Image from Disney's "Tangled"

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Tribute Reflection

Easter Reflection

This was an amazing process for me, and I am so grateful to all of you who have followed along and shared my journey. I started out writing it for Raphael and for me, so I could heal, but it turned into so much more, and I have all of you to thank for that.

Although I wrote the first three posts weeks before they were published, I was slower going writing the remainder of the tribute. As I was writing the fifth post, I realized I should have called it an Easter Tribute. Especially looking at the timing of everything, it matched up really well. Although I was mourning Raphael's death, I was also presented with new hope and new life in my new pregnancy. The biggest difference being that it didn't feel like Easter joy. I didn't feel hopeful. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Tribute Part 7

The Choice

So here we are in part 7. The last piece of the story before the reflection / explanation of how and why I wrote this tribute the way I did. In our timeline, it is 7 months since I found out I was pregnant with Raphael and 7 months from when Daniel and I got married. In reality, it is 7 months since I miscarried. (Well, I guess 7 months from when I'm writing this, not 7 months from when you're reading this - which means it's also 7 weeks since I got that positive pregnancy test). 7 is quite the perfect number isn't? Something so providential and divine about it. 

God is funny that way isn't He? When He give us that little glimpse into how perfectly He can design things? For example, what better way to give hope and honor to Raphael's memory then to give hope and life to our family right around the same time? Would that be His plan? 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Tribute Part 6

Calling it Quits?

Now we're quickly approaching that point in time that I was dreading deeply. Anyone who knows me is aware that I am highly emotional. I cry at happy things. I cry at sad things. I cry when a song comes on the radio that reminds me of college, and now I miss college, and my friends, and when life was simpler. Heck, sometimes I just cry because it's been a while, and my body needs to cry. Naturally, I was dreading Easter (my due date). I didn't know how I would feel. Would I be okay? Would I break down? I knew I didn't want to forget. It couldn't pass by without significance. This was my baby. It mattered. No. Forgetting was not an option. 

I think the first time it really concerned me was on January 24th. I would have been seven months pregnant with only two months left to work before maternity leave. I walked around school and everything I saw seemed tinged grey (granted it was January) and everything I heard made me a little sad (again...it was January. January just seems to suck because the holidays are over). I was keenly aware of the different reality that could have been mine had we not lost Raphael.

Things at school were getting more stressful, more political, more challenging, and I felt that I was drowning. I even scratched out a poem comparing teaching to drowning at a meeting once. I was in a dark place. I was exhausted. I was miserable. I needed something to change. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Tribute Part 5

Pesky Tests

It's important to note that starting in August, I was teaching through all of this. At some points, it was helpful because it was a much needed distraction from my overly analytical mind. It was a way to make myself think of others instead of wallowing in self-pity. However, it also enabled me to avoid thinking about myself. Additionally, I had some of these fun little nuggets:

A 14-year-old boy was talking while I was giving directions, so I walked over for proximity control. When I arrived at his desk, I finished giving directions. After which, he takes his pencil and points at my belly and says "Look at that gut!" Folks, it was September. Remember when we talked about the right thing versus the easy thing? The easy thing would have been to snap that pencil in half and scream at him that I had just lost my baby - or simply run out of there crying. (Despite my hyper-emotional state, I did neither of those things).

Dealing with school on top of the miscarriage made it hard for me to know if I was unhappy because I was still recovering, unhappy because I was too stressed, unhappy because I hated my job, or unhappy for some other indeterminable reason because I was too busy trying to figure out which of the previous was making me unhappy.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Tribute Part 4

In my last post, I mentioned that there was a coworker who encouraged me to write this blog as well as this particular post. When I was trying to recover, I was struggling with what I needed. She asked what I do to recharge, to fulfill myself (I had made it pretty clear that my job was not doing either of those things).  When I told her I wrote, she was shocked when I told her I hadn't written anything about it. 

At first I was shocked that she would suggest I blog about something so personal (See the end of Part 2 for the reasons I changed my mind), so I wrote a poem in October about what I was feeling.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Tribute Part 3

Recovery

One of my favorite parts of growing up in my house was a tradition we had with my dad. I don't remember when it started, but my dad would read us a chapter or two from Harry Potter every night. We didn't read it on our own, but we got to experience it with each other and in my dad's voice. Sometimes when I'm rereading the story or watching the movie, I still hear his voice reading the words. I love that.

So for the entirety of the book and movie franchise, it was an amazing bonding experience, and I always treasured any Harry Potter moment with him. I will never forget there was this one line that my dad used as a lesson. At the end of book four, Dumbledore tells Harry "We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy." I don't remember the exact conversation that followed, or if he mentioned it after reading that part of the book or when we say the movie, but these words have resonated with me since then because they are so true.

That is exactly why I have rewritten this several times. Completely scrapped drafts and started from the beginning.  It would be so easy to sit here and detail all the times I cried and hurt like when the young family of four started sitting in front of us at Mass or found out people I had to see on a regular basis were due right around the same time I should have been. That would be easy. But especially as reactions to my first post rolled in, I remembered that I'm not just writing for me. There are people who pick up my story who were right there beside me every step of the way. There are people who had no idea how to respond or help. There are people who didn't know I went through any of this and are experiencing it for the first time as they read it. There may even be some strangers who stumble across it who don't even know me.

So both for you and for me, I'm not going to get into every single wound and tear in this post. There are certainly some areas that I'll focus on in the following posts, but if this post is about recovery, I want to focus on the things that helped me recover - not the things that made it harder. I want to have a balance of joy and grief, hope and suffering. Even if it's not the easy way to write about my experience, it's the right way to write about it

Thursday, April 5, 2018

A Tribute Part 2

When it Rains, it Pours
August 2017

A lot of it blends together.  This actually happened August 18th, but in my memory, it went with August 25th.

Before one of my doctor's appointments - now I can't remember which one - I was driving to work.  It was disgustingly hot, and the AC takes twenty minutes to work in my car. My commute is fifteen. I usually drove to work at 6:30 in the morning, but it was a teacher work day, so I was driving at 7:30. Man the difference an hour makes. I was so unaccustomed to the traffic, I didn't expect it to be so busy. I got over into my exit lane, and as soon as I did, the woman in front of my slammed on her brakes. No obviously, I was changing lanes onto an exit, I was not going fast, but with how packed traffic was and the split second she left me to respond, I ended up kissing her back bumper at about 10 miles per hour. 

So I pulled over to exchange insurance. As I was getting out of the car, her two kids in the backseat turned around, waving and smiling at me. I waved and smiled back as the woman got out of her car. I asked if she and the kids were ok, to which she said "yeah." She looked at the scratch on her back bumper and got back in the car. Uh-oh I thought to myself. So I whipped out my little slide phone and took pictures of both her car and mind. After a little bit, she still hadn't come back out of her car. It was HOT outside, and I was now late for work, so I went up to her passenger window, and I asked her if she wanted to exchange insurance, and she said no. 

She was calling the police.