Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Keeping It Real

A fuzzy picture to symbolize the picture of my life seen through the lens of my blog.
 
I want this blog to be a real reflection of how I am doing. I don't want it to be all the pretty things of my life or all the hard and painful parts either. Just after Camille died I wrote every day about my grief. At that time it was my whole life. All other aspects of my life were seen through the filter of my grief. 

As time has passed and my heart has healed some, I have written other types of posts about other subjects. Posts about Camille have been sprinkled in where I was feeling them. 

This is the thing I am learning about grief -- it moves like the tides with waves rolling through it. The tides do not rise and fall with the cycles of the moon but with the seasons of our lives. At certain times the grief tide is low and will stay low for a long time. People will think you are all better perhaps. You will even think you are all better, or at least close to it.

But the reality is that often the tides will rise again. There is no reliable predictor for when this will happen or what will trigger the rise. Maybe there is no trigger. Maybe there is just a biological rhythm to this that we don't know about. But when the tides rise the waves of grief come with it. They hit without warning and can sweep you off your feet.

And with time these tides fall again. They recede. The waves seem inconsequential again. All the while life goes on. 

I have had a good long while of low tides. But lately, since just after Thanksgiving really, it seems the tide has been rising. I know I am doing well in my healing progress. I know this is normal and just part of the journey. I just feel I need to keep this portrayal of my life through this blog as real as possible. 

And the real truth is that I have had some really hard nights in the last couple of weeks. I share this only because I want others who are on this path or who know someone else on this path of grief after losing a child to know that this is the nature of this grief. I don't want to seem like some super human person who is "all better" now and is done with the grieving thing. 

I don't think we are ever "done" with the grieving thing. I think the tide just stays low for longer and longer periods of time and waves become less and less frequent. But it does seem to me that the further along the path we get the harder it is to open up and talk about the high tides. They are hard to "bring up" since "how you are really doing" is not the subject of most your conversations anymore. And when you have been doing well for a long while, it is hard to let people know that you are hurting again. It seems people get more "worried" about you if you have a hard few days when you are a year out instead of just a month out.

But the reality is that hard days come at six months out or a year to five years out. That is just the nature of the beast. When they come, they come with intensity. Perhaps this high tide is due to the holidays. Maybe it is the internal clock telling me the 6 month mark is coming. And then again it could be a combination of both or neither. 
 
Thank you to so many of you living angels out there who have shared so much love to me. I never knew when I thought about doing an angel tree for Camille that I would so need these angels in my home. Thank you. I will write more about the angel tree later this week. I want to get a photo up of it. It is beautiful.

Whatever it is, I am hoping it will pass gracefully. I hope I will feel my way through it since there is no way around it. And between the waves I will treasure the blessings in my life and the moments of joy that these blessings bring me everyday. 

28 comments:

Jenessa said...

It seems that no matter how much time passes there are days or weeks or how ever long, that we go through life thinking about that person or persons who have gone to heaven before us. It has been over twenty years since my own angels started their work in heaven and I still spend days thinking of them. Some of those days are full of thankful thoughts that I have someone watching out for me and my kids. Other days I am just sad not to have them here with me to hug and kiss and physically talk to. I guess that is part of being human. We have these memories and some days they bring us joy and others they blur our feelings and others they overwhelm us with grief.

my stay-at-home-momma drama said...

Thinking and praying for you . . .

Susy said...

Stephanie,
I so enjoy your blog. You are so genuine. I have a little story for you. I was given this robust 10lb 11oz little boy almost 12 years ago. Yet a young girl in my ward (she was all of 18) gave birth to a baby boy that March. He was born with severe heart problems, so severe they knew he would not live a very long life, months really. Baby James died 11 years ago this month. I remember being with Jenifer and I knew in my heart I was sitting with elect lady. A servant of the Lord, one he trusted to give baby James all he needed while he was on this earth. She and her husband have remained faithful, and have, last count, 4 strapping young boys.
I read your blog and gain strength,
to just raise my two in this hectic world! I know my Father in heaven has given them to me to have on earth, but one day they will return to him, in his time table. May I be even half as faithful a servant as you and my friend Jenifer have been through your sacrifices.
Have a nice rest of the week.
Susy

DEANNA said...

This was an awesome post. I suffered some great losses and while none will ever compare to your loss of Cammile, mine are still pretty huge for the life I once had.

I understand the tides. The ebb and the flow and how irritatingly hard they can be. The good days seem just so much better but then I have bad days and it throws me into a tizzy.

Good for you for putting your thoughts on your life out there as a filtered look. VERY COOL!

Davis family said...

You are such a blessing to so many of us out here in the world. I am grateful for your example. You share your testimony, and your life. I finally found an angel for your tree. I have been looking since you first asked. I am excited to see a picture of your beautiful tree. My prayers are with you.

Amanda said...

