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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Progress and Balance

I've been aware lately of others who have recently experienced devastating loss. My heart seems to break all over again every time I hear of another story. I can't help but relive some of my own heartache and devastation. In mourning with them, though, I've also started to recognize how far we've come in our own journey. 

After we first lost our girls, I remember keeping track of the cycle of grief in those first weeks... it used to be 2 days of feeling okay (or in other words, numb), followed by 3 days of uncontrollable tears. Then it gradually went to 3 days of feeling numb to 2 days of constant tears... and so on. If I had to say where we are now, it'd probably be something like a month of feeling generally happy (notice, not numb) to maybe half a day of aching for my girls. That's definitely progress. A year ago I never would have imagined coming this far - between the numbness and the tears of those early weeks, it quite literally seemed impossible.

Overall, I've become much more comfortable with living a paralleled life with my girls. I know they're in a better place, I've known that all along. I guess time, the great healer, has swayed my heart into motions and patterns, making necessary adjustments to living with our girls on another sort of plane. They are not gone far. Whenever I go into our backyard, I like to think of them on the other side of the fence. 

I've had a lot on my mind. I've recently become more aware of my need to just sit in quiet and let certain feelings and experiences soak in. I find joy in pausing to appreciate small moments that are given to me as evidence that God is very much aware of my life. I've come to value these precious moments in life that are meant to be enjoyed privately, to keep them sacred within the walls of my own soul. 

With so many social internet sites out there these days (blogger, facebook, twitter, etc.), I've found myself learning things about others that maybe aren't appropriate details for me to know. (Do you know what I'm talking about?) And, it has made me feel much more guarded in what I share and how I choose to share. I've often questioned where to draw that line here, on my blog. I never intended to share so much here... it just sort of happened as life happened. The only reason we started this blog was to help us with our hope to adopt. Little did we know the crazy turns life would take, making this window into our life reveal so much more than we ever intended.  

I still don't have the answer of where to draw the line, but I am more aware of wanting to find the balance of sharing pieces of our journey that might help another along the way, while still holding sacred the details that should be guarded a little more carefully. Hopefully I can find that balance quickly and get back to posting a little more frequently.  

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Mourning Booth

This video just rang so true to me as I watched it, that I had to share it. Before going through my own mourning, I'm pretty sure I didn't truly understand how to mourn with those who mourn. I'm still learning. But, watching this just made me that much more grateful for the people in my life who haven't given up on me, who haven't gotten impatient with my grieving, who have stayed by my side even if they haven't known what to say. They have been there in every way, mourning with me and offering healing comfort simply by their presence through this dark, dark valley. I don't know how I would have survived the worst parts of the valley without their love and support. If you don't know how to mourn with someone, err on the side of being like the waitress. Seriously, my heart filled with warmth just watching that part. It is a holy response. Healing can come in miraculous ways just by being present in someone's life.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Seasons and Jumping back in

image courtesy of

The last two days we've woken (or is it awaken? awoken can't be right. awakened?) to overcast skies. It has been feeling more like autumn lately, but especially today. The air smells like rain. I am really loving this change in weather and enjoying the transition from one season to another. It feels like it's been a while since I've really noticed a change in season quite like this.

I know I was around for the last few seasonal changes, but this seems to be the first where I really feel fully present. I don't know quite how to describe it, but there is some part of me that feels like I've been away or asleep or absent from life. I guess that's what happens when death pulls you to want to have one foot in that other (better) world. Overall, that pull has definitely been a huge blessing for my life. It really forces one, in a good way, to keep things in clearer perspective.

But, lately, I've been feeling the urge to jump back into this current existence with both feet again. I get the feeling that's what my girls want for their Mama. It's been a few months' process, kind of like slowly moving from the top step in the shallow end and gradually, very gradually, making my way back down to the deep end. 

I'm much more careful, more cautious, more deliberate in every movement I make. I've been much more earnest in seeking answers and guidance... admittedly probably too earnest, evidenced by the paralyzed fear that comes from my lack of confidence in making even the smallest of decisions. But, I'm re-learning the basics and making even small movement is progress. And, since I'm more attentive this time around, I'm hoping things will seep in a little deeper and have their lasting effect on my mind and on my heart.

As I've been envisioning myself getting back in the water, I'm reminded of a near-tragic experience I once had decades ago jumping off the side of a pool into the deep end, before knowing how to swim. I was jumping in and then quickly grabbing the side of the pool as soon as I reached the surface. Well, on one jump I jumped too far. I panicked when I realized I couldn't reach the side. I don't remember how much I struggled or even who helped me escape the struggle, but I do remember sitting wide-eyed and huddled and shivering (not from cold) in a towel far away from the pool, not wanting to jump back in after that. I was content to watch from a distance. I was scared good.

And, that is actually a pretty good way to describe how it's been after losing our twins. I've been good sitting on the sidelines. I've been okay not rushing back into the deep end. I've needed to catch my breath, and in the process learn a few things about dangers and being prepared for real-life (and death) emergencies. After a good soul-shaking, it's been healthy for me to take a break, find stability on my own two feet again. And, get some serious time in with a coach, fixing some of the major weak areas in my life's foundation.

Now that I've been coached by the best and been reassured again and again that I can trust in Him, I feel more prepared, comfortable even. I don't know what awaits at the deep end this time, but I've been filled with strength and courage that aren't my own. That is a gift. A gift that I'm treasuring with every passing moment, made even more beautiful with this fall season.

A Note for Erica from Visalia


I don't know if you'll even read this... but you and your sister have been on my mind a lot over the last couple of weeks and I've wished for some way to contact you to let you know that. I'm so terribly sorry for the loss your family is experiencing. Please, if there is ever a need for a supportive listening ear, email me.