Correspondence/ Re: How're you doing?]

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From: Rebecca
Date: 2007/04/12 Thu PM 02:31:48 CDT
To: Brian & Christine Curry
Subject: Re: How're you doing?

You are blessed to have no crisis of faith. Still, the waiting is hard. This whole seeing "through a glass, darkly" thing that the Bible talks about is certainly one of the most difficult things about this life. I guess I'm impatient. Waiting on God's timing and His perfect answers has always been difficult for me. I know in the Bible God says He KNOWS the plans he has for me, and that those plans are for good, and not evil. My human nature sometimes can't help but think that it might be easier on me if I KNEW his plans, too! Still, thank goodness He runs the world with His wisdom, instead of ME doing it. I'm quite certain I'd mess the whole thing up!

Sounds like God is doing a wonderful work in your Spirit. I'm certain with your attitude and focus, you will not be "stuck with this" empty part for your whole life. I know the goodness of God, and I know it's not His will for you to live your whole life with this ache, as He has said his will for us is "shalom", which translates to "nothing missing, nothing broken, perfect peace".

I'll keep you in my prayers and pray for you to allow your will to be conformed to His perfect will. I will pray for you to yield, and wait, and grow in patience. I will pray for your "shalom".

~Rebecca

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Brian & Christine Curry wrote:

How sweet your words are. Thank you for not being 'one of those people';) . Last week was hard. Probably the hardest yet. I (obviously) am not shy about what's going on in my life and I just love and trust you guys so much that I knew I needed to ask for help. I didn't know grief could be such a slippery slope, I hadn't ever had someone close to me die. And honestly, my feelings came outta nowhere. There wasn't one single thing that set my tail spinning, just everything I guess. I was just plain sad.

I have to say though, that through those days, or since Charlotte's beginning, for that matter, I have not (extensively)questioned God. I think there have been other people close to me that have asked: "Jesus, where were you?" and I just don't know what to do with that. It's weird to be trying to comfort and explain things to people who have been so touched by what's happened.But really, I haven't had confusion or anger towards God for what has happened. He so clearly spoke to my heart those months that I know I could trust Him even though I don't understand His plan...yet.

During that time of waiting, I was afraid of one thing. That is: if Charlotte were to pass, I would be "stuck" with it for the rest of my life. I wasn't fearful of loosing her, or having a child with special needs, but of the constant void she would leave. I knew this would be with me for the rest of my life. At that time, I just wasn't sure that I could continue to "run THAT race".

Then, last week I thought about Paul and his thorn. Rather, thorns in general. Why does God allow them? So we will be ever at His side. Constantly going to HIM in prayer to relieve our pain, or to guide us. And that's literally what I've had to do. It honestly can be so tiring at times. That's where my frustration (and sin) come in. I want to handle it myself >>pride<<. I don't want to have to pray and wait. I don't want to have to seek after Him. But really, what choice do I have?

I have full confidence in the sovereignty of God (which is very comforting to me)but that doesn't take away the pain completely. I feel totally blessed to have been "chosen" to carry Charlotte and all that she was meant for. And really, I had an advantage over a lot of parents who do not know that their baby will not come home with them. But it still sucks.

This week is much better. I've decided (like your friend) that I will have some good days. I've almost gotten to where I can speak about her without crying. Not that it's a bad thing to cry, but I am mindful of the joy that she brought to me. No matter how brief. And if God does everything to give Himself glory, then my little girl served Him (literally) with all of her heart! I'm so proud of that...

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for contacting me. Hopefully we can connect soon.
XXOOXX Christine
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From: Rebecca
Date: 2007/04/11 Wed PM 01:48:47 CDT
To: Christine Curry
Subject: How're you doing?

