Saturday, September 15, 2007

Free from Pain

I just noticed that the previous post was written on Christopher's birth date. Our first son was born August 29, 2002 but the anniversary went unacknowledged. Some parents choose to shroud themselves in pain years after their little ones are gone, but not me.

After our babies died, I asked God to take away the pain ... I didn't just want to "function" my way through life while a secret pain stunted my spiritual and emotional growth. I wanted to be free - free to laugh, live, love and hope for a better tomorrow. I wanted to hope for a future with children. I didn't want to be the sad lady who sucked joy from every new or pregnant mom, every holiday, and every happy occasion. I was tired of pain.

To break free, I did the hard work that grieving requires. I've had a lot of practice. After our 10 day old son, Christopher, died in the NICU; I joined the joy sucker club. I was a loyal member for a long time. I turned from my husband and had no desire to seek employment or make friends (we were new to the area when our son died). My only focus was getting pregnant.

I didn't try to work through the grief process because I thought having another baby would heal my grief. I was wrong. When our second son, Kasimir, died in the NICU I tried to distract myself (which was only a temporary fix). I found a demanding job, joined a church and became active in every ministry they offered. My lips smiled, but my soul ached. The unresolved grief began to chew at my insides making me bitter toward all my "friends" who were oblivious to the pain hidden in my heart. How could they not know the turmoil I endured every moment of every day?

Despite the pain, I did grow in my faith. During my third pregnancy, we relocated to another state. I had high hopes and my faith was in tact. A routine doctor's appointment dashed those hopes and almost took my faith along with it (I will be forever grateful for the prayers that poured in on our behalf!!). Our daughter, Elyana, was born still and in that excruciating silence I purposed to break free from the pain!

I asked God to heal me of the grief and I did a Bible study (using a concordance) to see how others handled grief. I was most moved by Jesus' grief. His dear friend Lazarus had died ... he cried and went off into the wilderness to grieve in peace, but thousands of people followed him begging for healing. Through his example, Jesus provided the key to my own healing! Jesus had compassion on the crowd and healed thousands upon thousands of people. So I decided to help others, too. I mean, I really poured myself into it. I set out to help hurting parents by creating a book written by bereaved parents for bereaved parents. It was to be sold to hospitals so they could give it to parents after their babies died. After Stolen Angels: 25 Stories of Hope after Pregnancy or Infant Loss was born, I became a grief counselor and support group leader. I also started this blog.

I began to journal through my pain and I believe the combination of prayer, service to others and writing about my pain helped permanently heal my broken heart. You see, the joy of the Lord is my strength. In Philippians 4:8 God instructs us, "...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Don't get me wrong, I'm still human and there are unexpected moments when I feel a knot ball up in my throat. I allow myself to feel the pain and reflect on it, but I also allow the moment to pass. Note that I said, these are moments, not days, weeks or years!

Grief is healthy, but left unchecked it will sour all things good in your life. Choose to release the things that can't be changed and hold fast to a hope for a brighter tomorrow! It takes a while to grow to this point, but with patience, perseverance, purpose and God, all things are possible!


Anonymous said...

I wanted to ask you to come to the meeting tonight at BACH. It would mean a lot to me to see you again.

Sharee said...

I most certainly will come to the meeting ...hugs!