Welcome to Hope for Grieving Mothers

If you are new to this club (that no one asked to join- the one where your child has died), it is best to start by going to the BOTTOM RIGHT and look at the "Pages" section. Under this section you will find resources for mothers who are grieving the loss of their child. Resources to help your children deal with grief are also grouped together.

Next, feel free to look at the "Blog Archives." There are many topics that you may have an interest in reading. As you girlies know, we now have Teflon brains and often cannot have the focus power that we have had in the past. Feel free to come here often and hopefully you will FEEL the loving support that me and other mamas are sending. Hopefully you will begin to see sparks of hope for your future...

Hugs... Pamela

Monday, July 22, 2013

The dreaded month- Haven't I learned ANYTHING?!

Well, here it goes... My fb post for July 23, 2013.  Why is it important?  This fb post is what has kept my brain occupied this month when I needed to think of Logan and loss. It gave me something to "do."  I'm kind of a doer and sitting and being quiet isn't exactly what I wanted to do. So I would become occupied by thinking and writing. Great plan?!  The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry....  True that. 

"This is the day that I dread every year. The anniversary of my middle son Logan's death. The day that everything changed- six years ago.  It is not possible to put a positive spin on this day.  His birthday- YES.  The Anniversary of his death- NO.  What do I want the "good" to be on this day?  
1) I invite all of my healthcare provider friends to recommit to the understanding that the negative outcomes often occur during the most mundane and average days...  And often from a series of subtle and innocently appearing events that cumulatively create a trajectory that cannot be reversed. BE AWARE!  
2) Sleep apnea WILL shorten your life. At the age of 17, it was later discovered that Logan already had moderate cardiomyopathy as a result of his sleep apnea.  Please google "sleep apnea" for more information and discuss this with your physician. It brings joy to my heart when people do this.  Sleep apnea really isn't about being too tired.   
3) Reflect.... "What legacy am I personally leaving in this world?"  Do all of these things in honor of Logan. Help create a legacy of safety, awareness, and personal change. Because of the sensitivity regarding the cause of his death, I would really appreciate minimal comments to this post.  Thank you for remembering our Logan today. He is at home and at peace in the kingdom of Heaven... But one day a year it's okay just to be sorrowful or even angry- for we were robbed of so much as he was unintentionally ripped from our lives."

So girls, this years thoughts of the anniversary of logans death have a flavor of frustration and anger. I may not believe in Kubler-Ross' Stages of Grief as a "grief model" but I believe that these are ALL valid emotions. Anger is one of these emotions. 

What is the source of my frustration this year?  I'm a slow learner. It took me a while... 
When July 1 hit the books, I surprisingly began to feel irritable.... Like the Princess with the Pea under her mattress. I couldn't put my finger on it exactly for a while.  Then I realized that I was anxious of the "day."  The trauma of that day is occasionally brought to my mind... That damn horrific helpless feeling with complete loss of control.  You remember that sound that we made when our children died... The WAIL?!  I KNEW what it was and had heard it before but it STILL frightened me!  

Also, I look at the amount of vacation that I'm allotted, and it stinks that I need to take a day off to grieve Logan. (Ok- more than a day because i left early today!)  PLEASE do not think that I believe that my employer owes it to me.  I do NOT!  I DO think that needing to take a vacation day or two for grieving is a CRAPPY waste of vacation days. Purposeful days but STILL unfair!  Haven't we given enough?  Donated enough days to grief?  Haven't we served our time?!   I want LIFE to win, not grief! 

Last month, I made plans to see a dear friend in Texas a week before now for a fun weekend- before the "retreat" weekend.  "Retreat" being code word for the weekend of unpredictable thoughts and sorrow that I would face prior to the big ole anniversary.  This fun weekend was specifically planned for celebrating and friendship. I had no idea that I would have a big case of "crazy brain" that weekend-- as I was on edge and not at all myself. Didn't I make the conscious decision to let LIFE win?  That became one more defining moment -- the lack of control that has lassoed all of our lives. It kinda hacks me off. I "planned" specific time to remember Logan and his loss. Grief didn't follow MY timetable. I even put it in my day planner. Hmmmph!  :)

When it was time for my self designated "retreat" weekend for reflecting about Logan, I decided that I really wanted to sleep on that Saturday. I opted to take Benadryl to snooze the entire first day. Bright idea!?!?  Not!!!!   My thought--- less time to be aware of this crappy weekend!   Plus, I was tired.   THAT REALLY backfired!  Great idea?!?  NO!!!!  I woke up Sunday morning feeling like CRAP.  My entire body ached and hurt. A body is NOT made to be immobile so long!   We are made to move all of the muscles and joints in our body. How much more avoidance could I DO?!

On Sunday, I decided that I physically couldn't take the exhaustion that laying around the house creates. Although I was physically exhausted,  I believed that my BRAIN needed to work--- even though my body was feeling like a 90 year old woman. 

Several weeks ago, I was in the toy section of a store with my grand baby and something caught my eye so I picked it up.  It was a kit to make "paper sun catchers."  That second day of my retreat weekend, I decided I that needed to try to focus on the instructions of making those origami paper sun catchers.  (Yes, I'm officially a ten year old!) By bringing out a tee tiny bit of my creative side, I was able to get an itty bitty surge of energy.  Next, my sweet gal pal texted and encouraged me to meet her for a walk. I sat for several minutes looking at her text.... staring at the phone.  My mind kinda wanted to see her, but my body was still exhausted.   I startled myself when I said "yes."    We met few hours later and I was surprised more than anyone when I eventually relaxed and giggled. 

