Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Progress

My dad took this photo of Camille at his house four months ago.
 I just wanted a photo of her at the top of my blog.

I want to give myself a progress report. It is the first of October. It has been three and a half months I have been walking this road of grief. This morning I woke up and got out of bed without thinking about the silence. I just woke up and started doing my daily routine. I thought to myself as I was in the bathroom putting myself together, "Well, I guess this is progress."

Then this morning I talked to Tiffany. Some of you may have seen her comment on my Vacation post last week. She lost her son Jackson to a drowning just over a week ago. As we talked this morning I remembered so clearly being where she is right now. I remember the physical pain in my chest. I remember the hallow emptiness inside. I remember seeing the image of Camille in the hot tub every time I closed my eyes. 

I remembered all that but also recognized how far I have come in these past three and a half months. This journey follows a road with many switch backs. There are days when I feel as if I am not getting better. There are hours I feel as sorrowful as I ever have. But when I look at the whole of my journey so far, I can see how much progress I have made. It is slow and tedious and tiresome. But I have made progress.

Even my sorrow feels different now. My tears are less sad tears. They are not tears of joy either. They are the tears of tenderness. They flow easily when I talk of my relationship with Camille. It is not a sad subject to me. It is a tender subject. 

There are also many tears of the Spirit. My heart is still tender to its whisperings. I have a hard time singing hymns. Singing and crying do not mix well. I found myself fighting the tears all during women's conference. I am sure the tears will flow easily through general conference. I will let them. I will be ready with my Kleenex box. 

This morning talking to (or crying to) my mom about this she noted that after a major surgery the doctors tell you to measure your progress not day by day but week by week. You may not feel better today than you do yesterday but next week will feel better than this week. I think that is true to the healing of the soul after a major trauma as well. 

I see vividly the progress I have made. I am no longer in that unbearable pain. The would is not fresh. But I am still very tender. Yes, this soul of mine is healing but still tender. 

38 comments:

Davis family said...

You are an amazing mom. I have been following your blog for a little while. even though I have never experienced this kind of pain, I can still appreciate, and cry with your words. My prayers are with you are your family.
andi davis

The Hansens said...

You have truly changed my life, you continue to inspire me and give me the strong desire to be a better mom each day. Thank you.

Mandi said...

Thanks for the post!! It is nice to know that even through pain, no matter what kind, everyday and week is a little better then it was. Yes it is a very tender subject still. I hope you enjoy General Conference. I know I plan to. Let the tears come as they may. It's good to cry, people tell me. :)

Erin said...

We just hit the 6 month mark since we lost our 21 month old son (March 27). Last night a friend who just found out sent me the link to your blog and I am so glad she did. I find so many of my thoughts and feelings echoed in your words. I am happy to hear that you have seen progress in yourself... just be aware that somedays even in spite of progress you will get your legs kicked out from under you and it will hurt. At least that has been my experience. Sending you hugs across the miles from one LDS mommy with an angel who is anxious for the second coming to another.

P.s. I have often thought about starting a blog memorializing my son and his impact on this world but never had the guts to til now... would you be offended if I did?

Noorda Notebook said...

it makes me so happy to read that and hear about your healing process. what a help you must be to tiffany for her to talk to you and to be able to tell her that you're feeling differently now than you were.

can't wait for the weekend :)

vocalise said...

We Are Seven, by William Wordsworth

She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad:
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
--Her beauty made me glad.

"Sisters and brothers, little Maid,
How many may you be?"
"How many? Seven in all," she said
And wondering looked at me.

"And where are they? I pray you tell."
She answered, "Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.

"Two of us in the church-yard lie,
My sister and my brother;
And, in the church-yard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother."

"You say that two at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea,
Yet ye are seven!--I pray you tell,
Sweet Maid, how this may be."

Then did the little Maid reply,
"Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the church-yard lie,
Beneath the church-yard tree."

"You run above, my little Maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the church-yard laid,
Then ye are only five."

"Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
The little Maid replied,
"Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,
And they are side by side.

"My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit,
And sing a song to them.

"And often after sun-set, Sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.

"The first that died was sister Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain;
And then she went away.

"So in the church-yard she was laid;
And, when the grass was dry,
Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I.

"And when the ground was white with snow,
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go,
And he lies by her side."

"How many are you, then," said I,
"If they two are in heaven?"
Quick was the little Maid's reply,
"O Master! we are seven."

