Saturday, April 23, 2011
Well it’s Easter Eve and I just finished putting the girls Easter baskets together on the kitchen table. We still have one for Hailey, and always will…just some Lay’s potato chips and a few cute knickknacks for her place, but it still gives us some comfort to continue to include her in all our holiday celebrations. Although Easter definitely has more meaning to me, especially now, than just Easter baskets and the Easter bunny, when you have kids, those things do have to get woven in.
I wish I had something really profound to say to you all since tomorrow is Easter, which in my eyes is now the most important and meaningful holiday of the year. I think I probably said all that stuff last year on our first Easter without Hailey. But, I do have a few thoughts that I wanted to share.
Sean and I have tried even harder since Hailey died to really bring out and teach the true meaning of these sacred, religious holidays to our girls. I’ve talked to Lexi a lot about Easter and what it really means for Christians around the world…leaving out the Easter Bunny and baskets. Of course, Hailey had a big part in those conversations, but Lexi seemed very much okay with talking about her and even quite fascinated and excited about it.
It’s been very interesting this year because I can see how much Lexi is maturing as a little girl, but more importantly in her faith. She has spoken of Christ and the resurrection many times over the past few weeks and how important it is to her. This is such a beautiful thing to hear from a 7 year old. I love children’s purity and innocence. It paves the way for such strong faith and testimony in our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I especially love seeing it grow and develop in my children…it’s such an amazingly beautiful thing.
Tonight, she left a letter to the Easter Bunny that I hadn’t read until after she was in bed. Here is what it said (exactly as written):
I can't believe it's finally here!
Anyway I love Easter! Not because it's
just about you (but I love you anyway)
ok. Anyway because Jesus resurrected!
Lexi, Hailey & Ava
I was so touched by what she had written and how she remembered what Easter was really all about!
Of course, I have thought so much about Christ and the resurrection and what that means for my family now that we have one of our precious children in Heaven. Easter has definitely taken on a whole new meaning to me since Hailey passed away, which in some ways disappoints me that I didn’t see it so sacredly beforehand. I’ve always remembered the Savior and what He did for us, but I’ll admit that I often got caught up in all the secular things too, especially after having children. Now, I feel like I can relate to His resurrection so much more personally. That’s definitely one of the most beautiful blessings that have come from Hailey’s passing.
Tonight, the true meaning of Easter, really hit me hard…In a good way though! I was so filled with gratitude and excitement I was caught off guard a little. Lexi, Sean, and I were reading a story called The Easter Walk, written by Deborah Rowley and Dan Burr. A dear friend of ours dropped it off last year right before Easter. It’s such a beautiful story about two children whose mother had died several years before. Ever since she died, their grandfather would take them on an Easter walk where he would read scriptures telling the “Easter Story,” about Christ, His death, and His resurrection. After each scripture, the children had to run and find something outside to represent what the scripture was talking about. For example, when he read the scripture of how Christ was nailed to the cross, the children found a piece of wood to represent it. He went on to describe how after Christ’s death he was placed in a sepulchre and a large rock was pushed in front of the opening (to which the children went and found a rock.). On Easter morning, when Mary Magdalene and Christ’s mother, Mary went to visit Him, the stone had been moved and He was no longer there. An angel appeared to them and said, “Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is arisen; he is not here…” (Mark 16:6)
As I read that, I literally got tingles down my spine as I pictured myself going to visit Hailey one day at her place and seeing the stone moved and a hole in the ground, but nothing in it. Then I pictured that angel appearing to me and saying similarly, “Be not afraid, Hailey is no longer here for she is risen!” Now, of course, being the impatient person I am, I wish I only had to wait 3 days for that moment, but just knowing that it will someday happen is enough for me! That is what Easter means to me! My little Hailey will one day rise again to live with us as a family (Although, most likely we’ll be rising with her by then…but who knows!).
This Easter I have really focused on that miracle and blessing the Savior gave us when He willingly died for each one of us, personally, only to rise again and defeat death. Along with this, which gives me such great hope and joy, are the events leading up to that miraculous death and resurrection…the Atonement of Christ. He knelt in that garden and felt every single bit of heartache, frustration, pain, anger, hurt, defeat, sadness, devastation, and so on, that I’ve personally felt. He felt that for me, for you, and for every other human being who ever existed! I can’t imagine how anyone, even the Savior of the World, could endure something like that. It’s literally beyond my comprehension, yet I know He did it and I know that if I were the only one who needed it, He would have done it all just for me. That is how He has officially become my best friend. On those days where the grief or anger of losing Hailey is so overwhelming, I remember that He, and only He, knows exactly how I feel because He personally felt it too.
