent ones. Well we're not going to be better for a while. We know that God is good, faithful and sovereign and that we are in His hands. We trust Him with our futures, with the pain and ache and know that HE WILL complete a good work in us and through us. There is so much more on my heart and in my mind, but I think this is more than enough for right now.