Friday, October 24, 2014

"God's Plan"

I have been very vocal about Kenley and how I feel in the wake of her death.  I have tried very hard to convey in a very public forum how it feels to lose a child, how the grieving deal with the aftermath, and how to respond to another person's grief in a helpful and productive manner.

So, naturally, I get frustrated when I keep getting the same (unintentional?) hurtful responses from people. 

The one that hurts above all else are the comments surrounding the idea of "god's plan"

Telling a grieving mother that her baby's death is all part of "god's plan" is not helpful, even if you expand on it by adding, "we might not understand."  Here are a few questions I'd like to ask those of you who follow the "god has a plan" OR "everything happens for a reason" mentality:

1. What loving god would let a baby die before taking her first breath?  I mean, what's the point? 
2. What lesson could god possibly want a mother to learn that would necessitate her child's death? 
3. What loving god would sit and think out a map of someone's life and say "oh's where I want to rip her child from her arms and put her through horrible pain know, reasons"?
4. What could be the reason behind a child dying?   Am I to learn compassion or empathy?   Am I to meet someone through my journey?   Could that not happen another way?  Why does death have to get involved?

You can tell me that I just don't understand those reasons right now and that would be a complete cop out on your part.  

 You don't know what the reasons are because there aren't any.   YOU want there to be a reason because you feel better if bad things have a purpose, and saying that god's plan is too complicated for us to understand is your way of trying to make sense of what's happened.

But what happened doesn't make sense.   My baby tangled herself up in her cord, lost oxygen, and died.   It is horrible and devastating, but it is not part of a plan.   A plan is purposefully constructed.  Telling me that Kenley's death is part of god's plan is telling me god had a willful hand in organizing her death.  How in the world is that supposed to make me feel better?  Would that make YOU feel better?  If it would, then clearly you and I have a very different take on things.  

The truth of the matter is sometimes bad things happen for no reason.  My child died.   There was / is no plan involved.  Please don't try to comfort me by saying that there was.  If it makes you feel better to believe in god's plan, then go right ahead.  I won't stop you.  But, please, don't share it with me.  I don't believe it and am upset by the thought of it.

This is my personal grief journey.  I know I have opened myself up for comment by sharing it with you, but please remember it is still my journey.   What comforts you might not be of any use to me.   What comforts me might not be the same for you. 

And just so you don't think this is just are some links written by other people.   "God's plan" / "Everything happens for a reason" is on ALL of them, among many other hurtful phrases.

I know this post might come across as irritated.   I am not going to excuse myself away.  I am irritated.  This post was written out of frustration, but it needed to be written.  I needed to say it.  Some people needed to hear it.  Again.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Capture Your Grief Day 5: Journal

You have forgotten. You live your life unfettered by her memory. Maybe you are reminded every once in a while. A blog post in your newsfeed. An owl figurine in Marshall's. And then it's a fleeting thought of a fleeting life before you immediately think about how much things have changed. Your mind goes to Piper, a much anticipated rainbow, and your mind rests there. Because thinking of Piper is comfortng and joyful and safe. And you are not conflicted at all.
Let me set the record straight. Having children after loss is just as hard as not having them. It does not make the grief better or less painful. Rainbow babies are not signals to the end of the storm; they are simply reminders that the storm is not all there is, that the sun is still up there They are hope for the hopeless, and although a rainbow often exists because of a storm, it is an entirely different entity. One does not negate the other.
I still love and miss Kenley with every fiber of my being. Every day. Not a moment goes by where I do not think of her, of what she should be doing, of who she would look like, of the milestones she would be hitting. I still ache. I still hurt. I still cry. Probably even more so now that Piper is here. Piper is a daily reminder of where we are in life. Piper is our second chance. Because our first chance died. Every single laugh or smile, every roll over, every outgrown onesie is a reminder of what Kenley will never do. I can't even let myself get started on how Piper wouldn't even be here if Kenley had lived. That's an inner conflict I wouldn't wish on anyone. How are you happy for one when you know that happiness is a result of such sorrow? How do you chose the child to love? You can't. Yet, it seems the world wants you to. "Choose the living one," says the world. "You are alive. We are alive. Let's all focus on that. Forget about your other one. Death is sad. We don't like being sad. We don't know what to do with sadness."
You're going to say, "But Rebecca, I would never make you choose." No, not directly. Not purposefully. But, still every day, I have to choose. Is this the right time to talk about both my girls, or just the one who stayed alive? Would it be weird if after every new picture I post of Piper, I just cycle repeatedly through the four I have of Kenley? I so desperately want to show off both of my children equally, yet I know that's not possible. Piper will grow and change and interact. Kenley will forever be a black and white image of a sleeping baby. In the same dress. In the same position. Forever. She will never be more, but she is so much more. I have to choose because who she is doesn't fit in with how life changes. I have to choose because if I truly talked about her at the level I'd like, there would be an intervention. "Rebecca, we need to talk. We don't think this is healthy." You know what's not healthy? Outliving your children. Too often, the world tells the grieving to move on. Sometimes with words, but mostly through actions. Uncomfortable silences. Changes of topic. The not so subtle shift of focus to the living child.
I know I've said this before, but it can never be said enough. I have TWO children. I carried two babies. I had morning sickness and heartburn twice. I had glowing pregnancy skin twice. I felt two babies squirm and kick and flip. There is no difference between my girls, except for one. Only one of them is still here.