I wish that I could find something to say to make you feel lightened right now. But I'm finding it hard to find the words. I to am dealing with grief right now and just really appreciate your ability to express yours so well. It's always hardest for me to find the words when I'm emotional...I hope the tides recede in the coming days.

Christina said...

You are very right in your feeling about how the waves come. I am dealing with a painful loss of a different type, and there is a song I love that makes me think of the person I lost. Some days, that song makes me smile as I think about her, and others, I can hardly handle hearing it. Some nights I fall asleep just fine, and others I lay awake praying and crying. Thank you for sharing your true feelings with us all, as hearing others' stories helps us to feel *normal* (whatever that is, LOL) and know that these ups and downs are all part of the process. Hugs, Christina Davila

Anonymous said...

Steph, I have said this before, but once more...

As a Mommy, I can't help but feel a small fragment of your burden. It must be God's way of connecting us Mommy's as we hold each other up in this life. Thank you for sharing through the tides. Life surely is a series of tides.... Praise God Heaven awaits.

Please know you are not alone. I know I have not experienced this exact same loss of a sweet innocent child as you have... but I will soon lose my brother to AIDS. Understanding this grief has allowed me to "feel" on such a deeper level.

Surely this journey is not in vain and I, as you, will be on a life-long train of trying to glorify God. He surely smiles upon you and your testimony.

Anonymous said...

PS. Please keep "keepin' it real!"

GDR said...

Love you Stephanie.
Thanks for speaking from your heart. It helps so many.

The Holland Family said...

I wish I would have written more back when my grief was fresh. I sometimes wish I could remember Mia now the way I did back then. You will be so glad you kept these records. I wrote some, but not enough. Some days it feels like she was only a dream. I have a box full of things that I go through periodically to remember the reality of her. I like to have reality checks here and there. It helps me remember. I have a shadow box that I can look at with a binky, hair bow, & clothes in it to remind me. I too have done an angel tree for 5 years. My other children love it and it is now a part of our lives and Christmas tradition. She is a part of our lives forever, and I'm so glad for that. Nicole ^i^

farmgirl said...

Dear Stephanie & Waite Family,
I attempted to comment last evening, and just as I was about finished, my battery died. Now, 24 hours later your blog of today ties in beautifully to what I was going to share. Last evening was my very first time to read your blog. You are now in my prayers! I wrote a poem that you may want to put somewhere on your angel tree. (Yesterday I didn't even know you were going to make one! This is no doubt a tender mercy.)
As high tides come, I pray that The Comforter will attend you and your family. Thanks so much for being real! REAL helps all of us who are attempting to heal.

AIRMAIL FROM HEAVEN
A hug and kiss from me,
Comes with each twinkling light;
As I peek down on you,
From my Heavenly site.

Our family FOREVER and ETERNAL,
A blessed, miraculous gift;
Temple covenants SEAL us,
Providing an everlasting lift.

I'll stay VERY busy in Heaven,
Until our Millennial Day;
When you'll be able to raise me,
In the CELESTIAL way!

I'm so looking forward to that day!
ALL MY LOVE!
Your CELESTIAL Angel,

Camille Kathleen Waite
Christmas 2008

Love, One of your Sisters in Zion

tara @ kidz said...

I have always found it interesting that people always describe grief as coming in 'waves.' I've even experienced it (not to your level I'm sure) and would describe it the same way, but I don't really know why. Your honesty is beautiful and helpful to so many. Thank you for being you!

Joan said...

Thank you so very much for this post. I too have been struggling as six months have just passed since losing my daughter, and I was beginning to feel that I wasn't in tune enough spiritually to "overcome" my feelings. Your description of the grief process has been more help than you know. Once again you have blessed my life.

Stephanie said...

Farmgirl,

Thank you so much for that beautiful poem. It is beautiful and brought good tears to me. Thank you.

Joan,

Thanks for your comment too. It made the sharing worth it. It is not always easy for me to share the hard times, but your comment let me know my goal in sharing was served.

Love,
Stephanie

Kunz Family said...

Yes I definitely think it is because of the 6 month mark.... mine was today. Thinking of you. Glad I am not alone, but sorry there are so many other suffering

Leslie said...

I don't think we are ever "done" with the grieving thing. I think the tide just stays low for longer and longer periods of time and waves become less and less frequent.

This is very true. I lost my dad in over 15 years ago when I was 29 and was told 6 months is the "grieving period" which of course I found out is simply not true. I still miss my dad. A lot. I think of him when there are events that I realize he'll never know about, even the birth of my twins. I think about him at random times that have no explanation. But, sure, why not? It's a blessing to know how this whole life thing really works. It doesn't make it easier, necessarily, who know what "easy" is anyway? Besides, if it were "easy", that would diminish the role these loved ones had in our lives, but it does seem to make sense of these relationships we have and that they are not just for the speck of time they sometimes seem to be in mortality which is often just far too short even no matter how long the time is. Especially when it comes to family, you will always be Camille's mother and my father will always be my father and we are just knitted together in that way.

