Day 9 of 100 Days of Grief
"You must be at the end of your rope. I felt a tug."
Today I laughed. Like a real laugh. I've tried to chuckle or force laughs before now because it was socially acceptable but today I had a real laugh and smiled. Automatically I felt guilty. I felt guilty because I felt like in some way I was disgracing Hope. Like she would feel sad because I was happy without her. It was really confusing. I want to be happy but I don't want to move on without her. In my support group there was a lady that said something that really helped me. She said that sometimes we think that if we let go of the pain and the sadness that means we will forget our baby. She said that in time we will find that isn't true. It was a light bulb moment that it was okay to be happy or laugh about something it didn't mean I was forgetting Hope. I still feel conflicted but it was nice to remind myself that no matter what feeling or emotion I'm feeling, it's okay.
Today's prompt is about needing support from others. I struggled with this after I first lost my baby. I felt like since people had already cared for me for so long when I was sick that I was done being a burden on people. Luckily I've had wonderful people that disregarded that and still tried to care for me despite me telling them to stop.
I was reflecting on this last week and I was just so grateful that I've had friends from my high school days, from college, from when I went to Alaska, from all times of my life that have reached out to me to offer support. I feel like they've all lifted me up when things were too hard. The great thing too was that these friendships just picked up where they had been left off. They've all been so genuine and kind with me. It has been a huge blessing these last couple weeks. As well as the last couple of months.
We've had so many people who have reached out to us. I was really scared to tell people about being pregnant because of my two previous losses but I was so sick I really needed peoples help. I know a lot of people tell you not to say anything about being pregnant until your "safe" after 12 weeks. I can understand that to a degree but mostly having people know about my loss has been helpful. People have reached out to help in ways that I didn't know I needed. At the same time it's hard too because everyone knows and sometimes their ways of helping aren't always helpful.
In the book it talks about a rule of thirds. One third of your friends will be supportive of your needs to mourn, one third will make you feel worse, and one third will neither help nor hinder. It says to identify the first third and spend as much time with them as possible. It really is true. I feel like in a way I've found the friends that can weather storms with me. It's also hard to find out that certain friends make things worse. I don't think they mean to make things worse, and a lot of them probably think they are helping but they make things so much harder. It's been hard for me to see relationships that I really valued kind of change because of ways they've tried to help. I'm sure that's something I need to work on personally in forgiving them but I think it will take some time.
I also understand the third group too. As I've talked with friends I keep hearing that they just don't know what to say or how to help. And that's the hard part too. People have asked me how they can help and my initial thought is always bring back my baby. I feel like when you're grieving you can't think about what you need. You're just too consumed by grief.
I thought maybe in this post I could share some ways that people really helped me after my miscarriage. I know this won't always be the same for everyone since we all grieve differently. When I initially lost my baby I had two close friends who came over and sat with me while I sobbed uncontrollably on my bed. They helped me make the decision of what to do to remove my baby. I wasn't capable of making those decisions but they sat and walked me through each choice and helped me through the process. I couldn't do that by myself.
For me peoples condolences were hard to read but now I cherish those texts. I also had a friend who had experienced miscarriage recently and it was nice to talk to her because she was experiencing some of those same feelings as I was. I had people who brought meals. I had people who took care of my husband and did kind things for him. I had friends bring me flowers. But for those first few weeks the best thing was the little notes or thoughts of people letting me know they were thinking of me. It was the friend who came and sat with me and just checked in to see how I was doing.
I think for me the greatest things were the friends that checked on me and sent messages to me telling me they loved me and that they were so heartbroken for me. They were also the friends that were okay with me saying, "today I can't do it". And they respected that and still loved me.
There are many ways to help support. Things that were really hard for me were when people sent messages saying they were sorry and then went on to tell me all of the hard things they've gone through. It was like they were throwing their heavy on top of my heaviness. I know they were probably trying to say, "I've been through hard things too and can relate", but it was incredibly difficult. I had people who would send texts with scriptures and talks and uplifting quotes. I understand that for them that's how they found comfort but I couldn't understand why God would do this and I was angry.
It was also hard to have friends be silent. Were they still there? Did they care about me and my loss? I know they probably didn't know what to say but their silence hurt more. It was like they didn't want to acknowledge my baby.
I guess what it all comes down to is I needed someone to listen to me when I needed but also a friend that respected me when I said today I need some space. Someone who would send a text and just check in to see how I was doing. Someone who didn't leave on the days where I was at my worst.
Today's prompt is this: Make a list of the things that would be helpful for others to take care of. Send an email or text to your three closest friends letting them know what would help you the most right now.
I feel like in a way I'm kind of past this. I feel like I'm starting to be able to manage life a little. I do most things but to be honest I'm kind of terrified of this next week. This next week my kids go back to school and I start teaching piano again. I'm scared that I won't be able to balance the things of life and still be okay.
I think things that would be most helpful right now is just the same as it was before. I want people to check in with me. To ask how I'm doing. I want people to not forget about Hope. I feel like I can handle doing the meals, I can handle getting my kids to and from school but I'm not sure I'm strong enough emotionally to handle the stresses of everyday life. I feel like because we've had this break with Christmas I've kind of been in a bubble. I was able to choose what I could and couldn't do. This next week I'm scared that I might fail when trying to find that balance of everyday life.