Mar 18, 2014

Are There Stages?

This continues the moments that made up our lives for the weeks following Hannah's birth.  We are doing so very well now, but I wanted to share what it was like in the days and weeks after we lost our girl. Here they are.

If you'd like to read more about the story of our Hannah Grace click here.

January 7, 2014

I’m not quite sure about the stages of grief. They say we all grieve differently, but then they have five stages. They say we all spend different amounts of time in each stage and that the stages do not necessarily occur in a particular order, but then they say most people do move in the same order. I wanted a map to tell me where to go. They say we often move between stages before achieving a more peaceful acceptance of death. We had peace almost immediately, so where do the stages come in?

Denial and Isolation. I think I was in denial as they assessed things, before they brought in the ultrasound. Before the doctor nodded. And then for a moment when I cried out ‘are you sure?’ But then the doctor nodded again, and I don’t think denial was there any more. Isolation I don’t know if I ever had, my husband was at my side. My Lord was with me.

Anger. I have not yet been angry. Anger does not reside in me very often. I am heartbroken, not angry. There is no one at all to blame, so I have no one to be angry at. I understand many people could be angry at someone who was the cause of a loss, angry at themselves, but we had the peace of knowing our Lord is sovereign and that he loves us. The Lord works for good. His good may look different than ours at times, but He is Good. And we were so very blessed by knowing the cause, no second-guessing, but just a knot that no one could have known about and that no one could have done anything to prevent. Although I will note that I don’t pretend that anger could not very easily creep up later, when someone who ‘doesn’t deserve it’ gets pregnant and has a healthy baby. But then who am I to say who deserves or who lives, how lofty of me, that’s is for the Lord.

Bargaining. They said in a book I was reading that ‘the normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control.’ Often questions like ‘if only we had sought medical attention sooner…’ come up. And yes I have felt these often creep into my mind. But again we are blessed to know the answers, that for a knot in the cord even if we knew the moment the knot tightened that it would still be too late. That nothing we did in pregnancy could have caused a knot in the cord. The thought at times creeps into my head, but what if I had wanted a ‘convenient’ c-section or induction before the holidays got too busy, or something like that. I think ‘she would have survived if we had gotten her out a few days earlier.’ I think about how if she had been outside my body she would have been able to breathe and live, but that my body trapped her. The guilt that comes with that feeling is painful. But I cannot let my mind linger there long, because I know that if she was supposed to breathe in this world the Lord would have helped her to do that. I know that if she was ‘supposed to’ be born earlier I would have gone into labor earlier. We did not know. But oh the Lord knew, and he’s sovereign, and he’s good. But yes. I experience this one. It creeps in and only the Lord’s truth can put it down. I think ‘if only I would have had stronger faith, been a better Christian, then the Lord would have heard my prayers and saved her’ but that statement is so full of lies and so far from His Truth. He heard my prayers. He is sovereign. So he had control, but sometimes our good is not the same as the Lord’s good.

They say the stage of Depression is next in two forms: sadness or regret and then a more subtle depression. We are blessed to have no regrets with our sweet Hannah. Oh so very blessed. But sadness is great. It is the most overwhelming of all.  I cry because I miss her. Not because I am angry or guilty or confused. But I miss my baby girl that I knew for 40 weeks and only held for a moment. I miss my daughter. I just love her so very much and I long to hold her. I just miss her so very much.

The subtle depression ‘is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. It is our quiet preparation to separation and to bid our loved one farewell.’ I know I’m there too. I think this is where I settle, the stage of grief where I have been since moments after we heard the news, this is where I still am.

Then they say last is Acceptance. I think I’m reaching that point. But I’ve reached it many times. I waiver between acceptance in one moment and great sadness the next. I’m not sure if I will ever be completely ‘healed’ of all this in the way that means I never cry, I never miss her. But there will be healing. But if absolute healing means I’ll never miss her, that my heart will never ache for her, then I don’t want absolute healing. Because I want there to always be a place in my heart for my sweet girl Hannah Grace.

There is always a reason the Lord blessed us with her.

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