To Elim, On Your Estimated Due Date

Dear Elim,

I thought I would write to you on this, your estimated due date, to say a few things that have been on my heart. Had we not lived in this fallen world, you would be in my arms by now or I would be just itching to have you the heck out of me so we could cuddle and do all that newborn-mommy stuff. But alas, that was not how it was to be.

I want you to know first of all that I love you. And I always will. Even though I barely knew you, I know God made you and I will cherish our short time together before you went to heaven to be with Jesus. A lot of other people loved you and mourned your short life too.

I miss you. I miss what could have been. But, I am so happy you are in heaven now. That you are safe and protected and loved. One day, I’ll actually get to meet you and that will be awesome.

You are a gift. You are an answer to prayers and longings. And you were used by God to teach me big lessons about redemption, real love and how to celebrate well and suffer well.

Because of you, I appreciate new lives more. I appreciate the miracle that it is to see a pregnancy progress and babies be born and children who grow. I want to celebrate new lives instead of hiding them with secrets and fear. I will be honest and say, I also know how fragile life can be and it scares me a little and that is okay. I empathize better with other Moms and Dads who have to miss their kids until they see them again for all kinds of reasons.

Because of you, your Dad and I got to learn to lean on God and each other a whole lot more. We got to grow up more (which I’m sure sounds crazy because we are theoretically grown ups, but even grown ups have more growing to do).  We got to see God do amazing things with what seemed like a terrible situation.  That is what He does, but I suppose you had that figured out already.

I been counting down to this day for many months. Not because of some sick fascination or because I wanted to feel sad or bad. Just out of instinct. I like numbers and it is simple math to know where I would have been with you at any given point. Plus, today’s date has been etched in my mind. And to be honest, I wanted to remember when you would have hypothetically come into this world. Just like I will remember when I knew you went out. Because I care. These are important moments, even though others may not see them as such.

You will have brothers or sisters, maybe both someday. I will be grateful for each of them and know them as individuals. I pray every day that they get the chance to grow up and that it will hopefully be a long time before you meet them (no offense). I also pray that they will all one day meet you in heaven. Know that in my heart you will always have a special place and when they are ready and old enough to understand, I will tell them about you.

You count in my kid count in my heart. So, happy “birthday.”

Love you always and forever,

Mom

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G1P0A1

G1P0A1.

This was one of those weeks where you just can’t help but remember.

I went to visit my family doctor for the first time since we lost Elim today for some general prescription refills.  She did the right thing and asked how I was doing since the loss, if we were trying again and then reminded me that at least I know I can get pregnant.

I know.

She sent me off saying that she hoped she saw me again soon with good news.

Me too.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t exist in perpetual fear of another loss. Some days I wonder about losses that I don’t know about.

But, in that appointment, with our conversation, I realized that watching someone type those letters and numbers was bizarre.

G1P0A1.

In medicine, we have what I liken to a secret code when it comes to describing women and pregnancy. G means gravida. Number of pregnancies. P means para. Number of babies born after 20 weeks. A means aborta. Number of babies delivered before 20 weeks. Some expand it to GTPAL with G being number of pregnancies, T term deliveries, P preterm delivieries, A induced abortions or miscarriages and L live children.

When I learned this system, I found it awful. I found it really tough to keep straight and was forever getting my Gs and Ps mixed up. Plus, it bothered me that A was for both induced abortion and spontaneous abortion. People often specified, but both caused pain and one can have repercussions on future pregnancies if recurrent.

The system bothered me because you could look at those numbers and see joy or pain or fear. At least I could. My heart broke for people who had more Gs than Ps. I hated to ask about losses because I didn’t want to bring up that pain. For me, there was always something devastating about pregnancy loss. It was always something I worried about.

On the other side of the desk, knowing what it means, it still sucks. I think my fear of bringing it up with women was a bit excessive. I was uncomfortable then because it bothered me, not them. I mean, it is a fact of life and it kills me more when people ignore the fact that I had that loss than when they ask about it. I guess I needed to see that for myself.

I was grateful that she cared enough to ask how things were and where we were at.

