Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Birthdays, Dreams & Truths

Happy Birthday, my beloved baby boy. I see you in your brother and sisters sleeping expressions. I hear your heartbeat in natures sounds around me. I feel your tiny kicks in my dreams. On your 4th heavenly birthday, I think about that day that you were born. I remember it so vividly...scarily so. All it takes is a moment of silence, a song, a picture, a word, a glance, an embrace...and it takes me right back to August 21, 2009.

The silence brings sadness, and with that tears and wishes for a different path. A path that lead to a living, breathing, you.

Music brings the melody of your spirit closer to my heart. For those moments, it is like we are together again. Just you and I...and the miracle of motherhood. I miss our moments. 

Pictures can speak a thousand words, but when I look at yours, I can only think of one: "heartbreaking". That one word has so many meanings for me....for us. I remember thinking that I absolutely did NOT want pictures of you when I first learned that there would not be newborn, but stillborn photography offered. Now, when I look at those images, I see you and I see how similar you look to August & Astraea. In some ways that is makes me wish for more...more pictures, more

Words have helped me heal. They allow me to process my feelings in a way that otherwise would feel trapped inside my mind. Although it remains difficult still to speak of you...I continue to stumble when I am asked how many children I have...writing of you comes much easier...and for that, I am thankful.

Knowing glances exchanged between your dad and I when we both experience a moment of remembrance at the same time. Private. Loving. Knowing. In those moments, your existence is cherished and often a wave of sadness washes over us and more often than not..tears still fill my eyes.

Lastly, and most dearly, on your birthday, I have the loving embrace of our family. At our beach, when the wind gently blows, I feel your love. At night, when I am snuggling with your siblings, your spirit touches our hearts. On new mornings and bright days, when white butterflies visit our backyard, your kiss crosses our path. These are our moments, Sterling. Forever. Always. Us.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Day You Were Born

Dear Sterling,

It is hard to believe that it has been exactly two years since you were born. For some reason I'm having a hard time talking about you on this Birthday, so I decided to write to you. I've only wrote to you once before, and to be quite honest, it was a huge step in my grieving process.  I'm now in a new place emotionally. You have a 3 month old little sister and my heart is pulled in so many directions. In some way I suppose I feel "guilty" when I think of you, since Astraea was born this past May. Rationally I know these thoughts are absurd, but, I learned after we first lost you to not judge how I is what it is. This year...that is a hard thing to remember to do.

Your Big Brother, August, asks often if people get "older" in heaven. In this world of unknowns, he is bravely trying to figure out if you will always be our "Baby Sterling", or if you are "growing". As your mom, it is too hard for me to imagine what you would be like at two years old. We have brief snapshots and vivid memories that we keep dear to our hearts of you being born. Those will never be replaced with new or different experiences. My perception of those days will never change. You will always be our baby boy...born still...forever young.

My goodness this is hard to write. Just as hard as it was before. I think that is the thing. The days in between may get easier, but this day, August 21st, will always be your day...our day....a tough day.

I'm going to keep this short, if not simple. Your family loves you very much. We will be honoring YOU today. I wish you were here.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Big Brother

August was 3 1/2 when his baby brother was born still. He is now 5 years, 2 months old and so much "wiser". Tonight, he asked to look in Baby Sterlings Memory Box. A beautiful white box with a peridot green ribbon (his birthstone), given to us by the wonderful team of nurses at Northridge Hospital. We haven't opened that box in atleast 9 months, so it was almost like a completely new experience.

As August tearfully looks at a picture of his little brother he says to me, "Mommy, why didn't I get to hold Baby Sterling when he came out of your tummy?". Simple response: "Because you were too young". Inside my heart is racing, remembering the truth, that even 34 years old was "too young", or "too frail" or "too broken" or "too sad" to hold our breathless boy. His dad did though, and his explanation seemed so much more meaningful. "We held him so that we could see what it felt like. We loved him the moment we found out he was in mommy's tummy and we wanted to keep him close".

