Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 17 - {a gradual opening}

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One afternoon toward the end of February I had noticed these daffodils (please pardon the weeds :) on my way to the mailbox. That they were right in the process of opening! I thought, Awesome! I'm going to sit here and watch until all the petals come out!  I thought that would be the coolest thing--a sudden opening, like an umbrella being popped open. I grabbed my camera and lay on the grass in front of them, and started snapping pictures, and waiting. (The neighbors must have been confirmed in their suspicions that I had finally lost it.) As time went by and I could see no noticeable difference I finally gave up and went inside.

 

I mentioned in my "invincible summer" post that things are clearing emotionally. I want to share now more about that, and especially my gratitude to Heavenly Father for bringing me to this point. I hope that what I share isn't too personal for ya'll! (Just keepin' it real. :))

 

Since Benjamin's birthday last November I have had this odd inclination to busy myself so that my mind could not revisit the pain so intensely. Where before that I could not help but hurt when I saw or heard other babies, or when I realized that I was doing something I couldn't have done if Benjamin were here, now as soon as I started to hurt I would turn my mind to my nursing school application, to the home improvement projects, to Christmas, anything that would distract my mind.

This seemed like a good idea because there really was a lot I needed to get done and the grief was not helping my productivity! :) But almost immediately there were side-effects: my not allowing the natural emotion to be on the surface applied to other emotions and my relationship with my beloved family. Christmas did not have that same intense beauty that it always has had for me. I didn't want to work on Benjamin's scrapbook. At all. And it seemed for a while, that each week was bringing an experience with a friend or family member whom I had previously leaned on, but who now seemed disinclined to share my grief. I was starting to get comments like, "You need to just try to be happy."

Other changes since November have been physical:

I no longer feel the phantom kicks inside that I had for over a year after he was born.

I have finally lost weight, and now weigh several pounds less than I did when I became pregnant with him.

I don't have the feeling of sheer desperation to be pregnant. It's more of a peaceful "it will happen when it's supposed to happen" feeling.

 

By February I hardly knew what I was feeling anymore. I haven't wanted to post much. I haven't wanted to delve deeply into my memories. It's odd because I still wanted people to talk about Benjamin but I didn't want to myself much! I know it's completely illogical. I think my brain has been broken, or there's been a major disconnect somewhere. I guess I have just been afraid that I'm not staying close to him, but afraid TO stay close, because of the pain.

 

It just felt like I was in limbo emotionally--not hot or cold.

 

I'm not sure what caused the change, but suddenly on February 27, I felt like writing in my journal! I opened it up, and saw that the last time I had written was November 9, 2008. As I wrote. . . .and wrote. . . .and wrote, I started to realize I was moving into a new phase. I could FEEL again without hurting so badly.

Back to the daffodils. THREE HOURS later I suddenly remembered them, and went back out to see them looking now like this.

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And the next day, like this .

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How long did it take for the whole process, I wonder? At what point did the petals go from being all scrunched up to being open and free and beautiful?

I feel like I am becoming a new person. That I have spent a long time like the bulb, buried in the ground. That I have allowed the sunlight to draw me upward into green shoots with no spectacular beauty. That for the longest time, I have just been waiting for the healing, like the greenish yellow lump that rises to become the blossom. It has been so gradual that others have become frustrated. I have become frustrated! But all the time, that blossom was there, securely tucked away until enough time had passed that it could safely emerge.

I'm not saying it never hurts anymore now. But I am finally, finally beginning to feel that I can miss Benjamin and hurt that he's not with me, without sinking into the previous depths. I can talk about him with a feeling of happiness, at how adorable he was, and that he is mine, without the crushing pain of the separation.

I want to work on his book again. I want to be a better companion to my Darling Cutie, and a more emotionally engaged mom for my living sons. I want to spend more time writing and less time reading. I want to focus less on this trial and more on others' pains. And I want to think of Benjamin often with the sweet love I have for him and less often with the angry hurt that he is not here.

 

100 days of gratitude tagAnd so, 16 months after passing through the death of my child, I can say that I will not only survive this, I think I will even be happy again--without ever, ever forgetting my angel son.

