Saturday, March 22, 2014

one year

I've been counting down to this for a while now.
Knowing it was coming.
The anniversary since my friend passed.
My heart hurts writing this.
Like I can't breathe deeply.
I know what I feel is nothing,
nothing compared to what her family feels.
I hope time has eased their pain a little.
Or makes it easier to bare.
I have no idea how they must feel.
I haven't lost anyone that close to me.
They lost their wife,
their daughter,
their sister,
their mother.
I don't know where to start...
 
Over the weekend we took our boys to Sea World.
Its spring break here.
We've all been sick with various things.
It hasn't been pretty.
I'll spare you the details.
In sum one word can tell you all you need to know.
UGLY.
But we had this trip planned and paid for so we went.
Thankfully I was the worst for wear during this trip.
The first day as we entered the park
I thought I saw my friend.
I think I've told you before that sometimes
I catch a glimpse of a tall, thin blonde
and I see her face for a second.
I don't know why.
I'm telling myself its her angel.
Like its a sign from her reminding me
to just enjoy each and every minute
I am here on this earth with my littles.
Like on the days when I feel sick
but they are raring to go.
Like this weekend at an amusement park they've never been to.
Just enjoy them enjoying life.
That thought plays on a constant loop in my head now.
Especially since my friend passed away.
 
A year ago
 when I got the call
from our mutual friend telling me
that she was gone
I stayed in shock for a while.
I couldn't digest it.
I kept asking my husband if I was dreaming.
If it was all real.
I was so full of questions.
Mainly it was what happened.
How could she, younger than me, be gone?
I guess in some way
my questioning inside
was my mind racing to figure out
how I could stop this same kind of thing
from happening to my family.
That sounds weird writing it
but maybe you know what I'm trying to say.
I just couldn't make it make sense.
A day or two later I got a call from a person.
Someone I don't really know at all
but we had come together
to think of ways
to support the family
in any way we could.
We had chatted on the phone
a few times to get things together
to take to the family.
But this time
this person
called to ask me
if I knew how she died.
No, I told her.
She went on to say there were rumors online.
On facebook.
She was asking me to confirm,
to tell her what I knew.
I knew nothing.
To say my blood pressure spiked
would have been a major understatement.
It took every bit of restraint I had
not to explode at her.
Hold it together Nancy.
Better to say nothing than regret what you say.
I was silent for a solid minute,
my mind racing.
I remember telling her I was so mad,
not at her personally,
I was just mad
because I didn't care how she died,
only that she was gone
and that "how" was not our concern.
I was angrier than any words I could write
that people were choosing to gossip about it,
she wasn't even buried.
Looking back I think they too were just looking
for answers to explain the unexplainable.
Just trying to make it all make sense.

A day later I got another call.
From my dear sweet friend,
the one who called me with the news.
She said she'd gotten a strange phone call
{its was the same girl who called me}
and she didn't understand what they meant.
I asked her if she was alone.
 I'll be at your house in three minutes I told her.
I contemplated what to say to her
in those brief moments.
I had asked my husband after my own strange phone call
if I should bring it up with this dear friend.
It felt like gossip.
And in the end it wouldn't change anything.
It wouldn't bring her back.
He'd told me to just keep it to myself.
This sweet peep had just had a baby.
She had a full plate.
So I stayed mum.
Or so I intended.
Not say anything to anyone.
Then I got to her house.
I asked her to tell me about the call she too had received.
My heart raced.
For some words you can't take back or forget.
I said I'm sorry to tell you this.
But in a way I think you should know.
They are saying
it was postpartum depression.
For she too had just had a baby.
She took her own life.
That's what the caller said.
We just sat there together.
Aching and crying.


