Sunday, May 16, 2010

Grief

I am grieving today for the Carpenter family, who lost their beloved little girl on Friday. Gwen had been born in March with a heart condition. It was always known that she might not survive, but she surprised everyone by not only making it to and through birth, but thriving after heart surgery and in the two months that followed. Her death was unexpected. I grieve for their family. Thoughts of them have pervaded my head for three days now, and I wish I knew how to help them. I can't, of course. That's the thing about loss and grief. You can't take the pain of it away from others, no matter how much you want to.

Their loss has made me think again of Madison, the little girl we lost in 2005. She was born at 21 weeks, too premature to survive. She lived for three hours and passed on. The Carpenters' experience is not the same, of course - they had their little girl at home with them. They interacted with her, were able to show her love, dreamed of her growing bigger. I never had Maddie at home with me. In some ways, her whole birth and life still seems surreal to me - I was pregnant, and then I wasn't. I held a tiny baby, and then she was gone. When I got home from the hospital, life kind of went on as it always had. I had no memories of a living baby in the house. I know in some ways that made it easier to deal with. At least I comforted myself that way - saying at least she hadn't been at home with us, at least I hadn't gotten used to a daily schedule with her, hadn't gotten to know her...

What I remember most about the initial grief was how stunned and shocked I felt that life just went on. That my neighbors and friends and family continued with their day-to-day lives, that there were people shopping at Walmart and going to church and playing with their kids. How could this be when we had lost a life? Of course that was incredibly self-centered, but it really did pierce me, how "normal life" could keep going on around you even when it felt like your world had fallen apart. I also remember being shocked and stunned when I realized *my* life was going on... when I started to find myself laughing again, taking pleasure in small things again, shopping at Walmart, going to church, playing with Jefferson. It felt like a betrayal of Madison. I felt guilty. But a little voice would whisper to me (and I chose to believe it was her voice) that it was O.K.; she wanted me to be happy, to not wallow in grief, to not stop my life because she hadn't had hers. I really felt she was with me, that she knew I loved her, and that she wanted me to be happy, our family to be happy.

I hope eventually the Carpenters hear that little voice, too. May their friends and family and little girl Lillian and their love for each other help Laura and Myers through this incredibly incredibly sad time. And may Gwen bless them from above.

1 comment:

  1. :) Thanks :) I hope Laura gets a chance to read this.

    ReplyDelete