The journey to July 23 this year has been unpredictable. We have no control over anything in our lives, although we create grand illusions of control. Don't we?!  Reread that sentence.  please. This has been the source of my frustration-- haven't I earned the RIGHT to control this animal called grief that I didn't ask for?!  Ha!  At least I can now laugh at the absurdity of my thoughts.... 
My friend Rick states- "The emotion of grief is a tricky guy...sneaky...comes in a different route each day...you unlock one door and he comes into another. The more u try to control him, the more sneaky he gets..."  Rick-- you wise wise griever, you!  True true true. 
Tonight is the eve of the dreaded anniversary.  I'm at home in my condo on this pleasant summer night.  Relaxed but waiting for the tsunami of emotions that may surprise me and knock me on my feet when I least expect it.... Understanding that my son Logan deserves the "full meal" deal of grief.... Even when we think we have grown past it.  He's still my boy and I'm still his mommy.... And a hundred years of earthly separation will never change this. 
Hugs to each of my mama friends...
Pamela Parker 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Having a baby after losing a baby

When a new baby is born after the death of a child, this is called a "Rainbow Baby".  This mom explains to us what challenges she has faced since she has had her new little Rainbow Baby.  Her first daughter died when she was five months old. As a personal note, I've known Courtney since she was in high school. She and my Logan were close friends. She has a special place in my heart as a mommy now.... And has given me sooooo many verbal gifts that have left me speechless. 

I've been asked if having another baby makes the grief less. NO!  It brings new challenges and different heartaches to your grief. 

The lessons in Courtney's words can connect with all of us who have lost a child. Read these words and maybe you'll see yourself and not feel so alone.  Thank you Courtney for sharing these thoughts. 

I wish I could tell you that it's so easy to bring your new baby home and everything will be perfect, but I can't. Simply because it isn't.  You're still missing your other child. 

My biggest thing going into bringing my new baby home was not getting to see her older sister's reactions to meeting her new baby sister. It absolutely broke my heart. Pulled at a whole new set of grief heartstrings. I didn't even want to come home from the hospital. I was heartbroken that my kids would never get to play together, grow up together, cut each others hair, kiss each other, and do all of the funny loving things kids do together. 

After five months, the truth is, I still feel this way. I get envious of my friends that have multiple kids and watch them play with their siblings.  My child will only know her sister as being in Heaven. She will look to her for advice but she won't ever see her in the role of big sister. 

It's heartbreaking, but I have found ways to finally see things in a different light.  Such a true blessing LIFE really is.  I never thought about how precious "life" was until it was lost in front of me. 

When my second daughter was born, the first words out of my mouth- when they held her up for me to see- "she looks just like her sister" ... Part of me was so happy! What a blessing it is to see her sister in her! Part of her! Then I was sad too- it reminded me of what I lost every time I looked at her. It's still like that now. My daughter is 5 months now and still looks so so so much like her sister.  Now-- It is usually giving me happiness.  I know they are two seperate people, but it's lovely to see her sister coming out in her.  I do admit it's still hard at times. I am entitled to be the "crazy mom" and I wont let anyone tell me any different. I am the super crazy mom. I never put her down, I am very stingy with her, I follow the book on everything- although I know ultimately every child is given to us by God and they are only ours to watch here on Earth. Still, I am very over protective. I have only let minimal people meet her in five months. Everyone wants to meet her, but I'm just scared I'll miss something that happens.  I know now that time on earth with our children isn't promised, so I never want to leave her right now.  To a mother who hasn't lost a baby this sounds absurd! "You mean you haven't left her yet for a date night, or night out, or whatever?" No. Plain and simple. I am completely entitled to feel this way. After all, this baby is a rainbow baby! (Editorial from Pamela- I AGREE!  100%%%%%. Hold sweet little baby girl tight!  When she's older- if you are still feeling worried about leaving her... We will work through this together.) 

Everyone argues with me and tells me that I need to relax, but I can't.  I get anxiety just being away while I take a shower. Some say its not healthy to be like this, but in my opinion, they grow up so fast.  This one year of my life isn't that long... In a year I may start to relax a little. But it's hard to adjust to life after loss. 

The one thing I can say is my husband has completely blown me away. He is my rock. Right after our daughter passed away the preacher highly advised that we seek counseling as over 80% of couples that lose a baby end in divorce. A year later we were at a wedding and the same preacher approached us and was surprised we were still doing so well. I'm not sure I would still be sane without him. He is equally as crazy as I am and has never made me feel as if I'm too over protective. He's always there to hold me up when I'm falling. On my bad days he makes the day brighter. 

Some couples struggle.  I can totally see why. People grieve in totally different ways and I think in order for you to make a successful relationship, you must work after a loss.  I have realized that there are two main components to grief. 

**One.  Never put a "time frame" on grief. You are always going to grieve. Things may get better, but you'll always have grief. 

**Two. Let them grieve the way they want to. And be there for the other. Encourage positive grief instead of negative. 

As soon as my daughter passed away I took a grief and loss class through my college and this has helped me TREMENDOUSLY!!!  It helped me find ways to cope and listen to my husband.  Through my own grief I wanted to be supportive to him as well. 

To any new mama with a Rainbow baby- Take a deep breath!  Everything will slowly fall into place. It takes time. You will love this baby so much it hurts, literally.... that's why God made mothers. He made us to love our children and to care for them.  God is holding your hand through all of this.  He is turning new pages in your chapter.  Don't be afraid to take the time to study your new gift. 

Hugs to each mama out there!