I share this here
because I didn't want to share it.
I didn't want it to be true.
Once I found out that it was true
it felt like gossip to repeat it.
But the more I've thought about it
over this past year
the more I have come to believe
that it is something
we NEED to talk about.
I suffered from postpartum depression
after each of my pregnancies.
After the twins especially.
Only after the fact could I admit it.
I didn't really know "what" it was,
how I felt after their birth,
but it was a bad place.
During that time I just felt like a failure.
And to have admitted feeling horrible after
having been given the one {or in my case two} thing{s}
that we had dreamt about and given everything we had
in order to realize that dream,
well, I didn't want to say it out loud.
I didn't want to say that I needed help.
Professional help.
Post partum is real.
I say this and share this
in case you know a new mom or you are one,
whether its your first baby or your tenth,
be good to yourself,
be easy on yourself,
don't be afraid to ask for help of any kind,
share your feelings with someone,
anyone,
the first person that pops into your head,
call that person,
tell that person,
share how you are, what you need.
After having a baby your body is healing
but so is your mind.
Hormones should not be underestimated.
They are not who you are but they affect how you feel.
So many things shift when you have a baby.
We all need help sometimes to find our way again.
Don't be afraid to share what you're feeling,
good and bad,
happy and sad.
There's someone in your life
that wants to be that person you confide in.
I promise you that.

By the same token
reach out to your sisters, your daughters,
your girlfriends who are new moms.
Ask they how they feel,
what they need.
Sometimes you just have to be a pushy broad
who insists on helping out :)
Don't be afraid to be that broad!
If you sense something isn't quite right
don't be afraid just to be brutally honest and ask
 or tell their husband to pay closer attention.
Maybe just share your own postpartum experiences.
Share what you felt to try to open a conversation.
Look, I'm no expert.
I'm just writing what I regret I didn't do.

Her funeral was the next day.
It was a beautiful ceremony.
As beautiful as she was.
I have to tell you that the pastor that officiated it
handled it in the most gracious and loving way.
I listened in awe, his words so divine.
He said to remember her as she was,
for how she mothered,
how lived her life.
Do not remember her for how she died.
That was just a brief instant.
It wasn't how she died that mattered.
It was how she lived that did.

I'm thankful to have known her.
She inspired me in ways she'll never know.
Like how she volunteered for our church's
vacation bible school as a teacher.
She wasn't even a member of our church
or attend services there.
She just knew there was a need.
I was always in awe of how she mothered.
I remember her carrying
two of her kids
into preschool.
One on each hip.
Book bags and lunch boxes in each hand.
It was a big load to carry.
I asked her one morning.
Why she didn't use a stroller?
She said -
"because they like to be carried
and I know one day
they'll be too big for that."
I'll never forget that.
What a lesson.
What a blessing she was.
Heaven has a special angel.
I still see her and I hope I always do.
To remind me of the lessons she taught without trying.
I know there are special angels among us.
She is definitely one of them.



 
 
 


4 comments :

  1. Nancy,
    What a moving post. First, I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet friend. Losing someone close to you is never easy, regardless of the circumstances. Thank you for sharing your experience with others. I know God will use it to help others-either new young moms experiencing the same thing or those who are close to them. I think we all need to do a better job of sharing our true feelings with one another. Someone is generally going through the same thing you are, or has been there and can share their experience as well. Knowing we are not along in our struggles is what is truly important, and God commands us to love and support one another. May God bless you my friend!

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    1. Thanks for your sweet note. {{hugs}} :)

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  2. Nancy,
    What a touching post. I am so sorry for your loss. I completely get post partum depression. I thankfully did not suffer from it but my sister did. Everyone in my family saw it and no one knew what to do. My sister said many hurtful things to me, things that would have driven me away if I didn't know what she was suffering from. Luckily my sister knew something wasn't right and went to her doctor on her own. She would not have gone had we suggested it.

    I love how you you see your friend here and there. I like to believe that they never really leave us. I lost my aunt a few years ago. She was like a second mom to me. I feel her with me sometimes, talk to her and I still have her phone number saved in my phone-is that kind of weird? I just cannot bring myself to delete it. The other day someone posted on FB something about cardinals being a sign of our departed loved ones. To be honest, when I read that I didn't believe it. A few days later I was in my car stopped at a red light, thinking of my aunt. I was wondering if she was with my uncle and was she okay. I looked at the side of the road and a cardinal flew in front of my car and landed next to another cardinal in a bush! I was stuck, staring at these birds. Cars behind me blew there horns, the birds few away and I took off. I said "Okay, Aunt Herta! You are okay with Uncle Larry." I believe in angels and now in cardinals too.

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    1. Hi Tery! Thanks for sharing that story! And its not weird at all to still have her phone number. I've often thought of emailing or texting my friend even though I know she's gone. I still think she knows you know? I sometimes see cardinals in our back yard and I will now think of you and your Aunt Herta when I do :) {{hugs}}

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