Still. Seeing it on a screen was weird. Especially when I have thought it before. And knowing that really, months before Elim, there could be another G and A that I suspected, but never confirmed because it all happened so fast. It could be G2P0A2. But, I won’t know in this lifetime. And I think I’m okay with that because I never really knew for sure.

G1P0A1.

What if those numbers never change? What if the Gs change but the Ps never do? What if I match my Gs for Ps from here on out?

I can’t predict the future. I wish I could sometimes, but I can’t.

The things I do know are that I am healthy, that God is good and that there is so much to this life that I don’t understand. I know how much good has come out of our journey so far. That I have grown in leaps and bounds in my faith. That we have been tested as a couple and as individuals and keep coming out the other side. The experience has helped me to love other people in ways that I might not have otherwise had the opportunity to do.

I don’t talk about it a whole lot. I has become easier, but I miss my little A1 every day. Maybe I’ll tell you more about that one day.

It freaked me out to see the letters and numbers on the screen. Sometimes the letters and numbers in your head seem not so real until you realize someone else acknowledges the reality of the situation. In another sense, it made me feel better because it is only one, it is real and it is normal.
God is good. His timing is perfect. I am trying to hope in Him and not my future children (or job or spouse).

Letters and numbers don’t make me whole. They don’t save me from myself. They are just statistics. There are bigger things.

The Blessing and Learning Curve of Gaining and Losing Elim (“ball of cells”)

Image from tochristifrommommy.blogspot.com.

Less than two weeks ago, I found out I was finally pregnant… I called the baby “ball of cells.”  That was my term of endearment.

My medical training made me cautious.  I know that pregnancy does not equal baby.  I know that life is fragile.  I took 3 tests to confirm before I even told Patrick because I wanted to be sure.

It didn’t change our excitement and happiness.  Talking about the future.  Planning for when to tell people. How to make work function.  What we would have to change or do.  Rejoicing.

I knew the longest besides God, of course.  I remember that first Sunday in church when it was still just our little secret thanking God for the new creation growing inside of me and wanting to tell the world and yet wanting to keep it to myself because if others knew, somehow something would go wrong.  The only other person who found out before stuff started going wrong was Patrick and I told him on Sunday night (with what I believe was a very adorable and entertaining card).

Then, we had to say goodbye to “ball of cells.”

I knew something was wrong mid-week.  I re-took a test.  The line got lighter and although this isn’t a perfect system, it wasn’t a good sign.  I told Patrick.

Usually I am the high-baseline, optimistic person.  This time it was him.  He refused to believe anything bad happened to “ball of cells.”  I didn’t want to go to the doctor.  I didn’t want to hear what I already knew inside.  Finally, I went to the doctor who instilled a bit of hope in me instead of flat out dashing our dreams.   I wanted hope.  Cautious hope, but hope nonetheless.

I went for bloodwork.  It was either going to confirm what I thought I knew or make everything better.  I hoped it would make things better.  I needed it to make things better.

Nothing is more bizarre than being congratulated on your pregnancy, being asked about your due date, where you plan to deliver and all that good stuff while sitting there with that gut feeling that your baby is dead.

I didn’t have the heart to tell them.  I didn’t want anyone to feel what I was feeling.

Also bizarre is walking around all weekend not knowing and yet knowing.  It feels surreal.  I have lovely best friends (three of them) who checked in incessantly.  I have a husband who bought me beautiful flowers, cooked me food and was all around over protective.  I don’t know what I would do without them.  I was just glad I wasn’t on call.

Sunday, we watched the Canadian men win the gold in hockey (WHOO!).  Happily, we went to church still not knowing whether we would be parents of a living baby in 8 months.  I was still having some morning sickness and weird headaches, but the acne was clearing up, the cramping was worse and I kind of felt empty.

I prayed for God’s will in my baby’s life and in our lives.  I prayed for strength.  I prayed that we would glorify him in whatever was to come.

We left church on our way to have lunch and board games with friends at our place and there was a voicemail on my phone.  It was my new doctor.  In summary:  My bloodwork was perfect except that my HCG was less than 5.

There would be no baby.

So much for that hope.

It is funny.  I have always thought pregnancy loss was a big deal.  I remember learning about it in med school and thinking how awful it was.  I remember when the first couple I knew miscarried shortly after telling everyone about their pregnancy.  I remember thinking that I didn’t know how they coped with it.

