The Twelfth Month

Friday, August 01, 2003

As time has passed, I have found that I have gotten more secure in who I am and in my grief and so some comments or slights don't cut so hard as they used to. In fact I've even realized that some of the same people who were not helpful at all early on are still very valuable to me in my healing. They just aren't the ones who comfort me emotionally; for that I go to others. But as time goes on I need other things as well: comic relief, a break from this whole thing for a few hours, someone who is good at doing but not feeling.

And some of those people are perfect at those things - especially if they don't have to deal directly with my loss. In general, they want to help but don't know how. And I am learning not to expect things of them that they can't give but to accept what they can give (babysitting, food, taking us "out", etc). Of course, it is disappointing that they don't give the emotional support at first. And then there are always those who are just selfish, insensitive cretins and always will be. The thing is - if that is the case - they always were. Only it didn't bug me so much when I had some coping skills.

One other thing I have realized is that this IS just too painful for some people. Of course, it is much harder for me than them. But I have no choice. I have to deal with this. They really don't. I realized that with C. at work that just had a baby. I realized that it is really up to her how close we stay. I HAVE to learn to deal with babies; she doesn't HAVE to deal with my loss. But she can CHOOSE to try if she values the friendship.

And she has chosen to do that. And so I really respect her for that, for making the effort. And if she chose not to, could I really blame her? She has her life and baby and she doesn't always need to be thinking about me before she mentions her baby, so for her to make that choice is humbling. So I guess I'm saying that I am trying to turn it from being angry and disappointed with those who don't make the effort to recognizing that those who make the effort are giving me a gift. But this is also something I have come to over time; I have not always felt this way.

I have decided that I am going to make a little "video" clip for Abigail's angel day. I found a song by Mac Powell of Third Day called "Mountain of God" that is perfect. It talks about having to go through the valley to come to the mountain of God. And that kind of describes the past year for me - not to mention the connection to The Journey;. What I am doing is going through pictures that tell the story - memorials for Abigail, times with the other kids, rough times, good times, just pictures of the journey of the past year.

I am going to get them organized and have them put on DVD with the song. I am into this, but I am wondering if it contributed to my sort of melancholy mood today. Or maybe it's the new CD's I bought yesterday. Music always speaks to me and if I'm having a melancholy day, it just underscores it. Funny, the same songs feel very joyful on an up day.

I had another one of my grief attacks today. I was feeling a little down, not bad, but I was thinking of calling someone to snap out of it. And just then I got an email that Steve had forwarded to me from home. It was from a woman expecting a T18 baby who was looking for my birth plan - she needed to get one to her doctors today. And her note was so simple, so innocent, and so brave, that I just lost it. It is so hard for me sometimes to see how brave people are, going into this awful, awful experience. So the deep sadness just bubbled up, as has happened lately. Only today, it lasted longer. Maybe 5 minutes. And just when I would stop sobbing, I would start again. Wow. I guess that needed to come out. I certainly felt better after than I did before.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Some relatives were in town and I showed them the "video" I am making. I showed it to Steve yesterday and he got a little emotional. But a couple of things that they commented about - how cute Nathan was or Sarah was instead of seeing the irony and the pain in the pictures, made me realize that they just don't understand it. So many of the photos have so much meaning to me that they just don't to them. It's not their fault. But it hit me just how few people will really understand it.

And then after evening church, they never did go over to see the playground. I wanted to ask them to see it, but I feel so awkward about continually bringing up Abigail all the time. It hurt me that they didn't realize how important it was to me. This is something that really honors my daughter - they never got to meet her but this honors her - so I want them to see it. And they don't realize that. It's not their fault, but it once again emphasized for me just how few people really do understand. It made me very sad and I started to cry. And I really see why we are so drawn to others who have been through it because we don't have to point those things out to each other - how important they are. We KNOW and it is so wonderful. And then I see why we retreat from everyone sometimes. It is just so sad that there is a part of my life that most people just don't understand. It's not their fault, it just is. And it's really sad.

