Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sometimes You Just Have To Let It Out

Okay, this post has been sitting in my draft box for a while. Recently when my walls felt as though they were closing in, I would sit and type it all out on the computer, but that is as far as it went. The publish button was never hit because I was not ready for the world to see. It was uncomfortable for me to share such vulnerable emotions because this is such an ugly side of grief, and I don't like for others to witness this agony. Everyone grieves differently, and sometimes it may cause you to think or do things that you would not normally. The thought of sharing this with others always scared me because I didn't want people to think bad of me for something that, for the most part, I couldn't control just because they may not understand the grief process. So it was just safer sitting in my draft box. My thoughts suddenly changed the other day when I was reminded why I created this blog in the first place. This blog was developed to share Allie's story and possibly help others going through similar experiences. How am I helping others that may be struggling with grief if I sugar coat it all? Therefore, I decided to just let it all out. The following is pretty much a summary of the emotions from my draft box:

Michael and I have, of course, have been struggling with our emotions. Probably me a little more so than Michael now, because even though we are both on the same journey we travel different paths from time to time, which is perfectly normal. He hit this latest stage a little sooner than me, so he has had more time to start pulling back out of the valley while I am now sliding head first into the valley. It is difficult trying to help each other through these tough times when you are both hurting, and we do our best, but there are also times when we have just said, "I love you and I'll meet you on the other side." This summer went really well for me. I was handling my emotions well, I was able to be strong for Michael, I was relaxed, and I was even feeling better. I honestly thought I was on the road to "recovery" (I know there is not really a true recovery from such tragedy, but you know what I mean). Then August hit, and my world turned upside down. I'm not sure if it was because of school starting back or that it was Allie's birthday month or the combination of everything, but I suddenly found myself in a very scary state of mind. I am smart enough to know that there are stages of grief that everyone tends to go through when faced with tragedy. For some reason I also believed that since I knew these stages then I could recognize what was happening and possibly just skip right through. I had just walked Michael through, so I should be fine, right? This, obviously, was not the case. My emotions seem to be caught in a whirlwind that is spinning fiercely out of control. I cannot tell heads from tails. I went from having an abundant amount of faith to having little or no faith at all. My eyes blinked and it disappeared. The devil is really good at what he does, and he knows that I am vulnerable because I am a mommy with a broken heart (easy target). I have fought, and fought, and fought, but it is just too difficult. He has me wrapped so tight in his grip that I am almost suffocating, and I'm tired. I am so tired that I am just threads away from giving up, and my thread is frayed. It would be so easy to not get out of bed anymore, it would be so easy to quit work, it would be so easy to quit going to church, it would be so easy to just stop everything. The least little bit of difficulty shuts me down completely now. I cannot handle the slightest change, the simplest decision, or the tiniest addeded stress. Being able to manage my weight feels like a lost cause at the moment because even though I know what to do to loose it and try to make myself feel better, I don't have the motivation to even get started (which just adds to the cycle, because that causes me to get depressed). To add to all of this emotional craze, I can't seem to shake the guilt. I still continue to beat myself up about things that were completely out of my hands. It is so bothersome to me that I had to watch my baby suffer (it doesn't set well with me, and I don't know if those images will ever leave my mind). I'm still taking those baby steps through this entire process, and I am praying that this stage will pass soon. There is so much anger and confusion, which upsets me because I am not typically in this state of mind, but this is one of the changes grief has brought on me. Michael and Mason are my focus at the moment and what keep me going. I know that I will eventually make it to the other side, but until then I pray that I can regain my strength to stomp that devil back down where he belongs. I hate to be so brutally honest, but I want to let others know that it is normal to feel some of these emotions when dealing with grief so they are not mislead. Please continue to pray that God will give us strength, comfort, and peace. Thank you.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Month's Worth of Catching Up.