How much more beautiful and sacred could such a holiday as Easter really be?
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I was inspired to write about a comment that a wonderful supporter of mine wrote regarding my last blog entry.
Here is her comment: “First you have to know what an amazing woman you are for going through so much and still even talking to God. Please don't be too hard on yourself. As I read your post I decided I had to tell you something I learned that may help you a little. I am always afraid of loosing my son, especially when he gets sick. And one night he was sick and I started pleading with the Lord not to let him die. (It was a cold he had and I was just having a panic attack- it was not that serious.) The Lord's response to me was that this experience was about my son's mission here on earth, not mine. It has been hard to let go and realize that he is his own little person with his own mission. But I am comforted knowing that God really does have a plan for each of us. Even though our individual refiner's fire sucks. I am praying for you. You can do this. :)”
It was so nice to read that and just hit the nail right on the head. It totally reminded me of an experience I had a while ago regarding Hailey and my grief. (I apologize if I’ve already written about this, but as I’ve mentioned before, I’m still emotionally unable to go back and read my past blogs to check.)
Now, here’s the story. I was going through a few days of particularly missing Hailey and playing the “why me” pity party with myself. One night, as I was filled with both sadness and anger, I got on my knees and asked the Lord just that, “Why me?” It took a little while, but a still small voice finally whispered, “It’s not you.” To which I was a little confused. As I sat quiet and still, this little voice continued to whisper, “It’s Hailey.” (Not that it was Hailey talking to me, but that it wasn’t and isn’t all about me…it was and is about Hailey.) This was a huge eye opener to me, along with a small sense of peace.
Let me elaborate on why: Members of the LDS church believe in something called the Pre-existence. This means that we believe that we lived with our Heavenly Father prior to coming here to the Earth. In the Pre-existence, we knew and accepted our path, or mission, here. This may sound extremely strange to some of you, which I completely understand, but I wanted to share that with you before continuing.
Upon “hearing” that little whisper tell me that it wasn’t all about me, but about Hailey, I realized that this is Hailey’s story and her mission. This is what she knew and accepted prior to coming here. She knew she would struggle physically in this world and only be here for a short period of time, yet she chose it and for those of you who knew her well, she also completely embraced it. (Now this also means that I knew full well that I was going to lose my child and I wish I could remember choosing that because I’d go back and kick myself in the butt!) However, I also know that we will all be compensated and very blessed in the next life for our trials here on the Earth.
But it hit me that instead of making “Hailey’s story,” about me, I needed to be proud of her and accept her life for what it was, absolutely “aMAYZing & beau’ful”! I believe that when her mission here was through and it was time for her to move on to bigger and better things, the Lord gave her a glimpse of Heaven and she probably yelled at the top of her lungs, as she always did at home, “Abba door right now!” (Which meant, “Open door right now!) I truly, 100% believe that she was able to see the impact her life would have on people "here" and the difference she would be able to make from continuing it "there," and embraced that as well. I also truly, 100% believe that given the opportunity, she would not choose to return back to Earth because that's not her story. I think she loves her mission there and is proud of it and therefore, instead of focusing on myself and my suffering here, I need to also embrace that mission she was given (and accepted) and be so proud of her!
So now, when I have my difficult, sad or angry days, I try to remind myself that I am so blessed to have been chosen to be such a big and eternal part of Hailey’s special story! If I were to bring her back here (if that were even possible) I would be ruining her plan and mission for my own selfishness. (Although I hate to admit that at this point in time, I’d probably be selfish enough to “cancel” her mission and bring her back...I'll let you all know when that changes!)
