Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Other Side of Grief

Dearest Lily,

As usual it is late at night, and you are sleeping soundly across the room from me, in your co-sleeper. Daddy is sleeping as well, and here I am, tapping away at the computer.


Photobucket

I've always been a night owl, and some habits are just hard to break. I do my best thinking at night, and my best praying too.

Tonight I'm praying...as always... for Olga and Kareen. I'm praying their families claim them soon, and hoping things move quickly, so that they can be rescued before they are transferred to the institution. I'm praying for God's protection on their little lives. Two little girls, half a world away, who we've never even met...and yet our hearts are so burdened for them.

I had a dream last night about Olga. And I really don't think it was anything spiritual... I think it just comes from having her on my mind so much. In my dream she was a teenager..she had beautiful almond eyes, just like yours, and she was wearing a jacket and a beret- the kind your sister Mackenzie wears. She was smiling, and safe, and I was so relieved in my dream, just seeing her that way.

When I woke up, I reached over and pulled you close to me, and kissed your cheek and thanked God that you are safe and happy and here and mine.

Photobucket


I was thinking a lot today about grief. About the emotions that I felt after having you, knowing that your life was going to be very different than what I had imagined.

I read this quote tonight, from C.S. Lewis, in his book A Grief Observed.


"Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief."


I have had several letters from mamas recently, who are still wading through those emotions, and trying to find their way to "the other side of grief".

And really, Lily- we're not so very far on this side ourselves. There is still so much I have to learn about what this "syndrome" means. But I do feel such an absence of those weighty and difficult emotions that were there just a few short months ago. And I really think so much of that has to do with Olga and Kareen. Because it was just when I was becoming aware of the plight of orphans with Down syndrome in other countries, that I think I turned a corner in my journey to the other side..

Photobucket

I can't explain what happened- because it isn't anything I did. It wasn't a conscious decision I made, no carefully planned mental gymnastics to bring myself to a place of peace. It just..happened.

And I am quite sure (as I told one of these sweet and honest mamas just the other day) that there are Ds buses, as I have called them, waiting around some corners for me in the future.

Photobucket

I read on one mommy's blog today, how sad she was that her beautiful boy (who shares your designer genes) was having a hard time articulating what was in his head. He tried and tried, but the words just weren't there for him, and his mama cried at his frustration and cried at her inability to understand him.

So I'm sure those days are waiting for us too, Lily.

But we'll get through.

Just like that mama and her boy are. Because as she tucked him into bed last night, stroking his cheek and choking back tears, she told him how very much she loved him, and she talked to him about how they were going to keep trying, together.

And I thought, as I read those mama's words today, that in so many ways my letters to you are just like that mama, talking to her son...we'll get through this together, Lily.

Photobucket

And I know we might share some pain-filled moments like those in the future.

But painful moments and hurts and disappointments in life are not unique to Down syndrome, are they Lily? There are tears and heartaches around the corners of life for any of my children... just as there are joys and laughter, and moments of happiness so full, we can't contain it.


Photobucket
So as I end this letter to you, my beautiful Lily, I just want you to know how very much I love you....and how very thankful I am to be here on the other side with you.

Because it just gets better from here.

Love always,

18 comments:

nicole said...

Love, love, love the picture of Lily sucking her thumb while sleeping! I'll say it again, God cannot be outdone in generosity. You poured unconditional love upon Olga & Kareen and He poured healing balm on your heart. I haven't walked in your shoes, but I so enjoy following you in this journey of love. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Rachel said...

Thank you for helping us to remember Olga and Kareen in the new year! When we took the tree down last week, my girls didn't want to put Olga's ornament in the box, they wanted to keep it out til she found her family, so we wouldn't forget to pray for her:)

It is healing to be reminded how lucky we are to have our littles home with us...part of a family...and thriving...puts it all into perspective and makes those little Ds struggles seem like nothing compared to those two little girls so far away with nothing.

Katy said...

You are wonderful. And she is STANDING! That's amazing, Patti! What a fabulous little beauty God has given you. :-) She always makes me smile. I know you're probably getting tired of hearing me talk about "Choosing to SEE", but I read this quote in there and loved it (Obviously, it means something a little different to them, but still applicable): "When you realize the dreams you've had/For your child won't come true/Jesus will meet you there" (It's from a song called "Jesus Will Meet You There" by SCC) Love you!

fckopp said...

My goodnes gracious, our Lily is standing. She looks like she is concentrating so hard telling which muscles to be strong. No proud smile just concentration.

I just know Lily Anne will far outreach our expectations. She can't help it because she is loved so much. Lily is a lesson in life and love, and PATIENCE, patience with Lily, with God and with yourself.

Love ya my baby, Mom

cathy said...

beautiful, honest soul stretching words
the bus is always around the corner for me, too,just a different bus company

the pictures are spectacular

bless you
xoxo
cathy

Ashley said...

Beautiful words, Patti! It's such a big relief once you reach that "other side of grief". I love the pictures of Lily....she is so precious <3 love you all!

Anonymous said...

Tears, tears, tears Patti. Love this post. I love your heart. I know how blessd you are to have Lily, and I must say that Lily is so blessed to have you as her mommy. And I love all of the pictures. Lily is standing!!!! Love, Cara

Mackenzie Rice said...

omg lils. i MISS YOU!!!!!!!

Katrina said...

Hi Patty,

I just wanted to make sure you received the email I sent you about 4 days ago and that it didn't go to your Spam folder because you haven't received emails from me before. I know you are very busy and you don't have to respond to it but I did want to make sure you received it.

Lily is so adorable and I am so excited the she has blessed your life.

Katrina
homeschoolingmysons@gmail.com

Becca said...

Love, love, love this.

Patti said...

Just checked, Katrina, I did miss it! Thank you, and I emailed you back:)

ParkerMama said...

What a beautiful story and a beautiful family. You are truly blessed.

Tammy and Parker
www.prayingforparker.com

babypelly said...

I am nervous about our DS busses, too. Having all these beautiful blogs to read helps me remember that our little family is not the first to do this and for that I am so grateful! Love reading your entries! :)

Anonymous said...

I had to come back just to see Lily standing again! Love it. Cara

Scott said...

If only I can see our little Reagan standing at one year old...

I don't know what it is like to be the mother of a Down Syndrome baby...

I don't know what it is like to have a Down Syndrome child...

I do know what it is like to be "Papa" to one...

I do know what it is like to have been there for the labor and the birth that has at the end a Down Syndrome baby... and all that has to be faced and lived with and can not be hidden away...

and for all my years I do know grief...

and I know the heart wrenching grief of living in a world that throws away the unwanted... because I can no longer just close my eyes and pretend it doesn't exist...

and I pray for you Patti, and I pray for Olga and Kareen and many others...

and Olga's ornament now "decorates" our refridgerator until she is safe in a loving home...

and I have no magic words that suddenly and simply make everthing OK...

but I do listen, and I do know what our Lord says, and I know His promises...

and I know how important prayer is...

Scott said...

And what I was originally going to post, but it just didn't fit in with what flowed from my fingertips, was have you seen "Shadowlands"? It is a very good movie about C. S. Lewis and Joy and fits right in with reading "A Grief Observed". If you can't find a copy I could send you one. And I can now be e-mailed through my profile.

pballard said...

I dont know how I came across your blog but am so very blessed that I did. Olga weighs heavy on my heart. Along with the others. You inspire me with your passion and love in your heart.. I continue to pray for these children and forward your blog to many. Thanks Pam

Penny @ www.pennyspeeps.blogspot.com said...

as usual, i LOVE this post! and lily is getting so big! she is so blessed to have you as her momma! love and hugs!