Saturday, September 12, 2009

Signs and Communications

September 12, 2009

One of the hardest parts about this second loss is that I don’t hear from my daughter.

Less than a week after my son died he visited me; told me how sorry he was, but that it if he hadn’t died Blue and I would never reach our “full purpose in life.” I wondered at the time, was this really him or just my mind imagining reasons, purpose, to help me cope with the bizarre, cruel life I’d been so suddenly yanked into. But more visits followed, more feelings, more counsel. Butterflies, butterflies, butterflies! Others, even, saw butterflies and sensed Jackson there. While each visit was different, the impression my husband and I got of him was the same. Imagine your closest family member. If you lost your sight yet you would know he/she was in the room with you. You know their cadence when they speak. You feel their spirit – whether it’s timid or course or empathetic or cynical. Those distinct traits which make them who they are, which make them your closest confidant, come through on so many levels. That is familiarity.

So it’s been with Jackson, so that over this painful year I have gotten to know him well enough to recognize his strong, distinct presence as soon as it comes.

I waited for Claire to visit in such a way. I sensed for her personality while in the hospital like I felt it the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy. I waited while I lay in bed with oxygen over my face trying to send my health and calmness through the cord to her sick body. I heard nothing, I felt nothing.

She died in my arms. No doubt her spirit was there in the room with us those precious moments after she passed. But I couldn’t greatly sense her, much less communicate with her.

Was it my own exhaustion? Did the drugs they administered get in the way? Was my grief so deep that I functioned only on a shallow physical level?

I would wait for Claire’s counsel, her love, her visit.

At Claire’s funeral, a dear friend told me that maybe there is no purpose: this is a cruel world and cruel things just happen. Maybe, I thought, but that goes against all my life experiences. More confusion. Over a month passed and the emptiness seemed to stretch my broken, black heart even more. All I got was more loneliness and pain. I was so angry that God would not her speak to me. I was mad that He wouldn’t give me some clue as to why we were forced into this trial.

Then my daughter got a father’s blessing for the new school year. It was beautiful and sacred. I want to share one part because it answered my questions and released my anger. Blue told me after that he wanted to tell Ami her sister would be with her this year, that she would feel her there. He had been directed to tell Caidgen that Jackson would be with him this year, after all. But he couldn’t. Instead the impression came that Claire is still developing and growing. She has much to learn. Maybe not this year, but later on in Ami’s life, Ami will sense and know that her sister is with her. Ami will be very important in Claire’s life, actually. They will have a deep closeness.

Understanding has once more been my balm for sickening anger. The first time I “saw” Jackson he was not a baby – not even a child, but a young man. I saw him in a way that would help me understand that spiritually, he is older. He is so strong, wise, loving, developed. That is why he can break through and serve as one of God’s angels to bless our family. Claire is young. I picture her like a new, precious spirit from Heavenly Father. Poor thing had such tremendous physical sufferings to endure while here... The insights and strengths she learned I would love to know.

Now she is without pain and in a brighter place. I don’t know what she is doing, but I believe the words of Ami’s blessing; that she is still growing. And one day, when the time is right and she is able, she will bless our family with her presence. I look forward to the day when Ami feels her love and knows that all this time of loving and missing Claire was not in vain. I feel peace about it. I realize we should never take for granted even a quick glimmer from the other side. Heavenly communication is not child’s play. It is real. Just as I have suspected the last two years concerning my father who passed, there are very good reasons I don’t sense him here. He’s got quite a lot more to do where he is and frankly I don’t envy him. But that’s another story! My grandma, conversely, was a very spiritual person and I have already felt her with me numerous times, though she only died a year ago. Ironically, nostalgic smells came and I sensed her so much in the weeks before Claire died that I often wondered if she was trying to tell me something. I just felt her love… We had named Claire after her. Grandma seemed to encourage me in the day-to-day trials of my scary pregnancy. Now I wonder, was she bolstering me for the dark days ahead? Whatever work she was doing, she was acting as angel, ministering to our family and I am grateful.

