Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Shock is a sudden, violent disturbance to the body. The same term is used to describe the effect of an electric current passing through the body. You have likely encountered this paralyzing reaction in grief.

Dr. Norman Peart describes his feelings after the death of his grandmother: "The immediate feeling was that of shock and an awareness that I was not as in control of the world as I once thought. Then it was a numbness, a realization that there's something missing from life now. There was also a great fear as to who could be taken next from my life."

This is something I can relate to so well.  I remember the minutes after we heard "I'm sorry, this baby has no heartbeat" so my body felt (hot then cold, shaking, like I was going to vomit), I remember the colours of the walls of the room, I remember thinking that all I wanted to do was roll over and go to sleep and never wake up.  I also remember distinctly thinking of the double stroller in our house...that I wanted gone from my house.  But beyond that I don't remember much except feeling completely out of control and completely lost.  And I remember pushing constantly at my belly in the weeks to come to get Cameron to move...I was so sure I was going to lose him next.  I also remember that so many moments I would forget what had happened.  I would say 'the twins' and then realize I would never have to worry about 'the twins' again.  I would wake in the morning and forget for a few minutes the hell I was living.  So many things came in under the envelope of shock.  

Virgil, who lost his wife, says, "When you go to a funeral, you hear people say, 'Oh, he's holding up so well.' I don't think that's true. I think the person in grief doesn't know what's going on. That's the state I was in." Maybe you can relate to how Virgil felt.
I now I certainly can relate to Virgil.  I know people thought I was so strong because I was open about everything that was going on but also because I was enduring so much unrest in my life... dealing with our loss, having the surgery and blood transfusion, all the appointments, being hospitalized and away from my kids and just grieving in general.  I said it then and I'll say it now... what else was I supposed to do.  I wasn't doing much more then coping.  I was carrying two babies inside of very much alive but in very unpredictable health and one still, with no heartbeat.  I didn't have a choice, I had to keep going.  But I will tell you now, there were many times that the outward appearance of calm masked the inner turmoil but many other moments where I really was just coasting through it and not really grasping what was going on around me.  

When you are in shock and you feel powerless to cope and unable to think straight, understand that you don't have to at that moment. Yet because of this, it is wise not to make any major changes in your life or decide on any important issues until your shock has subsided.

I know that I was very much in this powerless stage in the first month or so after our loss. I spent much more time crying, panicking, confused and in turmoil then I did anything else.  I felt like I was getting a bit better at coping and then delivery date was set and the reality of what I had to face was in the forefront again.  It was easier to pretend that I was just in the hospital because my water broke and I was keeping one baby in...I mean that really was all the doctors focused on so it was pretty easy to live that instead the reality that was my life.  Every decision I made in those months of 'waiting' was second, third and fourth guessed...even what I should eat!  

God will gently lead to safety those who consciously turn to Him and are dependent on His guidance.When I finally began to accept the reality I was living, when I finally began to try to cope, when I finally began to turn to God, I was amazed at the ease I had in getting some of my emotions out and therefore straightened out somewhat.  I began to find my way out of the darkness.  

"The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace" (Psalm 29:11 NASB).

Psalm 27

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour me,
    when my enemies and foes attack me,
    they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
    my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
    I will remain confident.
The one thing I ask of the Lord
    the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
    delighting in the Lord’s perfections
    and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
    he will hide me in his sanctuary.
    He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high
    above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
    singing and praising the Lord with music.
Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
    Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
Do not turn your back on me.
    Do not reject your servant in anger.
    You have always been my helper.
Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
    O God of my salvation!
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
    the Lord will hold me close.
11 Teach me how to live, O Lord.
    Lead me along the right path,
    for my enemies are waiting for me.
12 Do not let me fall into their hands.
    For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
    with every breath they threaten me with violence.
13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
    while I am here in the land of the living.
14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

O Lord, my feet have been swept out from under me, but in Your loving arms I am steady and secure. You know how much I struggle lately, how overwhelmed I feel and how unsure I am of the path you have put me on.  Help me to remember that the world may have knocked me down and made it hard to stand but you, oh Lord, are holding me up now and always.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Choices or Chosen

I began this blog post about 10 days ago for my other blog ... at the start of a few very rough days in my life.  I debated about erasing this post but realized that so much of it relates to so many areas of life and was very much worth sharing.....