Thursday, August 7, 2003

I think I am finally back at work. I mean, I am functioning and multitasking - what I used to do and what I am good at. I find I am even thinking about work a little bit in the car or at home. When I walk back to my office I don't try to "escape" from work mentally but I keep going. I can feel my energy level rising. I think it's the inertia - I had to get the ball rolling and now I am building up steam. I realized that it was 1 year ago this Saturday that I hurt my back and that it's basically been a year since I've been really performing at work. Wow. A year. It's time to get back in gear, and I'm finally ready to do it.  I feel really good about getting back into it at work. And this will tell the tale if I really do like my job or not.

Several people have asked me how I am doing since Abigail's birthday is coming up. And I told them that I am really doing well. I am not dreading it but am looking forward to it because of what I am doing - writing some things and putting together the video. I am also thinking about taking something to the nurses at the hospital - we were there 4 days and virtually Abigail's whole life was at the hospital. Interesting, her life was at the hospital and her death was at home. I'd never really thought about that, and I guess it really doesn't matter, just interesting.

Friday, August 08, 2003

What is wrong with these people? I finally ordered Abigail's headstone in June and it was due in this week. I was hoping to have it placed by her birthday and I wanted to have a picture of it for the video I am making. Well, they just called me and told me it is in and it is WRONG! I can't believe it! This is the same thing that happened to me with the plaque for the playground! What, is there some secret memo among the memorial manufacturers that if it's for Abigail Wilsford, you'd better screw it up and see if you can make her mom completely lose her mind?!?

The distributor we are working with apologized and said they did the right designs and didn't misspell anything (an improvement over the plaque) but that they put a panel in it of the WRONG COLOR and did I want to come see it anyway? NOOOO! I'd like to go over with a sledgehammer and show them what I think of it! Oh, by the way, they've never screwed one up before. Well, lucky me! I beat the odds again! AARRRGGGH!

There's really nothing they can do but do it over; and it's really not a big deal, but it IS. I was ready to deal with it and now I have to wait again. I've never been very good at adjusting to things anyway and I just don't want to adjust to this right now. It just makes me SO MAD that people that deal with this kind of stuff are so unaware of the criticality of doing things right because of the emotional impact it has. I realize it's just a business, but they should get into a different one. I don't care if they give it to me free; they can't make me a satisfied customer. But what can I do, not buy a headstone from them again?

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Yesterday when I was getting Sarah out of the bath she put on one of the hooded towels and said it was too short. I told her she's getting too big for it; it's for little babies like Abigail. And as I said it I flashed to the thought that Abigail would be too big for it, too. She wouldn't be a little baby anymore but toddling around. And when I said it, I felt the pang of emotion and the start of the tears. Only they didn't come. Like the first retch before vomiting: it's coming and it's violent, but it doesn't quite finish. So did the emotion. It didn't quite finish. It was just as strong, but it stopped. Very strange.

Both my girls were born in August. I love to say that, until August, that is, until today. Today is Sarah's birthday. She has been so excited for so long and she woke us up this morning saying, "I'm 3!" And we grunted and tried to roll back over, but in her mind, being 3 was just too exciting to sleep through. I was really excited about it, too, since it is so neat to see how thrilled she was, talking about blowing out the candles and having cake and presents and a party.

And today's sermon was about birthdays, which increased the excitement. But it also brought on the tears because of the proximity to Abigail's birthday. I had feared this and had hoped that Abigail would be born in September. Up until today, I had thought it wasn't going to be a problem after all - I have been kind of looking forward to Abigail's birthday and writing things and doing the video. Then Sarah's birthday was here. And at every turn, every joy was contrasted with thoughts of Abigail's birthday, both what it SHOULD have been and what it will be. So I kept going back and forth between enjoyment for Sarah and tears for Abigail (actually for me).

