Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Change is Gonna Come

I come to this blog daily...wanting to add so much but not being sure of what to say. For many months, I was able to spill my soul here and find comfort in your comments and supportive friendships across the blog-world. I have been touched deeply by your love for our family and for the ministry of the Annabelle Baskets. I still feel that same comfort but it's changing and it's not what it was almost 2 years ago. Our lives are changing. Our family is changing. I am changing and I want to share that part, too.
I like to have a plan and know which direction I am heading. It's part of being the first born personality, I think. It just comes with who I am and what I want out of life. I like knowing what's coming. My mother hit the nail on the head when she wrote in my baby book that "she doesn't like change" and she had that figured out before I was two! I want a heads up and, usually, like to be the one to be giving the heads up because it was something that I had decided on in the first place. I have learned over and over just how often none of that happens...especially for me, the one who fights change with fists flying. So, as I want so desperately to share my heart with you more often, I just find myself not knowing what to say because I, ultimately, don't know what's going on...just what God has given me today. And, that's little by little starting to be okay by me.
I have met several times, since losing Annabelle, with a mentor who lost her daughter 17 years ago at the age of 17. After her daughter's passing, she went back to college and earned a doctorate in grief counseling. I never understood her exactly except for the fact that I knew I couldn't understand. It wasn't until I was in her shoes that I got it. It's a place you never want to be in and, to quote another mom who lost a daughter, a club you never want to join. It's something that I was just starting to figure out and it's different all over again. I seem to be frozen- not sure of what to do or how to approach the quickly changing future of our family. I was just starting to get brave and okay with answering the dreaded question about how many children I have..."Wyatt has a little sister who we loved on for 2 months and now she is loved on by Jesus"...or, one of my favorite answers was when Wyatt was with my dad for a night and Scott and I were out and we ran into an old friend who asked about our children "They are with their grandparents" (technically, they were...Wyatt with my dad and Annabelle with my mom- I thought that one was clever!). It was just easier to get around those but now it seems so much more complex. Wyatt is constantly being asked if he's excited about being a big brother and he looks at these strangers like they're nuts. He will then whisper to me as we are walking away "but, Mommy I am already a big brother. Don't they know that we're having another baby?" I hurt knowing that it confuses him just as much as it pains me to admit that my second miracle isn't with us.
I am thrilled to pieces to be having another boy. Just as long as our baby is healthy, I could really care less what the gender is. But, a part of me still is so scared of losing another child. Yes, I know all the tests have been wonderful but when you've been where I've been and experienced how quickly everything can change, your heart wants to protect itself so desperately from unimaginable pain again. God bless my husband for the countless nights that I have woken up and asked him to check on Wyatt because I couldn't hear him breathing on the monitor. The reality of what can happen just stares you in the face and satan uses it to inject intense fear into every part of your being. There is a war and the enemy knows my insecurities and has tried and will continue to try to rob this joy that God has given.
So, getting back to my mentor friend...I saw her a month or so ago and told her that I was just having that hardest time trying to figure this all out (naturally). The best advice that I think I've ever been given was shared with me..."Don't try to figure it out. Just embrace it and enjoy it."
That's where I am today...embracing this new normal and enjoying every single kick that sends me into laughter and praying daily and sometimes by the moment for the fear to diminish and for God's hope to fill me to the point where I need absolutely nothing else.


Lindsay Dean said...

Oh Rebecca~ You do it to me every time! I am crying!! Ok, maybe I am a cry baby, but your words......AH!!! Oh friend, I just love you so much and so desparetly want to wrap my arms around you. Someday soon......I hope!
Love to you!

Jonathan said...