At the same time, I have always been kind of flippant about it, particularly when it comes to me and when it comes to early pregnancy.  I mean, an embryo is an organized ball of cells and odds are there is some sort of genetic flaw that is incompatible with life.  It just makes good scientific sense to clean up mistakes.

I thought calling “ball of cells” just that would make it more clear to me that it may not make it.  I thought explaining to my friends that I was waiting to make sure things were growing or dying appropriately made it all sound more clinical.

But really, there is nothing to be flippant about.

Sure, life goes on.  I know that.  It doesn’t change the hurt of the life that won’t.  Especially because I was one of the only people who really knew it.  And I didn’t even know it that well.  We only got to hang out for about 3 weeks total.  And 2 of them, I didn’t even know it was there.  And it died at some point in the last one.

I feel in some ways like I should care less.  This is technically still a chemical pregnancy (miscarriage before 6 weeks).  It felt different from what I thought might have been my last ?chemical where there was a squinter maybe positive (but in reality probably an evaporation line) and then definite negatives.  It was sad and disappointing, but really not the same as actually existing pregnant for several days when you know something is happening.  It is the difference between thinking maybe and knowing for sure.

It was literally just a ball of cells that wasn’t able to survive.  “It was God’s will” after all.  It was, I guess.  Still sucks though.  Maybe somehow they did have some sort of potential.

I am, in part, glad it happened so early.  Maybe I am less attached than I would have been if I was further along.  People have told me I should be less attached, at least.  That kind of makes me scared for this happening again later in pregnancy.  I have the utmost sympathy for women who loose babies who are more developed and for those who lose children.  At the same time, I am jealous because I was robbed of the experience of even seeing the little sucker on an ultrasound screen.

Sure, I will have more kids.  Sure, I am young.  I know most women go on to have no issues with future pregnancies and get pregnant shortly after something like this.  The statistics are on my side.  I also know I was in the wrong end of the 50% of women who have bleeding in early pregnancy.  Something has to go right.

It is a funny experience telling people you miscarried when they didn’t even know you were pregnant.  Not that we’re telling many people.  It makes them super uncomfortable.  It makes me uncomfortable too (and I often love embracing the awkward).  But, because nobody talks about, I kind of want to.  I know statistically, I am far from the only one to experience this.    I know because, like the big nerd I am, I have read everything I can on the subject.

Because “ball of cells” was so little, I have had a lot of anxiety around whether or not I would see him or her in heaven. Seems silly, right?  I mean, if you believe life begins at conception, of course “ball of cells” was alive and then died.  But, my scientific mind picturing a little cell collection had a hard time picturing my ball of cells chilling with Jesus and my Grandfather.  But, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)  Pretty cool, huh.  “Ball of cells” was a pretty little child, so I suppose he or she counts.

As a result of this, I then got thinking that we should give “ball of cells” a proper name because I am sure they don’t want to be known as “ball of cells” for all eternity.  That being said, the snarky and cold side of me didn’t want to name it because, well, that would make it more real and felt as if I was making much out of little.  Also, I could have other dead balls of cells that I don’t know of (most people probably do), so what about them (I don’t know how to answer this question)?  And, I didn’t want people to judge me (I, in the past would have).  Patrick liked the sounds of naming him or her too, so we went with it.

We named him or her Elim because I have been reading Exodus recently and about how God provided water for the Israelites in the wilderness.  Plus, it is a gender neutral name.

I’d love to say I am all better now, but to be blunt, I’m not.

I’m better in the sense that my body is no longer rejecting the remains of my child.  I’m better in the sense that I know for sure now that Elim died and is in heaven now (while his or her biochemical bits are somewhere in the sewers).

Grief is a funny thing.  And this grief is of a variety that I haven’t experienced before.  Even though I am okay with death, this doesn’t feel okay.  And that is okay too.

I’m sad.  I’m still a bit angry.  But, I feel a whole lot of peace and a whole lot of joy, which is a big testament to answered prayers and the awesomeness of God.

I know, you probably read joy and now think I am taking some sort of pills.  I’m not.