It's been just over a week since you asked the group for prayer. I was just checking in on you to see how you are doing. My friend Michelle lost sweet baby Jack seven years ago. He was perfectly healthy, but breech. She elected to try turning the baby. Somehow during the process the cord got a knot in it. He passed three days before his birth. I saw the stages of grief she went through. I saw her plow through life as usual, just trying to go forward. I saw her wail, "Why Jack? Why us?" I was glad when she and her husband decided that someone needed to watch the kids so they could get away for a quiet weekend together...after a few months of trying to get back to life as normal, she just needed to stop and admit that life was NOT normal.

She came back from the weekend at the beach/mountains (Crescent City) much changed, much calmer. She and her husband went down and ordered a pendant made from the birthstones of everyone in her family, including Jack's, and she wears it so he'll always be next to her heart (kind of like a "mother's ring", only Michelle's not a ring person).

She was pregnant again three months later, so the next year was hard as she did all the same yearly things, pregnant again, only with a different baby this time. The most important thing she did, I think, was to talk with her husband about the fact that 80% of marriages where a child is lost end in divorce. They made a promise right there, right then, that their marriage would not end in divorce. That reassurance helped her.

Why am I telling you all this? To let you know that it is possible to continue. She's still sad every time Jack's birthday comes around. She was weepy the year he would have started kindergarten. But, she does live her everyday life choosing not to be bitter. Not to waste the days she has with her children wishing for the one that isn't present. And she has admitted to me that some days that is a very difficult, conscious choice that she has to make. The pain is dulled, but still surfaces sometimes, even seven years later. Yet, she is happy and satisfied with her life. Perhaps her story can encourage you.

There is a verse in the bible that is famous for being so short. "Jesus wept." It's in John 11, I think. WHY did Jesus weep? Because his friend Lazarus had died, and Lazarus' sister Mary was weeping and grief-stricken. Her grief caused him to "groan within his spirit". Even though he knew he would bring Lazarus back to life, he was still exceedingly saddened by Mary's grief. And this, even after she accused him, "If YOU would have been here, my brother would have LIVED." So if you have had moments where, despite your faith, you have thought, "Lord, if YOU would have been here, my daughter would have LIVED.", know that He is sympathetic toward the grief of you, Christine, His daughter.

I'm so sorry that grieving takes time. I'd speed it up for you if I could, so that the pain would dull from the passage of time. I once again extend the invitation for you to e-mail or call me if you need to talk. I may not always know the right thing to say, but I don't want to be one of those people who says nothing just because I may not get it exactly right. -Rebecca

Journal entry April 28, 2007

Tonight we had to the Mathias to the ER for a couple of stitches. He bumped his head playing around with his big brother...so off we went.

After the Doctor closed him up, the nurse came in to wash his head as best as could be. He had dried blood everywhere, including on my fav white tee, but I don't care. I held him close on the way home and kissed him as gently as I could. I couldn't help but to remember the smell of Charlotte's undershirt the hospital had sent home with us. Mathias' hair smelled just like it. Uck. Hospital smell.

So the past few days have been really hard. I wonder if Hospice Staff or Grief Counselors at hospitals warn parents of the high separation rate of couples who experience the loss of a child. It's so hard because Brian and I are on such opposite ends of the spectrum. I seem to be ebbing and flowing with my grief and he is well, not doing much that I can tell. I would like to think that he is hurting a lot on the inside too, but it doesn't show very much. He told me tonight that he people at his work could give a rip about Charlotte dying and that breaks my heart. He said he only had 2 weeks to mourn her. And it seems like he's done with it. But unfortunately, I'm not. He told me yesterday that I have so much to be thankful for. I know that! But don't tell me that because I have 3 other kids that I should be ok that only one isn't here.

I was pondering on the story of Job the other night. I need to re-read it for all of the particulars, but I was wondering how long he was really going thru his trials. Months, days, years? The answer seems obvious, that it took years for him to be restored, so how long will it be for me then? I know this is brand new for me, but it's very hard. Some days I'm fine, others I'm not.