Tonight I am having a hard time with a few things and am really finding myself struggling.  I've been in prayer off and on for a good chunk of the night and I will admit I have shed a few tears tonight.  The reasons are unimportant...well actually they are very important but they won't be shared here in too many details.  Suffice to say I feel emotionally and physically drained and yet so full of questions for the Lord and so much in need of scripture.  I decided that I needed to work my way through this and found myself here...knowing that sometimes writing it is better then thinking it, praying it on 'paper' is more fulfilling (and less likely to be forgotten too)
Tonight my heart is filled with questions about the choices I have made and need to make and the life that God has chosen for me.  I am really struggling with some of this.  I am really questioning if I made the right choices a few times in my past or if I am making the right choice now.  I have tried  to pray and give it over to God but I am not sure what is my own free will telling me what I should do and what is the voice of God.  The fact is, I know the choice I need to make but, dammit, I don't know if I can keep it, don't know if I can do the 'right' thing.  
Do you ever wonder that... is this really what you want from me Lord? Is this really all there is?  Do you really want this for me? 
My answer to those questions has been a resounding NO...this can't be what he wants, this can't be all there is.  This choice hurts to much, this choice makes me feel judged, alone, angry, bitter... the list could go on but the jist of it is that I just can't imagine that this pain is what God wants for me. 
This morning we began a six part series in women's ministry on Jonah.  Here is a peek at it....

The first session focused on what we do when God interrupts our lives...and for many people, like Jonah, we run.  But the real focus was on their interruptions and how we needed to look at them... not as a negative thing, not as a dreaded thing or something we wish to run from. But rather as a the gift from God that they are.  But oh how hard that is.  How hard it is to look at your life and see the path it is on and know where you plan to take it... only to have God change that plan, put a big road block on your path and shove you hard down his.  

Jeremiah 29:11-14

New Living Translation (NLT)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

I feel, tonight and other times too, that just when I think I have figured the next step in God's plan out, a huge wrench will be thrown into it.  But more then that, I find myself wanting to run from where he seems to be pushing me towards tonight.  I find myself asking him so many questions...Is this really what you want from me? Is this really what I am meant to do?  And even when I answer those with a resounding yes (because deep down my heart knows this is the plan God has for me and the choices I am thinking of would not be of God) I still say 'really Lord, really.  There is no way I can keep doing this'.  I want to make the choices, I want to be in control of that.
We were asked today if we are managers or owners. Do we manage the life that God has given us or do we try to own that life and run it ourselves.  Tonight I was just wanted so bad to be an owner.  I don't want to manage this life under God's direction, I want to take it to where I need it to go right now... a place that isn't so hard, painful and confusing.  I want to make the choices not have then chosen for me.

Proverbs 19:21

New International Version (NIV)
21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

But that's not how it is because we are a chosen people not a people of choice.  Accepting that is hard at times.  Giving it all over to him and trusting him completely isn't easy and it isn't where my mind is telling me to go.
We discussed this morning about where God wants us to be, why he interrupts our lives with these privileges, who are the people God wants you share this interruption with. The presenter asked us to think of people in our communities who God might be calling us to minister too...despite us not wanting to be there.  When Jonah was called to Ninevah.  He didn't want to go. Ninevah was full of immoral and unlawful people, it was full of people who did not know God and did not care to know God.  Jonah didn't like those people and he didn't want to go to save them. And so this morning we were asked where our Ninevah was and if we could remember places it had been in the past.
There are a few obvious ones for me in the past...I certainly didn't want to join the grieving parents group.  I would never have wished that on anyone, I still wouldn't.   But the fact is I wasn't given a choice and I didn't even know that God was calling me there... to my Ninevah. I look back now at the time when I was called there by God and how much I fought him.  I remember thinking after Cole died that I had things all figured out...I knew why God gave me this crappy situation, this horrible loss and subsequent hospitalization... it was, I was certain, to fix my bring us closer together and get us working together.  And I was determined to make sure I followed this.  I was in control don't you know.  Oh how wrong I was and how hurt I got.  I hated my life then and could not bring myself to look at the bible, talk to God or even talk to others who had a relationship with Christ. I had so many opportunities, so many books offered to me, music given, words shared.  And still I ran and hid.  And hid and hid.  I know that just a few days ago I shared where my grief blog first started.  In it I finally seemed to hear God and finally seemed to work myself towards my Ninevah.  I am not sure when I finally got there, finally really immersed myself in the world of grief support through the words of Christ but it has been a journey for certain.  A few years ago I would NEVER have considered writing like this, sharing anything 'religious' online.  A bit after that I would but it was guarded and was what I thought people thought I should share or say.  Now I don't care how hard it is to bare my soul and open the wounds of my heart to others as I share our story and how loss brought me to Christ.  I don't hesitate to tell anyone that I am praying for them and/or their babies and I also don't really hesitate to share how God is working in their life.  That was my Ninevah but given that it isn't so hard for me to do anymore I am pretty sure that God has a new one for me.
And right now I don't know if I am hearing the Ninevah God is calling me to.  Somedays I think that it could easily be mental health ministry.  God knows how much this has been put on my heart, put in my life.  God knows how in the middle of this I am right now.  But I SUCK at this can't be where God is calling me...can it??? I am afraid of the unknown it brings me to, afraid of the failure that seems to happen over and over and over again.  So this can't be it...right??? How do you know???
The simple answer is prayer.  God will show you if that is the place where you should be.  Want to know how he will show you...he will give you the skills, the strength, the knowledge, the compassion, the empathy, the love and the understanding to be there.  Even when it doesn't seem that way all the time..if it seems like it is EVER working...then God has got your back there...he's called you to this Ninevah and he wants you to stay.  Are you willing?  Will you take up the challenge?
The choice is really will gives us that ability.  The question is do you want to choose or do you want to be chosen?

