Monday, May 25, 2009

Balancing Grief and Joy

This is something I am finding difficult these days. Today is memorial day. A day to remember the many who have sacrificed so much for us, but often it is also a day families use to go to the cemetery to care for the grave sites of loved ones whether they served in the military or not. Typically on Memorial Day we head to the cemetery and care for the grave sites of my mother, grandmother and Isaac.

My goal for this year was to have Asher's headstone set by Memorial Day so that we could go and plant flowers and make the boys' space more permanent. Our cemetery only pours cement footers once a year and it is early May. Needless to say, we missed the boat again.

I have found myself conflicted. It is like I can only focus in one direction at once and right now I am trying hard to revel in the last moments of my pregnancy and prepare for the new blessing the Lord is knitting in my womb. That is not to say for one moment that Isaac or Asher have been forgotten or pushed to the side. I am acutely aware of the permanent holes in my heart that only they can fill. With every nudge and kick I think of my pregnancies with them, with every preparation I am reminded of the things I never got to do for two of my sweet children.

I just could not bring myself to intertwine cemetery work with nursery work this month. I know I guess that for Isaac and Asher their grave site, while providing us with a place to memorialize them, is not where they are. I feel closer to them here at home and more able to focus on the joy they have brought to our lives from here. The cemetery has a tendency to remind me of their absence rather than their everlasting presence in my heart. I am trying hard to stay focused. Thanking the Lord for every perfect gift he has given me and not yearning for what I do not have. It has been a tougher month than I expected and though some of my goals for the boys' grave site were not met, I feel I have grown in many ways.

I have been able to let go of a lot of anger and really prepare my heart to receive the gifts ahead all the while remaining thankful for the ones I have been given. I am learning to live with a broken heart and allow my brokenness to transform me into the person the Lord is calling me to be. I truly feel as though I will be a better mother and wife and mom because of Isaac and Asher and I am so grateful to them for showing me what is truly important in life. I worry less about the temporary and focus more on the eternal, putting less emphasis on circumstance and more on the pure joy of living in the moment. God has extended such grace to our family over the past year and I am just amazed to see the beauty in His work.

Some nights I cry my eyes out wishing I could hold Isaac or Asher one more time. The sadness is always there. It always will be. I never want to forget the important lessons they have taught and are teaching me. Each of my children amaze me. Ben has NEVER been a cuddly child. Luke always has been, but recently Ben's favorite thing to do is to come to me and say "Mommy, hold you me" We sit in the rocking chair and he asks me to "open my belly" which means lift my shirt and he takes his precious blankie and puts the blue velvety side down so the baby can feel it and he lays his head on my belly and rubs his blankie on my belly. He sometimes falls asleep doing this and sometimes we just sit and watch TV. It is one of the most sacred parts of my day and I look forward to it so much and am dreading the day that the belly is gone and he no longer does this.

Luke amazes me with his wisdom. I was floored a day last week when I was complaining of being tired and achy and Luke combatted my poor attitude with "well mommy, at least the baby is still alive. We need to be thankful for that." From the mouth of babes! These boys keep me grounded, humbled and focused on what is important and I consider it my greatest privilege to be their mommy. I just cannot wait to see what this baby girl has to teach me!

On another note: We have an ultrasound, non stress test, and doctor appointment tomorrow morning. My c section is scheduled for next week and they just want to be sure she is not too huge. They are expecting her to be a big girl though, which will be very different for us...our babies have typically been early and small...she is showing us just how much of her own person she is going to be and just how new of a thing God is doing in and through her! Please continue to pray for us as we prepare our home and hearts for her arrival. We know the Lord has great things in store in the weeks ahead!


Just Me said...

Definitely praying for you! Hope all goes well at your appointment tomorrow...a big girl definitely will be something different...chubby babies are SO cute though :o) I can hardly wait to "meet" her!

Take care,

ShEiLa said...

Thank you for saying what I feel so many times.

My Mother passed away 5 1/2 years ago. I have been to the gravesite maybe 10 times since then. I just don't feel the pull to be there because I know that is NOT where she is. I don't enjoy remembering her death... but her life.

I have a beautiful book with lots of photos and wonderful stories about my Mother... from her childhood and up. I would much rather pull out that book and talk about her life... than going to the cemetary.

Good Luck and Best Wishes next week.


Emily said...

I am about to burst with excitement for you guys. The Lord is beautifully orchestrating a sweet miracle in your lives and it is a precious sight to witness. Thanks for letting us watch. :) I am praying and holding my breath in anticipation!!!

Marie said...

Praying for you and your family as you prepare to meet your new daughter,
gravesites are ok but our loves ones are in a much better place and the memories live in our hearts forever,

Melanie said...

WOW Kristy! You are incredibly insightful for your -30 odd years (you aren't 30 yet, right?) You possess wisdom of people twice your age!
Looking forward to pics of that little girl soon...and the smiling family that awaits her!!

Stephanie said...

What a beautiful post...again.I feel like that's all I ever say, but what ever you write is always so honest and from your heart.You leave me with a lot to think about, but little to write.

one thing I can write, is that your sweet little girl is doing things her way already.A good sign of strength.This Princess is going to keep the whole family on their toes. Take it easy, and get rest when you can.

Kenzie said...

I love you Kristy and am so thankful for all that you are allowing your precious boys and our Sweet Lord to teach you through them. We are praying for you and your family as you await your little sweetness to make her arrival. I'm sure it's a balancing act to figure out how to mesh the tears with the joy but I know out of anyone- YOU can do it through your surrender to God. Praise you friend for how you are allowing your heart and mind to be transformed.

Love you and praying,

Kelly said...

Many prayers continue to be said for you and yours.

Kimberly Carolan said...

Sounds like your family has been through a lot of losses! I think that remembering good things about your babies is important. My only significant loss has been my father, and I always feel the best when I can laugh about something he said or did. I haven't been to his grave-site very much, but I feel like I "visit" when I remember him.

My best to you and your family,

Kim Carolan

Fireflyforever said...

Wow, from the mouths of babes indeed. Reading about Luke and Ben made me all teary. So precious.

Cristi said...

Praise the Lord for His many blessings. - And that belly/blankie story had me in tears. So precious. I can picture the little miracle girl wrapped in a soft blankie, you rocking her and holding him too. Such sweetness.

Hilary said...

You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers, as always. I feel like I say that alot. I wish there was more I could do for you.....
I'm praying your appt and ultrasound went well!


Mary said...

I also have a baby boy in a cemetery. And another baby boy here. Isaac and Asher would be pleased that you were preparing for their sister!

Bless you and all of yours! Families are Forever.

Anonymous said...

Good Luck today!!! I hope all goes well I will be keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers!!!!! I can't wait to see pictures of your Beautiful Baby Girl!!!!
Much Love,