I also now try to remember the same for the rest of my children when I’m worried about something happening to them. I try to remind myself that each of us, including each of my children, has our own story and mission for this life (and the next). Therefore, Hailey’s story and mission is not Ava’s or Lexi’s story and mission. So just because Hailey was called “home” sooner than I had planned, doesn’t mean that’s the case for my other children. They have their own story to write and mission to fulfill. That’s where my faith has to come in because as hard as it is for me to accept, I know that it is between them and their Heavenly Father. He knows the entire, complete picture, which is much more than my little brain could ever know or comprehend! (Not to mention, that in the end, this will all be over and we will be living together again, happily ever after!)
Of course believing and knowing these things doesn’t always take away the pain or fear I feel, but it does help put things into a little perspective. It really coincides with my last entry about my lack of control over things. Nobody else's story is mine to write, their mission is not mine to fulfill, so I need to stop trying to do so all the time. I guess I need to really work on my own story and making sure it’s something I can be proud of when my mission is complete!
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Ava has been sick for the past few days and today I was reminded of a terrible realization, one of the things I think I struggle with the most on a daily basis. While she was napping, I went in to check on her and she was so congested she could barely breathe. She was almost gurgling as she slept. It really freaked me out that she would choke as Hailey did and I’d walk in to find her the same way. I almost woke her up and brought her downstairs with me because I was so panicked over it. After forcing myself to calm down and let her get her rest, I left her room.
That’s when the flashbacks started. Everything about “that day” came rushing back to me and made me sick to my stomach. As my heart raced, I could see Hailey so clearly when I walked into her room (I now had Ava’s face there too.). I could feel my terror and panic. I literally re-lived everything, (finding Hailey, screaming, trying CPR, calling 911, then Sean, then my Mom, driving to the emergency room, seeing her again, hearing them call the time of death, falling to my knees, seeing my family for the first time, holding her for the last time, etc, etc.) and this time I was not only re-living it for Hailey, but now for Ava. Was I being ridiculous to re-live all that again and go that far over a little congestion? Probably. But unless you’ve been through such a traumatic experience, it’s virtually impossible to truly explain the emotions and lack of control over them that will forever be attached to it.
So, although my thought processes have changed quite a bit through therapy, I was sharply reminded of how much I still struggle with one huge issue…and I hate to admit it, but I’m really having a hard time trusting God again. I’ve been on my knees a lot pouring my heart out in prayer. Honestly, my prayers have never been so honest and sincere as they’ve been over the past few months. I’ve told Him everything about how I feel, my anger, sadness, distrust, fear, etc. He’s helped me so much to work through a lot of those things. Although they aren’t all gone, I’m feeling more confident in trusting Him again and that things will be okay.
I think that is one of the things I struggle with the most. The guilt I feel over not always trusting God. I mean I trust the fact that He'll help me through whatever comes my way, I just don't necessarily trust what He may bring my way...if that makes any sense. I feel such a lack of control over my world and what is going on or might go on around me. Unfortunately, that is reality. I have absolutely no control over any of it. And I have issues with that everyday. However, the one thing I’ve come to realize is that no matter what does happen, I will survive it! I mean, unless it happens to me and I’m not supposed to survive it! =)
Some people may find it comforting to know that God is in control, but sadly enough, I’m not always one of them. Of course, I’m okay with it when it’s something I agree with, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. I’d like to be in control if that’s at all possible! And I’ll be honest and say that I hate the saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Well I’m sure He won’t, but it doesn’t mean I’m okay with handling what He gives me, just because I know I can. I’ve learned first hand the lack of control we have over life and what happens. Hailey was at home with me, her mom, in her own bed, sleeping peacefully after just getting home from the doctors with a clean bill of health. How much more in control could I have been? All was perfect...except it wasn’t. It was her time to go home and there was absolutely nothing I could have done about it. As much as I thought I was in control of everything that day, I wasn't at all. That control was not mine to have. That knowledge freaking terrifies me! I’m talking sick to my stomach terrifies me.
I remember thinking, after Hailey died, that the worst thing that could ever happen to me just did and therefore I’m safe from any more ridiculously painful trials, only to later meet people who’ve lost 2 or more of their children. I mean, seriously? This terrifies me everyday...who else am I going to lose or what else is going to happen to me? I mean how much can one person take? How much could I really take? (I’m not asking for an answer to that because I have absolutely no desire to find out.)
