Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Know... I Know...

It is 4:19 a.m. What am I doing up? Good question. I had a big long day yesterday. I worked hard. I played hard. I got no nap. I should be snoozing right? Right. But I have spent the last hour or so laying in my bed in June 2008.

I kept telling myself, "Stephanie. It is August 2010! We are two years out. Let's close that chapter and look forward." But somehow my mind wasn't listening. So finally I thought maybe coming down here and writing it out would put the past back to bed and let me go to sleep.

We went swimming last night. Jon had to work till almost 8 so I took the 4 kids by myself to our friends house. I knew this would be too much for me to watch 4 kids at a pool when two of them are not so water safe. So I came prepared. I brought a port a crib and put Noble down to sleep in the house as soon as we arrived. He was tired and it was his bedtime so this worked well. Now I just had Lauren to worry about.

I got in the pool with the kids and we had fun. I worked with Lauren on her swimming. I helped her see that she could swim all the way across the pool by herself. We did a few laps together with her turning on her back to float to breathe. She did so well and I was so proud of her being so brave and working so hard to learn this technique. Still, it was draining to keep my eyes on her 100% of the time. It is just stressful to me. She was fine the whole time. We swam for about and hour and half in all and she got so good at flipping over on her back. As she got tired toward the end she often would stay on her back and kick to get to the side.

There were no close calls. Sabrina and Annie had a blast and Jon eventually showed up to get in with them. Still, the stress is just there for me now whenever water is near. Part of me always feels I must be missing someone or there must be some danger I am not seeing.

And so when I woke up at 3 a.m. I was back again in 2008, reliving the reason for my stress. These days, the reliving is less adrenaline filled. It is more analytical?, more of a running through the events in my head, confirming that they happened? And they are often accompanied by that nauseating feeling of the reality of my loss.

Lately I have been thinking about how different the death of a child is as apposed to losing a grandparent. I haven't really experienced other losses enough to know how this compares to them. But I was thinking how different this is because losing a child changes you as a person. Some of those changes are good and some of them are pretty not so nice. :) But it changes you. It is like a different chemical is added to your make up and it completely changes who you were before is so many ways.

The other losses I have experienced, while they were very sad to me, didn't do that. I was very close with my grandmothers and I still miss them often. But it just seemed to be part of life to lose them. Maybe it was earlier than I wanted with one of them. But she was still 80 and had lived a full life. Somehow, losing a young child doesn't seem like it should be "part of life." And yet ... for me ... it is.

And so now, I guess, is this. The stress and the reliving, at 4 in the morning, the day that changed me forever as a person.

12 comments:

My Three Snakes and Snails said...

I first read your blog sometime in 2008... I was pregnant at the time, and couldn't bear to think about you then. (sorry) But now I'm going back through the older posts, and I can't help but think how strong you are/were, and what you have taught me about grieving and living all at the same time. You describe it so well... almost too well, that I feel it with you. Although I haven't lost a child, you have inspired me to be stronger, more faithful, more reliant upon the Lord. I want to be as "sure" as you are, hopefully without all the pain, but you know what I mean. Anyway, you are inspiration to all... regardless of circumstance. thank you for writing.

Sue said...

I can imagine that water will always be difficult for you when your children (or even the children of others) are around.

I applaud your courage in making sure that you aren't visiting your very understandable concerns upon your children. Sounds like they are, with your help, still managing to have a healthy relationship with water and swimming. (And so are you, despite the loss you've experienced.)

Hugs to you.

=)

Karen UK said...

I just popped onto your blog after reading Stephanie Nielsen's (I think of you as the two Stephanies!)when it dawned on me that these two women who are such an inspiration to me have opposite fears (for want of a better word)- hers is fire and yours is water! I just thought it was interesting.

s g said...

steph...this last week we spent at the beach with my family, we got some time with Darren...we missed the twins and Nikki, but saw Elizabeth and kids too-- so fun to see your great family.

our last day at the beach, we headed to corona del mar which was PACKED and toward the end of the day, my 3 year old Charlotte wondered off and was lost for about 7 minutes...I have never felt more sick in my life, imagining her in the water and I couldn't stop thinking about you and your situation. I know it was not even a twinge compared to your situation, but my sympathy/empathy for you increased tenfold.

some ladies followed Char as she ran down the beach looking for us, and fortunately it all turned out ok, but I will never forget that empty, heart-sinking feeling. It was near impossible to watch my 6 year old jump in the waves with the cousins, my 1 year old crawling everywhere, and Char...amongst 18 grandchildren on a crowded beach.

Thinking of you :)

All American Family said...

Thinking of you and sending much love to your entire family.

Kate said...

I just wish I could give you a big hug right now, I'm so sorry you had such a hard night.

Anonymous said...

Like "s g" Stephanie, I have never experienced the depths of grief, but my Charlotte went missing for an hour when we were camping by a river a couple of years ago. An hour. It was the most terrifying hour of my life as I searched through the reeds, and screamed out her name. Roadblocks were set up by two police officers who were camping nearby, and cars and boats were searched. I will never forget the fear gripping my heart. A lady found her hiding under a caravan...she had an argument with a friend and had hidden herself away, and then got too frightened to come out when she could hear search parties calling for her. It all ended well, but the fear... I understand the fear.

Love always,

Jane

Anonymous said...

I hear you. I think that losing a child is one - if not the most - sobering experiences of a woman's life. My son died a few months ago, and I am different now too. I have more respect for the life cycle and am less funny. I am also better able to relate to those who've experienced a spectrum of losses without shying away from them, and not leaving people alienated in their hurt is what we're meant to do, right? Sometimes I feel like we have earned mortal Superwoman status; we still lead good lives despite the haunting trauma, the unpredictable waves of grief, and absence of our babies. It's not natural or fair at all for your child to go before you and for the world to not be bettered by their presence. Someday I would love the perfectly satisfying explanation for why we were chosen to bear this particular burden, but until then - may the holes in our hearts be an advantage.

Cassi said...

I am so sorry. I do the same thing with cars....things we can't avoid. Sometimes I wish I could live in Nepal or somewhere where there are no cars and just walk and ride donkeys ;). that might be a little easier...

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~THE JENSEN FAMILY~ said...

AS WE HAVE SUFFERED THE LOSS OF A CHILD IN OUR FAMILY..

NO PARENT SHOULD EVER HAVE TO BURY THEIR CHILD... BECAME THE MOTTO

AND WHILE ALWAYS HARD, YOU WILL FIND YOUR OWN PATH TO ACCEPTANCE

Karol said...

I just found your blog. My sweet baby girl also drowned, exactly one year ago, on Labor Day. The reliving never seems to stop.