"But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!"
'Twas throwing words away; for still
The little Maid would have her will,
And said, "Nay, we are seven!"

~~~William Wordsworth~~~

Jolene said...

I have reached a new level of my own healing through reading your blog. Thank you for that. My marriage was in trouble; I didn't feel like I was through grieving my own "angel" . . . so many things. There have been so many things that you have written that have inspired me and changed me. I feel that my marriage has become stronger because of things you have said about Jonathan and the way men are. I look forward to raising my son, Jacob, beside you and Camille.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand the tears that emerge when singing hymns. My father passed away 32 years ago (I was 13) and to this day, I bawl like a baby in church.

You're awesome, Stephanie :)
Lynda

Carolyn said...

Love you Steph!

Susy said...

I am always so amazed at your writing and what heart you have to share it with us, just travelers of the LDS blog community. I read what others say and I am inspired, not only by your words but theirs as well. I want to thank you for touching us deep in our souls. Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Heidi said...

Before my miscarriage and following your blog, I don't remember consciously comparing a soul healing to a physical body healing--but what you're saying is so true.

Just me! said...

I believe the veil is very thin when our 'well of tears' spill. We miss our pre-mortal home. We miss our Father in Heaven. We miss our elder brother, Jesus Christ. We miss the ones we love that have gone on before. We may not remember our existence before this test, but our spirit still remembers. How can it not? The love and joy we felt there I'm sure was wonderful. Let the tears flow...what a wonderful way to heal the soul.

Ashley said...

I envy you in some ways. Is that bad to say? I think we all go through those phases of progression where we're sensitive to tender eternal things. I feel hungry to be in one of those phases again. You've inspired me tonight to turn off the noise, the distractions, the muck and start being more tender. You're wonderful. Thank you for blessing my life.

Miss Molly said...

I am so proud of your progress and your RECOGNITION of it. I need to take more time to do the same and to be GRATEFUL for it. Not because we are forgetting, but we are making a new home inside ourselves for our grief and learning to live with it...not as a stranger, but a teacher in our home.

Miss Molly said...

I meant to say in that last sentence...a teacher in our souls.

See you in two days!

Mimi's Toes said...

I wasn't able to sleep and got up and am so glad I did. You helped me with a decision I need to make while struggling with my inner peace. I have not lost a precious child but feel like I've lost part of who I use to be, if that makes sense. Thank you for again ministering to me. You are so dear to my heart....

Mel said...

I've read this blog for a long time and check it every day, but I don't think that I've commented yet. (I, like others, haven't known what to say and I, unlike others, am not even close to being a mom. Also unlike others, I'm not LDS...)

I struggled to find something to say, and all I can come up with is the obvious truth: I am amazed at how inspiring you are and how you can not blame anyone for or get angry about your tragedy. You and Camille truly make me want to be "better" in all aspects of my life and after reading your blog, I am able to look at my boyfriend, family, and friends in a new light. I'm not LDS or anything, really, but your faith is inspiring and gives me hope.

Anyways, just wanted to let you know that another reader is out there and that Camille is making a difference way out in North Carolina.

Laura D said...

I think when we choose to she our heart with other is when we make a differnce in the world. Thank you for shareing your tender thoughts with us.

Sue said...

I love that Wordsworth poem, "We Are Seven." How true and well told that story is.

Your story is equally well told and true. Thank you again for continuing to share it with all of us.

barryblog said...

I don't know you, but my sister in law said I should check out your blog. It inspires me to see other people handling loss through the gospel. I lost my baby girl 5 weeks ago. She was born premature and did not make it and I never got the chance to have memories with her. In many ways I am thankful because the hurt of missing them seems lile it would be more if I had memories of her. I still hurt, but I can see the ache subside as the weeks go by. Thank you for saying that you can judge your healing from week to week. These have been the longest 5 weeks of my life, but I am doing better today than last Thursday. Thanks again for your post.
-Scottee

The Dobecks! said...

While watching the women's broadcast here in Atlanta. (I cant remember exactly who was speaking or what about) but you and your experience came into my thoughts. and I knew we were watching/listening to the exact same thing. I started tearing up. I am grateful for your blogs. And I cant wait to be a mother one day. :)

Melinda said...

I just saw your post about the bracelet. I will definitely be ordering one. I am so excited you have asked for donations to the Humanitarian Fund. We are Humanitarian Missionaries in Ukraine. How wonderful that your parents have had the opportunity to be Humanitarian Missionaries as well. They are so badly needed. I have a blog your mom may enjoy reading. www.kinghorscalledtoserve.blogspot.com it's all about our mission. Please feel free to visit or send your mom over. thanks again for supporting the Humanitarian Program. I love reading your blog. I can't imagine the pain and heartache you feel. I mentioned last time I commented. I too am grieving a loss. So my heart goes out to you and your sweet family.
