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Monday, April 7, 2008

Preemie Reunion Party

I went to a great party this weekend.

The 20th annual Neonatal ICU Reunion Party was Saturday at Trinity United Methodist Church. This party is hosted each year by Huntsville Hospital Foundation's Angels for Children and the NICU staff.

The event is for two-year-old NICU "graduates." It's a chance for the babies and parents to reconnect with the doctors and nurses who took care of them. Last year was Ann Catherine's year to attend the party and it was amazing. It was such a milestone for us.

This year, I was there, but I was working. And while it was absolutely wonderful, there was a part of it that was really hard.

There were so many twins there, and it really affected me. I would see twins together and I would feel a pang of guilt thinking, 'that was supposed to be us.'

I think I realized Saturday that seeing twins will never be easy for me. It's just something I'll always have to deal with.

I came home and told Chris about it and began to cry. I cried for Melissa, I cried for the fact that Ann Catherine will never get to experience life on Earth with her twin, and I cried because I'm just tired of crying.

At that moment, Chris was holding Lily and he said, "Lily, go hug your mommy. She needs a hug right now."

And here came that little gift from God - the one who looks at me and just makes me smile - with her wobbly little walk and plopped right down in my lap. It was exactly what I needed at that moment.

God is truly teaching me something about grief right now. I've gone for months without really grieving and he has taken me through a series of things lately that have really forced me to grieve.

Grieving isn't easy. It's not fun crying and it's not fun being sad.

But I'm learning that grief is a journey. It's not something that just goes away. It's ever-changing. And we have to change with it.

I write about this, because lately I have talked to so many people who are reading my blog, and some of them have also lost children. I want to be honest about my journey, in the hopes that it will encourage someone else. I believe God allowed me and Chris to go through our experience so we could help others who are going through, or have been through, something similar.

I am so blessed that God put a friend in my life last year, who has been through something like this. My friend, Lesli, gave birth to triplets almost nine years ago. Her daughter survived, but she lost both of her sons. Her sweet daughter has become so special to me. I draw so much strength from Lesli and how she and her husband have taught their little girl about her brothers. We have laughed together and cried together. She is a wonderful example of how to cope with loss, and keep on living.

I hope this blog serves that same purpose for some of you who are grieving and hurting. You can't change what happened, but you can control how you deal with it. And bottom line: your loved one would want you to keep living. Not just breathing, but truly living.

I believe it's the best way I can honor Melissa's life.

3 comments:

Stephanie T said...

Amy,

Your blogs have certainly helped me and I know so many others. It seems that the Lord has blessed you with an ability to put into words what I am unable to. Your desription in this post about the reasons you were crying were eye opening for me. I sat here saying to myself, "That's it! That's why I cry too!"

Sometimes it is hard to maintain all the details a busy working mom must navigate throughout the day and still allow yourself the time and energy to grieve as a mother and take care of yourself. Thank you for allowing us to share in your provate moments and thoughts. I know it allows me a brief moment to think about my little Olivia and pray for others in our same situation.

God bless you!

Amy George said...

Stephanie,
Your words mean so much to me. And your sweet mother's emails bring tears to my eyes each time I read them. You and I share a bond that only a mom who has lost a child can understand, and I think we can all learn from each other.

I know that Olivia is so proud of the way that you have continued to live. I know without a doubt that she is incredibly proud of her mother. And on those days when the pain hurts, draw on her strength. As I tell Ann Catherine, we are incredibly lucky to have our very own guardian angel in Heaven. And so are you.

Amy

sbmyrick said...

Amy! My son Walkers twin died at 24 monthes and Walker and Willis were delivered at 32 weeks. It was so painful to see Willis little body and him not be moving. You actually called me while I was in the hospital, I have tried calling and emailing you since but have not gotten a response back. It is hard going through something like this when you have no one to relate to. I have also learned that grieving is a journey.I am back in school for nursing and there is a set of identical twins in one of my classes and sometimes I cant even look at them because I am afraid I will have to leave class. WHen I am a nurse I hope I am given the oppurtunity to help people going through something similiar. I want good to come from my sons death and I can see already how what we have went through have made me and my husband stronger and better people. Thanks for your time and would love to hear back from you when you get time! I feel so alone sometimes, like no one knows what to say because no one knows how I feel.