Happy birthday, Sarah
Tearing off the wrapping, looking for the gifts
Smiles and laughter, excited eyes
1,2,3 blow - missed the picture - do it again
Cake and ice cream - more please, mine's melting
Hugs and thank yous all around
Happy birthday, Sarah

Happy birthday, Abigail
Balloons and bubbles wafting toward the heavens
Questions, what ifs, clutching well-worn photos
No candles to blow out - no pictures today
Trying to celebrate life - fighting thoughts of death
Longing for hugs, deafened by silence
Happy birthday, Abigail

On the way to and from church this evening I got very sad again. At church I thought I was getting depressed. It felt the same, but it's easier to climb out of it than before, so probably not really the same. Less than 3 weeks to Abigail's birthday! I am feeling panicked. How can I get through my daughter's birthday without my daughter? I don't want this day to come - why am I so scared of it all of a sudden?

This is such a weird, weird thing. I hate this. I hate that I went through this awful thing. I can't believe it really happened to me. I can't believe I took my daughter home from the hospital to die. I can't believe we held her while she was dying. I can't believe I didn't go insane while doing this. I hate that I am functioning more normally. I hate that I'm not functioning more normally. I hate that I'm different from everyone else. I hate that I can hide among everyone else. I hate that my daughter is not with me. I hate that people don't understand that she is with me and I want her to be. I hate that I am so angry with God.

I just feel like all I can hear from Him right now is about grief and I'm feeling sorry for myself and so I don't want to hear anything else. Don't ask me to sacrifice or be more spiritual or more holy or anything. This is enough. I have done this and I deserve some type of reward for believing through this. Help me! Pray for me! Understand me! Forgive me!

Actually until I wrote it I didn't realize that I am angry with God. I don't think this is going to throw me for a major loop, but there will probably be a rough stretch for a while until her birthday. It's so hard to struggle again after doing so well. I hope I can chill out about Abigail's birthday. I hope I'm really not going insane. I still really can't believe this happened to me, to any of us. Shouldn't we have gone insane or died or something? How can we actually be living like relatively normal human beings? This is way more than I can understand.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Today I was at our company picnic, and C. was there with her baby. And I felt the familiar pangs when everyone came over to hold him and dote on him. I don't begrudge her that joy, but it was hard for me to watch since I wanted to have that for Abigail, too, and I should have had it today. It was very strange; I didn't make it to last year's picnic, and so several of the retirees who were there commented about how big my kids were getting and I realized that they didn't even know about Abigail's existence. And I wanted to tell them that I should have a one year old here today for you to dote on, too. But instead, I held C.'s baby and showed him to Sarah and told him how much I missed holding my baby. And I noticed that a few people watched me closely but didn't want me to notice and didn't say a word. It is so hard and it just stinks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I may have turned the corner, but I still have a lot of healing to do. I feel like I can see the foothills, but I'm not there yet. But I also am not on those huge mountains where I once was, either.

I talked with J. Wednesday about my anger with God. And the more I think about it, I'm not sure it's anger so much as just overload. I feel bad that I'm not really studying scripture except as it relates to grief or things related. Then I'm totally into it. I think I am angry with those who pray for the physical and not for the more important things - our spiritual well-being and our emotions. The emotions and worries and struggles and grief are so much harder to deal with than the physical problems themselves. I guess I am angry when they lead songs about how we should live and do this or that better - I have enough to deal with right now that came into my life; I don't have to go looking for things to berate myself about. I guess I just feel like, what right do they have to tell me I should pray more or whatever?

There is a song by Jeremy Camp called I Still Believe. It is amazing. I play it again and again. He is in his early 20's and his wife died of cancer, and this is the first song he wrote after her death. That's how I feel. I have no doubts about God or his faithfulness or his mercy or his love. I am confident in my hope in heaven and his promises. And I feel it is a huge triumph that I feel that way. I just feel very distant from him now. As if he isn't helping me through this - just holding out the reward at the end but I have to get there on my own. And that's probably part of my anger toward everyone - they should be helping me, not telling me to do this or that better. I am just too sensitive; no one is directing these songs or lessons at me. But I also feel there a lot of people who are really hurting and they probably feel the same way: doesn't anyone understand that I am dying here? I'm still sorting it out myself. J. told me, "you're fine."

