Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Secret Garden September Meeting

The Secret Garden is a place for bereaved parents to go for comfort, sharing thoughts and feelings and reading of others' thoughts and feelings offering support and virtual hugs. Sophie, Hope & Carly very carefully pick the topic each month and post on the Secret Garden website and the rest is up to us. Here are my thoughts on September's topic...
What has helped you through out this new life the most. Is it your family? your faith? Support groups? A ritual? Music? Physical activity? A new interest? It could be anything. Tell us about how whatever it is has helped you. Please feel free to share photo's,videos, websites, support group information and so on.
Immediately after Chase's death, my family stepped up to the plate. In less than a day, two of my sisters showed up in the NICU. Patric & I had arrived only a few hours before. Friends arranged for our kids to be with us within hours of us asking the favor. My entire family arrived at my door about a day after Chase passed. I was so quickly surrounded by those whose hearts were breaking with ours and only wanted to be with us, in our presence to offer love and support. My house doesn't even hold that many but everyone piled in, no complaints, and I felt a level of protection that I have never felt before--completely surrounded by the people that love me most in this world. Though I was still in shock, physically and emotionally, from what happened and what was happening, I constantly had someone there with me taking care of me and the kids and Patric. I don't think I could have made it without that immense support. Though I know not everyone would want that....it was what I, we, needed.
As reality set in and time passed (after the first week) I needed answers. I read several hundreds of pages of medical reports from my records, the hospital records, Chase's records, the NICU's records....talked to doctors and nurses and friends....all to find out what happened to me and what happened to Chase. I needed something scientific to reason with what happened. I could not stand to listen to another "God's Plan" explanataion or "he was needed in heaven" story from people who had no idea what I was going through. This was certainly painful, but it was also therapeutic. I got (and still do) cold sweats and would shake when I asked people about the day I was in labor and the surgery and some times I would break down talking about it but it was part of my greiving process to talk it out. I went through seriuos trauma, not just a tragedy and this was all helping me get through it. I also had a very specific desire for those around me in my small town to know what happened since this was something that involved more than just us, but the doctor, himself, too. The magnitude of our loss is something that separates me from
many people I once called friends. The dismissal of it and that it even happened is something that I can't look past as I live with it every day of my life.
I developed several photos of Chase while he was in the NICU. This also became therapeutic I guess. I have just a few of him in Ruidoso and I only have a few of him with his eyes open. But I have my favorites and I have blown them up and hung them in my room or created different memory keepsakes with them. He is every where I look and not in the few photos I have up, but in the places he was supposed to be present, the cupboard that was supposed to hold his bottles, the bath that was supposed to be baby-friendly, the car that was supposed to hold his carseat, the sisters that were supposed to be holding him and brother that was supposed to be at home playing with him and the daddy that was supposed to holding him on his chest, not a new little puppy that has recently called our place home. And then I see him in the rainbows, the birds, the butterflies, the clouds, the mountains, the storms, the wind....everywhere.
I have always exercised and this has definitely helped me. However, every time I go on a run, my mind is replaying some episode of Chase's life with us. Sometimes this is good and sometimes I have to force myself to think about other things or concentrate on music. The support I have received from other bereaved parents has helped me tremendously. Writing to and reading about the daily struggles of other moms who feel the same as me has given me comfort in that I know others are on this same path I'm walking. When I think my thoughts are crazy or my emotions are out of hand and read a blog of another babyloss mom who feels the same exact way, I am comforted and know that I'm not the only one in this dark, lonely place. As every babyloss mom relates, I am grateful for that resource but I certainly wish that I never knew any of them.
My biggest comfort of all is also the most painful one and that is Chase. My focus is on my baby. I think of him when I'm sad. I think of him when I'm happy. He will never leave my heart, my mind, my soul.


  1. Christy, this was a heartbreaking read. Your family sounds amazing, you sound amazing. I was really struck by the image of seeing him in all the places where he was supposed to be present, I recognize that.

    I've often thought about asking for a full copy of Iris' notes but I've held back for one reason or another. I think I need to read them, having read this.

    Love to you, Jess x

  2. "The magnitude of our loss is something that separates me from many people I once called friends"

    This statement is so true and sad. I can relate to so much in this post. You are right, Chase is in everything. I see my Jenna everywhere... the places she should have been, like you said. That haunts me, but its so true.


  3. Thank you for sharing this. I'm so sorry. :(
    Exercise and blogs also help me a lot. I listen to podcasts to try to escape from reality while I'm walking. Thinking of you.

  4. The phrase that Franchesca pointed out is true. Sometimes it feels like there is a big chasm separating me from everyone else.

    I think exercise would definitely be helpful and I would love to get out and do more but it's so hard to find time to do it. I'm sure if I tried more I could manage. The support from others is so helpful and uplifting when the days aren't so good.

  5. I was particularly struck and impressed with the love and support as your family surrounded you.
    I also see Indigo in places. We had a wet, rainy summer this year (which is very unusual for our area.) With rainbows after nearly every storm. And I would like to think that Indigo was letting me know she was still close.

  6. "I think of him when I'm sad. I think of him when I'm happy. He will never leave my heart, my mind, my soul." Totally with you on this one. They will always be there, happy, sad or in between.

    So sorry about Chase.


  7. I'm gonna just repeat the comment above, you really got me with that last sentence. I understand. Florence is a part of me in the same way.

  8. I know what you mean about the "God's Plan" explanataions. It is so hard to hear those platitudes. So much of your reaction to the trauma of losing your child mirrors my own. Thinking of you.

  9. sorry if you get two of these, i had an error message.

    so much of your reactions mirror my own. i too hate the platitudes about "God's plan" what god would choose to take a child from his mother? Your reaction to the trauma reminded me of myself too. Thinking of you. Thank you so much for sharing