Sunday, December 19, 2010

Grieving like a Tree

"One of the things we learn from studying the growth of trees is that during seasons when conditions are ideal, trees grow at a normal rate. However, during seasons when growing conditions are not ideal, trees slow down their growth and devote their energy to the basic elements necessary for survival...
What do you suppose pilots do when they encounter turbulence? A student pilot may think that increasing speed is a good strategy because it will get them through the turbulence faster. But that may be the wrong thing to do. Professional pilots understand that there is an optimum turbulence penetration speed that will minimize the negative effects of turbulence. And most of the time that would mean to reduce your speed. The same principle applies also to speed bumps on a road...
Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions."
- "Of Things That Matter Most, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor of the LDS First Presidency

I was so grateful to come across this article this week. My mind immediately went to the last two years of my "hermit life." At first people understood the need to withdraw. But sooner than I felt I was ready, I was prodded to "get out more," or I was whispered about for not "getting on with life" quicker. It's understandable, I guess. We live in a very fast paced world where people moving on to the next thing is not applauded but expected. Also, I didn't lose a "child," right? I mean, I "didn't even know my baby." I cannot tell you the anger these statements create inside.
Reading about the tree rings explained my journey perfectly. It's nature's way to slow down in hard times. It's not about sulking; it's about survival. In order to preserve what's left after the storm, you have to slow down and nurture the essentials.
As I have been on the road of child loss for two years now, may I share with you my heart. Don't expect permission or even understanding for your actions now. Unfortunately, losing a baby is so rare (not rare enough) and so different than much of the pain society experiences, most people will ignorantly judge you from afar and certainly be more than happy to give their two cents. People naturally relate their own trials to yours, not realizing they can't compare. Some people don't see the power or devastation of this baby loss storm.
Do what feels right. I felt, and still feel, like the only way I can get through life now is to simplify. That includes my daily schedule. I don't go out as much. I don't answer the phone as much. I don't do anything as much. And while I am overjoyed raising my new baby Trey, still I have not felt any urge to revert back to my old life.
I loved reading about parallels in nature. I want to be like a strong tree someday, rooted and solid. But I've been in a drought for a while. Now is about focusing on essentials. When my life is over, if it is dissected, I hope there will be many rings; history of a richly lived life. The rings that mark the lives and losses of Jackson and Claire will no doubt stand out. They may look like profound times of weakness. But to me they mark when we dug deep and found the most strength we ever had. When starving, your roots drive deeper into the hard ground, where many around have never gone, to find saving water.
I hope nature can encourage you as it has me. I hope you who are suffering will be affirmed on your journey. I am sorry for our pain, but aren't our babies worth it? I love my kids! I am proud to be their mother. I love my whole family and I feel my angel babies with us and a part of us every day.

7 comments:

The Scotts said...

I think you are amazing!! I'm still not over losing my Mom and it has been 4 years now. I am on the slow track with you. Thanks for the quote and your thoughts. Hope you have a Merry Christmas Kelly.

audra said...

I love the comparison to the tree rings. How true about life's trials, especially yours. You definitely can't rush healing; you have to trudge through it to heal the healthiest. I DO want you to come speak to my ladies at group :)

JennC said...

That's a really good comparison. And I can totally see how you'd need to slow down during the hard times. I love your use of words. I can always tell you are a writer. I hope Trey enjoys his first Christmas. :o)

Mary said...

Perfectly said. I haven't lost my baby but just comming close a few dozen times has shaken me to the core and as we adjust to his diabilities I have times when I can hardly keep everyone fed and clean much less do anything worth applauding. It takes so much effort to process each moment and a memory can instantly drain me. It's taking a lot of time and always will I think. Even those closest too me don't understand that just keeping on is worth applauding. What I mean is, I know what you mean is the survival sence.

Cortney said...

Love you and this post was terrific...and so true. Can't wait to get together this week for a playdate of sorts. Miss you, my dear friend. xoxo

Naomi said...

I love the quote. Thank you for sharing it. I pray that this year will be a great one for you and your family! Miss you!

Cyndi said...

So I don't know you....my friend just sent me a link to your blog the other day because she must have known I'd need it. So here I am, crying with you about this hard journey of baby loss and knowing how hard it is to try and grow when it doesn't seem possible right now. I needed to remember this talk, to realize that I need to slow down, simplify, and give myself a break. Thank you for putting so eloquently into words what I needed to hear.