In August, I talked to Becky the week before we were supposed to go on vacation. At the time, she was 36 weeks pregnant (by my doctor, Dr. McKinney…woot, woot!). We talked about the need to get together soon as you do with so many of your girlfriends. However, life was just busy, so we promised to do it the week I returned. As I returned to the states after vacation, I was browsing Facebook, and I learned that the most awful, awful, awful thing had happened.
Becky had to have an emergency c-section. Her little girl had underdeveloped lungs. They spent 38 hours with her, and she passed away.
This is a pain I cannot fathom. This makes my heart ache to think about how bad she has hurt. Becky, though…what a woman.
Since our 3+ hour dinner, I have thought a lot about everything we discussed. I have picked three things that I learned and/or realized about myself that I wanted to share. Maybe these will help you in some way, too…either dealing with your own grief or helping your friends to deal with theirs.
When you don’t know the right thing to say, listen…and maybe hug. This was probably the biggest thing that I took away from our talk. I have been feeling inadequate lately when talking to my friends that are grieving. Unfortunately, I have two other friends that just had failed IVF cycles, too. Plus, I have a couple of friends going through other non-fertility-related struggles. When I talk to them, I always try to think of the best thing to say…what I think I would want to hear. I now know that is wrong, though. What I wanted to hear after my first cycle is not what I wanted to hear after this last cycle. I have changed. The circumstances have changed. To add to that, my friends are not the same person as me. They don’t want to hear what I would want to hear. I have been so wrong, and I am so sorry to all of you for that. Instead, I should have just called them and told them that I cared and I wanted to listen…and hug them, if they were ready for that. I should have made the time to just hear them, to hear their pain. I can’t fix my friends’ problems or make their pain disappear, but I sure can listen to them. I do pray that someday, I will be better at knowing what to say in every situation. (I should follow this by saying that all of the things that have been said to me since this cycle ended were awesome. Well, except for the few “you should just adopt” comments that I have received…never a good idea. I used to be a lot more sensitive to everything anyone said to me, but I’ve changed a lot in the last 18 months. Not saying anything still hurts a little, though. I can’t lie there.)
You have to get up and keep moving forward. Becky told me last night that she and her husband knew they could dwell on the loss, stop living, and drift apart from each other, or they could get up and learn to move forward. They chose to move forward. I understand this completely. This is a decision that I feel I make every.single.day. I’m going to get up and do more than just show-up at work and get through my day. I’m going to do my best to enjoy my life. I don’t want to look back at the end of my life and think, “I remember when I had some hard times in my thirties, and I just gave up.” Instead, I want to think, “I remember when God gave me an opportunity to really grow in my thirties. Thank God for allowing me those struggles and helping me to find the strength to thrive during them.” This isn’t an easy lesson, and I still struggle with it on a daily basis. However, just as I struggle daily, I choose to continue to move forward…one day at a time. My past does not determine my future.
It’s okay to find happiness during this grieving period. Becky and Eddie had the opportunity to spend last week in San Diego. What a much-needed treat for them. However, she said that one thing she thought of regularly was that she felt guilty when they let their guards down and had fun. I can completely relate to this. I continually think about how I put happy moments on Facebook every day. (I’ve been doing it for 98 days without missing a day, for the record. Yes, I’m patting myself on the back because this was one challenge I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to complete.) Anyway, I can see how most of my friends and family think that I must not be hurting too much because I seem so happy in all of my posts. Don’t get me wrong…I am happy. I choose to find something every day that makes me happy. Surrendering my problems to God has made this easier. However, I’m still in pain. I have pain all of the time. In a moment’s notice, I can cry for you, and beware that I may. J Who wants to be around that, though? Grieving is necessary, but if I were constantly depressed, even I wouldn’t want to be around me. Again, I choose to try to keep a sunny disposition as much of the time as I can. And at least once a day, I go to a private spot (or Todd’s chest when he’s home) and allow myself a really good cry.
I realize that I am still a huge work in progress. However, I read a quote the other day:
It doesn’t have to be perfect to beautiful.
I am far from perfect. My journey has many flaws. Sometimes, I forget that I have given something to God and start worrying about it, again. I am still God’s work in progress. However, the changes that I have gone through (and I know there are many more to come) have been so beautiful in the end. Each day, I become a better follower, a stronger child of God.
Becky is a wonderful inspiration to me. Emerson, I know you are so proud of your mommy and her strength.
One more thing I learned last night is that I’m still absolutely terrified of spiders. I can actually still see the spider that was sitting below our table that we didn’t find until we had been there for nearly 2 hours. “What if it had crawled up my leg?” was asked more than once…by both of us. “Don’t step on it. It’s so big, it will crunch,” came from Becky a couple of times. No worries, my feet were way too far off the ground by this point for me to step on it. Another woman from the back of the restaurant had to come to our rescue…not the man sitting at the table behind us, instructing us to step on it. Man, that sucker was big!
|Seriously, using Google to find this was terrifying. Don't do it.|
No way was I about to put a picture of an actual spider on my blog.
Other spiders might take that as an invitation.
On a completely different note, Todd has been on a work trip since Friday. Friday, y’all!! Therefore, I have been living at my parents’ since Saturday. Tease me, I don’t care. I love hanging out with my mom and dad. They are supportive and loving and have a kitchen full of food. Oh, and my mom gives really good back scratches while we watch TV. It’s my little slice of heaven. That being said, this has been one super tough week for me. I’m not used to being away from Todd for more than 4-5 days and especially not this soon after a cycle. I have physical aches from how much I miss him. Tomorrow, though…it all ends.