Be Equipped for Recovery

If you want to be healed, make a commitment right now to begin the process of grieving. Take steps forward, even when you have to force yourself. These daily devotions introduce you to the tools you need for working through the process of grieving. We want you to be equipped for recovery.

I encourage each one of you to do this.  It may take a lot of work to put yourself in a place where you are able to make that commitment but you need to do this, you need to commit to heal from the hurt of loss. Take yourself to a place where you can 'Be Still and know God'. Sit and reflect on the hurt you feel and think of how it is influencing your life. Sometimes that influence is in a positive way.  For me, after 4+ years, I think it is in a positive way but I know that not everyone would agree with me and, therefore, I know that my way of grieving is not always influencing my life in a way that is honoring to God.  Grief takes us out of the now and that is what I know happens to me.  I focus on helping others as a way to cope with my sadness and loss but I have a houseful of boys that need me in the now.  I need to force myself to make a commitment to heal and to ask God what that means for me.  Helping others is honouring to him but it needs to be done in the right way and at the right time.  

You may feel you are not sure if you can even begin this journey. But be encouraged. Cindy Morgan says, "God takes you as you are. He accepts you, and then His love changes you. You are never beyond hope. Never."

God does take us as we are.  He knows us, knows the plans he has for us.  The knows that we can get through this with his we must submit to him, to letting him guide us, to praying for his will, not ours.  Taking the journey to healing is a commitment that you may not be ready for but still needs to happen.  It is a painful journey, you will relive many things that you may have buried.  You will encounter memories that hurt but you will always remember things that will bring you great comfort and maybe even joy. 

First Peter 1:13 says, "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." 

Jesus, it is only by Your grace that I can be healed. I commit my grieving process to You right now, and I promise to see this process through. Amen.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Joy Can Return

This devotion really made me think, remember, journey back in time....

It does get better; you will experience joy again.

In her book A Passage Through Grief, Barbara Baumgardner writes, "They told me one day I would go twenty-four hours without thinking of my loss. I told them they were crazy. 

"They weren't crazy; they were right. At first, I felt guilt, then elation."1

I remember in the days after we first learned Cole was gone that I had such tremendous guilt and confusion. I was so filled with sadness and yet I still had a life growing inside of me.  I wanted to be happy that Cameron was still alive, that I had not lost both of my boys even though we came so damned close.... but I couldn't .  I could rarely find joy or see the positive.  All I wanted was to turn back time and never hear the words TTTS again.  I hated my life, hated my feelings...sometimes I hated my pregnant belly...what a reminder of the failure I was.  
I decided tonight that I would share some of the stuff I wrote then to show just how hard it was for me to find joy....

