Monday, May 23, 2016

Lionhearts and Love

I've had this week circled on my mental calendar for months now. This week will be one of emotional highs and lows for me, with many activities planned to keep me from withdrawing into my own thoughts too much. In happy news, Silas is enjoying his last week of kindergarten! I can hardly believe that my boy is moving on in the fall to full-day first grade, but I know he's ready. This week he gets to experience his first Super Kids Day, and Thursday is his final day of school. We had such a wonderful experience with his first year of school, having fallen in love with his teachers and his school community. I look forward to the role that this school will play in our family's lives in the years to come. Continuing on with our happy events, our family leaves on Friday for a long-awaited trip to Oregon.

Following his end-of-the-year kinder program
 My struggle with the week is Thursday the 26th, which should have been the day that we welcomed little Hjarta into our lives. It feels like we lost Hjarta so long ago. It's hard to believe that I still would have been pregnant at this point, that I still would not have met this baby. After all this time, I feel I have come to know him well. One of the neat things about never having met him is that our friends and family can speculate and believe what they want about what Hjarta may have been like, and any one of us could be right. Silas firmly believes that Hjarta was a girl, and he refers to Hjarta as "she." I, on the other hand, pretty strongly believe that Hjarta would have been a nature-loving boy--a Christopher Robin, so to speak, that would have spent hours in the woods and thrived on solitude in a way I could never understand. I imagine his spirit still infiltrating the beautiful, quiet places of this Earth, as though each time I see a beautiful mountain or come across a waterfall, Hjarta was there waiting for me to see it too. The thought brings me immense comfort.

Emotionally I am continuing to do well, for the most part. It helps so much to have Jude thriving within me. We are 18 weeks along with him now, and my anxiety about his survival is mostly gone. It all feels so complicated as I still sometimes mourn Hjarta, because I know that if I had Hjarta I would not have Jude. I think Jude is going to be a pretty awesome little guy, and the more that I can allow myself to get excited about him, the easier it gets. Until just a few weeks ago, however, I refused to allow myself quiet moments when I might imagine his soft skin or his scent, as though I feared an attachment might grow to a baby that I might still lose. With each successful doctor appointment that passes, though, there is reassurance that this outcome is destined to be more like those of Silas, George, and Van than of Hjarta. The moments when I struggle the most are undoubtedly moments when I am alone. If it gets too quiet, I get too much into my own head and then I can't stop the tears.

BJ is traveling for work this week, but he arranged to be home by late Wednesday night so that he is not out of town on the 26th. This is also good since we are leaving for Oregon on the 27th, and I definitely don't want to completely prepare the packing for that trip alone. Silas' teacher has graciously offered to let George, Van, and me attend school the morning of the 26th and "help," which will add the perfect chaos to keep my mind off sad memories. BJ will take the afternoon off of work, and Silas has a baseball game that night; the day will be busy! Even though BJ will be gone the first part of this week and I will have more alone time in the evenings than I would prefer, I realize that my outlook on this week is very much my own choice. I can choose to think and dwell and cry for hours on end, or I can keep busy, focus on the goodness, enjoy our happy activities, and let Thursday be a day that I celebrate Silas in his last day of school while also remembering my lost baby with extra kindness toward others. If I don't want the week completely ruined, I have to make the choice to not let myself ruin it. I can do that.

If you think of it on Thursday, spend an extra moment of your day being kind to someone. You don't have to do it for Hjarta or me. Do it for someone else you love, or someone you lost, or a mother you know who has lost a child. Do it because the world is beautiful and people are good, and you have an opportunity to contribute to the beauty of humankind. If you do something kind for someone, you could even let me know what it is. It would be nice to do some extra smiling on that day, feeling the positive vibes that my friends are sending around this lovely earth. Thank you to all of my family and friends for supporting me in what has been the most difficult time of my life. Thank you mostly to BJ, who has kept me afloat when I was physically down and couldn't do it for myself. I think of BJ when I hear the Of Monsters and Men song "Love Love Love." The lyrics say, "You love, love, love when you know I can't love," and they remind me very much of my physical and emotional recovery in the fall. My grief took 80% of me, and my kids took the other 20%, and there was a period of a few weeks there when I had absolutely nothing left for BJ, and that was when he loved me the most. I will always appreciate his willingness, love, and understanding.

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