Minimizing this kind of fear is something I’ve been working on and learning how to deal with in therapy…not to borrow from the future because I have no idea what that could hold. And, even though my trust waivers at times, I know that I still have faith. I don’t necessarily trust that a huge tragedy or trial won’t occur sometime soon, yet, I do trust and have faith that the Lord will help me through it and I’ll survive it, like I have with losing Hailey. He's proven that to me countless times over the past year and half.
I now know that literally the only thing that anyone has control over in their life is their behavior and thoughts. As much as we like to think we have things under control, we don’t…they can change in an instant. (Sorry I’m not trying to freak anyone out or bring anyone down…I’m just sharing what I’ve learned!) The only thing that helps me with that terror right now is knowing how my Heavenly Father will step in and carry me when everything around me has come crashing down. I’m so grateful to still have that faith and the blessing of knowing that I do have a Father who lives in Heaven and who loves me more than I could ever imagine.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
The other night I had a dream about Hailey. It’s only the second one I’ve ever had about her since she died, which is somewhat bittersweet. On one hand, I’d love to dream about her all the time because it makes me feel reconnected to her and like she’s still right here with me, alive and breathing. On the other hand, it’s very painful because it makes me miss her so much and I feel like I’m having to say goodbye all over again when I wake up.
It took me a couple days to write about this one because when I try to talk about it I’m often brought to tears. It wasn’t one of those dreams where I talked to her or feel like she came to me intentionally. I think it was just me missing her and my brain trying to make sense of it all. Although, I thought about it all day that day and ended up getting a dime, so maybe she was telling me it really was her coming to say hi!
So, about the dream. It really wasn’t a huge profound event, and as you know, dreams don’t always make a lot of sense so I’ll do my best to explain it. In the beginning of the dream I was holding Hailey, but she wasn't really "alive" or in her body. It’s weird because she wasn’t really “dead” either. (I hate using that word when it comes to Hailey, but it’s all that works in this sense.) I was just holding her body without her physically in it…cradling her like you would a little baby, her head resting on one arm while her knees draped over the other. I remember (and actually woke up) crying my eyes out because I knew I was going to have to “give her back”…to who or what, I don’t know, but I just knew that my time of holding her little body was limited.
Then the next thing I knew she was awake and looking at me, but she never said anything. We just stared into each others eyes as I pretty much cried mine out. I remember squeezing her to my chest as hard as I possibly could, trying to feel every inch of her little body. Gosh, I wish she would have said something, even if it was just yelling at me as she always did when she was here!
I just cried and cried through the whole dream because I knew I was going to have to “give her back,” but I couldn’t bear the thought of ever letting her out of my arms again. Then I remember her saying (but not out loud, just kind of telepathically) that she was getting tired and she needed to go back soon. When that time came, I woke up startled, to find my face and pillow soaking wet with tears. I just laid there for a few minutes and cried, while my arms ached, and my mind yearned to fall back asleep so I could possibly see her again.
I did fall back asleep, but unfortunately didn’t see her again. That morning I couldn’t stop thinking about my dream and how much I missed her, so I asked her if it really was her coming to say hi. Well, sure enough she sent me a special dime while I was out and about running errands!! That made me feel better and like she was so close by me all day.
Having that dream though, has made me miss her a lot the past couple days. I’ve been thinking about her everywhere I go and wondering what she’d be doing if she were physically with me. This morning, I was headed to a garage sale at a friend’s house and was particularly missing her as I drove alone in the car. I told her I’d love to get a dime from her today, but then realized that there are a ton of dimes at garage sales so none would really stand out. (On a different, related note, I also save dollar bills with the letter “H” on them. They aren’t very common, start looking and you’ll see. So I love when I get one! Once I have a significant amount, I plan on donating them to her foundation.) Anyways, today at the garage sale, the first person to buy something from me handed me a dollar bill, and sure enough, it had an “H” on it. Could that be a coincidence? Sure. Do I choose to believe it is? No. I think it was my little Hailey saying hi!
Anyways, just thought I’d share my dream experience with you all. I’m still hoping and waiting for “The Dream,” as I call it, when Hailey will come visit me and we’ll be able to talk. I have a few specific questions I want to ask her. I’ve prayed for that dream to come one day and often hear this voice in my head telling me, “In due time,” so I take that to mean that it will indeed come, but I may not be emotionally ready for that yet. So, I look forward to every time I sleep, hoping that “in due time,” will be here!