January 2, 2009

I just can't seem to wrap my head around what has happened to the life I thought I was going to have. I am just over 3 weeks into the hell that is will be 3 weeks today since I had laser surgery in Toronto and 3 weeks tomorrow since we lost our precious baby Cole. I am having such a tough time today, the tears won't stop and I have to other children somewhere in my house that need me and a tiny little trooper inside that needs him mom to be strong and healthy too.
I just can't get it into my head why this has happened. I rationalize that it's because I was never jumping for joy about having twins...not until the last month or so. It wasn't a planned pregnancy and we struggle to make ends meet a lot. But I wanted my babies, I wanted to make it work, I wanted to be that 'twin mommy'...the one people stopped in the store to admire their beautiful children who looked exactly alike. I wanted to NOT feel this pain. I get so mad at myself for the feelings I have when I read the TTTS success stories, it seems so cruel of me not to feel joy that others don't have to go through this and I know it could be so much worse...I could have lost them both. And really, that fear is still there...I'm only 26-27 weeks...such a long battle ahead considering all that is still going on inside me. But really, I just time to go back to where they were both kicking and their hearts were both beating. I want my babies to both be alive and safe inside of me. I need to stop crying and feeling so lost, alone, angry and ripped off....but how do I do this???
I can't truly grieve until Cameron his here....and the stress of getting him here is enough for me to deal with without adding in the grief that I can't control. I think it makes it so much worse because I can't move ahead, I want to move backwards and the present isn't a time I want to live in either. The only great thing about the present and each new day is that it's one more day that Cameron grows stronger and healthier inside of me.

God is the source of your hope and joy. Believe these words of Jesus in John 16: 

John 16:20-24

20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. 21 It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. 22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. 23 At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. 24 You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.

Lord, It is not hard for me to remember the days when I could not  even remember what joy felt like.  It was a dark time and a lonely time.  Even now I have those days where I forget where my joy comes from.  I know I am not alone in this and that there are many who are reading this who are struggling.  Please help us all to  believe that someday You will turn our grief to joy, and no one will take that joy away from me. Amen.

Spiritual Breakthrough

Your weaknesses and inadequacies make themselves known to you again and again. You can't always count on other people, and you can't count on yourself. No human being can meet all your needs, especially your deepest needs. 

I don't think I have ever felt as inadequate and weak as I did in the days, weeks and months after we lost Cole.  I have always felt like I didn't measure up, like I wasn't good enough, wasn't enough.  But when my world fell apart I felt like a failure at everything and I felt very judged.  I felt like my world was falling apart around me.  Each time I would bring it closer to being sort of back to together, it would all crash around me the puddle I became when I wept for all that was lost, for the new normal that I hated, for the little baby boy I missed so much and the little baby boy I held in my arms who would be, forever, without his best friend.
One thing that I wanted so bad was someone to fix it for me, someone to step in and make it all better.  Someone who understood and would not judge.  I will admit, publicly, that I was sadly disappointed in many people in my life then.  I realize now that they had no idea how to help, what to say or how to deal with my new normal.  But it didn't make it easier then to know this, it just felt like everyone expected me to just jump back in where I left off, where my life was before I got pregnant with twins, and to just move on, not bring up my son all the time in sadness or in joy.  It was a very sad and lonely time.

"We are living in a broken world," states Barbara Johnson. "We see broken marriages, broken people, broken lives. There's never going to come a time when we've got it all together." 

She continues, "As you go through grief, as you center your focus on what is ahead of you as a Christian, that helps you to know that what you're going through isn't going to last. You have to take a day at a time. Tomorrow may be different. Yesterday is a canceled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, but today is cash. You've got today to serve the Lord."

For those of you who are reading this who are newer to this journey I will try to emphasize, without judging or making you feel inadequate etc that it is so very important to turn to the Lord right now and let him pick up the pieces of your life.  You can't do it alone and you can't turn to anyone who will understand any better then God does.  He lost his son, Jesus..he understands our pain.

Psalm 116:15

The Lord cares deeply
    when his loved ones die.

You are at a point where you need to decide whom you will lean on, trust, and put your hope in. Now is the time to search God's Word and hold on to this lifeline. God will meet you where you are, at your point of pain. Seek Him, talk to Him, and learn about Him. He is the only way out of despair.

