What Hurts

July 21, 2014

You know what really hurts lately?

I mean, besides seeing everyone celebrate their kid’s first birthday?

The women who lose babies and make it beautiful and earthy and oh so magical.

Seriously.

I know everyone grieves differently, so I’m not here to judge how anyone does this process. But – in the same breath – these feelings and emotions are part of my process as well. So both are valid.

Just right now, their process really hurts me.

It’s in books, online, in pictures. These stories of, “My baby died and rainbows, sunshine, butterflies, love…” and I’m left wondering if perhaps I missed the memo that death was nice?

I feel even more betrayed when I read or see this, because it feels like I am wrong. That really, if I just searched long and hard in myself, I’d realize that seeing my sons die was right up there with attending an Andrea Bocelli concert. And it wasn’t. I can barely even think about their last moments, and the moments after, without wanting to vomit from the pain, horror, and guilt of it all.

It was horrific. Both times were absolutely the worst, most horrible moments of my life. I felt them die and watched them turn a different color, bloat up, with their little bodies limp against mine. It wasn’t beautiful or peaceful. It was excruciating.

I fully understand that my experience isn’t the same as everyone’s – but death is death. Maybe these people are spinning it to get through the pain, or they’re in shock. But right now, almost a year out, it feels crazy to read those and think, “How did you come away with these feelings?”

It hurts. This hurts so much and there are times I wish I could make it all seem ok. I’m so tired of being told how sorry everyone is, how my life is their nightmare, that they would just die if this happened to them. Try two years of that and see how much it wears you down. You’ll start to look for anything to make your life seem a little less awful to everyone.

But I can’t gloss over their deaths. Maybe as time passes I’ll see it differently. After all, it’s already not as raw with the twins as it was a year ago. I still want to scream when I see their pictures but not every night has me going to sleep with flashbacks of their little faces scrunched up, trying to cry and breathe.

I hope I don’t hurt anyone writing this, and I truly don’t have anyone specific in mind. Please know that your process is yours, but there are times when our grief hurts each other. That’s just the way this is. I may not understand yours, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong – just different and it leaves me feeling alone with how I saw it.

I wish I could turn this whole two years into something beautiful that everyone stopped feeling sad for me about. But I can’t. It haunts me – and no amount of wishing can make it go away.

 

30 Comments

  • apartmentwife

    August 15, 2014 at 7:23 am

    i read this through this post wanting to hug you (hold your hand, bring you tea, etc) and feeling inspired by your honest words about loss. you’re ability to depict the truth about motherhood and loss in your writing is absolutely beautiful.

  • Megan

    August 9, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I just found your blog a few days ago, and I really appreciate your honesty in this entry… my first son Sam died four and a half years ago, and I felt so much peace and hope in the months leading up to his death. Even in the months after, I was hopeful and could view the loss from such a positive angle. I still grieved; I wasn’t fake; I was just really hopeful.. four and a half years later, I’m kind of at a place where it doesn’t sting very much, but as a Christian, I’m kind of like, “God, this is it? This is the healing you have for me?” I actually had a healthy rainbow baby who just turned three, and I am so indescribably grateful. I can’t believe I got to have him. But when it comes to how I feel about Sammy and my loss, it just feels like… others who have gone through what I’ve gone through, and they seem like their scars healed so neatly, and mine is this big gnarly scar that cannot be hidden. I am permanently altered. I will never, ever walk without a limp, so to speak.

    I think we’re at different places in grief as far as timelines, but I just really appreciate how honest and raw you are in this post. Thanks for sharing.

  • tovagold

    July 24, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    My daughters were nicknamed “Sunshine and Daisy” – I named them that while they were still safe in my womb. After they died it was the only names I had for them. I was embarrassed to share their names for so long, they sounded stupid, such happy names amidst the darkness and pain I was in. But eventually I shared their names- it took a year. Even my family hadn’t really know those were their names.