Rebecca your words are what I needed to hear today. We get the same questions with Tanner about this baby. I think the same thing when I hear it asked that he is already a big brother and he will always be. I also totally agree with being scared about the new baby and that something could be wrong. But I have to keep reminding myself daily that God is in control. He has allowed us to carry these special blessing inside of us for a reason. Annabelle and Lindsay will forever be apart of our new little ones lives as well as apart of the family. I pray that as we travel this journey together as mother's who have lost our little girls that God will keep our nes little ones healthy and that we can enjoy the things we will miss without Annabelle and Lindsay.


Angela said...

I'm with always make me cry!

I know we've never met, and I've never lost a child. But I always come to your blog to read your powerful words and to just kind of check up on you.

You really are doing well, even in your grief. I can't imagine all the things you have to deal with.

Sometimes I feel guilty comparing my situation with others' situations like yours b/c I have my child. Even though I, too, had to join a club I never wanted to join, the difference is that my son is here with me while you have had to endure the heartbreaking suffering of losing yours.

But I still struggle sometimes with Benjamin's diagnosis and all we've had to go through and what a hard life he will have in comparison with others (Andrew, for instance). The other day I was kind of talking to God about it, and I felt like He was kind of telling me, "But he (Benjamin) is the way I designed him for a reason." I fought that and just wanted to whine about it some more, how it wasn't what *I* wanted. And even though I love Benjamin to pieces, I still mourn for him sometimes b/c of his Down syndrome. I guess it's the fallen world we live in. That things can't be perfect. It really sucks, but I just have to take comfort that one day I can sit at God's feet and it will all make sense. And I hope to sit there with you and Annabelle.

Great. Now I'm really crying.

Lots of prayers coming your way.

Grandma~rella said...

Your words are truly inspiring and your heart so big and beautiful :)
In my humble opinion, this makes you one very sweet, amazing 'Earth Angel.' I have been a Grief Counselor for many years and can feel your passion for're on the right path, in more ways than you probably even realize. Just think about all the precious lives you've touched with Annabelle's Baskets...such sweet blessings!
I have to tell you what initially drew me to your blog...we share the same last name! :) Mine is my maiden name and it's not often to run across people with the name 'Butcher.' Have you ever heard of Samuel Butcher? He is who created the 'Precious Moments' series, which tells me...we come from a long line of caring, loving ancestors. No wonder we care so much about others. :)
You're in my thought's and prayers....sending big (((HUGS)))

Fran said...

Dear Rebecca,
I don't know if you remember me or not but we were at Irmo together. I linked to your blog through Lea Hardy's. We lost our nephew, Daniel, 2 1/2 years ago. He is the son of my husband's twin brother and his wife and was basically stillborn. We all got married within months of each other and all of our children (3 for each couple) have been born within 3-5 months of each other. I tell you all of this to let you know that your story touches me deeply. I remember when Daphne was pregnant with LeeAnne (their 3rd child and 1st pregnancy after Daniel) how there were days that she fought so hard to give all her fears to the Lord. However, LeeAnne is here and a vibrant 11 month old. I remember being so relieved for her after LeeAnne was born and telling Drew, "I'm so glad that this pregnancy is over. I know Daphne is relieved and I feel as though it will be somewhat easier from now on." Daphne has echoed that this is the way it is. I tell you that to encourage you to continue walking in faith one step at a time. God is so gracious, as you well know, to give us the perfect measure of grace. We will be praying for you and your family.
With love,
Fran Goodman Petrey

Ashlee said...

I know exactly how you feel, and it gets exhausting dealing with the fears day after day. I know God calls us not to worry, but like you said, after we've lost our precious daughters, it's horrific to think of losing another child. As I've told you before, I couldn't feel at peace when I was pregnant with Jack until he was home with me. Even in the hospital, I was on pins and needles whenever they would do a screening...simply because I "feared the worst"! It's not good, I know. You're normal for feeling that way! I promise you, you will breathe again - a nice sigh of relief - once Luke is in your arms and in your home! It won't be long!