This isn’t smiling, frolicking joy.

So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. –John 16:22

It is more the I’m happy I’m okay, Patrick is okay and Elim is okay.  I’m happy Jesus came and that I’ll get to see my baby again, even though I don’t get the logistics because he or she was just a ball of cells.  I’m happy because I feel protected and loved despite the crap that has gone down.

The really cool thing is that I get something more now.  I have just a little bit of a better understanding of how much God must love us.

Sure, I’m still ticked He didn’t fix Elim and I’m not still barfy and headachey and pregnant (okay, confession… I was pretty excited when I was feeling physically well today).

The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.  -Job 1:21

But, if I can love a little ball of unborn cells that I barely know that much…  So much that I am mourning their death… That is pretty huge.

If God loves me more than that, then I can’t even begin to imagine how sad he feels when we draw away from Him, when He loses one of us.

So yes.  This sucks.  I am not alone in this.  Neither are you.  But, I am growing and learning in my relationship with God and as a physician and human from this experience in ways I definitely didn’t expect.  Funny how gifts come in bizarre packages sometimes.

Image from spiritualinspiration.tumblr.com.

Heartbreaking loss

One of my seemingly large number of people in my age bracket with cancer that I knew through the medical school world died this weekend.

He was the boyfriend (basically, spouse) of one of my closer classmates.   And he was a Dad.  And a friend of many.

They were two of the lovelies we saw Coldplay with in Europe.  He was the one that I had a running joke with for a year that I clearly didn’t like him because I (in my old lady ways) would always be leaving a party when he would get there after work.  He sometimes brought us food, coffee (or alcohol, depending on the indication) and laughs.

They are back in the place I went to med school.  I can’t go to the funeral.  I can’t give her a hug.

His cancer was one of the ones I, as an oncology person, would say is a good one to have.  One that has a high rate of cure.  Unfortunately, someone has to be in the subset that doesn’t do well.

I just wish it wasn’t him.

And then, I go to medical oncology clinic.  I give good news and I give bad news, mostly to people twice his age.  I quote statistics and review treatments.  But, they are just numbers, just data.

And all I can think about is him.  And her.  And the soul crushing loss that must be losing your life partner.  And at such a young age.

I see people posting heartfelt statuses, blog posts and such about how great he was, how sad they are.  But, nothing can compare to what she feels.   At least, that is what I imagine.  I can’t really know.  Nobody except she and God can.

I don’t even have words.

I can’t even imagine.  I can’t do the sentiment justice.

My heart is broken.

All I can do is pray.

Disappointing Scores (overachieving and underachieving simultaneously)

Over a month ago now, I finished our junior physics course with a giant, awful feeling exam.

You see, in our program, junior physics is for the first and second year residents.  At the end of the course each year, there is an exam.  The pass mark is obscenely high relative to normal standard 65 or 60% and is 70%.  We are told and treated as if it is impossible to pass in first year because, well, it is basically a ridiculously challenging course and first year is too busy and everything is too new to really do well.  In second year, you have to pass.  But, first year is pretty much a get out of jail free card.  Everybody talks as if you are just expected to be in the class next year.

Having a physics background, the course wasn’t as horrific as I had heard.

There was a piece of me who planned to pass in first year.  I mean, I did some of it before.  I love physics.  And I would study.

But, then the unthinkable happened.  Okay, that is an exaggeration.  The thing that I have been anticipating for years happened.  My grandfather got sick just as I was supposed to take some much needed vacation.  He died and all of the related festivities lasted until the weekend before I had to go back to work.  I also had a manuscript for resident research day due.  And that was supposed to be finished before vacation or at least at the start.

So, I didn’t start studying for physics (minus reading a textbook while chilling out listening to my grandfather struggle to breathe and listening to the staff in the hall debate my age) until after all of that stuff was done.  Just a few days before the exam.

I tried.  But, grief is a crappy thing that sucks the life out of you.  Especially when the week before was so busy you barely had time to process all that went down.  Plus, I was back to work, which was busy too.

The day of the exam came and I felt like I wasn’t ready.

It was the first exam I ever walked in to knowing I wasn’t ready.  I had tried and I knew some stuff, but probably not enough.  Nonetheless, I thought maybe I could stick things together.

