Monday, February 15, 2010

Poster Person...

I am, if nothing, an overachiever.

I always have been.

I think my propensity to defy the most amazing odds (twice in one pregnancy, if I claim the odds of Matthew having one normal kidney and one pelvic kidney) helps substantiate this claim.

So, imagine my surprise (not) when one of my therapists (yes, one...John and I have one we see together and I have one who calls me once every three weeks for an hour) told me today that I was her poster child for grieving. She meant this, of course, in a kind, appreciative and complimentary way.

Even in grief, I overachieve.

She's highly impressed with the mountains of books and resource sites I've read and continue to read. She's pleased that I am aware of and have notified John of what to be aware of with regard to symptoms of depression that would warrant aggressive treatment. She can't believe that I am going out to dinner engagements or other things with crowds and do so without breaking down at each one. (At John's Test Pilot of the Year dinner, I got the dreaded, "So, you have any kids?" Not once, but twice. I knew it would come sooner or later, and in a way, I am thankful it came at a dinner where some spotlight was on John and I just WAS NOT going to break down. PERIOD.)

She's tickled with the groups I've joined, the resources I access and utilize and the hurtful situations I expose myself to so that I can "feel" and "work through" my grief. She's FLOORED that we are going through the FET so soon. She's even happy that I seem to be effectively working through my grief in my dreams. She's just shocked and amazed that I am able to get up, get dressed, shower and function (me too) and gave me HUGE kudos for doing so. I was so glad to hear that...I don't think that people really realize what a MONUMENTAL chore it is--how much mental energy it takes--just to get up and function throughout the day.

She said the only thing she'd tell me to do that I am not already doing is to be kinder to myself.

In essence, she feels that I am doing such a good job of grieving, I may be cheating myself out of grieving.

That is to say, pushing myself to follow what society comes to sort of dictate grieving should be.

I thought about it, and I think she is exactly right. It has only been 11 weeks and 2 days since Matthew was born and here I was in a fertility clinic this morning getting ready to try and be pregnant again. While I want that pregnancy to happen, it *is* awfully soon. I refuse to do any disservice to Matthew by holding back one single tear I want to cry for him, ever. He was, and will always be, my treasured and precious first-born son; the answer to years of prayers and my hope.

When people tell me not to lose hope, or that they hope I don't lose hope, here's what they need to remember: Too late. I lost it already. I lost it with Matthew. And that's just the way it is. Psalms 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes a heart sick; a longing fulfilled is the tree of life." Matthew was my longing fulfilled, and heart is sick. I am not only allowed but expected to be heartbroken and is completely and totally normal for me to feel hopeless right now.

My. Son. Died.

The good news? Psalms 23:18 says, "There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off." So just because all the hope I had in and for Matthew is gone, I am not cut off for future hope. It's just not the same and no one should expect it to be. I know people mean well when they tell me to hang on to hope--but that's a lot easier said than done. When one grows and carries her heart's desire for 10 months, only to tragically bury him a week later, mind over matter doesn't necessarily apply. Suffice it to say that I am trying.

So here I am...stuck....refusing to mourn Matthew any less than I want or need to in order to fit some societal framework of how I 'should' be feeling right now, no matter how long that takes, yet refusing to be anything but grateful and excited about Matthew's brother or sister--whenever and however he or she comes into our lives.

Wonder what kind of poster THAT looks like?


  1. Lori,

    Through this process I have learned there is no script for grief. We all grieve in our own time and in our own way...when we are ready. And, some days we are more ready than others, and some days we are just too emotionaly spent to exert the energy...but we keep walking.

    I recall the anesthesiologist walking by my bedside and giving me a thumbs up after Christian's loss and saying I was the poster child...for what I thought? Losing a baby with some amount of grace and dignity? However, looking back I think she was applauding my strength, as she knew what I was in for in the coming days, weeks and months. But, I'm proud to say that I willed myself forward, just as you are doing.

