Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ashes to Ashes

Today was a hard day. I finally scattered Judes ashes. I've been waiting all this time to try and give BJ the opportunity to participate, but I just couldn't wait any longer. I needed to do this to feel some sort of closure. It was hard, but honestly, I feel a sense of peace right now that I didn't feel before.

The original plan was to scatter the ashes at the waterfall in Bella Vista where BJ and I were married. Since he didn't go with me, I didn't feel right about doing it there. So, instead, I went to the park at West Fork. It's a really pretty little park, and it's right on the White River. I'm a big water person...I just feel at peace near the I thought it was appropriate.

My mom and Savanna went with me. We walked down the edge of the river until we found the place that I felt most drawn to. There was a tree on the bank of the river, and directly across, perched on a bluff, was a smaller tree. It felt very symbolic for me. The small tree was in a place where I would never have expected it to survive...a tiny little ledge, with no real space for its roots to take hold. It reminded me of how no one expected Jude to survive even past the 12th week of my pregnancy. He was so sick, and he still fought all the way until 26 weeks. Even during the delivery, the doctor said he would be stillborn, but he wasn't. He lived. Even if it was only for a little while. He proved all of us wrong. He was a fighter, and that's what I saw in that tree...something that was determined. Here is a picture of the tree.

I also loved that the little tree was directly across from a larger tree, and was in the shadow of the larger tree. It seemed to form a connection between the two trees, even with a river between them. I'd like to think that God led me there to feel the symbolism that Jude and I are still connected, even though he is not here on this planet with me anymore. This picture shows the shadow that the larger tree casts on the smaller one.

Mom and Savanna were with me while I scattered the remains, and then they went to play on the playground for a while so that I could have some time alone. While I was there, I prayed, and I listened to a few songs in Jude's honor. If you know me at all, you know that I'm much more connected to music than I am to spoken word. The songs that I listened to really spoke to me. I listened to "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin, "Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel)" by Billy Joel, "Hear you Me" by Jimmy Eat World, and two songs that were played at Jude's memorial service. (Hold Me Jesus and The Valley Song) They were all very fitting, and all made me feel really comforted.

I'm thankful that I had such a beautiful day to say goodbye to my beautiful little boy. I'm even more thankful that I had so many friends praying for me today. I had a strange sense of peace through it all, and I know that is thanks to the love and support of all my friends.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

20 Months

So, Jude was born and died 20 months ago today. I'm still sad. But more than that, right now, I'm angry. I'm angry that I had to lose my baby. I'm angry that I had to be the "strong" one through all of it. I'm angry that Savanna has to have a mommy that cries because I'm not as strong as everyone thinks I am and wants me to be. I'm angry that I've had to go through all of this alone. Well, not 100% alone...I know I have some good friends...but without the support of a husband who was supposed to be the head of our household. I'm angry that I've lost my church home because of all of the aftermath of the tragedy and because BJ wanted "custody" of the church. I'm angry at God. I'm angry at myself. I'm angry at the doctors who couldn't do anything to make it better. I'm angry at pretty much everyone that I can be angry at.
Maybe someday it will be better, but today, I'm just angry.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Eighteen Months

Eighteen months ago today, my baby Jude was born and died. It was truly the most difficult day of my life. It was tragic, horrible, terrible, heartbreaking, dreadful, and every other awful adjective that I can think of. I knew for a couple of months before he was born that his chances of surviving for even a day after birth were basically nil. But I went through those last couple of months, and pushed through each day. I took care of Savanna, tried to help BJ deal with the situation, worked, and then went to all of my appointments and to the several ER trips that I had. I didn’t push through with a smile…most days were tearful. Even now, when I think of Jude and all his poor little body had to go through, I’m still tearful.
But today, instead of focusing on my sorrow, I want to focus on something completely different…I want to share the joys that have come from the situation.
First, I was able to enjoy my baby during my pregnancy. Many women get annoyed by the baby kicking all night and keeping them up. For me, it was a joy. It reminded me that he was still there, and I cherished every moment that I got with him because I knew our minutes together were few and our time together was precious. It reminds me now that, in reality, our moments with everyone are numbered. And our time with all the special people in our life is precious. I need to take the time each day to remind people what they mean to me, and enjoy all of life’s little joys that I often take for granted.
Second, my faith in mankind was renewed through the whole tragic event. It was amazing to me the people that gave their money, time, prayers, and happy thoughts to help me and my family make it through the ordeal. People I didn’t even know brought us meals. People I’d never met sent cards. It was amazing, and it made me glad to know that the whole world hasn’t gone to hell in a handbasket, as I often had felt before.
Finally, my faith in God was strengthened. I know that not all of my friends are Christians, and I know that a lot of them would argue with me that such tragedy is a sign that God doesn’t exist, or that He doesn’t care. But it was the opposite for me. It drew me close to Him, because He was the only one I KNEW I could count on. If it was three o’clock in the morning, and I woke up crying for my baby, I could talk to Him. When my husband wasn’t there anymore, God was there. When some members of my family said that Jude “wasn’t real” because he didn’t survive, I could give that to God. When I had days that I didn’t want to get out of bed because I was so sad, I had comfort knowing that God was there for me, and that He had given me an awesome gift in Savanna, and that I still had a lot to live for. On days when I was ready to throw in the towel, God prompted my friends to call me and check on me, or to send me a text just to let me know He was there and that He was strong enough to support me through this horrible time.
So, even though it may sound weird…a year and a half after I gave birth to a beautiful, but very sick baby boy…I’m thankful for the tragedy. It shaped who I am today, and I know there’s a greater plan that will be revealed to me someday. I just hope that I can live up to God’s expectations for me.