Also, the question about how many children you have is one that stumps me often. Also, lately with Jack, I've noticed myself getting stumped when I talk about his personality. Since he's the "wild" one and high maintenance, people will joke about how the "second" child is always more "trouble" than the first. You know...the joke that "if we had him first, we wouldn't have had a second child..." Well, I don't always mention it, but I think to myself how he's not my second child (even people who know about London will mention him as my second child). It's all so confusing and hard sometimes! Anyway, sorry to ramble, but just remember that you're not alone! I hope that you just take it one day at a time, and just look forward to that precious little one coming into your life. You're in for so many more blessings :)

Love you,

The Ridgway Family said...

That was said so perfectly Rebecca. It is so difficult and so scary I know and I am sorry. I too fight the fear every day of thinking that maybe they didn't catch something on the ultrasound and there might still be a problem. I don't know if that fear and anxiety will every pass until they are here. It is such a crazy thing and so many just do not understand because they have not been asked to endure this. At the same time though, I really feel that we are blessed Rebecca because of the absolute "perfect" children that we have and I have to remind myself that it's me that is so sad because Eden and Annabelle and so happy and healthy now with the Lord. I don't know what to tell you about answering that oh so difficult question. Will I ever say the right thing, but I know that I do not discount Eden's life so I will mention her because I love her.

Love, Keisa

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Rebecca! Praying for you as you welcome baby Luke to your family while embracing and honoring Annabelle at the same time! Love you!


Mike Skiff said...

Rebecca - you don't know who I am, but my wife and I learned about your precious angel while spending time at the PCICU @ MUSC. Our son, Hudson Alvin Skiff (Warrior) was also born with complex CHD in December 2008 and went to be with Jesus in April of 2009. In fact, on Christmas Eve, when we arrived at the PCICU we were promptly given the precious gift of an Annabelle basket for our Warrior. We still have and cherish each and every item from his basket, as he wore the outfit often and had his Tigger stuffed animal with him every day. Reading about Annabelle early on when we first learned of her story was very difficult as we never even wanted to think of being in your shoes - we never wanted to even allow the thought of him not making it enter our thoughts. However, since his passing we found ourselves visiting this blog again - this time with a much different perspective. As we read the most recent posts we are brought to tears and are taken aback at just how similar our thoughts, emotions, challenges, etc. are. It is comforting beyond words to read your encouraging posts - which is truly God's work being done through you. He is using you to comfort others as you have been comforted (2 Cor. 1:4) My wife and I are touched and blessed to have the privilege to read about your very precious angel. Tell Wyatt he is absolutely right that he is already a big brother and always will be - we tell our older son the same thing. When we read this entire post it was as if you were for a moment reading our thoughts, our emotions, our current daily battle. All we can say is thank you for being such an encouragement and Godly woman. Maybe someday our families will have the honor and privilege of meeting and perhaps sharing some of those thoughts and emotions over coffee. Many blessings your way & we pray protection over the little guy on the way, in Jesus' name!
Mike & Malynda Skiff
Parents of Conner & Hudson Alvin Skiff (Warrior - with Jesus)

Anonymous said...

You are a wordsmith of the finest caliber and incredibly brave. Peace be with you.

Linda said...

This is a beautiful post. I too am learning to embrace the new me. We both are right past a year so I feel a kinship to you and ache that anyone has to go through this. I remember one day last year telling my husband, this is just too painful to bear and I grieved for all the women before me and all the women to come that would feel that same pain. I cried out, no one should have to go through this. You are right, you don't grasp it until you lived it.

You have a lot to be proud of and new beginnings ahead of you. You are an inspiration to many people. Annabelle will not be forgotten.

I just recently posted about how I was going to embrace the new me too.

Unknown said...

My dear friend, the best thing that anyone told me when I was exactly where you are right now was, "let go and let God -- stop trying to control everything." So much easier said than done, but I still have those words printed out and taped on my computer screen at work.

I thought about you on your (and my Blake's) birthday Monday. I hope you had a great one.