    As for "the right time" to go through IVF again, that is your call to make with John...on your terms, your way. Just know that you have my full support, as I fully understand wanting to add to your family. I'm very close in age to you so I relate to you on so many levels.

    I admire your ability to engage in "life" and your will to move forward. It takes immense "want" to do this. Kudos to you sweet friend and I look forward to journeying with you as you start another chapter.

    Many Hugs

  2. Hello dear friend. I miss you, but I am so excited at the thought I will see you soon (that is, if you will still have me). So much of this post resonated with me. You are a "Poster Person". But, the sentence that really got to me was the "Lori...are you going to have children" question. I got that myself at a Valentine's Dance this weekend. It was right in front of Colin. We both stammered and stuttered. I got tears in my eyes. It made the asker feel terribly, even though she doesn't really know why. I think that question should just be banned from society! Why, oh why, do people still feel that is any of their business?????

  3. Lori,

    I continue to keep you in my thoughts. I don't know how you get up in the morning - at all - nevermind get dressed or post on your blog.

    I have no advice other than do whatever feels - well, not "right" - but at least the right thing at the right time.

    Many Hugs,


  4. You are amazing and may I just say the Lord is amazing through you. I'm so glad you are choosing to rely and meditate on the Bible first and foremost before other helpful books. God's Word is the only one that will never let you down and will keep sustaining you! The how many children question is so unintentionally hurtful when we long for children. I got that alot when we just had our 1 son for 9 years. People would always wonder why we didn't have more. I got so tired of saying I couldn't have anymore! Praying for you & John as you embark on this new IVF cycle. The picture of your Matthew on your blog takes my breath away. He is so beautiful! You have quite a story to share and I enjoy and admire your honesty and faith. Keep it up!

  5. Lori -
    I agree whole heartedly with Andrea -- after almost 20 years working in pediatric healthcare -- one thing I have found to be true is that there is no script for grief or for approaching the biggest of life challenges - losing your child. You are doing an amazing job and you are an amazing person. Absolutely your hopes and dreams for Matthew were shattered --- and your ability to work through that but also focus on growing your family and having hope for Matthew to shine down his angelic light on a sibling for his family -- that takes incredible strength. You are an inspirational woman. I wish I could say/do something that could speed life to the day your next baby is home with you, living out the hopes and dreams you have for him/her and your family... I know it will happen for you... and with your first born son, Matthew, as your guiding angel.

  6. I'm so glad you have WORDS because when I read your words and think about you, John & Matthew I am so overwhelmed that I can't find the words. I just think *sigh* and {{{hugs}}} are doing great work living and growing thru this horrible pain. I would never forget that there is no other option there but still you inspire me with your over-achiever-ness! I'm holding God accountable for some great reward in store for you Lori :)

  7. I understand what you are saying so well. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have wondered the same thing. I have always considered myself very resilient, but then I wonder, am I really resilient? Or am I good at burying ignoring painful emotions? I can't decide.

    Anyway I think it is perfectly ok to shed tears of sadness while being excited about the anticipation of the next child. :)

  8. you go poster girl ;D

    you took the words right out of my heart!


  9. Lori - You are strong and incredible. Just wanted to tell you ... XO, J

  10. You know Lori I get the same thing. I came back to work just 2 weeks after I delivered Juan. Granted I am a school teacher and it was just as easy to come back as it was to plan lessons, but still I returned. Everyone keeps telling me I am so strong and I am doing such a great job. How do I do it? I am just working things through. They don't see all the acting I am doing and all the behind the scene things that are going on. I ache for my son, but I know he would want me to push forward, especially for his brothers and sister. I feel ready to try for another baby again. I don't want to forget my sweet angel, but I have room in my heart to love another one just the same. You do things how you need to and at your own pace. You are such an amazing woman and it saddens me that we have to meet this way, but I am keeping you in my heart and praying that the IVF is successful.