What I am getting at is that each person and their journey is unique. I don’t “feel” Jackson with me because it simply makes me feel better. If it was just that, Claire would be “with me” every minute! I feel him at times because he is here at times. I don’t feel Claire because she is not here, but doing an important work elsewhere. She is no less alive or important to our family. All you bereaved mothers who wait and wonder where is your sweet child now, and ache because there just don’t seem to be signs, take heart. I believe your babies are alive, safe, and would communicate if they could. Hopefully they will when they – or you – are ready. What they are doing now that keeps them away is vital. One day I believe all mysteries will come to light. Until then we wonder, question, even shout sometimes while we painfully press on with our own purposes here on earth.


Lauren Porter said...

Beautiful words. Thank you! This has touched me deeply. Thank you for sharing.

Jeni said...

I am so glad you are blogging again. You have such a gift for really portraying feeling with your words and I love knowing how you are truely feeling. After reading your previous post, I spent all week researching stillbirth and infant loss so I could better understand how you are feeling and what I could do to help. I hope today is a good one for you. :)

Bri said...

I love your writing, Kelly. Love the description of familiarity, especially. So true. I've decided that communication from those we've known and loved comes when we are ready and accepting of it. I have always been very frightened by the idea, but your courage is absolutely inspring.

audra said...


I'm so glad your blog is public again. I've wanted so much since hearing about Claire to tell you how sorry I am for your losses. I have sat here with tears streaming down my face as I read your story and I feel such admiration for the way you are carrying through.
I work with birthmothers who "lose" their children as well, so we work with them to heal from their loss, but this is so different and I wouldn't even know where to start. I'm not surprised by your feelings, by your anger, and I imagine I would feel exactly the same. I don't know how you are doing it, but I think you and Blue are amazing.

You make me want to appreciate everything in my life so much more and not take things (especially my children) for granted. How wonderful the day will be when you are reunited with Jackson & Claire again. Thank you so much for sharing and please know that you and Blue have been in our prayers.

I found this quote yesterday and posted it on our birthmother blog: “Life isn’t always easy. At some point in our journey we may feel much as the pioneers did as they crossed Iowa — up to our knees in mud, forced to bury some of our dreams along the way.

We all face rocky ridges, with the wind in our face and winter coming on too soon. Sometimes it seems as though there is no end to the dust that stings our eyes and clouds our vision. Sharp edges of despair and discouragement jut out of the terrain to slow our passage…

Occasionally we reach the top of one summit in life, as the pioneers did, only to see more mountain peaks ahead, higher and more challenging than the one we have just traversed.

Tapping unseen reservoirs of faith and endurance, we, as did our forebears, inch ever forward toward that day when our voices can join with those of all pioneers who have endured in faith, singing, ‘All is well! All is well!’ ” (M. Russell Ballard Ensign, May 1997, 61)

Nuestra Familia said...

Hi Kelly and Blue you guys are amazing individuals and parents. Your children are so beautiful as are your words. I'm so glad I'm able to read your posts. You are so inspiring, full of strength and full of courage. Thank you for your words. Know that you are in our prayers and our thoughts. You are a great example to me, With love Thank you. Ali Ray

Jensen Family said...

thanks for sharing..its good to hear that you are coping. you write so well! its all described so well. you will love to have all this writing later in life.

Alex said...

Oh, I'm so touched by your story thank you for sharing. Beautiful photos of your angels.

Patty said...

You are an amaziing person. Your words are so full of strength and wisdom and have brought comfort to so many inculding me! I don't know if you remember, but I lost my sister in a tragic accident when I was pregnant with Erin. It was very hard for my family to accept and my dad was very bitter for years. Last year we were given and amazing gift from my sister. Many of the negative feelings from her death vanished. I would love to share this gift with you sometime. My thoughts and prayers are with you...