Saturday, February 2, 2013

Denial and moving forward

Are you living in a bad dream? Is every step and every move you make automatic and devoid of emotion? Do you feel suspended in time and unable or unwilling to start up again?

Don't worry. You are experiencing a typical first reaction to grief—denial. Denial is a natural reaction to one of life's most painful events. Your body uses denial as a protective device, be it consciously or subconsciously, to avoid facing reality.

I used denial in a variety of ways... sometimes I denied that our loss had happened but more times then not I denied that I had ever been excited about having twins in the first place.  I denied that I was ready to be a twin mommy, I denied that I was sure I could do this.  I told myself and others that I wasn't every truly happy to be expecting twins and I told myself that this was the way it was supposed to happen.  These may seem like strange forms of denial but they were how I protected myself from how broken, angry, hurt and sad that I felt.

"The clock will mean nothing anymore," says Rev. John Coulombe. "Barely will the calendar. People won't know what day it is, yet their senses are more keenly aware than ever before. It's like a dream that is happening, and they can't get out of it. Everything is in slow motion. But this is normal; this is a response to death."

You must not feel guilty or anxious if you are experiencing denial; God offers you reassurance for this portion of the journey. You can say with confidence, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you [God] are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4). 
Oh how I wish I had been using this grief devotion 4 years ago.  I needed to know that it was ok to want to deny all of this had happened, it was okay to be wishing NONE of it had ever happened...cuz sometimes the NONE part meant I wished that I had never gotten pregnant with twins in the first place. I also wish that I had known to turn to God in prayer, to seek his words and find comfort there.  But then again, maybe I just wasn't in a place to appreciate the Lord so much.

Although living in denial may be necessary for a time, at some point you must make a decision to move beyond the denial. This does not mean you will stop grieving altogether, for your healing/grieving process has only just begun. But remember, if you spend too long denying your loss, you will be unable to move forward with life.

I don't know that I so much lived in denial but many told me (well told Geoff or others) that I was living in the past, that I was living for the days that I was pregnant with the twins, that I was focused too much on the time just before, during and just after our loss and not on the miracle that is Cameron.  And while I hated that then and still do now... hated that others would judge me this way...I also know that I did need to move ahead in a better way.

Dr. H. Norman Wright says, "You have to come to the place where you admit or recognize 'Yes, I've lost this person. [He or she] is no longer a part of my life.' When you hang on to that person, it's almost like a sense of denial. You remain stuck, and you can't move on with your life."

And this was me... some may think it still is but like I said above...they are judging and haven't walked even a step in my shoes.  But I was stuck for a long time. I wanted to remain in the past where Cole was still alive, I wanted to talk about him and what happened because I didn't want anyone to forget him.  I went through this for a long time... even wrote about it a few years ago.
 I wanted to talk about our journey, I wanted to relate everything to those times in my life when I was pregnant or when I was in the hospital.  I didn't know who I was, I felt like I could only identify with other moms who had lost one of their twins to TTTS.

God will enable you to take the next step. He gently reminds you: "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

In time it will be easier to relate to others but maybe not everyone.  Sometimes I still feel that I can't relate fully to anyone but my fellow TTTS mommies but I have realized that there are many people who will let me talk about Cole, Cameron, our journey and how my faith has grown through it without judging or shutting me down.  I think by allowing that freedom and comfort to me, I was able to move ahead and find myself again.  The hardest part of grieving, I think, is finding yourself, being comfortable with the new you...the you who is missing part of their heart.  

Oh, Lord God, sometimes we feel numb in the valley of the shadow of death, but I know You are holding me steady, and You won't ever let me go. Sometimes it seems easier to be numb and to shut down then to work through our grief.  Sometimes it seems easier to pretend it didn't happen, that it is someone else's life. 
Holy God, is it time for me to move on from denial? Lead me, Lord. Amen.

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