Monday, August 25, 2003

Saturday was SOOO wonderful. The weather was gorgeous, and we went out on B.'s boat and spent the entire afternoon fishing and just cruising around the lake. I told Steve I could spend the rest of my life riding around the lake in the boat. The kids had fun; Nathan likes to drive, and Sarah is moderately contained so it's pretty relaxing, but she sure does like to dig around in the cup with the wax worms! I love it because my mind can go wherever I want to without having to be brought back to anything in particular. And I always associate the boat rides with Abigail since the first time we rode it was shortly after she died when B. offered it to us to use anytime to get away. So there's a thread of melancholy in it, but it kind of feels good. It was the most relaxing thing I could do and it was terrific.

Sunday was harder; I don't know why. All the morning songs were ones I didn't want to sing, but all the evening songs were very uplifting. I have been feeling pretty upbeat overall, but it keeps hitting me out of the blue that I'm about to have Abigail's birthday and how weird that is. Today I was in a meeting with my boss and another guy and suddenly I thought, "oh my gosh, my baby died and it's almost her birthday - what am I supposed to do?" And I felt like I was going to throw up. It was so weird. It passed quickly, but that's what this has been like - kind of hanging out there all the time. And in the car on the way to and from work I have been crying more. But, all-in-all, I really think I am doing better than I thought I would. I don't know how I'll do Wednesday - we'll see.

I'm not completely sure what I'm going to do on Wednesday, but I know I won't be at work. It's Nathan's first day of kindergarten, so it'll surely be an emotional day all around. He's nervous about riding the bus, so I told him I'd watch him get on then follow the bus to school and then go in with him to see his teacher. He's ok with that. I really don't know if I want to be alone during the day or if Steve, Sarah, and I will do something. I do know we're all picking Nathan up after school and going to pick out balloons to release. We wrote notes to attach already, with the kids name and address on them - I told them maybe someone will send them a letter if they find the balloons. We are making a cake tomorrow night - Nathan is SOOOO excited about it - and he wants to put a candle on it and have us take turns blowing it out.

And we're having a picnic - probably at the playground. Nathan says it has to be a REAL picnic with a REAL picnic basket and a REAL blanket. We'll probably blow bubbles and release the balloons. And I'm going to read my poems. I'm not sure if we'll go by the cemetery or not - probably - but I definitely plan to go there Monday for a little while. By the way, I found out that they're really bending over backwards to try to get Abigail's headstone done. Steve said the people we bought it from have been working with the cemetery and they've already poured the foundation and are hoping to receive the stone by tomorrow and then place it right away. Wow! Hard to believe they are working this hard just for me. Very humbling. Then we have church in the evening. That will probably be hard. People will mention it (I would be hurt if they didn't) but it will be hard when they do.

I thought about going to the hospital to take something to the nurses but I called and none of our nurses are working that day. Amazing, since we had about 8 different ones over the 4 days. Several are on the midnight shift, but I have to go to work Thursday so I'm not going in that late.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Wow. I haven't written much lately because I haven't felt the need to. Until today. Tuesday I went to see J. I had thought I might be having a hard time in the days leading up to Abigail's birthday, so I thought it might be helpful to talk with her then. But I was doing very well. Some sad moments; more crying than I have in a while, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. So I was feeling pretty good about things. Tuesday night the kids and daddy and I decorated Abigail's BD cake.

Yesterday, Abigail's birthday, started off not too good. I wanted to post my poems on the board first thing, and I kept getting the server not found message. That just about put me into a panic. This was Abigail's day, and I needed to post those poems. They were a big part of what I had planned to do to honor her. So I took my walk. When I got back, the board was up and I posted them (see her birthday page).

