Thursday, March 26, 2009

Under the Tree - March

Under the Tree

"Under the Tree" is a discussion spot for babyloss mothers started by Carly from Love Reign Over Me.

Do you have a special place in your home for your baby/ies? What is it like? Do you have any rituals that you perform in memory of your baby/ies?

We don't necessarily have a "special" place in the house for Dylan. We have pictures and momentos up all throughout the house. We haven't performed any "rituals" yet either. Although, I hope to fully honor and remember Dylan on his birthday by making and donating a basket of some sort to the hospital NICU. I've already started buying items to do this in June. If that is well-received, my goal is to do that (or something) every June.

If you believe in an afterlife, do you receive signs from your baby/ies? Have you ever felt their presence? Do you find them in nature? Do they visit you in your dreams?

I believe in Heaven. I haven't received any signs from Dylan or felt his presence, but I whole-heartedly believe that he watches over us. At times, if the sky is particularly blue or the clouds just scream perfection, I find myself thinking about Dylan and his perfect beauty.

Do you have a special poem, song, prayer or quote in memory of your baby/ies?

None of these are really in memory of Dylan per se, but ones that have especially touched my heart on this journey:

Special Poem:

What Makes A Mother
by Jennifer Wasik

I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today.
I asked what makes a Mother
And I know I heard him say.

A Mother has a baby
This we know is true.
But God can you be a Mother
When your baby's not with you?

Yes, you can He replied
With confidence in His voice
I give many women babies
When they leave is not their choice.

Some I send for a lifetime
And others for a day.
And some I send to feel your womb
But there's no need to stay.

I just don't understand this, God
I want my baby here
He took a breath and cleared His throat
And then I saw a tear.

I wish I could show you
What your child is doing today.
If you could see your child smile
With other children and say

"We go to earth and learn our lessons
Of love and life and fear.
My Mommy loved me oh so much
I got to come straight here.

I feel so lucky to have a Mom
Who had so much love for me
I learned my lesson very quickly
My Mommy set me free.

I miss my Mommy oh so much
But I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep
On her pillow's where I lay.

I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
And whisper in her ear
"Mommy don't be sad today
I'm your baby and I'm here."

So you see my dear sweet one
Your children are OK
Your babies are here in My home
And this is where they'll stay.

They'll wait for you with me
Until your lesson is through
And on the day that you come Home
They'll be at the gates for you.

So now you see what makes a Mother
It's the feeling in your heart.
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start.

Though some may not realize
until their time is done,
Remember all the love you have
And know you are a special MOM.

Special Song:

Special Prayer:

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Special Quote:

"Life is not the amount of breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Miracle

I've wavered lately on miracles and my belief on whether or not they exist. And I came across this post by Angie Smith (Bring the Rain). I was instantly touched by her words: "It sounds absolutely absurd to say that I am at peace with her death . . . But I am. And I actually think that that is the miracle."

It hit me like a ton of bricks. My miracle wasn't Dylan being healed and whole on this side of heaven. God had/has something else in store for me. My miracle was the strength that it has taken to survive, accept, and come closer to Him, even despite my circumstances. I am closer to God than I was before Dylan's death. And even since, I have found a peace and understanding with Dylan's death that I couldn't quite grasp before. And though I will never possess the capacity to understand why things happened the way they did for us or what God's will is, I was given the strength and courage to accept that this is God's will, not mine, at work. Being at peace with Dylan's death and being at peace with God's will, those are our miracles and we are blessed to be where we are on our spiritual journeys.

Remember: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein

And if you're the praying kind, please keep:

Prayers for Stellan

(Click on the picture above to read more about Stellan.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

How Do You Answer That?

I know early on after Dylan's death, my most difficult moments were when people asked if we had any children. When everything was still fresh and raw, the easy-out response was "no". It kept us from having to go into a long, drawn-out story and prevented the inevitably uncomfortable situation of having to tell a complete stranger that your child is in Heaven. But when our answer was "no", I immediately felt lousy afterwards. I felt like I wasn't honoring Dylan's life and that I was doing my son a huge disservice. I would cry and tell Justin, "What am I saying? Of course we have a child!" Those were some of my most emotional breakdowns.

Now, it's over 9 months later, and we are both comfortable talking about Dylan and bragging about him, just like any other parent. And I think the question has come up more often lately because I am currently pregnant. The usual questions are brought up: "How far along are you?" "Do you know if you're having a boy or a girl?" "Is this your first?" When they get to that last question, which they inevitably do, I say with confidence, "no, this is my second" and leave it at that. Most people continue with the expected follow-up, "Oh, how old is your first?" I respond, "My first would be 9 months, but he passed away." The look of discomfort that that line delivers almost makes me feel bad for them though. They don't know what to say, and they wished they hadn't asked at all. They usually say, "Oh, I'm sorry". But I get the impression that they're not apologizing for my loss but for the fact that they put themselves in that position to begin with.

While I will never feel comfortable going back to responding with "This is my first" or "We have no other children", I do wonder how to ease the discomfort for people asking me that question for the first time. It just happened again last week while meeting a work contact, and immediately after she apologized profusely, I just changed the subject for everyone involved in the conversation. It definitely took the edge off.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

When You Become a Parent

So there's been a couple of instances now where our own friends have lectured us on how life changes "when you guys have kids". Seems like they've forgotten that we are already parents. I mean, we are [parents] right? Even though Dylan isn't in our earthly presence? And on top of that, the larger irony is that the majority of the people who've given us the "when you guys have kids" or the "when you guys become parents" lecture have been people who don't have kids yet. How do they know how life changes, they don't even have kids themselves! It's almost like trying to give me a lecture on how life is when you're Filipino . . . woah, wait, reality check, YOU'RE NOT FILIPINO, I am!!! Yet another "WTF moment" . . . such is life for parents grieving a loss.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

9 Months . . .

Yesterday, Dylan would've been 9 months. I've officially been mourning for my son almost as long as I was pregnant with him. I have this strange serenity over me right now, a calm washing over me. It's difficult to explain, maybe just God's way of protecting me from the deep, deep bitter sadness that I could be in.

Some Borrowed Writing

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”