Now, instead of holding his baby brother, August has to hold his ashes. As I wached my loving son wrap up the tightly closed urn in the royal blue baby blanket that once held Baby Sterlings body, he held it close to his heart and shares, " Why can't I open it? Now I will never be able to hold him. But because I love him so much, I will always keep his ashes right here". August now knows about cremation. He not only has the comfort and at times obsession with "heaven", but he is processing the concept of "what happens when we don't need our bodies anymore". At 5. My amazing son. Talking about what he wants to happen when he dies. "Just tuck my body in my bed with my blanket and I will be comfortable" was his response a couple days ago. Tonight the request was a bit sure of the word here.... "Please keep my ashes too so that you can always hold me and love me sooo much".

Again, screaming inside, I want to shout...don't say that! I can't bear the thought of losing another. Of losing of YOU! Instead, we revist the idea that everyone has a purpose. Baby Sterlings purpose is up in heaven. Ours is here on earth and we have a lifetime to "figure it all out". But this..we never will. We never will know why. Despite all the grief therapy, chromosomal testing, autopsy results, and all the sleepless nights...we really know nothing more than we did the nightwe learned of his passing. And that is OK. But to August..."It's just not fair, I love him so much. I want him to be here with our family". His words. My thoughts. Still.

Monday, October 11, 2010

When Silence Calls

I have been rather silent lately, in terms of writing on this blog. I have had many distractions; most good, some challenging. It's the silence that has called to me to write today. Not just to write for the sake of writing or to hear my "voice", but to greet the silence. To welcome it. To accept it as part of this journey. Life has continued to settle down, but all around me there are more moms who are experiencing loss every day. This week on October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and a lot of the moms that I know are  speaking out a little louder again. Last year, it was a way for me to accept the love, peace, and support from all our friends at a time when our loss was still so new. This year, it is a way for me to give my love, peace, and support to myself, my family, and also my friends who have become so near and dear to me along this path. I thought I would draw some comparisons from last year to this...

Last year...I felt as though Sterling's stillbirth defined who I was.
This year..I know that Sterling's stillbirth will forever me a part of our family, but does not define me in my entirety.

Last year...I felt embarrased and hesitant to acknowledge that what I was going through was demanding unwanted attention.
This year...I know that emabarrasment and hesitation was a way for me to protect myself from my fears. My reality. And the attention...I needed, so deeply needed.

Last year...I was so concerned about how everyone was going to perceive me, treat me, judge me.
This year...I have grown from concerned to confident. I have taken those perceptions and can openly express that I am not the same person I was a year ago, and as I have changed, I have tried to share with others how that change has impacted my relationships at home, at work, everywhere. This will be a life long process...and I am comfortable with that.

Thats not to say that I am comfortable with my loss. That event will always sit in my heart uncomfortably. I know that may seem impersonal, to call our loss an event...but it truly was. It was a life-changer. August 21st was just another day before last year. Not anymore. Not ever.

Monday, August 23, 2010

You Are Mine

Many beautiful things happened this weekend that really showed me how God is helping me heal on this very emotional weekend. It is Monday now, and we made it through with smiles and tears. My tearful moments came quite suddenly when I least expected them to. Mostly, when I was "about to" end something. We spent a beautiful morning at the beach and it wasn't until we were "about to" pack up to leave that I became very reflective on what leaving that beach symbolized. For a moment I felt as though I was leaving my baby there once again. You see, it was exactly one year ago, at that same beach, that I went into labor and that Sweet Sterling was with us for the last time. This year, it wasn't his little feet kicking in my tummy that I could feel, it was light angel kisses on my face. Tiny trinkles of water being sprayed up from the waves that otherwise, should not have been able to reach my skin. This was a very personal treasure, and one that I am so incredibly thankful for. As we released our balloons into the sky, I had wished that the wind was blowing the balloons out over the ocean, but it was blowing the other direction. Another gentle reminder that this journey is not in my control. None of it ever was...and yes...I do find peace in that too.