Then I had to change gears to take Nathan to catch the bus for his first day of kindergarten. We found the middle school and the buses were late, so we waited a little while. Then we found 2 other moms with kids from his class and the bus came just then. So he went right over to it and was the first one on it. He just marched right on. I was so proud of him, especially when a little boy behind him started crying. And I was so glad he didn't cry because I would have definitely lost it then. So I headed for the school as promised. 2 other moms did the same, and we chatted for quite a while, as the bus was quite late arriving. It was so weird talking about the first day of school, a big event, true, but all the while I was thinking, "today's my daughter's birthday" but I didn't feel it was right to say anything. I didn't want to drop that bomb and stop all the chitchat. It just stinks. If she were still alive, I would have mentioned it and everyone would have thought it was neat. But since she died, I didn't feel right about mentioning it. Talk about feeling completely alone and out of place. 

Once I got back in the car, I again shifted out of "first day of school" mode and back into Abigail's birthday mode. And, as I had while driving to the school, I kept looking at the clock and thinking, "this is about the time I first held her," and "this is when they came to take the pictures." And I cried and cried. I felt kind of lost on the way home, like I shouldn't go right home but I didn't have anywhere else to go. Once at home, I started straightening Sarah's room and decided it was time to sort through all the books strewn about the house. So I separated the baby books that were still in good shape to give away. In general that wasn't too bad, but a few of the books just tore my heart out. And I decided to call N. while I was sorting books. It just seemed like connecting with others from the board was a proper thing to do on Abigail's day.

It was good to talk with N., and very humbling when she told me that she had wanted to post, "Happy birthday, Abigail" at 12:01 am but due to the major thunderstorms instead unplugged the computer. She said that instead of thinking about Alyson the first thing when she woke up, this morning she thought, "Today is Abigail's birthday" first thing. What an incredible honor. It humbles and amazes me that I have helped her that much. Just talking with her, I can hear that she is moving and starting to heal, although it's very early. And that's encouraging. And she was very concerned about me as well. She had sent me a package, which I didn't get until after we talked, with a beautiful picture frame in it.

After lunch, we pulled things together for our picnic for Abigail's birthday. I got a delivery of flowers, from T. And in the mail were N.'s package, a package from A., and several cards. One card was from Steve's mom, and she wrote a note about Abigail had changed her life. I appreciated that. K. also sent a card saying that she would always be there for me. And A.'s package was wonderful. First of all, it was just beautiful. It contained several things, most notably a stack of envelopes and a photo album. The envelopes were labeled with the date and were to be opened each day Abigail lived. Each one contained a card with a scripture and A.'s thoughts about how that scripture applies to Abigail and me. The cards were beautiful; pink background with a piece of white vellum with the text on it and a white bow on the top. And the scriptures and thoughts were amazing.

Needless to say, I was overwhelmed. I was so touched that she did that. It was so beautiful I didn't want to open anything. The amount of thought, effort, time, and care used to create that is amazing. I was truly touched that A. would go to that extreme for me. And it was perfect. Very beautiful, very symbolic, and very comforting. What an incredible person she is. I just put my head down and cried.

Then we headed out to get Nathan from school then to Wal-mart to get our balloons for the party. On the way it started to rain, really, really hard. And it started to hail. It wasn't looking good for our picnic, but Steve said it would clear up. Each of us picked out a balloon to release. Sarah picked Barbie that said Happy Birthday. Nathan picked a black balloon with bright colors that said happy birthday. Steve picked one out that said Thinking of you. And I was last. I didn't know what I wanted, so I started walking around looking at them. And then I spotted the perfect one: a butterfly! I know A. has really connected butterflies with Marie, but also with our babies in general. And so it seemed to symbolize Abigail but also tie in Marie as well, which I loved.

We headed for Carrollton, and I wasn't that emotional. I had thought maybe picking out the balloons might do it, but no. To this point, it was a fun, family adventure. When we arrived, Sarah asked, "Where's Abigail? Is she coming?" And I told her that she was in heaven but she was also here is our hearts. And I could see by her look that she didn't understand. And that was when I just lost it and started sobbing. We had our picnic, and then it was time for the cake. We got out the candle and sang Happy Birthday to Abigail. Then we lit it and let Sarah blow it. Then we relit it and each of us in turn blew it out. This was Nathan's idea and I thought it was a good one. After a LARGE piece of cake each, Nathan commented that this party wasn't as fun as he thought it would be. "Yeah", I thought, "the guest of honor is missing."