thanks for letting others in on this very personal, tragic part of your life. Love, Sister Kinghorn (melinda)

Tiffany said...

Steph, thank you for calling me yesterday. It really helped to hear a fellow mother's voice. I bought the book the "message" today. Last night we tried to get out of town for a few days. It was too hard and we ended up only staying a few hours before returning back home. We had so much anxiety. Thank you for your kind words and example and testimony. Much love and I'm glad to see that there will soon be a bit of light in this horribly dark tunnel. You're awesome Stephanie. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

you are a truly amazing individual. I believe that everything that happens in this life is to teach. I know that may sound crazy now, but maybe someday it will make some sense.

The Pett Shop said...

It is amazing how we can't recognize our progress by looking at ourselves now, in the moment. We can't measure our progress on the fact that we might still feel sad or angry or scared. But when something simple happens like it did to you today, where you got out of bed and followed your routine before recognizing that you hadn't thought about the silence, these should be the things we sing praises to the Lord for.

These are the small moments where we recognize that He is beside us and has been the whole time. Although you may still feel in the dark, it is important to recognize that the darkness is not all consuming. He showed you that yesterday. Hopefully anyone going through trauma and turmoil can have hope that the darkness will part eventually and they too will make progress! We just don't always recognize it yet.

chanel said...

wow, you've come so far in just a few months, beautiful tender progress report. I am so happy, (is that the right word?), for you.

Marylin and Jimmy said...

It has been a little bit since I last left a comment but I think of you everyday and wonder how you are. This post is very timely because I was just thinking about my dear friend who lost her two daughters a year ago and how she is doing a year later. She often tells me that she hopes this life goes fast and that it feels harder now than right afterward and it makes me hurt for her. And then the other day she volunteered to take my two girls for a few hours while I was moving. I was dropping them off and my 4 year old jumped out of the car and picked a small blue flower from her front yard and brought it to her, my first instinct was to tell her not to pick others flowers but my sweet friend just took the flower and said "Oh let's put that in your hair, it would look so pretty" it made me want to cry because amidst her loss and pain I knew in that moment that she was doing better and that the Lord was giving her strength to live everyday!

On a side note I attended the Friday night concert for Tim out for women and as I walked up the stairs and entered the theatre I realized you were standing right in front of me and then you turned around, I wanted to say hello but I wasn't sure how weird that would seem. So I instead went down to the front of the theatre to talk with my cousin (Hilary) for a few moments before she was going on stage but I couldn't stop thinking about you and how when I saw you I felt as if we were friends and wanted to smile and hug you but held back as to not scare you! Ok so I have rambled on a bit too long but know that you continue to be in my prayers and I hope you had a wonderful time at TOFW!!

careymc said...

It's amazing to see how many people you have helped through all of this - and on so many levels. You are a great example to me. Thank you.

Sarah C said...

Hey! I just read your comment on my blog. You did it right, but you can also write one of your stories and then you are entered to win. Basically anyone who comes and tells their story is entered and if they came from someone elses blog then it gives that person credit (get it?)

Sarah C said...

Oh my gosh! I didn't even read the post before I commented. I am so sorry for your loss, but in the same time I am so inspired by your strenght! After reading this I had to just got kiss my sleeping babes one last time. Thank you for making me realize just how much I need to not take them for granted and love them! I don't know you... but my heart goes out for you and will pray for you!

Anonymous said...

I would buy the book even if it was a repeat of your blog.

Darleen said...

Oh, little sweet Camille. Such a happy picture of her. I love that she is sitting on top of the walker, not in it. So much like her. Enjoy conference this weekend. I will be thinking of you and family.

Katherine said...

I had to jump on and comment on the small world we live in.
I'm came up to you at TOFW and thanked you for your blog (maybe there were multiple people that did that). I don't know that my gratitude was expressed the way I hoped it would be. I really just wanted to thank you for your willingness to share yourself so openly and honestly. I am a better mom for being reminded that my time with my own children is a gift - one that has no guarantees as to how long I will have them. You have touched so many lives and I believe that you and Camille are two missionary companions, working together to do so much good.

So the small world connection is that Tiffany Rich is married to my best friends cousin. I heard of her loss the day that it happened and I instantly thought of you. I am so glad that she contacted you and that you called her and talked to her. I pray for her family each day, as well as yours. The connection between women is so strong and the loss that you each have endured is unique and you understand each other like very few can. Once again, you are amazing and thank you for touching lives for good!