Thank goodness the spirit comes and comforts us. Sometimes the pain is just what it is. It's private and it's real and the Savior knows what it is and why, we don't have to explain. And, thank goodness we also know that "men are that they might have joy" -- that is is also OK to be full of joy even after or woven throughout having such pain.

Mia Farrow once said something like "life is about how we handle losses", something like we will all handle loss and it's how we are through it that will define our lives. Of course there is more to life than just loss, this explanation misses the entire plan for our lives, but there's also a lot of truth in it.

I think you've done a fabulous job. Is that OK to say? It's not something you really want to celebrate, it's not something you've aspired to do, it's not even something that's really felt good even when you ARE doing it "very good". But, you're keeping it real and keeping life going on for yourself and your family. What more could you do?

Maine Mom said...

I am glad you are honest about life. Your grief and bad days need to be written as well as the good. We all go through good and bad days and it is good for all of us to experience reality with others.

Noorda Notebook said...

love to you steph! we still pray for you and
WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN!

we love your family and we will always love camille.

Maggie May said...

You are in my prayers.

Rach said...

Just hang in there, Steph. The holidays are always a little hard.

HUGS!

Erin Lafleur said...

Thank you for sharing this.. I needed to hear that. Sometimes I feel like I have to hold up a brave front for the world, afraid that someone is going to think "come on its been 9 months already" when the truth is I don't care if it has only been one day or one hundred I will always miss having my little boy with me and somedays will be harder than others and that is okay. I like to think of it as peaks and valleys... when you are on top of that moutain peak you can see into eternity and have hope, then when you are in the valley all you can see is how much it hurts right now and how much you miss then and you just struggle and exert all your effort to get back up to the peak so you can see again.

Good luck on your journey Stephanie... we'll be rooting along with you for the Mellinium when our little ones will be returned to our arms once more.

Anonymous said...

Sending lots of warm cuddles to you and your's, Stephanie.

Thanks for your card too - lovely.

Love,

Jane

Bingham Bunch said...

I lost my son on a December 7th. Every time that day rolls around I try to be determined to keep everything "normal" and not disrupt the lives of my children I'm raising. I feel like the grief hasn't kicked me in the pants like it used to but every year I get physically ill on this date....this year no exception. I'm fighting off a massive sinus infection/sore throat. My fighting spirit disappears. I think it gets hard as well with the approach of Christmas--the one day a year held sacred for sitting face to face with ALL immediate family members. I have a strong testimony and I know what I believe but I feel like I would be totally dishonest if amidst the joy I feel I didn't acknowledge the conflicted part of me that will continue to say, "THIS SUCKS."

Heidi said...

I always appreciate your honesty and I understand in a small way about the waves. I thought I was healed from my recent miscarriage... until I got pregnant again and experienced a host of unexpected emotions. But, like you said, you just work your way through them, since there's no way around them. I hope your way through them is graceful, as you said.

E and K Rausch said...

I was sent this link to your site by a good friend of mine. I am not sure if she knows you or not but I thank her. THANK YOU so much for sharing. I have just lost a child and for the most part know what you are going through and you said it BEAUTIFULLY. I was 22 1/2 weeks pregnant when I went into labor. My son Kenner was born at 5pm on November 13, 2008. We were blessed with his life for 2 hours and 10 min. we are so blessed to have had him in for that those few hours. I could never understand what it would be like to loose one after a year or 5 or 10 or even 50. I can just say I know what you are going through and thank you so much for your post. I am about to hit the 1 month mark and just don't know how I am going to do this. I struggle everyday with the loss. I know it will get easier and I know that he was only meant to be here for a short time but still the pain is there. It does not make it go away to know and understand why it happened. I again thank you
Emalee

Jolene said...

Just as the previous mom, I was 22 weeks along when I lost my Jacob -- 3 years ago on the 17th of this month. I am in a high tide again. I love the way you describe these emotions. It does get better in time with longer periods of low tides, but when it hurts it feels just as painful as the day you lost them. It is nice to share in your "real" journey of healing and to feel normal in my grieving process. It is sad that people stop asking how you are, but when they haven't experienced this kind of loss -- how can they possibly understand? You are such a blessing to me. Camille has a wonderful mother. Enjoy NYC and the yummy food. What a fantastic time to be there!

The Reed's said...

Stephanie,

I have been reading your blog for awhile now. I came across it on Lindsay Ward's page. I am going thru the griefing process right now. My husband and I lost our first child in september. He was still born at 40 weeks. I jsut waned to let you know that your blog has really helped me understand the grief process. Also I wanted to thank you for the idea of an angel tree. I told my husband and he loved the idea. So now we have one for our Clayton. Thank you again.
Jessica