Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 4 - {progress in healing}

100 days of gratitude tag

My wonderful therapist, Dan, recently talked with me about "dealing with the ghosts." There were things all around the house that were not touched or dealt with since finding out Benjamin died. I started handling them little by little when I could emotionally face it, but there are still several ghosts that cause me pain every time I see them.

Today with help from a precious friend, I dealt with one of them.

This has been sitting in our bedroom since last November 1st, the day I found out Benjamin had died.

DSCF3790 edit

Almost every time I looked at it I felt nauseated. I very nearly tossed it in the garbage can, but I just couldn't. Here are some of the things that were stored in that bag.

  • silk autumn leaves --picked out at Michaels' with Janice last October -- Janice thought I should get the ones with shiny gold but I wanted them to be more natural-looking
  • a grapevine wreath from my sweet cousin Shirley
  • pinecones
  • acorns from a tree outside my OB's office ~ the day we picked them up was October 17, 2007--very memorable because it was DC's only time and my last time to see Benjamin alive--the day they gave me the extra ultrasound and he was being "so photogenic"
  • gold wired ribbon

Late October 2007. . . .Janice and I had planned all week that last week to sit down and glue this thing together, but we kept getting too busy with last-minute cleaning and organizing. She was leaving to go back to Florida on Thursday, Nov 1st, and offered to watch Hummer that morning while I went to my last appointment. Then when I got home we would finally make the wreath, and she would leave to go home.

That last appointment sent my world crashing down around me. And for poor Janice, it was a horrible way to end what had been a delightful visit. (She still grieves with me. I hope so much that she can come back sometime and visit Benjamin's grave and see this wreath now.)

Today, October 22, 2008 I pulled the dreaded bag from its spot. Even that hurt! Grief is such a crazy thing.

I had asked for special help from a dear friend who moved here recently and who has been so compassionate and loving to me. Andrea is amazing talented at things like this, and I knew she would be tender and sensitive to the pain this would probably unearth.

DSCF3791 edit


I was excited when we got there, but as soon as I pulled everything out of the bag and saw what was there and started remembering, I just started bawling. Andrea just put her arms around me and let me cry and tell her every little detail about everything.



DSCF3795 edit

Hummer played nearby most of the time, but he did come help glue on some of the acorns. :)

Andrea had the neat idea of putting Benjamin's initials on the apple. I used a gold metallic ink pad and stamped it on. I love how it turned out! (Isn't it interesting his initials also stand for "Be Right Back"? ~ awesome.)



I hung it up right when I got home. Words cannot express how good it feels to see it hanging on my front door. My heart wells up with the deepest gratitude when I see it. . . .gratitude for the progress I have made in this journey of grief!

DSCF3810 edit

Dear Father, I thank Thee with all my heart for Janice, for Andrea, for this wreath, and most of all, for healing through Jesus Christ.


Andrea said...[Reply to comment]

It was my pleasure to spend such a special day with you. You bless my life more then you know. I was happy to share in your journey.

It really is beautiful, and I love the intials on the apple. It looks wonderful.

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

What a beautiful job you did with the wreath! Reading this post was so inspiring for me... I have all kinds of things I'm totally avoiding right now. I hope I can find the courage to confront some of those things that are so hard to face.

Jen said...[Reply to comment]

Michelle, the wreath is beautiful. I love you and wish I could have been near you that day.

rustybeaver said...[Reply to comment]

I am moved by your courage to face fear and face painful feelings, going through the feelings instead of around. This takes serious courage. I wish I could hug my big sister right now and tell her how brave she is and how proud I am of her. Keep going, it's about the process more than it's about an outcome.

Becky said...[Reply to comment]

Michelle, you are amazing. What a wonderful thing you did and how sweet and wonderful Andrea is to help and to comfort. I'm grateful for her.

I love you.

snbjork said...[Reply to comment]

How awesome! So often it's the small things that are so huge for us! I'm so grateful to know of the progress you are making every single day. I love the idea of adding your son's initials, it looks so beautiful!

Sharon Beck said...[Reply to comment]

The wreath is beautiful! I need an Andrea kind of friend to help me do all those unfinished projects. I've got boxes I need to go through and either make the project--or give it to someone. It's cool you're listening to your therapist and actually doing what he tells you to do. Sometimes people need help--but they don't want to go beyond their comfort zone.
I can certainly tell you've come a long way Michelle!

Andre said...[Reply to comment]

I love that you have a great friend there. I like her name ,too.

Andre said...[Reply to comment]

Can I use things that you put on your blog? I just read a poem from May that made me start to cry.

Natalie.Rob.Branson said...[Reply to comment]

Hi! I heard about your story and blog through Kara Eastham. We recently had our first little boy Branson. The day before I was scheduled to have my C-section it was discovered that his heart had stopped beating. Although it was four months ago, we are still in the thick of it. It was so nice to read some of your comments and see your beautiful family. I would love to see some pics of your Benjamin if you have any you'd like to share. We miss our little guy more than words can say, but we are learning and trusting in our faith and hope in Christ. We know that with his help we will get through it. I love the wreath and congratulate you for having the courage to face that bag. I'm sure it brings you joy to see it hang on your door. We have a website set up to honor Branson that tells our story and has some great pictures of our little guy, check it out if you'd like:

our family blog is:

I have also recently started a blog called "A Healing Journey" where I am recording my thoughts and feelings about our son and this experience. I'd love to have you look at it and share your thoughts and comments. It's always nice to get another perspective from people who have faced similar hurdles.
I pray that the sweet moments you had with Benjamin during your nine months with him and the precious time you probably spent with him in the hospital are helping you through the hard days.
All my love, Natalie Call, Branson's mom