noise

There is so much noise lately.

It comes from every direction.

No one told me being an adult is so hard on the senses.

I’ve found myself complaining of headaches and backaches and neck aches a lot lately.

I think it’s from the noise.

Even when I turn everything off, it’s still in my head. So loud.

The noise is loudest when it’s quiet, I find.

During the school day when teenagers are being teenagery and in the evening when a preschooler is being preschoolery and a toddler is being toddlery, the noise isn’t so loud. It’s drowned out by immediacy of life.

But in the quiet of my planner period, my commute, my quiet time lying with Eddie while he falls asleep, my head fills with it.

Noise.

Static.

Yelling and shouting and vying for attention.

Anger and frustration and joy and excitement and overwhelm and worry and pride and anticipation and grief.

Oh the grief.

Memories are loud.

They scream in your heart and make you feel all over again the things you thought were past and gone and not coming back.

The pain, the writhing, the labor for…empty arms, empty heart.

Grief is the loudest of the noise.

Scratching and tearing demanding to be the center and then just sitting there in the middle of it all like dead weight.

Resurfacing to drown me.

The noise is so so loud when you’re an adult.

I want to go back to that warm place of being a child where the noise of the adult world is so far above me, it doesn’t make it to my ears or heart.

That place with dinner waiting on the table, two parents tucking me in, and no note of death or pain or worry in my ear.

I want the safety and silence of childhood back.

Because being an adult is too loud.

It hurts too much.

In honor of Infant Loss and Remembrance Day, I lit my candle for the two I have in heaven (snuggled there next to a picture of their little brother, Eddie) and for my niece, Bella. Who went home too this past week.

In honor of Infant Loss and Remembrance Day, I lit my candle for the two I have in heaven (snuggled there next to a picture of their little brother, Eddie) and for my niece, Bella. Who went home too this past week to be held in the arms of her Papa Steve in Heaven.

***Updated (9:21am 10/16/13)*** I just got word that Arabella Elizabeth Sluiter was delivered at 2:20am this morning weighing 1 lb, 3oz. She will always be loved and remembered.

Beautiful Promise of God

Saturday Eddie and I went to the library alone, just the two of us.  This was special because all summer his baby brother was along and we couldn’t walk leisurely through the stacks. Whether I had Charlie confined to a stroller/Ergo or if I let him walk, Eddie and I knew we had a matter of time to find ten books and get out before Charlie blew our cool and all three of us went into “TOO LOUD FOR THE LIBRARY” mode.

Now that school has started up, we only get to the library on Saturdays and we are able to go just the two of us.

Because of that we were much more thoughtful about the books we pulled from the shelves. Eddie pulled them out, flipped through them, and either slid them back or handed them to me.  We took our time, choosing carefully.

Ed’s favorite spot to start is the big display of “New Books”. This week he chose “The Dark” by Lemony Snicket first and then spotted a book with a grandpa on it. “What’s this one called, mom?”

I took the picture book from his hand and read, “Papa’s New Home.”

“Hey! I have a Papa in Heaven! Let’s get this one!”

Before I had a chance to flip through to see if this book was going to handle the subject well, he was calling me over to help him find the stash of Curious George books.

He had no idea how appropriate it was that he chose that book.

*************

Thursday morning I got a text from my sister-in-law, Liz: “Today is the day we find out if Lilly will be getting a sister or brother. Stay tuned!”

Later Thursday morning I got a text from Cortney. Something was wrong with the baby. There was fluid everywhere in the organs and a cyst on the brain stem.

Our world stopped.

Over the course of the next four days, the information and test results slowly trickled in. The baby, another girl, has Turner Syndrome. This means she has only one X chromosome instead of two. About 1 in 2,500 females born have Turner, but Liz and Cody’s baby girl has more complications.  Because of the amount of fluid in her heart, it is probably impossible that she will make it to term. And if by miracle she does, she probably won’t be able to live outside Liz’s body.

The doctor’s gave them the option to terminate pregnancy or let it continue its course.

Cody and Liz chose not to terminate.

The doctors feel that the baby will not make it more than a month longer, and will be monitoring the fetal heart rate. When the heart stops, Liz will be induced.