I am still learning about how the bible can help.  This blog has been great for me as I pushes me to explore the bible more and more.  Each post I comment on has encouraged me to read various scriptures so see what I can find that applies, that helps, that gives comfort and understanding.  I wish I had done this more in the first little while after we lost Cole.  I began my other blog with the purpose of finding hope and healing and that  was the first time I explored ANY scripture that might actually help me.  I encourage anyone who is reading this to also take a look at my other blog here 
It has some great scripture for those difficult times of anger, frustration and guilt.  It also shows the tremendous journey that my faith has taken.  Not all of it deals with grief either...there is pretty much every aspect of life and faith you can imagine there.  More recently it has become more like this...a place where I explore scripture and faith.

Listen to God's promise to you and claim it: 

Jeremiah 29:11-13

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

Proverbs 16:9

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.

Lord God, I realize that I need to search the Bible and seek Your way with all the strength I've got left. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Doubting Your Faith

I apologize for getting behind... there's a lot going on in my life, which I may share some of here in another post later, and I've been a bit distracted... I apologize

Day 12
"I was mad. I felt like the Lord was not there. I had prayed to hear from Him, and I didn't. It seemed as if He wasn't answering my prayers," says Phyllis, who lost her sister. "Emotionally and spiritually I expected something different. I knew that He was there, but I wasn't feeling emotionally like I wanted to feel." 

You are not alone, and you are not wrong to have doubts.

Have you ever felt this way.  I know I did, I do at times.  I remember the first time it happened.  It was in the hours after we found out Cole was gone.  I had prayed like I didn't know was possible on the night prior to our fetal surgery.  I wasn't a Christian then... a believer in God yes, a believer in faith yes but a Christian, no.  Anyway, I had prayed for God to keep my boys safe and to heal them of this horrible disease.  When we learned that our version of healing was not what had happened and that Cole was gone I remember thinking 'where are you God, I thought you answered prayers?' And then I didn't pray again for a very, very long time. 

David said in the Psalms, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?" (22:1). 

Job had similar feelings: "Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again" (7:7). Job thought he would "never see happiness again," but when we read the end of the book of Job, we find that God had something very good in store for him.

As most of you know, I am pretty new to the bible and I don't know my scriptures well at all.  I had heard all about the book of Job but I didn't read it right away.  Even when I did start it I just didn't grasp the situation.  I didn't get the God allowed the devil to do all of these things to Job to show what he already knew to be true...that Job had faith that was strong and true. I learned so much from Job. I learned it was okay to doubt and question... as long as you don't give up entirely.  I learned that God is amazing in how he answers prayers but that sometimes a trial, a lesson, a journey, needs to happen first. 

God is faithful to do what He says He will do regardless of how you feel or what you believe.

Regardless of what I feel or believe... regardless of whether I feel God is there, regardless of whether I feel he listened, regardless of whether I agree with how he answers my prayers, regardless of whether I agree with what his version of healing was for Cole.  Regardless, He is faithful to do what he says... to love me, to protect me, to provide for me, to give me a life beyond anything I can imagine... because I most definitely would not have chosen to walk this journey that is so filled with pain at times and so filled then and now with trials and crisis.  

Lord, I'm going to walk this journey by faith because what I feel and see sure isn't helping.
What I feel is the need to be in control of it.  What I feel is the sadness, at times, that life is not what I thought it would be.  What I see is my stress filled worried face in the mirror.  

What you see is the person you are guiding me to be.
And so to that I will keep walking on the journey you have placed me on.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Losing a Part of Yourself

Day 11

The loss of a close family member creates extra depth and complexity to your grief. You shared a special and intimate connection with your loved one, and this relationship helped you define who you were. Losing this person has literally ripped you apart on the inside, leaving you unsure of your own identity.

Dr. Jim Conway, speaking of the death of his wife, says, "When Sally died, it was as if someone took a giant samurai sword and just cut me right down the middle. I kept asking myself and God, 'How am I supposed to go on with one leg, with one arm, with half a brain? How am I supposed to do all of this?" 

I can identify with this so much.  I remember feeling so much of could I move forward, part of me was gone.  I wrote a lot of journals back then and thought I'd share...