I didn’t tell the program that I was dealing with all that stuff as an excuse.  I don’t think that is fair.  To make excuses.  If I had to, I should have studied before all of that went down.  I could have skipped the research day thing (though there was a ton of pressure to do that too).

So, I wrote the exam.

And it was bad, but not terrible.  I could have passed.  I also probably didn’t.  I sat there like the big nerd I was and added up my possible worst-case scenario score and my best-case scenario score.  Best-case, I passes with a good 6% to spare.  Worst-case, I fail epically.

The physics instructor asked how it went when I was done.  I laughed.  Apparently, that was the other resident’s response too.

It was not the first exam I walked out of feeling terrible.  It was the first that I knew that I could have done better had I studied more.

Patrick reassured me that I did indeed try my best.  It is not what my usual best was, but it was the best I could do given the situation.

I wasn’t in a rush to get the exam back.

I got the results on Friday.

I, for the first time in my life failed an exam.  In fact, it was indeed the worst score I have had on an exam (minus probably my IB history exam where I answered an entire question based on a misread version).

The email informed me that I scored 65%.   According to our policy, you require a 70% to pass and therefore will be required to repeat the course during your PGY2 year.

I don’t know why, but this seemed harsh to me.

It wasn’t.  I just have never failed anything before to know what it is like.

I got the paper copy of the exam.  I actually got a 65.2%.  That means I was only 4.8% off.

Bring on the what-ifs.

I mean, it isn’t a big deal.  It is what I expected, having to redo the course and rewrite the exam.  Nobody has passed the exam in first year.  It is more like a practice for the year after.  And it doesn’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things.

Except I still feel like I failed myself and my goal for this year.

I know I could have passed.  I know I could have easily had those extra 5% if I could have focused more or read through the notes one more time.

I could have asked to move the exam.  But, I am too proud to do something like that.

But now, I have that behind me.  And I will redo the course next year.  Because that is what we do and what is expected.

I guess the other thing is that it bugs me that it is a 70% pass mark.  I have taken courses with 80% pass marks too, but also ones with 50% passes.  If it were 65% I would have passed.  Barely, but still.  And I know people want doctors who know lots of stuff, but this is just a piece of our baseline knowledge in a very specialized area.  And we do more than just one course.   And usually I am all about more than passing.  But this year, anything would have been okay, I just wanted to get that 70.

I will call this a growth moment.

I have learned yet again that I am not perfect and that I am not immune to life getting in the way of something that, in the grand scheme of things, is unimportant.  And I will do better next time.  And maybe be more honest about how I am doing in life outside of the sheltered walls of the hospital.

And heck, almost passing an exam deemed unpassable is, in the grand scheme of things, pretty good, I think.

Funeral antics

One of my favourite things people say to other people at funeral homes is, “he/she looks good” or “he/she looks lifelike.”  They are dead.  That does not make anyone feel better.

I decided to keep a running tally of how many people said that at my grandfather’s funeral.  I am just that kind of person.  If I subtract the 10 times my Dad and Uncle said it to spite me, I had a total of 33.  And it isn’t even like I talked to everyone.

Pretty epic.

He looked so lifelike, my grandmother (bless her heart) asked twice who was sleeping over in the corner.  If I count those… 35.

My other favourite (not) thing is when people take pictures of people in coffins.  Some people in my grandparents’ generation were especially big on that.  I was secretly hoping to catch someone snapping a picture.

I remember people bringing the funeral pictures home with copies for relatives.  I guess you wouldn’t have to worry about the subject moving for the shot.

At Patrick’s grandmother’s funeral, one of Patrick’s uncles was taking photos of his dead mother, as well as some of the funeral goes… That was until he was scolded by his 89 year old father.   I know it is a little insensitive, but I think it is a bit funny.

Besides being mistaken for a teenager and being hugged by strangers (both unusually common occurences in my day to day life), I was asked repeatedly what my grandfather was like before he died.

How is one supposed to answer this?

My blunt self wanted to say… “Comatose.”  I mean, gee…. What do they think people are like before they die?  I wasn’t sure what kind of timeline they are looking for… I generally went with comfortable.  Seems less morbid.  More acceptable.  Patrick confirmed that for me.  Thanks dear.