Meg Pie said...

Stephanie,
You are a truly amazing person, mother and wife.
When I read about you reaching out to Tiffany it filled my heart with happiness. The best thing you can do in the situation you have been handed is to help other people through your experiences. I am 27 and lost my father when I was 7 and my only sister when I was 19. My heart is full of heartache, but also healing. I find my greatest healing when I am working with other children that have lost someone. You are doing Tiffany such a tremendous service as well as your own heart. You are amazing.

Hugs from Oregon

Sommer said...

You do not know me. I am actually Tiffany's sister. I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to talk to my dear sister. As you are only all to familiar with she is hurting with a pain that I cannot imagine and I cannot take away. I miss my baby nephew so much it hurts. But it is killing me to see my sister hurt so much. Thank you for posting your blog and just for talking to her. I dont know if there are any words of comfort that she can receive but i think it helps to have someone relate. I will be forever grateful for you.
Sommer Burton

Misty said...

You don't know me but I found your blog on The Adams family blog...

When you talk about church hymns I totally understand that one. My dad died a year and a half ago. To this day, I can't sing, "Families Can Be Together Forever" without crying. I've heard that the spirit touches you in song more than any other way. I know that to be true!

You seem like an amazing person!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings! =)

Anonymous said...

Well, I read your entire blog on Thursday night after my friend showed it to me!! I admit I skimmed a little in a few places, but I tuned in carefully to what you have shared about your grieving process - as well as the wonderful things you have to share with the world as you are the mouthpiece for your sweet daughter and her mission.

I too suffered a tremendous loss this summer - very different from yours, but many of the feelings you share seem so similar to what I have experienced these last few months. I found out on July 19th that my husband has been addicted to pornography for almost our entire marriage, and deeply involved in a whole other life and identity that I knew nothing about. For years I struggled with his lack of spirituality, and had I known more about this evil, the unveiling of his secret wouldn't have been such a shock, but as it was, it tore my world apart. Everything I had hoped for, all my goals for the near and distant future, hopes of an eternal family, raising our 3 children strong in the gospel, being that cute old couple who are spiritual giants and help everyone all the time, it all seemed hopeless and lost because of what we now had to deal with. At first I actually did feel a hope that it was over and now we could finally be who I wanted us to be, but that was very naive. I have since learned all too well how strong of a trap this is that Satan has caught my husband in. It will be a lifetime of vigilant effort for him to be and stay in 'recovery' (assuming hopefully that he will do that). I have found hope and peace and comfort as I have turned to the Savior, but it is hard to find that all the time. Usually I cycle in between frustration and pains before I have time to take myself back to a better place again.

I didn't intend to spill out so much. What I meant to do was to thank you for sharing the strength that you have found in your grieving journey and your healing journey. As I have read, my heart has been filled with the spirit, and promptings of how I can do better in my journey and in my mothering. I have laughed. I have teared up. And yes, I have bawled. I appreciate all of these things.

Thank you for sharing your writing talent with all of us readers. Thank you for the strength that you have that is inspiring me right now.

I'll probably never meet you (and I can't even direct you to see my blog and my beautiful children because my husband strongly desires secrecy in this challenge - excluding of course the bishop and our counselors), but I wanted to thank you and encourage you. You are doing good in the world. Today (and for however long I can retain the wisdom and encouragement I read in your blog) you are doing good in my world. Hopefully your example will help me find ways that I can do good in the world from my trials too. It is very hard to find help for myself and to find ways to help others relating to my trial because it is so dark and secretive, but I feel greatly encouraged by the small glimpse I have at how you and your angel baby have touched the world.

Thanks again so much.
-mytherapeuticaddress@live.com

(anyone dealing with or interested in trials similar to mine is welcome to contact me)

Brianna Rukavina said...

I too will never forget the sight of seeing 13 month old Clayre floating. I will never forget those glassy eyes as I performed CPR. I will never forget my thoughts as I pumped my milk after she died. It had all been for her. I will never forget those fist days of immense, unbearable pain.
I lost Clayre on April 7, 2008 when she drowned in our family's pool. The pain will never go away, it just gets more bearable as time passes and as I get stronger.
We created a foundation in order to raise awareness and raise money to help families who can't afford pool fences. If you have a free moment, please visit Clayre-foundation.com
I too am pregnant so it looks like we have quite a lot in common!
Thank you so much for sharing your story with so many others. I know that it has touched so many people and that they think twice about how precious life is and how easily it can be lost.
Feel free to contact me through the website or at bri.5639@yahoo.com