Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sucker Punched

So, I made it through my mom's birthday. Actually, I was carried, Howard called in sick when he saw that I was just a little off and we took the kids to lunch. I breathed deeply and remembered to count my blessings not just my losses. I got a shower, and headed out for some bloodwork I had been putting off. I reminded myself that this life is not all there is, I held my head high, put on my big girl pants and did the "room mom" thing for Luke's Kindergarten Valentine's party, and all I could think of was that my most vivid memories of my own mom were of her in that very same place in that same role. The same school, many of the same teachers, the same events. It made me a little sad and also a little grateful. Grateful that my husband values my role as a stay at home mom and has made it a priority for our family. I GET to be a "room mom" and a "PTO mom" and because those are things I remember of my mom, I hope they are things Luke will remember also. I love the little school that Howard and I both attended and now our children will learn many lessons in. All in all, it was a pretty good day, despite the fact that my emotions ran a bit high.

I was claiming Victory over the first half of February, I made it through the first difficult date in one piece, that is until Valentine's Day hit. Now, I will be the first to tell you that we don't do much in our home for Valentine's day. I am not a fan. I think it is a cheesy holiday and we don't give it much thought aside from the fact that each year we take the kids on a date to Chuck E Cheese.

Typically our pilgrimage to Chuck E Cheese is delightful as we typically go at dinner time when all the adults are out and kids are with babysitters. For some stupid (don't tell my kids I said that word) reason we chose to go at lunch. UGH! EVERY. SINGLE. KID. in Erie County was there. It was ZOO for sure and was less than delightful. Kids were running everywhere it was chaos to say the least. Chaos makes me on edge as it is, but we figured we would make the best of it since we were there and leaving at this point would likely be more painful.

We got settled and met up with Howard's sister and her little guy and the kids started to play. As they were running, I asked them to pause for just a moment so I could snap a quick photo of all the cousins together on Hope's first Valentine's day. Then it hit. Like a tidal wave. I suddenly felt like I could not breathe. There through the tiny square on my camera I saw three boys and sweet Hope where there should have been five boys and Hope. I fought tears as best I could and sat down and shoved my face full of a slice of that stellar pizza. :) (I REALLY do love Chuck E Cheese pizza, weird I know).

When the tokens had been spent and the tickets had been redeemed I handed out the decorated red gift bags I had filled with small treats and toys for each child. Again, I found myself struggling to breathe. Two were missing. I couldn't help wonder what it would look like to see my four boys with their cousin. It would be a sight for sore eyes for sure. A six year old Luke, a four year old Andrew, a four year old Isaac, a three year old Ben, an almost two year old Asher and sweet baby Hope (yep, I am pretty sure she will ALWAYS be Baby Hope, and did I really have five babies in six years?).

It hit again once we got home and I took the photos of the kids on the couch, I again looked at the tiny square screen on my camera only to find two boys and a baby girl rather than four boys and a baby girl. I looked through that lens and saw only three of my five Valentines and my heart sunk. Their absence was so real. Between each of the kids, someone was missing and my broken heart ached to see five sweet children through that lens. That is not how our story was written though. This side of Heaven, two will always be missing.

Don't get me wrong, I count my blessings every day. I feel more than blessed to have held five sweet newborns, kissed each head, and breathed each one in. I know there are many women who desperately want children and may never have the opportunity to give birth to one let alone FIVE miracles. I know that and I am thankful, but it still hurts.

I have been doing this grief thing for quite some time now and honestly I never saw this coming. Valentine's day is not a holiday I expected to bring a fresh wave of grief and yet it did. I was sucker punched. That is the thing about grief. Sometimes you just don't see it coming and sometimes the anticipation of a date causes grief to remain at the surface for weeks. Asher's birthday is Monday, I expect that day and the days leading up to it to be tough, but Valentine's Day?? Really? A pretend holiday, made up by greeting card companies, candy companies and florists?


Unknown said...

(((Hugs))) It definitley hits you when you least expect it. I haven't posted here before and I am thankful that I found you. I am not far into my journey of grief. Thank you for sharing!!!

Love, Michelle

Christy said...

Oh hon I'm praying for you and came to give you a blog award and when writing describing you and your blog, this entry seems to hit it on the head.

trennia said...

It does hit when you least expect it...

Stephanie said...

I've never lost a child so I won't even pretend to know what that feels like but I have lost someone very close to me. I do understand the feeling of being sucker punched.

You don't see it coming and you find yourself shaking your head in disbelief.

connie said...

I'm sorry. I know (from you) that it never really ends. And you've had a lot of losses, so there are so many layers. This reminded me to pray for you today.

Emily said...

Yep yep yep.

That's all I can say.

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

It is strange, isn't it...the things that trigger those waves. No rhyme or reason sometimes...

Praying for you...

Trisha Larson said...

I feel that way sometimes too. It's so hard to explain to others. Especially holidays. I remember being sad on Memorial Day last year. Crazy I Know but those are the days that families are suppossed to be together. I feel relieved to know that I am not alone.

It seems that when the small things happen they get magnified. It's not that I am upset because my car broke down. I am upset because my car broke down and my son died. It's just one more thing to deal with when your hanging on the edge of grief. You know?

Sending hugs,

Erika said...

kristy, i am so sorry. i felt that way on valentine's day, too. each time i snap a pic of my two living kids, i always think about the ones who aren't in the picture. :-( it's very hard. just today i was at dance class with my biggest and there were twins in the class. my heart fell into my stomach. grief strikes when you least expect it. (((hugs)))


Crystal Theresa said...

i understand what you mean about grief being at the surface in anticipation of an important date and of it hitting you out of nowhere, as well. i've found that i've worked myself up for big dates (such as mother's day, father's day, my husband's birthday, and Calvin's EDD) so much that the anticipation was harder then the actual day. and then the day after was worse, because things were still the same. i don't know if that makes sense.

Valentine's Day was definitely hard for me. My husband and I don't celebrate or anything, but we had plans of celebrating this day with our children - it broke my heart when you said you didn't have all 5 of your valentines with you. My 2 valentines are up in heaven, and hopefully our babies had their own Valentine's Day celebrating together.

i'm glad Howard was there to help you get through your mom's birthday and that you are able to be there for your children the way she was for you. i definitely think they will remember you in the same way.


-crystal @

melissa said...

Ill start this post like many in the past wiith the I dont pretend to know your grief.... What I do know is each post that describes your grief makes me pause and think how my trials and the small things that life throws my way do not measure up. How I should stop and think with each crummy thing that I am blessed. Your strength and faith are a gift because of your heartaches. I read all your posts and most times dont comment because I feel like my comments could not possibly offer any thing to you. I prayed about that before this comment today and God spooke to me that sometimes there are no answers. Sometimes its just important to be heard. I hear you and I pray for your brokeness. Your posts bless me and make me stronger in Him. I know there will always be 2 missing but I do celebrate with you (on this I can relate) PTL!!! for the 3 sweet faces looking back. Thank you for reminding those of us who have not been broken in this way how blessed we are.

Nothin' but love

Mommato4miracles said...

Sending hugs your way. My prayers are with you.

Amanda said...

Hi Kristy, I read your post a few days ago and I've been thinking about it ever since. I don't know what to say, accept you're not alone and I'm sorry. I hate that sucker punch feeling, I really do.
Thank you for sharing with us.