Well, as you may have noticed it has been a month since my last post (Allie's, would have been, 1 year birthday to be exact), and there are many factors that have played into my absence that I may post about later, but now we have a lot of catching up to do. First, I would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming response to Allie's Birthday Butterfly Kisses. You all went above and beyond the simple request of wanting to send out a few virtual butterflies on Allie's birthday, and we wound up with a superb slide show of over 300 gorgeous butterflies to view at anytime and remember our Little Allie. What a special tribute we now have in her honor, and it is all thanks to my very special family and friends and bloggie buddies. Thank you again.

As for Allie's real butterfly release, it was absolutely precious. Many family and friends joined in the memorial. Watching the Monarch butterflies gracefully fly from their envelopes was truly an amazing site. There was so much symbolism and emotion in the release, and I was so proud that we had the opportunity to do this in Allie's memory. Afterwards we had a celebration at the house, complete with all of the food and decorations that we always did for her, to remember the happiness of the short but precious life she lived. This was such an emotional day for us, and we did the celebration because we wanted to honor her life but also because it gave us something to focus on building up to the day. It was rather difficult planning a birthday party without the guest of honor, but it was something that I knew had to be done. I collected butterfly balloons for months and just had them blown up that day, put all of the butterfly photos into the slide show, prepared for the celebration, etc. I even baked her butterfly cake and cupcakes because I knew I wouldn't be sleeping the night before her birthday anyway, and I could just focus on trying to create something beautiful for her. The memorial was beautiful and perfect for her, and we could not have been more pleased.

It is almost hard to believe that last year at this time we were having her first birthday party. It definitely wasn't your typical birthday party. It wasn't a party to celebrate an entire year of life, there were no presents stacked in the corner to be opened, and the birthday song was barely recognized through the rain of tears, but it WAS a birthday party. It was to celebrate only one month of life, but that one month was like a year to us. Most Trisomy 18 babies don't even make it to birth, but she had lived one entire month. She deserved to experience it all, even the birthday parties. I will never forget the look on the ladies face when I stepped up to the counter and said, "I would like to order a birthday cake, and I want it say Happy 1 Month Birthday!" I am now so thankful for those birthdays, and I am so proud that we were able to celebrate a few with her before she entered Heaven.

Another special moment in time:
You may also remember from last year that Auburn University dedicated the first eagle's flight to Allie. My cousin, Tina, is good friends with Marianne, the eagle trainer at AU, and after hearing Allie's story she felt the need to do something and decided that would be a special tribute for her. I am still amazed by the kindness that was out poured by everyone during those difficult times and even still. Anyway, Michael's goal this year was to go to the first Auburn game to see the eagle's flight. He knew it was going to be emotional for me, but asked anyway, and after some thought and discussion I agreed to go. It didn't take long to get things moving. Michael mentioned that we would be trying to go to his dad, and in no time he had already talked to a friend and had tickets to the first game on the way. Isn't he just the best father-in-law ever! He also knows how to choose his friends wisely :) We are very grateful to them. I am so glad that we went. It was still emotional, but I had some positives to keep in mind as well. This was Mason's first college football game, and he absolutely LOVED it! I think it is his new obsession :) Of course, we went all out. By half time he had already indulged in a true ballpark hot dog, nachos, and cotton candy. To top it all off, he ended the game with a large snow cone. Watching the eagle was also a treat. I think it was a record flight time. I'm not really sure, but I know it was the longest flight that I had ever witnessed and I heard several similar comments from others that were at the game as well. Spirit continued circling and circling and gracefully soaring as the crowd roared with its "War Eagle" ~ gives me chill bumps just thinking about it. I'm going to leave you now with a few photos of Allie's celebration and even a few "illegal" ones of Mason at the game :) Yeah, Michael and I were not thinking at all, and decided that it would be better to take the video camera because it could take both video and still images. Well, when we got up to the gate the little guy informed me that I was not allowed to take video cameras inside the stadium. Ugh...Michael and I are so unfocused these days that we didn't even think to check for items that we could take and not take in the stadium. He just gave me a sweet grin though and told me to put it away in my bag and promise not to use it. I put it away immediately and agreed to not use it, but come on, it was my son's first Auburn football game! I couldn't bare to think that I would not be able to capture one single moment of this experience, so I snuck it out for just a few shots every now and then :) (sorry)


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