Church on Sunday was a lovely service, despite everyone's emotions running high. I was doing fine until we got to the second hymn of the morning. As, my favorite piece of church music ever, the words and notes that brought me such peace and healing during my time of loss, were playing again. As if it was just for me. As my tears poured down my face, I stood alone feeling God's words, hearing Sterling's Voice, and growing  Strength through my sadness. It was the second good cry in as many days. As the pastor shared her peace with us all, she especially gave me a warm hug and held me a few moments longer. I have never felt closer to God. I truly felt like one of his children. "Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name I love you and you are mine". Please view the video above for this entire beautiful PEACE of music. It is a wonderful tribute to my son and our heavenly father. Amen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby Boy

Flashes of light, silence all around

Senses restricted, my physical self bound

My mind had shut off, protecting my soul

A story of birth was about to unfold

The birth of my son, so still so sweet

I was present but absent, I couldn’t believe

That this birth was happening, yet there was no joy

Just tears, and fears of seeing my baby boy

Without life, without breath, surrounded by love

His body was here, his spirit above

I looked through tears to my stillborn son

Frightened and Removed from what just had been done

An operating table, a doctor, a light and my tears

My husband, my baby, my life, my fears

All of these things in just a few minutes past

The numbness of my experience was bound to last

But one year later, on the day Baby Sterling was born

More than anything I can still feel how my heart was so torn

Between this world and heaven, between life and death

Is an existence that has continued with each blessed breath

Not of my son, of the life that was expected to be

But of his father and brother and yes, even me.

The me now is different, in a way hard to tell

The me now is stronger, more faithful and well

The me now will forever love, think and enjoy

The moments I had and will have with my boy

As he turns one year old in heaven today

We send him our Kisses, our love, and I will pray

That his spirit in heaven has allowed him to see

His family and friends sharing such love for thee

We speak of Sterling each and every day

He continues to be with us in remarkable ways

Through sights and sounds, and sometimes even dreams

This birthday should be celebrated as strange as that seems

He deserves to be honored, remembered, and held

Within my heart, my mind, and those that felt

Such sympathy and sadness for him and for us

We thank you, we love you, we can’t say enough

For the special people in our lives who helped us to

Keep loving, keep healing, keep pushing through

To this wonderful moment where I can now see

That birthdays are birthdays, and he will always be with me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Circle of Support

These last 11 months, people have entered into our circle of support, and some have left.  Each has undoubetdly played a very special role along our journey of healing. It is hard to imagine what it would have been like if our circle of support was any different that what it was. Than what it will continue to be. I am a firm believer that every soul enters our lives for a very specific purpose. Often in may be for a lifetime, usually it is for a matter of days, weeks, months or years, and once in a while, a soul joins yours forever and lives within you.

I begin questioning myself when I meet new people who have entered into my life: When do I tell them about Sterling? It's been 11 months since he was born into heaven. I am now meeting and developing relationships with individuals who know nothing of my loss. I almost feel that by NOT talking about Sterling, that they will have a false impression of who I am...this all because...he is part of me. By not acknowledging him, I am not sharing a part of who I am. Then the questioning continues: Will this person want to become part of my circle of support? What happens if they do and then they leave? How do I greive the loss of support along with the loss of a child? These are so many questions and fears that will sometimes work their negativity into my mind so that I go into protection mode and just say No Thank You, I'm Fine Just The Way I Am.

And then I remember the saying, "it is better to have lost love, then to never have loved at all". This desire and need to love is my life force, just as much as my breathing and beating heart.  I remember that it is because of my capacity to love and accept others just as they are, that I hope for them to accept me just for who I am as well. Even if this me is different than the me they knew before my loss will happen countless times in my future...the only me they will know is the me after my loss.

I know none of this should really matter. People come, people go. But once you have lost a child, this ideal "goes" out the window. There is no rationalizing it. There is no explaining it away. Whether it be the loss of a favorite belonging, the loss of a car, the loss of a friend, or the loss of family...they will all forever be reminders and triggers of the loss of our child. And then it's the support that is so important, and that keeps pushing me through.

Maybe I like better the idea of a Support Continuum. Over time, the organizational structure of support may change as well as the level of intensity, but there is no point where the beginning meets the end. I don't think I will ever reach a point on my continuum where I will say No Thank You, I'm Fine Just The Way I Am. Even if my fears drive me to think it.

So, 11 months after the stillbirth of my son, I will keep reaching out and reaching within. I will always continue to heal, grow, learn, and appreciate each and every persons' purpose on my journey. You may not even know what purpose you play...heck..I may not even know until that moment. That moment when my mind, heart, and soul opens up and it all makes sense. But one thing is for sure...WE will forever be grateful for YOU. Always.