Monday, October 1, 2012

Capturing Your Grief: Day One

October is here.

I have spent the last 11 months dreading its return.

Its already pushing down hard; making it difficult to breathe. The familiar feelings of desperation, hopelessness and sadness have started creeping in... making themselves at home. The crisp fall air that used to invigorate me, now breezes in to steal my breath away. Brilliant reds and yellows covering the trees bring me back to the day I first stood over a pile of freshly turned earth. The darkness of night starts to descend earlier and signals the start of the holiday season...

Two years ago, Ellie was here. She was alive. She was breathing in that fresh fall air. Then all of a sudden, she wasn't. She was just gone. And even though this last year was easier than the previous, the fall has hit hard. October hit hard.

The busyness of a special needs child, two newborns and Ellie's Light has provided unbelievable reprieve from the constricting grief that follows the loss of a child... but if there is one thing I've learned the last two years, it's that grief comes in waves. And lately, it's hitting hard. Our house is filled with laughter and happiness- there is no denying that. But it should be filled with more laughter. There should be more chaos. No amount of busyness can cover up what we are missing. I have gladly lost myself in the here and now of our life the last few months. But fall has rushed in and brought with it, all those feelings of what used to be and what is felt like those first few months without her...

Over the past few months, I've stepped away from this part of my life. I rarely blog and although I still read some blogs, I'm not as dedicated as I should be to some people that have been really good friends. I needed a break from it, I needed to really focus on being present for the children that are still here- in front of me. But I feel like that backing away has also made me feel like I've backed away from Ellie. And I'm not ok with that.

For awhile, I haven't been able to separate my happy memories from the sadness of not having her here. I have a hard time looking at her pictures, videos make me burst into tears. In my efforts to avoid the sadness- the grief, I've avoided Ellie. That makes me feel like a horrible mom.

I miss my baby. Just thinking that makes my throat tighten and tears come to my eyes. Fall has arrived, and with it, all the feelings I've so successfully dodged... like I said, I hate October.

Besides October being the month we lost Ellie, it's also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The wonderful and amazing CarlyMarie has put together a project to raise awareness and allow us to speak about our grief and our babies. Each day, we are supposed to take a certain picture and share it others. The project is called "Capture Your Grief." And for me, it couldn't be more fitting- perfect timing...

So here it is...

Day One: Sunrise

Of course, I didn't get a picture of today's sunrise. The babies had just eaten and I fell back to sleep in bed with Levi... By the time I woke up, people were getting crabby and hungry again. So I am going to share a picture we already have.

I swear, since Ellie died, there have been more pink and purple sunsets than ever before. I am convinced that they are Ellie's way of telling us that she's still here, looking over us. We tell the kids that those brilliant pink and purple sun scapes are her paintings for them. One of Ellie's paintings always seems to appear just when we need it most... that's my girl... I thank her every time we get one.

Christmas 2010 was Ellie's two month Angelversary. It was supposed to be her first Christmas- not our first without her. We didn't put up a tree. We weren't in the mood for Christmas. Max was newly diagnosed with autism and hated presents. He didn't understand the magic of Christmas. We had no reason to celebrate. So we decided to flee. Thankfully, our families fled with us. We traveled to Duluth and spent Christmas in a condo overlooking Lake Superior. It was beautiful.

These pictures were taken on Dec 27th, 2010. We were packing up to go home- back to reality. Our new horrible, nightmarish reality. It was bitterly cold outside. We had just survived our first round of holidays without Ellie and were weeks away from her first birthday. I didn't want to go home.

But Ellie knew. She understood.

This was of her way of saying it was ok.

So we took her word for it. Packed our things. And headed back home to face life without her...


ferfischer said...

My thoughts are with you this month. I know this is different but October is the month of Cici's accident and so I'm no October fan either. Here's to November.

Mary said...

This brought tears to my eyes. It is so beautiful and so real. Thank you for sharing this with us. Thank you for sharing Ellie with us and her beautiful paintings in the sky. She is am amazing artist!

Stacey said...

Tiffany, your blog brings me to tears every time I read it. Probably because you express exactly how I feel, I am just not able to express my feelings as well as you. Our son passed away when he was 19 months old. Nearly everyday I feel like I'm not doing my best as his mom to honor him. it's a big struggle for me. Even though I am late in the game, I think I might try this 31 day challenge. Even if i don't post it on my blog, I think it will be a good tool for me to face my emotions and to focus on Blake. Thanks for the inspiration!

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