I was thinking of how the Bible says that God will only give you what you could handle. He will never "overload" you. During my pregnancy with Charlotte, I felt so anxious about what ever was going to happen that I thought each day I had reached the end of my rope. I couldn't take another minute of this agony. But then, God gave me another day. And then another. And then another. Right up until December 7th. That was the day when He said "no more". But I wonder... does He know that I might have been able to hold on for a little longer? Just to have another night with her inside me? Dead or alive. Just to be able to hold her again when she came out. To really look her over, instead of being afraid to look at her because of the condition of her skin. To soak her in...

It's strange to me to be having these thoughts and feelings. I spoke with a friend of mine yesterday and she noted that I may not have dealt with the physical loss of Charlotte yet. I think so too. I'm completely ok in the spiritual area of this loss, but physically, I'm a mess. I didn't know one could come before another in dealing with grief. It's hard to explain. I go thru my day and catch myself thinking about how this is probably the time that I would be nursing her back to sleep or my arms sure would be strong from carrying a chubby baby in a carrier from place to place. Instead, my arms are empty of Charlotte.

When I came home form the hospital, I was aware that my milk would come in and that I would be sore. What I didn't know was the literal feeling of longing and hurting to hold a baby. And not just any baby, but my baby. My arms felt like I was carrying 5 pound weights in my fingertips. Just a long, achy, heavy feeling. Nothing soothed them. The only thing that came close was holding Mathias. I think there is some kind of chemical reaction between mothers and their children and the sense of smell, maybe? It was interesting because the days following Charlotte's birth, I was around little babies. It didn't bother me to hold them, per se, but it didn't help me. The only thing that even remotely made my arms stop hurting was to hold (and sniff) Mathias. My flesh, my bones, my blood. And I seriously mean that they hurt in wanting to hold a baby... like they were bruised on the inside.

I also thought it was so unfair to have these huge breasts so full of milk and no baby to suckle it out. I craved that. But what I had to do was even worse. In the middle of December, when it was really cold outside, so much so that I had to wear 2 tee shirts and a sweat shirt and pants, I had to put huge bags of ice on my chest to lower the fever in them. It sucked that I couldn't even accept hugs from people at her memorial because I was so sore. I was careful to wrap myself tightly during the day and to take only lukewarm showers with indirect spraying on my chest. But the first time I saw milk leak out I cried thinking "what a waste". I had problems with Mathias getting enough and here I am so full with no baby. I had prayed all through my pregnancy to have abundant milk for the baby. Well, my prayers were answered.

Looking back, even while I was transferring over letters and journal entries onto this blog, I was reminded of the goodness and sweetness of God. I have not gotten mad at him for taking "my" baby. But I have wondered a lot of other things.

I skipped over many weeks of journaling, which now I wish I hadn't. Not that anything stands out in my memory to write about, but that I just didn't write period. And now when I do, my thoughts are everywhere on the page.

Another friend of mine said how lucky I was that I hadn't had a crisis in "faith". Reading back on this blog, I can see where I did have a crisis though. I truly wondered if God was doing all that I thought He said He was. I doubted more of my "interpretation" of things rather than Him, personally. And some people just plainly didn't and still don't get it. Which makes it hard to explain how I feel. They think that I was in some state of denial over what truly happened to Charlotte. I like I'm not aware that she had problems and that she's dead. Like I couldn't handle it. Some people think that I was not "ready" to let go when her heart stopped beating because of my feelings. But it wasn't EVER that. I have never before in my life been so clear thinking and understanding of things except during those few months carrying her.

I was ready. I had been ready for quite a while for this to be over. Not for her to be gone, but just to have the situation over. What I was afraid of was the hurt afterward, which is what I'm trying to deal with now. And even if I was grasping for straws, so what? I challenge anyone to go thru this and not hold onto what ever they could. But this is the difference, I believe that God had a plan for Charlotte and that whatever it is, it was for His glory. I may not understand it now. I may not like it. But that's why He is God, and I'm not.