We attached the cards we had written and addressed to the balloons and held them for a photo before letting them go. By this time the sun had actually come out! Sarah's went first, before she intended to release it. But we made a big deal out of watching it, and her dismay ended quickly. Then Nathan got his, but didn't release it right away. Then daddy let his go right under a tree and it got stuck in the tree! We got a good laugh out of that - daddy's was the one who didn't clear the tree. Finally I did mine. I had written one of my poems on the card I attached and I wanted to read it. It was just family there, but I just wanted to read it. So I started, and I just couldn't get through it. I just kept crying. Amazing, I was able to speak at Ladies' Day and the playground dedication in front of lots of people without falling apart, but in front of just our family I kept losing it. Probably it was the weight of the whole day and the fact that it wasn't a big, fun event. It was our attempt to commemorate her birthday, but it was obviously a poor substitute for a real party.

Around 6:30 we went to Drug Mart quickly before heading to the cemetery. Steve went in and I sat with the kids. And I was really crying by then. Sarah asked me why I was crying and I told her because I wished we were having a regular birthday party for Abigail, that I wished she was still here. And Sarah told me, "She'll come back." To which Nathan replied, "Yeah, when we get to heaven." And then Sarah added, "But we're not there yet." Then Sarah told me to put some happy songs on, so I did.

Then we drove to the cemetery and when we got there, I saw that they had gotten the headstone placed. We found out later that it was just hours before we had arrived there; he ended up picking it up himself in his truck and driving it over and convincing them to place it on the spot. I am so thankful for their efforts for me.

The headstone made me cry: seeing it there was hard, like getting punched in the stomach. And knowing how hard they worked to get it there was touching. And it really WAS beautiful. It's so shiny that when you take a picture, it reflects the sky and trees and even me when I leaned over to take a straight down shot.

Then we scurried back to church. I was a mess because during the last hour I had really been doing a lot of crying. But I didn't worry about it. And when we walked in, Sarah provided the comic relief by telling B., "Daddy's balloon got stuck in the tree!" I was so spent, but as class went on I found myself contributing. After class, I got the tickets for Idlewild Saturday, and I still think it's a good idea to go but it was like, "what? Is it this Saturday?" It had been a very draining day.

When we got home, I checked the board again. It was very comforting to see some of the posts and personal emails I received. The number of people who were thinking of Abigail and me during the day was evident, and I am so thankful that I have been able to support others in such a way that they really honored Abigail on her day.

So this brings us to today. I was very drained, but had to take Nathan to school and then to work. By the time I got to work, I was really feeling bad. I didn't want to focus again, and when I saw that we had a meeting scheduled during lunch, I totally lost it. I really needed to have some time to process things today - going right to church last night didn't give me that time. I had to rush away from the cemetery. I didn't get to let the emotions run their course. So it hit me today. I was very down from the first and the nurse told me I should just go home. I told her I might. As I was walking back to my office, I saw C. and she asked how I was doing and I just shook my head and teared up. I just sat in my office and sobbed. I never imagined I would do so well up to and during her day and then have so much trouble after! But that's the sneaky grief - it won't let me outsmart it.

C. came in shortly thereafter and told me I should go home; there's no reason to stay. She said I should go take a walk in the park or go to the cemetery or the mall or whatever would help me. Then I called Steve and told him I was ok and I needed to be alone for a while and that I would come home or call him. He said that's ok. People were really sensitive to my situation; I'm sure it made it easier, but it was still very hard.