Thanks to my Heavenly Father and His Son, my great Healer! I cannot praise Them enough!

 

 

Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.

Jeremiah 31: 12

13 comments:

Marc and Megan said...[Reply to comment]

Beautiful, Michelle! Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I've been watching our daffodils blooming the last couple of weeks and reflecting my life and grief. You've put into words so many of the feelings I've been having. It's so encouraging to hear that things will eventually get to be less heavy and more happy. I can feel it going that way, but it's so slow sometimes and seems so far away. Anyway, so I just really appreciate these thoughts you've shared. You are wonderful... I hope to meet you someday.

~ Megan

Becky said...[Reply to comment]

You're amazing, Michelle. Thank you for the reminder of our Healer and Master Gardener, and of the miracles He performs in our lives.

GumbyandPokey said...[Reply to comment]

Awesome post!

Cindi

Andre said...[Reply to comment]

Beautiful. You relay your emotions so well! I'm so glad you are doing better. I love your analogy to the flowers.

Right now I'm at the place where I feel like people are tired of my going on about Austin. I want to talk about him, but I don't have anything new to share. It's hard when important days to me go by and no one else remembers. Yesterday was nine months since Austin died and no one made mention of him.

Thanks for this post. Even though it's your feelings, it helps me a lot.

Jen said...[Reply to comment]

Michelle, I had an interesting thought...

When I was working in a flower shop there were times when we were rushed for time and the flowers would not cooperate. There were times when we would "force" the flowers to open. We would put them in the sunshine or hot water; sometimes we would even pull back the petals and blow on the buds. It never really looked very natural. We cheated the flower out of what it could really do on its own when the time was right.

Michelle,
We have loved watching you grow and we are happy to wait until you are ready. We know that your timing and Heavenly Father's timing is really the best. We love you and we are amazed at the progress you have made.

Andrea said...[Reply to comment]

Beautiful! I love your flower story. This is one of my favorite posts. I could see in your face when we were talking today, that you do feel different.
I am grateful that you have taken the TIME you needed so that you have never really felt cheated in the whole process.
Whatever you need I am hear for you, just like you were there for me today. Thanks for letting me share. You are great.

Maria said...[Reply to comment]

I am so happy for you Michelle! What a wonderful thing to really FEEL again. Spring is such a wonderful time of year - when everything comes alive again. You truly are amazing and I admire your strength.

Christian Baker said...[Reply to comment]

I'm so grateful that you are willing to pass through tough times and still remain hopeful and faithful, Michelle, even when it requires such a long wait. I'm grateful to supportive family and friends (you reading this), who are our nutrient soil, water and sunshine, for your constant love!
-Chris

Mom/Nana/A. Nancy said...[Reply to comment]

Yay! I'm so grateful. I've been praying for you unceasingly. You have such a supportive husband. We love Chris too. What a beautiful comparison! Your selection of music, "O Holy Jesu," is perfect!

Annalisa said...[Reply to comment]

i agree that writing feels better than reading. i'm happy you're blossoming into a watered garden...daily nourishing and growing. you're an inspiration and smiles to you!!

snbjork said...[Reply to comment]

Michelle, it was so great to have you here last week. And I especially appreciated the very long talk we had. I think we both needed that. Thanks for listening without judgment!

I am also very grateful to see the changes in you. I can only imagine what the last 16 months have been like for you. What a difficult journey, to say the least. And how blessed we are to have a Savior who gave all for us so that we may feel hope and peace again, even after the most challenging of trials.

I love you, friend, and am so proud of you and your accomplishments. Proud of your willingness to keep moving forward, even though sometimes you did fall. You are wonderful and I'm grateful to know you!

Malauna said...[Reply to comment]

Very well written, Michelle. Keep at it (writing blog posts, I mean).

Amy Kay said...[Reply to comment]

Michelle,
You are an amazing person. I am so blessed to have you in my life. I have been going through something also, and am finally feeling like the person I am supposed to be, and yes it does take time.

I am glad you are getting better, and growing like you are. I have been watching my tulips come up, and am excited to see them bloom this year. Things happen in His time not ours, I am learning that part of paitence too.

Please keep writing we all love to read your words. You are wonderful.
Love always,
Amy