December 22, 2008
Today seemed to be a better day for me.  I woke and got out of bed without crying….a first for me.  It didn’t last long as I stared at the Christmas tree and thought of all the Christmas’s we won ‘t have with Cole.  It just seems so damned unfair that these two little boys won’t grow up being the best of friends, that part of Cameron will always be missing.  It seems like a raw deal that we won’t have this little one in our family and won’t be able to watch him grow and change. 
I miss him so much already and I’ve never even gotten to hold him yet.  I miss feeling him move inside of me, miss the worry of how on earth I’d make it work to feed two newborns, miss the thoughts of dressing them the same, miss the thoughts of the joy and uniqueness it would be to be the mom of twins. 
I don’t understand why this had to happen.  What did I do to make this happen?  I know that there was nothing I could have done to prevent it but part of me wonders if my shear terror of having twins, of managing twins, of paying for the cost of twins plus 2 others made this happen.  Did God decide that I really couldn’t handle it after all?  Did me not being joyful and excited upon finding out there were two lives inside of me make him decide that it just wasn’t meant to be? 
I want to be happy that Cameron is alive and safe inside of me, I want to be joyful that I am going to have one baby, not no babies but then I feel guilty that I am not grieving for the child I have lost.  Will I ever really be able to grieve properly?  I have nothing physically to hold and it all seems unreal that he really isn’t still moving in there.  When it’s all over and I am able to hold Cameron safe in my arms, will I be able to grieve for Cole then, will I be able to even hold him?  Can I handle that?  How long is it going to be until that happens?  I don’t Cameron to be born now or anytime soon….but I want to hold the life I’ve lost, I want to cherish his little hands and feet, look into his little face. 
I am angry when I read other TTTS mom’s postings….the ones from the mom’s who got to have 2 babies, not just one.  I guess I should read the ones from the ones who lost both their babes and then maybe I’d realize how lucky I am….but that’s not where I am right now.
I don’t know where I am….lost somewhere in a world that seems to go up and down, be bright and dark and so very confusing all day long.

There is hope for you. Your identity can be found again when you abide in the Lord Jesus Christ and place your faith in Him. This will not happen overnight, and the process may be very painful. But Jesus will certainly help you as you depend on Him.

The process has been painful at times and it certainly didn't happen overnight.  It is an ongoing process in all honesty.  The journey was a lot harder when I didn't know Jesus though.  I know that I leaned on the Lord to get through it and I know that my faith has been growing all along, most especially since a bit before the first anniversary of losing Cole but I didn't trust him necessarily and I certainly wasn't aware that Jesus was right beside me and wanted to be my friend, my brother.
Once I figured that out the healing began take shape, the hope began to return. 

1 John 4:15-19

New Living Translation (NLT)
15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other[a] because he loved us first.

Lord Jesus, thank you for piecing  me back together again with Your unfailing love. You always find a way to show me that you are there and that you know just how the shattered pieces of my heart fit back together.  Amen.

What's Mine is Yours

Someone in one of the Christian infant loss groups that I belong to shared this video today... I wanted to share it before I do the next devotion.  I have a reflection too but I wanted to give you the words first.

What’s Mine is Yours Lyrics - Katherine Nelson 
Counting down days since nine months last summer
From the baby quilts to the sunshine light-switch cover
All the plans she made
Wall-papered dreams she made for him someday
Doctor hardly glanced her way shut off the monitor
As he walked out the door said “You’re young, there’ll be others”
No sirens or loud screams
No rushing or comforting
It was just over
On the longest road toward home
She parked in the church lot and cried
And said
What’s mine is yours
It’s always been
What slips through my hands has your fingerprints on it
I’m letting go
Though Heaven’s doors feel shut they’re wide open
What’s mine is yours
Teenage girl clinging to the gates of mercy
Holding the weight of the world and her newborn baby
Trying her best to be brave
Wrapped in hope giving him away to a longing family
When her courage met their eyes she saw
Somehow her baby was born to be in their arms
And cried
In this life we come and go and say goodbye
But there’s more than we can see with our own eyes
And when my faith’s a thread-bare blanket and I can’t take it anymore
I remember
What’s mine is yours
I’m letting go
Though heaven’s doors feel shut they’re wide open
What’s mine is yours
Wow...what's mine is yours. How often do we forget that in our grief?  How often do we feel that something has been taken from us?  How often do we hold on to that grief as a way to hold on to that loved one?  
Losing a child is horrible.  Losing anyone is horrible but losing a child has a pain that can not be compared to anything.  Your hopes, your dreams, your plans for the future...all shattered.  
Today I was reminded of this, once again, as I learned of another little angel who went to be with Jesus this past week.  This wasn't a TTTS wasn't even a baby.  A young boy of 5, healthy and full of energy one day and sick and then gone the next.  Unbelievable.  I don't know this little boy really.  I knew his sister well... she was a student at the school I worked at when I was pregnant with the twins.  I actually worked in her room that year and I remember Rory being so excited about my belly and telling me that her mommy had just a baby in her belly just last year... little Sam who left this world on Tuesday.  I know that the family is devastated and I know that there is so many unanswered questions.  And right now the answer that this child was never truly theirs may not bring comfort but I pray   that one day they will find hope like I have.