I drove to the cemetery. As I drove I cried and listened to my music. And my disposition improved. It was sunny and quiet. It reminded me of this time last year when I was off work after she died. But it wasn't really vivid, like a flashback or anything. When I got there, no one else was there, so I opened the windows and played some songs of significance - Chris Rice's "untitled hymn - Come to Jesus", "Smile", and Jeremy Camp's "I Still Believe". I played them several times while I cried, cleaning off the headstone, and took pictures. I also spent a while jotting down some thoughts - a possible poem - about how I was feeling today and how surprising it was. After quite a while, I was ready to leave.

Then I was home for a little while before I took Sarah with me to pick Nathan up from the bus. It's not something I'll get to do that often, so I wanted to enjoy the time, and let Steve enjoy some alone time. So I took the kids to DQ before coming home. We enjoyed it, and Nathan seems to be thriving in his new class.

So now I am finally getting a chance to sit down and journal. Man, I needed this. Everyone is right about the birthday being a hard time. In some ways I feel like I am going backwards, having more down times and stretches. But it's because of the anniversary and the memories and how hard that is. I feel like all I'm doing lately is dumping on A.: poor, pitiful Mindy and her sadness. But I really think I am doing well; this is just a hard phase. I'm so glad she understands.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Today I am at work, but worthless other than fixing everyone's computer problems as they call me. I was really surprised that it was as hard as it was. I think it's because I was doing so well right up to her birthday and everyone says the days before are worse than the day itself. But I am having a much harder time after than before. I was concerned this would turn into 5 days of feeling crappy, and it's not that bad, but it is dragging out. Tomorrow we are going to Idlewild park with a bunch of people from church. They go this weekend every year and I agreed because the kids love it and I hoped an outing like that would prevent the 5 days of feeling like crap. So we'll see if it works.

It was so weird; I don't know what I was expecting, maybe some sort of closure or something? When we got to the playground, Sarah asked, "Where's Abigail? Isn't she coming?" I guess deep inside I kind of felt the same way, like somehow she was coming or something and when I realized that she really wasn't, it hit hard. Who knows. It just stinks.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Yesterday at Idlewild was pretty fun overall. It's so strange how I can be having fun and then suddenly be overtaken by sadness, like throwing a switch. Laughing and truly having fun, then suddenly I just start sobbing for a few minutes. Then it's over. This is like nothing I have ever experienced before.

Although I tried to keep it from being 5 days of down time, I wasn't that successful. I wasn't down the whole time, but much more sad and affected throughout. Wednesday was hard. Thursday was hard. Friday was hard. Saturday and today weren't as hard, but are still not that great. I wasn't able to "end" it after her birthday - it's not over yet and is still hanging there, I guess.

I am angry at some things: that Abigail had to share her birthday with the first day of school. And that a friend had to tell me about a new pregnancy on Abigail's birthday. Couldn't they have waited a week or so to say anything? Why did they have to heap coals on my head? All I have for Abigail is her day - why did they have to jump in on it, too?

I really have come a long way in the past year. But in some ways, not so far at all. I remember things all too well on these anniversaries, and am going over ground again that I thought I was finished with. Once again I am overwhelmed and unable to think or deal with things. I just want to crawl under the covers and not come out. But that's the nature of grief. I'm back in a valley, but I'll get out again. And probably sooner than I think. All the grief work I've done in the past year has made me stronger and wiser. And I really haven't gone backwards; I'm just going through the most challenging stretch I have in a long time, and I'm not sailing through it. But I'm getting through it.

God is faithful; he is comforting me and giving me others who have been invaluable to me in getting through this past year. K. has been a wonderful support at church, and C. at work - both the biggest challenge with her baby and the biggest support for me. Finding J. for counseling, and the grief group with T. and S. And the T18 board has been a lifeline - so much so that Steve has said more than once that he has wanted to throw the computer out the window. I have made some wonderful friends through the board: R., who lives nearby, and K. and N. and many others. And, most of all, A., who has helped me more than I can possibly describe. Part of my processing of the things I go through is to write it all out, but the final step is to send it to A. She has been there to understand me and validate my feelings all along; and that is something I cherish. Our friendship is such a treasure to me; it is priceless. God has blessed me greatly in my loss; and I am sure it is only the beginning.

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