My Dad got in a heated debate with one funeral goer who was convinced my Dad was not who he claimed he was, but some guy he knew who sold fish from a truck up North… They argued about it for several minutes.

This was not quite as awesome as my Grandmother who honestly told everyone “I don’t know you.”  And then smiled and nodded to their explanation of how they know her and responded, “that’s nice” then looked at her sister and said “I still don’t know them, do you?” or some other variant.  It is sad, but I enjoy her contentedness in being lost.  And it was good comedic relief from time to time.  Especially because she was just so cute about it.

In other funeral home incidents… They accidentally delivered flowers to my grandfather that were intended for the dead guy in the other funeral home room.  We spent two days trying to figure out who the heck sent the flowers and how in blazes we were going to get them a thank you card.  Apparently, we need to thank total strangers.  Whoops.

My Grandfather was very strict about his beliefs about praying for and, importantly touching the dead person.  So much so, he taught the kids in my generation that if we didn’t touch the dead person, they would come back and pinch your toes while you were sleeping in bed.  My slightly older cousins were all making sure they touched him so as to avoid the risk.  My Aunt pinched one of them at the same time.  They hysterics heard from the room likely led the funeral home people to think we were more crazy (they already knew we were crazy when I was cracking up reading the poems for the back of bulletins… some of them are awful cheesy and really sad).

In case you are wondering… I didn’t touch him.  He knows my feelings on touching dead people in caskets.  And he hasn’t pinched my toes.

I know, I come off as insensitive.  But, it is fascinating what happens on such serious and solemn occasions.  People are ridiculous.  And I am the first to admit that I am too.

Finding joy in the sadness of loss

Long time no speak.

It has been over a week since I last blogged.  That is my longest blogging hiatus since I started blogging.  I must argue that I have a rather legitimate excuse.

Last week, my grandfather died.

Worst. Vacation.  Ever.

I contemplated whether or not I would write about it.  The experience leading up to it and all that good stuff.  I couldn’t last week.  I barely had time to bathe myself, let alone write a blog post.  Plus, my family is kind of private and not always big on talking about that kind of stuff.  I didn’t want people’s pity or sympathy.  But, today I finally have time to sit.  And think.  And I feel like it is something I want to share.  If nothing else, just for me.

This will probably be several days in a series of posts over the next week or so.  I had all kinds of thoughts and ideas of things to share…  The experience of being away when someone is terribly sick, the experience of caring for a loved one in hospital as someone who works in a hospital, grief, stupid things people say at funeral homes, life lessons brought to us by my grandfather… I can go on.  If I had time to write last week, it would have been deep.  Hopefully, I will get to some of those.  But, as it turns out, this week is pretty crummy including me having to submit my research manuscript for the post-grad research day and a physics exam later this week (*whines*), so it may be super interspersed with other randomness.  Sorry to drag it out.

But yes, my grandfather died.  And it sucks.

Not that I didn’t see it coming.  I have for as long as I remember.

He had bypass and valve replacement surgery when I was just a few months old.  He thought he would die.  Then, he was told that this stuff would only last for so long.  My entire life, I was reminded that he thought he wouldn’t make it to milestone x.  But, he did.  Consistenly.  Nonetheless, over 26 years later, he was still around.  Growing more and more frail.  But ever present.

If you want to know the truth, I expected he would drop dead doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing.  I was wrong.  It was more of a slow congestive heart failure death.

I happened to be on vacation.  I got to be there.

It was the worst vacation ever, but for the best reason I could think of.  Had it not been for my vacation, I would have really missed out.  I am bitter because I am tired and have a ton of work for school to do and have a messy house and have to go back to work without a real break.  But, I am glad because I got so much time, even though it does not feel that way right now.

I think in some ways I wish he just dropped like I always expected.  Like he always expected.  Because nobody wants to see someone in a hospital bed feeling like crap.   But, then we wouldn’t have had the time we did.

It is bittersweet.  It still sucks.