Psalm 127:3

Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.

God gave us all that we have but it is sometimes very easy to forget that all that we have is from him, especially our children.  Children are a gift from God , they are just on loan to us,  they never belonged to us just as we don't belong to this earth.  They are simply here for as long as it takes for their mission to be fulfilled...just as we are only here on this earth until we have fulfilled our mission.  
Letting go and allowing what is his to return to him, leaving us with memories and leaving us with hope.

Romans 14:7-8

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Identify Your Losses

Day 10

One reason grief disrupts so many aspects of your life is because your loss is not one isolated loss. You will miss so many qualities and facets of the person you lost that each will become an opportunity to experience grief.

And for some people who have lost a baby that had never met alive or not had a lot of time with before they passed away, they are missing the opportunities, the life they should have had with that child, the memories they never got to create.  For those of us that have lost in a multiple pregnancy. it is the loss of the new identity you were to assume yourself (mommy of twins, triplets, quads etc) and the loss of that special sibling, that identical brother or sister...that other half of a perfect pair.

The range of things you need to grieve for may surprise you. Identify your losses and be prepared to grieve for each one.

Use the list below as a starting point.
• your companion
- not so much my companion as Cameron's.  It hurts so much sometimes for me to think of Cameron not having his twin with him. Not having that special 'twin language' that exists between twins, not having the person he was with from the moment of conception. 
• your lover - this doesn't apply in the sense of the word that it is known most often in but I am missing one of the things I love most in this children.  It feels incomplete sometimes but moreover it feels like part of my heart belongs somewhere else, that I am not always giving 100% of my love (and attention) to my living children because one of the children I love isn't here.
• your encourager
• your "entertainer"
• your source of delight
• the one who shares your private jokes
• your breadwinner
• the one who knows you so well
• your housekeeper
• the shoulder on which you cry
• your cook
• the arms that embrace and comfort you
• your mechanic
• the one who always cheers you
• your friend
• your pride and joy
So many of those in that list are obviously meant for adult loss... of a spouse or friend.  Loss of a child is different because, as I said before, your grieving is for what didn't get to be, not what was.  Your grieving is for the life you had before you lost...the old you who didn't know this pain, the old you who didn't feel empty, who didn't think of everything in regards to how it applies to your loss.  It really sucks that for a very long time those that lose a baby can't be 100% happy for those who announce they are pregnant.  It especially sucks that I dread everytime someone close to me tells me they are pregnant that I pray it WON'T be twins.  I don't want anyone to go through that pain but I also don't want to have to face what I don't have.  I don't want them to have what I didn't get to I guess. 
Your list will go on and on. Say your losses out loud to God; speak until you run out of words to say. He knows your deepest needs, and He alone can provide. Do not skip this step.
I have done this before and posted it within a few blog entries here

and  here, 
But here are some of the things that I grieve...
The loss of a child I loved from the moment he was conceived, the loss of his life and all he could do on this earth.   
The chance to see my twin sons grow up together. To see them in matching outfits, start school together, play together, play hockey and baseball on the same team, graduate together, stand up at each others weddings...the list could go on and on
The bond that my twin sons have that is broken...and where it isn't broken, where no one understands it.  
The chance to be a twin mommy and have people ask me about my adorable, matching children
That's just a start of what has run through my brain over the years.  
"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
O God, sometimes I feel like I have lost so much. So much of who I was is gone and I often forget that I have been given, by you, so much more.  Sometimes it feels easier to dwell in what is lost then to work on growing in what has been gained.  When I am feeling low, sad and lost, please help me to remember who has filled the gaping holes that were within me and will continue to fill me to abundance.? You, Lord—yes, You. Amen

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Grief Is Disruptive

Day 9

Grief affects everything you do. It can disrupt every aspect of your life in ways you might not expect.

