Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I've been trying to live for the moment these past few weeks. I get too bummed out when I think too much of the future, even the very immediate future. Like, ah man, I have to work out today, and then I have to shower. What a giant downer. Therefore, you can see how the less immediate future could possibly put me over the edge. A long, exhausting life ahead. Attempting IVF, paying for said IVF, having IVF not work. Deciding whether or not to accept our family is one of four, with one represented by a string of plastic beads in family photos. Even thinking of eventually moving, which I would like to do one day, just exhausts me. And leaving Charlotte's pink bedroom will be hard.
There are plenty of good things, both immediate and future. I love the fall, and I love the holidays. I love Ella and love this stage she is in, cheering over every wave and grin and attempt to stand. I am so excited to watch Ella grow. Buying a pair of darling shoes that won't fit her for two years makes me a little weepy. And Ella's first trip to Disneyland this winter.
And so, for now, I am trying to make lots of little good happy memories, for me and for my family. Repeated visits to the pumpkin patch, multiple dress up occasions, lots of pictures. It's the easiest way to keep myself from purchasing a leopard print Snuggie and never leaving my couch again, simply exhausted over having to wash my hair.
For the record, I am still doing well wading my way through grief. It's bittersweet, but there is sweetness, for me anyway. I love talking about Charlotte, I love laughing over her pictures, I love seeing the cat curled up on her bed in the sun. But I want to be clear about something that has become very clear to me. My grief is easy and light, comparatively. I was given a baby who we were told would never even recognize us. We were told she would--and these words will echo in a dark part of my mind forever--"stare at the ceiling until she dies." And she was so much more than we anticipated. In hard moments, listening to her scream and cry during multiple IV attempts, seeing her so weak she could barely open her eyes, I would bury my head in my arms and sob and Zar would gently remind me "This is so much better than what we signed up for." Which was true. I can rejoice that the hard parts of Charlotte's life have fallen away, leaving only her joy and happiness and delight. And her 'tude.
We knew she would leave us, we knew we had done all we could, we knew we had made her life as happy and healthy as it could have been. And so my grieving is mostly just missing, with no regret, or fear, or guilt. Just sweet remembrance.
But here is what I want to be clear about. I would not be this way, if, heaven forbid, I lost Ella.
Reading the stories of others who have lost their children fill me with dread. I would not have peace. I would not have faith. I would not have my sanity. And that is why, even though I have lost a child, a sweet and beautiful and perfect child, that I can still praise God. I can still work out and wash my hair. (some days) I can still live this life. So don't be overly proud of me. This is a cozy, leopard print Snuggie kind of grief.

9 comments:

Kelly said...

What a beautiful photo!

You have a wonderful way of putting your feelings and grief into words. I can appreciate your efforts in focusing on the here-and-now and not on the longer-term. I try to do that as well (sometimes it works better than other times). You also seem to have a great ability to remember the good times with Charlotte and what a blessing she was to your family. Hopefully those help you through.

Lincoln said...

If you purchase a Snuggie, any Snuggie, you will forever be mocked in the most vicious manner.

Lincoln said...

That said...that was very beautiful. I agree with Kelly (and I've always told you as well) that you have a way of putting your feelings into words. It's always nice to read what you write.

Shannon said...

Say what you will Erin. I will always be forever proud of you and the way that you have not only handled yourself, but jumped in to help others while you are going through hell. Write a book Erin. Please. You are incredible.

Jessica said...

I understand what you mean. I, too, am only doing this "well" because of Hannah. I, too, would be in bed all day long eating only ice cream and other junk if it weren't for my cheerful 3yo greeting me each morning.
You write it so well. I am so blessed to have found you when I did. You are the only one so far who understands the struggles to continue a family under these circumstances. Thank you again for being here for me, even while you grieve your precious Charlotte.

Becky said...

I concur with Shannon...you SHOULD write a book. I love the way you can make me laugh and cry all in the same post. Love you my friend.

Michelle said...

Beautifully written, again :)
Greif is a hard thing to understand, and no one circumstance is the same which is why different kinds of grief exist. I lost my grandmother when I was only 14 (first death I had ever experience). She was healthy, outgoing, and I couldn't understand how in two simple days she had suddendly slipped away. I still mourn that loss, even 15 years later. My grandfather on the other hand suffered for many years so his death was sort of a release for him and us. I miss him, but in a way I don't suffer over his death the way I did/still do my grandmother's. So in a strange way, I totally relate to this post and I'm so glad you wrote it :) Thanks for sharing such raw and honest emotion.

{ Bethany } said...

Ah, sweetie, I understand what you mean. But you don't have to measure your grief against someone else's. Your good and bad days are yours alone, and it doesn't matter what anyone else is going through.

Its the question we've all been asked..."if you had known beforehand that your child would die, would you still have wanted them?" Only you and Zar had to answer it for real.

Its interesting that we've been through every parent's "worst nightmare" and yet, we're still terrofied of it. I guess there's always something worse...

~Bethany
Angel Gavin's mom

~on a sidenote, YAY Disneyland!!! :)

Sally said...

WRITE A BOOK!! Your writting reaches into hearts like few others can do. I'm sure you are a fabulous nurse, but have you thought about being an author and a nurse?
Thanks your for your great insight. You have never ceased to amaze and impress me.