Sunday, August 1, 2010
More Dichotomy of Feelings (by Blue)
Quick update: Trey is thriving! Friday we had our first appointment at the pediatrician. Trey now weighs 4lbs 8oz. He's gained a full 12oz since his birth. He still looks ridiculously small in his car seat and in comparison to other infants, but he just seems so strong to me. He eats about 40-50ml every three hours and enjoys keeping Kelly and I up at night with his funny noises. His focus had gone from suck, swallow, breathe (the term used by medical staff to describe the important ability for a newborn to coordinate eating and breathing) to eat, sleep, poop : ) Kelly and I are exhausted, but elated. We feel incredibly grateful to all of you who have prayed or posted messages or called or gave gifts or cards . . . I wish I could go through and thank you all, one by one and tell you of your personal impact in our lives. Please know that we cherish every expression you all offer. I can't speak for Kelly, but you have literally sustained me over the past two years. There have been times when just getting out of bed and facing the reality of our life seemed too difficult a task. But your support made the burden light. Thank you!
It has been an interesting thing to experience the joyful emotions of the past two weeks, especially in contrast to the sorrowful emotions of the previous two years. I find myself smiling without realizing I'm doing it. Last night at about 2:30am, in a sleep-deprived stupor I held Trey and talked to him. He stared right at me for several seconds and my heart melted. I unconsciously search the house for him if I haven't seen him in a few minutes. I actually LOVE changing his diapers, something I participated in with the other children, but certainly didn't relish. Its as if every mundane parental task is an exclamation point on the statement that he's alive!
I have always had a naturally happy disposition. I don't tend to stay mad or sad for very long. The past two years though, have been monumentally hard. I have a head full of gray hairs. I have found pessimism enticing. My jokes are more morbid. The term "death" seems a part of everyday conversation and has lost its ominous affect in speaking about it with others. I'm sure Kelly and I have seemed like a dark cloud to many of our friends. I imagine it has been hard to be around us. You certainly wouldn't feel any levity in our company. I remember distinctively how low I felt at certain times in the recent past. I want to share an excerpt from my journal that I wrote about Jackson's death in order that I might show the contrast of feelings that I have now:
I was reeling over what I was about to do. I think I knew that putting my son in his grave would be the hardest thing I’d ever do. We sang ‘God be with you til we meet again’. I made it only a few words in and couldn’t sing the rest through my tears and quivering voice . . . I arose from my chair and stood over the grave. The heaviness of the hour was full upon me and I wanted to stay where I was forever and avoid the pain and anguish that was coming. I walked over to his casket, leaned over and kissed it. I climbed down into the grave. Taylor and Houston handed the casket down to me and T.C. We lowered him to his final earthly home and as I set him down the weight of the world fell upon me and I sank to the lowest spot my soul had ever descended, far lower than all other times combined. I was bent over with my hands on his precious casket and at that moment I never wanted to let go. I couldn’t fathom climbing out of that grave. I would have been happy for everyone to leave me there, to throw the dirt on top of me, but I could not leave my son there, alone. That was the very moment for me. The darkest hour. The most difficult of my existence. No one should have to bury their child. No one should have to stand helplessly in their son’s grave and offer a farewell to everything that remained of his precious, but brief existence. I think it was only a sense of propriety that made me climb out of that grave, but be assured had there been no other soul around I would have spent the night with him, there, in that hole. Sept. 2008
Those feelings are easy to remember. They have bubbled to the surface over and over the past 24 months. But they have competition now! The war of feelings is being won by the blissfulness of Trey's birth. The opposite of those graveyard feelings for Jackson occurred about 30 minutes after Trey was born. Once he was delivered they hurriedly rushed Trey and I to the NICU for his initial assessment and to be hooked up to monitors. I had no idea what complications they might find and I didn't care if they did, because he was alive! A team of medical staff poked, prodded, listened, and felt him to discover if there was anything wrong. There wasn't. He never needed even a puff of oxygen. It seemed incredible to me, but the staff slowly began to trickle away, one by one over the next 20 min. Suddenly I was alone. The last one in the room assured me that "mom" would be wheeled back in the next hour or two, but for now I could just hit the call light if I needed anything. I was alone with a miracle in my hands. Those two hours were the perfect dichotomy to what I felt with Jackson. I was as happy as I've ever been. I believe it was the happiest moment of my life. Caidgen and Ami's birth felt that way at the time, but I hadn't lost then as I had now. I KNOW what it is to cherish a human life. I was immersed in a feeling of awe, reverence, joy, and happiness. As I held him those two hours alone I felt such peace. When Kelly finally did arrive she said I had the biggest smile she'd ever seen. And for good reason. I was finally taken out of the graves of my two children and into the light of a single, heavenly life!