"I don't think I had time to think because psychologically I wasn't with it," says Nancy, whose husband passed away. "I would do stupid things. I would be coming home thinking I was on X Street, and then I'd realize, 'Well, I'm on the wrong street.' It was dumb things like that." 

Just today in group I created for the loss of one twin to TTTS there was a mom talking about how hard of a time she is having and how she just can't seem to function.  Losses like ours, where you lose a twin before or during birth or in the newborn stage are even more difficult to manage I think because you are not only grieving, you are also caring for a newborn baby, often a newborn baby born prematurely.  It takes all you have to manage a newborn and still run a household but add grief to that and you have a very disruptive and stressful time.  
For me, losing my sense of 'control' was very hard during my grieving stages.  First I 'lost' control when I had just begun some form of grieving and then had my water break and I ended up in hospital again and was preparing to meet my very premature son who was not given a very good prognosis.  I remember meeting with the social worker and being fixated on the fact that I could not go out an buy the matching items I had wanted for my twins.  I liked things to be predictable, I didn't like or want this change.  I had no idea at the time that I could give it to God and he would help guide me to where I needed to be.  
When life seems chaotic and your world has lost its predictable order, remember that God does not change. Like Nancy, you may find yourself driving down the wrong road, but God is with you, and He is able to get you to your destination.

It took me a long time to realize that God was right beside me...always.  That as I felt lost, He was there and he was ready to pick me up and carry me wherever I needed to go. 

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the LORD.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."

The LORD replied:

"My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you

"What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every GOD-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him makes it" (Psalm 18:30 MSG).

Creator God, You are a steadfast presence in my forever-changed world. Amen.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Harder then you think

Grief Is Harder Than You Think
Day 8

The hardest time to learn about the process of grief is while you are in the midst of it. You may feel that you are taking a crash course in grief and that the learning curve is formidable. But those who seek to understand grief and loss will be better able to recover, so we commend you for your determination and effort to see this process through.
 This is definitely how I felt for months after we lost Cole.  Not so much in the first few months.  Let's face it, I was a bit preoccupied with the life still growing inside of me and the crisis that continued with the pregnancy.  I spent so much worrying about Cameron and researching all that was going on with him that I didn't have time to really process how I felt about losing Cole.  Actually that is not true. I had the time and I did process it, I did find myself experiencing all kinds of emotions.  But I put off really dealing with it until he arrived...until it was 'over'.  I think one of biggest things that made me stuck in this phase of my grief was that until Cole was born he was still apart of me.  If I didn't move ahead in the grief then I was still closer to him.  And I also think that I believed that once Cole was born I would be able to 'finish' my grief and move on.  And that was SO not the case.  It hit me like a ton of bricks once Cameron was home, once I realized I was only bringing one baby home.  I just wanted to forget that it had happened at times.  I wanted to go back in time so badly.  I didn't want to push forwards, I wanted to relive everything up until he had died over and over so that I didn't have to move ahead. 

Dr. H. Norman Wright says, "Many of the right things to do in life are the most difficult things to do." 

Dear friend, even though you may be in the depths of despair and feel that God is faraway, now is the time to cling to whatever knowledge of Him you have. Today is the day to open your mind and heart for deeper understanding.

"If you hang on with whatever it is you know in your heart to be true about Him, then He will come through," says Janet Paschal. "That's a promise." 

My problem was that I didn't know what I believed in my heart about God and I didn't want to push myself to learn either.  I did know that he would wrap me in his loving embrace and I did know that my son was in the best place possible...I just wasn't so willing to accept that he was better off with God then he was with me.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber" (Psalm 121:1-3).
As I read the above line of scripture I kept hearing it sung in my took me a bit to find the song it came from but I wasn't disappointed when I found it... it is, by far, one of the best songs for this blog....

"Praise You In This Storm"
I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Praising God in this storm of grief is so very hard but turning to the Lord, letting him take it all from you and wrap you in his loving arms... that can be easy if you let it.  By giving it to him and letting grief happen, you will slowly move forward, slowly find your way out of this darkness that is grief., 


Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.
Lord God, sometimes this is so hard, even now, 4+ years in.  Sometimes being there for others, as I truly feel is my spiritual gift, as I truly feel is the place you are calling me to be, is so hard too.  I relive the loss over and over and sometimes that just hurts so much.   Please keep me from falling and help me to keep my eyes lifted to you.  Amen.