I was not only an only child, but an only grandchild for almost 16 years.  That is most of my life.  I got to spend a lot of time with him.  Pretty awesome.  But, I think that makes it tough.  Especially when I see my little cousins who got so much less time.

The piece that is the worst for me, as a selfish grandkid is that he was my last grandparent who knew who I was.  Actually, I have Patrick’s grandfather.  So, I still have one, kind of.  And I have my “other grandparents” (like my “other” parents).   Everyone else has Alzheimer’s.  It is like that last bit of my childhood is gone.  My grandmothers barely know who they are, let alone who I am.  Not that it matters, but it does in my head.  At least I grew up with grandparents.  But, now it is kind of like they are all gone.  Some to death, one to bad parental choices  and two to the disease that ate their memory.

It isn’t like I think I don’t have grandmothers.  I do.  And they are still my grandmothers no matter how lost they become, at least to me.  But, it does make it different.  When we bring home great-grandchildren, they will love the babies and such, but it won’t be the same as someone knowing who they are and where they came from.  I lost that bit this week.

I felt guilty for not jumping on the reproduction bandwagon sooner.  It is silly, I know.  But this is the stuff that goes through your head.  Or at least mine.

I feel guilty about not being home more.  About not being home now while my parents try to take care of my grandmother and deal with all the other stuff that comes from losing a loved one.

I know this guilt is not of God.  I know that things will work out.  That we all do the best we can.  And that I can rejoice for all the good things.

Feeling sad about this stuff makes me feel bad about those who did not get to have grandparents.  Really, I am the luckiest girl in the world.  And I know it.  But, the more you have, the more you can lose.

I don’t think I expected to feel this sad.

I am cool with death.

I know he is with Jesus now.  And he is way better off health wise and stress wise up there.

But, I am sad for what I lost.  What my grandmother can’t remember she lost.  And what my parents lost.

The good thing is that death has been conquered.  I take great solace in that.  I will see him again one day.  We will play music and dance and laugh and it will be a great time.   So, I am joyful in my sadness (if that makes sense).

Mothers’ Day

It is Mothers’ Day.  Happy Mothers’ Day to all of the Moms and Mom-like people out there.

Thus, all over Facebook and WordPress, I see cheesy odes to mothers, changed profile pictures and all of that good stuff.

I was pretty excited when the pastor at church wished everyone a happy Mothers’ Day and then moved on say he was going to continue on with our current series because the focus should be on Jesus and that can strengthen Moms (and everyone else).

Just so you know, I love my mother.   I am grateful for her.  I don’t need a holiday to say it.  But there you go.  My Mom is awesome.

I think it is great we honor mothers.  They are the unsung heroes of many families.  Superheroes of sorts (refer to song below).

I do think that we are taken advantage of by the commercialism we live in.  Clearly, I am also a conspiracy theorist.  But realistically, why do we expect so much on a made up day?  We need to be grateful more often than not.  That being said, it is great to have a designated time to say thanks… As a reminder.

Plus there is another side to this story.

Mothers’ day is not always a happy day like people make it out to be.  It is actually a day when a lot of people are hurting.  People who want to have children and for whatever reason have been unable to.  Those who are being put through lengthy adoption processes.  People who have had miscarriages or children who died.  People who have been estranged from their mothers or children.  Those who have a mom who died.  Sometimes it can be a day that brings back all sorts of hurt or loss.

I don’t think we need to stop our hoopla for fear of upsetting someone (because then nobody would be able to do anything ever), but I do think we need to be mindful of the unique circumstances of others.  That sometimes this is not an overly happy day or that it is a mixed feelings day.  And that some aspects of life just go on as normal.

I am grateful to have a Mother who loves me and who I get to see on a regular basis.  I am glad that my grandmothers (as “interesting” as they are) are still around.  I am fortunate enough to have a number of mom figures in my life.  I have no children, but I want them, but I have been lucky enough to not experience the loss of a child.  I am thankful that Mothers’ Day is a positive happy day for me and for much of my family.

Check out these articles about Mothers’ day for people who may not find it quite so happy: “Treasuring God After My Miscarriage” (domestickingdom.com), “When Mothers’ Day Is Hard” (thegospelcoalition.org), “Mothers Day and Mixed Emotions” (crosswalk.com).