**************

When Cody and Liz had their first baby girl almost a year ago, Eddie sheepishly smiled at the thought of his uncle Cody being a daddy.

When Eddie met Lilly for the first he melted. He couldn’t give her enough kisses or hugs. He wanted to hold her and love her.  He loves to make her laugh, and he’s so gentle with her.

He loves babies.

And he was quite aware that Cody and Liz would be having another baby, which he guessed (correctly) would be another little girl.

After the weight of tragedy settled in my heart, I wondered: what would we tell Eddie?

*************

Leaving the library on Saturday, I told Eddie we needed to quick stop at the store for a few things if we were going to bake for Aunt Liz and Uncle Cody.

“Why are we making food for Cody and Liz?” he asked.

{sidenote: why is it we always have our heaviest conversations in the car?}

As I drove, I turned the music down and told him, “Remember how Aunt Liz has that baby in her tummy? Well that baby is very sick and Cody and Liz are very worried and sad. When you are worried and sad, don’t you like a treat?”

“Yeah, I like a snack when I feel awful.”

“Yes, well, I thought it would be nice if we made them dinner and some snacks. What do you think?”

“That is nice, mom. I like that. I hope that baby feels better.”

“Me too, Bud. Me too.”

Sunday Cortney went to a Sluiter Family prayer gathering for Liz and Cody and their family. I stayed home with the boys since it was going to be pretty heavy and emotional. I had told Eddie about the prayer gathering, and when Cortney left Eddie asked if we could pray right there.

So I stopped what I was doing and sat down at the table with the boys, and over their grilled cheese sandwiches Eddie and I asked God to please take care of Cody and Liz and give them peace and strength. We also asked him for a miracle.  Eddie specifically asked Jesus to please make his baby cousin better.

At one point during the prayer, I peeked an eye open, and there was Eddie: eyes scrunched shut and hands clasped tightly over his dinner. My voice caught, but I continued.

After he said Amen, he asked if he could make a picture for his cousin.

“MOM! I can make the pictures and you can write the words I tell you because I know my letters, but I can’t write them in order of words, so you can do that part. Ok? And Bird can color on it too but not until I am done and I will tell him where to color. Ok, mom? Ok? Can we do that???”

I thought my heart would burst from pride for my son.

Once dinner was cleared up, Eddie went to work.

Dealing with Infant Loss

We texted a picture of the final product to Cortney who shared it with Aunt Liz.  It’s still waiting to be officially delivered. Since now we can add her name to the piece before giving it to her.

Dealing with Infant Loss

Her name is Arabella Elizabeth Sluiter.

“Arabella” is Dutch for “beautiful”.

“Elizabeth” is my sister-in-law’s name and means “gift or promise from God”.

Bella.

Beautiful gift of God.

Liz told me she feels like she is naming one of God’s angels, and I believe she is right. Whether Bella goes home in the next month or outlives her parents, she is one of God’s angels.

*************

Sunday night Eddie asked me to read “Papa’s New Home” to him at bedtime.

The story was lovely and wonderful and got Eddie talking about his own Papa who died over 8 years ago from cancer and who lives in Heaven.

It also does a good job of not beating around the bush that everyone dies at some point. I really, really recommend this book (it’s by Jessica Lynn Curtis) if you have had a death in the family to explain to a child.

It makes Eddie happy to imagine his Papa in Heaven doing what he loved (boating) with our old cat on his lap.

We still haven’t told him yet that there is a good chance that Bella will be joining their Papa in Heaven, but we are building a cushion for that fall. For that reality that it’s not just old people who die.

Oh how I wish I could protect his innocent and good heart. I wish I could do something to cover and protect Cody and Liz’s hearts.

There is a good chance Eddie will remember this all…at least in parts, and we want to do our part in helping his memory of Bella to be positive and loving. We also want him to know how compassionate and caring he was during this time. How his unconditional love and selflessness helped his dad and I with the pain we felt in our hearts.

This pain is so much. It’s too much.

Please keep Cody, Liz, Lilly, and Bella in your prayers.

And please keep Cortney and I in your prayers and we try to guide our little guys through this hard time in a loving and peaceful way.

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