I have started and stopped various writings to share (in my head) about a million times. Somehow it was either too hard, or just not the right time to get the words down in writing. The past eight months have been a period of great sadness, change and most importantly growth for me. All are important steps in the grieving process that I will likely embark on many times before my time here on Earth is done. Because despite what appearances may look like, how functional I am, or how big my smile, I grieve each and every day of this life. Some days I am able to function at near normal levels, and others it is exhausting to get up and make breakfast. Even though our loved ones who are gone are not visible to us for the rest of our lives, for those with direct loss, grief is ever present, always lurking behind a corner, and when we least expect it the tidal wave hits and we have to tread water incredibly hard in order to maintain our head above water.
It is nearly 10:15 CST in our home. I am sitting in the exact same spot on the couch I was earlier in the night one year ago with my family around me. Our precious Maggie moving inside of me. At 10:00 I head to bed to catch the channel 5 news like I always do, and as it comes on the trouble starts, the memories flood my brain...
weird sensations in my hands
overwhelming feeling of sickness
feeling my way to the bathroom
yelling to call 911 before passing out on the bathroom floor
back in bed in and out of blackness
police trying to tell me it is just the flu
begging for oxygen
low blood pressure
moving to the transport chair
visiting Heaven where time stopped, warmth penetrated, and I didn't want to leave
abrupt recsuscitation by the EMTs
into the ambulance
more IV attempts
"Tracy come back"
getting sick, blood pressure dropping, and blackness
On Tuesday October 29th Maggie Grace came into this world already in the arms of the angels in Heaven, her purpose on Earth already fulfilled without breathing a breath of air. Her life inside of me, and the legacy she left behind has forever changed us and continues to change us. Because of her our family has become more focused on helping others, a reflection of the Grace bestowed upon us. So to honor her birthday of turning one and her first Heavenly birthday, we are collecting items for Second Stork, which is a local organization that supports new parents in need. I created a target registry to make it easy for people, but all items can be purchased from anywhere and be any brand. The only requirement is that all items must be NEW and unopened. We hope that we can cover these families in need with love and grace, and support them in a time that is both wonderful and stressful all in one. My heart aches for her more than ever but I know that through helping others she lives on throu...
It has been a while! The past few months have been rough and the grief has been deeper than I ever experienced - more on that later. Right now we are working to spread some joy!
As some of you may or may not know, Charlotte would be starting kindergarten this year. Instead of focusing on the fact that she is not here with us, we are choosing to focus on helping others and bring Joy to them. Seize your Joy is working with Kids in Need Minnesota (kidsinneedmn.org) and collecting school supplies for children who are unable to afford them. You can see the information and list below of what is needed! We are running the drive through September 4th.
Here is a link to our Target registry but supplies can be purchased from anywhere! Supplies purchased off the registry can be mailed directly to us!
Also please note - we are hitting our hard season in the fall with the all the losses piled on each other and we so appreciate all the support you give us so we w...
Today my beautiful, perfect baby girl would be 6 months old. 6 months old. That is a lifetime. I try and imagine how life could have been, what she may have looked like, what her personality may have been like by now. Try and remember the typical milestones that babies meet, which vaguely sit deep in my memory from 7 years ago with Sophie. But it is hard. It is hard to imagine something that never lived outside the womb. It is hard to see who a person could have been never having seen her eyes, never heard her cry, never felt her snuggle. Sometimes I imagine dark curls starting to come in like Charlotte's curls, and other times it is bald and beautiful like Sophie was at that age. I imagine the chaos that would be settling down in our house as we would have moved out of the newborn stage and maybe would be getting some sleep. Mostly I imagine the Joy my soul would feel despite the pain of losing Charlotte. Sometimes it feels like the world forgets that she was ever here becau...
It is hard to describe where I am and who I am right now in this uncharted world of tremendous grief. I have sat down many times to write and my words just get so jumbled in my head I cannot get them into writing. Charlotte turning five last month tore my heart open more than I could ever have anticipated. I am not sure why, grief is funny that way it just happens, out of our control and at the least expected times.
Five is a huge milestone in a typical child's life. It means kindergarten, crafts, friends. It means school shopping, and school with a big sister. I am not sure that I ever imagined her entering kindergarten while she was alive, as she taught me with great clarity to live only in the present day, sometimes only in the present hour. I didn't dream of what her life would be like as she grew, I was consumed with living life with her in the present. The first kindergarten notification came in the mail in the fall - "Open House" come explore the possibilities....
It has come as a great surprise to me, and probably to others how much harder my sadness has felt with the holidays over and past. Of course my heart ached during the Christmas holiday with the missing presence of my two beautiful girls. I did most of my shopping online to avoid being around the crowds, but when I did head out to grab a few gifts, I would find myself wandering through the toy aisles wondering what I would be picking out for Charlotte and Maggie, or what their Christmas dresses would have looked like. But true to form I was able to bundle those feelings up and push them down and focus on making the holiday special for Sophie, and spreading as much Joy as I could humanly spread.
Christmas came and went, quickly the decorations came down, and then it was this overwhelming feeling of "now what". It hit me like a running in to a brick wall, the quiet of the house once Sophie was back at school (a time I often cherish) reminds me that this wasn't what we had pla...
The new year has torn on my heart since the passing of my dad in 2015, and even more so when Charlotte passed in 2016. And now in 2018 I am feeling the same nagging pit in my stomach of sadness. While other people are reviewing the best of their years, and celebrating the coming of a new year, all my mind and heart can contemplate is the loss of Maggie this year, and that at 12:01am we will enter a year to which her physical body never existed. Also at 12:01am, it feels like I am one year further away from Charlotte, and my dad. It takes great effort to keep your child alive in spirit, and as each day, month, and year travels on with us still looking behind, one worries that the details may be slipping from the mind. I spent two days last week obsessed with the fact that I cannot remember if I looked at Maggie's feet and toes - I mean I had to look at them right? But I honestly cannot remember. Did I hold her little hands and kiss her sweet face enough? Did her body fill my a...
I keep thinking that I should have put my hat in for the 400 something billion lottery ticket that was out there a month or so ago with the odds of the way things keep happening in our life, but then again money solves nothing, and certainly doesn't solve our problems. I know that I have taken a break from writing - it isn't because I haven't wanted too, or that I didn't have things to say. I often would compose the writings in my head, they just never made it to print. The reason is the second year of grief is hard. I have found several articles now about this, but at the time it was largely an uncharted territory that no one warned me of. The second year without Charlotte has been by far much harder for me, and that I believe is because I was no longer numb. The first year I waded through life with a smile on my face sadness in my heart, but I was literally numb, so numb that I cannot even remember most of the first year. - just bits and pieces, and the things I remembered to...
365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes without Charlotte by our side. In someways it feels like forever, in other ways it feels like just yesterday. The last few days leading up to her exiting her Earthly body are engrained in my brain, and like the old movies they used to show in school on the reels, they play over and over in my head. The discussions, the scares, and of course the day she passed away. I remember the fear, the sickened heart, the wishing it could me, being obsessed with the monitor until Junji made them turn it off. I remember the loving staff, the calmness of the room, and the love that surrounded her. I remember thanking God for letting me be with her, to be holding her when her last breath became air, something I didn't get to do when she entered into the world, and took her first breath. I remember whispering into her ear to go, to be free, promising her that we would be ok.