Monday, February 18, 2013

Somewhere, inside, I knew.

My posts of late have been sad - or at least highlighting the complicated, devastating side to my grief. I should say that this post is likely no different in that regard, though I am having several days of getting by OK.  The low tide days are frequenting me - I just feel less inclined to write about them once the kids go to bed.  It's the harder days, or the harder aspects of this grief, that energize my writing.  I've never promised anything to readers, so I am not going to really apologize for this - but I do want those of you who read this to know that I am not in the corner crying all of the time.  Not right now at least, and for that I am thankful.  So, on with my post...

I have always had insight into my blessings - at least I like to think so.  I grew up with an older sister and two older brothers.  Two parents who are happily married - and who never split up or argued in front of me.  Grew up in a family that was comfortable financially, affording me great privilege.  I went to college at a wonderful institution, and then put myself through graduate school immediately following.  Employment in my field started the very morning following my graduation from the masters program.  Wonderful friends and family are a constant in my history.  Health was never a major concern - for myself or my immediate family.  I met the one I was to marry at just 17-years-old - and we knew that we would live our lives together.  Married at 23 - which in the Northeast is quite young nowadays.  The blessings went on and on, and still do truthfully.

As my life was smooth and filled with happiness I appreciated that this wasn't always a given.  In fact, I watched as two of my childhood friends' parents passed away of cancer, knew those who struggled with addiction issues, witnessed the strain of difficult family dynamics on friends, and more.  So I knew struggle, pain and tragedy were part of life - likely an unavoidable part.

In my mid-twenties I would catch myself, only occasionally, contemplating what the pain, what the tragedy of my life would be.

I should say here that I am a mildly anxious person as it is.  The type who worries over minor details regularly - not really major worries.  I am not kept up at night worrying if that germ will harm my loved ones, or if the world is safe for my children.  But as a teen I struggled with letting things go.  In college and graduate school I worked hard to improve this part of myself - and believe I mitigated the resulting stress and anxieties quite well.

I offer this information to explain that I may be a worrier about the small stuff, but not the big things in life.  So when I silently wondered what my tragedy would be, and I had an instinctual answer of sorts, I cannot dismiss this gut feeling as my anxieties.

The answer that was felt in my soul to that very question, was the something would happen to one of my children.  Did I know this?  I mean, really know it?  No.  But that general thought was the first to come to mind, and the only one to linger, whenever that question came up.  I didn't dwell on the thought.  Would dismiss it as "just one of the possibilities" actually.  But when my son died 9 months ago, after that shock wore off, I cannot sit here and tell you that I am utterly shocked how the tragedy of my life has revealed itself.  Medically I was shocked, still am.  Pregnancy was always "easy" for me.  My OB told me to have 6 babies because they went so well.  All until they didn't.  I was shocked for a long time that I somehow was mother to a dead baby.  But I think, perhaps, somewhere inside I knew something might happen to one of my children.  What that something was to possibly be, I had no idea - and I didn't spend much, if any, time on it.  That's not a pretty road to go down - particularly when it is out of your control.

I've never told this to anyone before.  Not before I spoke with my friend Lee two days ago.  I asked her if she thought I was crazy.  She said no, that we are spiritual beings as well as physical and social beings.

This, perhaps, intuition that I buried makes me think of a number of women who delivered babies who were stillborn.  On Glow (an online support resource for parents whose babies have died) there was a thread about this very idea - an intuition that something bad was going to happen to their babies.  I was amazed, though not shocked, to hear several women speak of a sense that they would never get to bring their babies home for some unknown reason.  A few dreamed of attending their baby's funerals rather than dreaming of their babies being alive.  For no known reason - no medical concerns identified at that time.

So here I am, wondering, in awe of our spiritual beings.  Did I really know, somewhere inside of me, that something tragic would happen with one of my children?  Can people really anticipate (apart from medical or major mental health conditions) life shaping events?  I tend to think it is possible.  As I write this I know life holds many unknowns for me and my family going forward.  But I no longer have that knot, buried inside, wondering if something bad will happen to my children.  It already has.  And Ethan is no longer suffering.  And I am surviving, by the grace of God.  I know more bad things could happen to our older three children, but I (perhaps irrationally) feel that the worst outcomes will not happen for my children at this time.  Somehow I believe that if they get sick, they will heal.  That if a tv falls upon them (as it did with Ryan) that he will somehow be OK.  It's an interesting mix to have PTSD - and the uncontrollable responses to triggers, and a sense of peace, of faith that my family will be OK going forward.  It makes for a beautiful mess.  I guess it makes for my grief and healing.


  1. I think, in retrospect there were signs for me. Lots of them.

    1. signs that our hearts don't want to see - i don't really blame us though. lots of love to you.

  2. thanks for sharing with heart and prayers go out to you! Ethan will ALWAYS be a part of your one can take those memories of that precious little boy from you. He will always live on through you!