    It’s been almost 5 years since they died, and now a big part of the work I do is helping loss moms re-find their light and identity after loss. I suspect (with no offense taken) that I probably fall into the category of those who appear to be all “sunshine and butterflies and rainbows and love” but I just want to tell you that you’re NOT doing it wrong. You’re listening to your feelings, giving yourself grace and understanding and not apologizing for how you feel, and sharing how you feel. That’s all part of doing it right. There was a time I would have annoyed the crap out of me. TO be honest, some days it still does.

    It’s taken years, and continues to be journey of delicately balancing a deeply painful grief with a deep desire to proactively live with meaning and joy.

    For me, now, finding joy in my life is the best way I have found to honor the memory of my daughters. I have come to feel that it is their light and strength that propel me forward. Finding joy and beauty isn’t about letting them go or leaving them and my memories of them behind, it’s about keeping them close and remembering how lucky I am to be their mom.

    …And I know, that last sentence probably makes people want to scratch at my face- a part of me wants to as well, because holding the perspective of being ‘lucky’, while sitting with the morbid and heartbreaking reality that they are dead, is absurd- at best. But in the end, it’s what I’ve got to work with so I make it work.

  • bethmuell

    July 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    http://irreverenteloquence.blogspot.com/2014/05/no-substitute-for-my-son.html

    I write a blog too. I love reading yours. Obviously not loving the raw Grief but as a fellow loss mom, I totally get it. I’ve been getting flack from friends lately that my writing is “dark,” that I need to try to make it uplifting, try to pull it out in the end so I don’t keep bringing others down…hah. I write for myself really. I write to release some of the crazy brain and to make it a little easier to sleep at night. I find it sad that others expect me to be making this “sunshine and roses” just for them to read…I completely hear what you’re saying about reading others’ amazing lessons that they’ve learned from letting their babies go.

  • Suzi Edgeworth

    July 24, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I think each person's way of dealing with grief is unique. I treasure your transparency as you love so deeply. It has always seem to be that some people are just not as deep and don't feel things as we do. They don't love as totally, don't grieve as hauntingly, don't feel joy, happiness,awe, … You have gifted us with your heart a wonderful treasure!

  • Sabra Vanderford Godair

    July 23, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    I feel where you are coming from, I have lost a child. My circumstances were different, some may even say easier? Not that that is even a thing, but as humans we like to categorize and organize to help make sense of things. In some ways I think I have found the beautiful in it…but the pain is still there and it sneaks up on me in agonizingly unexpected ways. The one thing I keep going back to is this: I finally learned that pain is pain is pain. It is different for everyone and I cannot place value or weight on it. Does that make sense? This is the first day I have ever seen your blog..but you sharing your heart like this? It was healing for me. Thank you. Please accept this hug of hearts from a total stranger…

  • meech1996

    July 23, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Dianna,
    Every one processes grief in their own way, no one way is right or wrong. I can’t relate entirely to your grief, I was never able to conceive, but what I can relate to is the grief aspect. Month after month, year after year, having my body fail me, not being able to get pregnant left me with a lot of self hate, anger, and grief. It has been 10 years since we stopped trying. It took me a long time to come to grips with my anger and grief. I am still working on the self hate. I hate my body for failing me so in turn, I am not good to my body. Is that logical, absolutely not, do I know that, you bet, am I ready to accept that, apparently not.

    While books about infertility and coming to grips with being childless not by choice helped, they also angered me. Why was it that these people were moving on and I was still mired in grief. I don’t know what the answer is, I am afraid you will need to figure that out by yourself, but please don’t beat yourself up or compare yourself to others. You are a beautiful, lovely, unique person. Stop trying to put yourself on their path to acceptance and understanding, invest in finding your own way, your own path. In the long run, it is the only thing that will help.

    The only comfort I can offer is to be present for you and listen to you, it is a long, lonely journey, but you don’t have to face it alone. Please continue to write about your journey here, I promise to keep reading. Hopefully knowing that there are others out there, thinking of you, sympathizing with you, brings you some measure of comfort.
    Michele

  • Lindsey Willis

    July 22, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you, thank you for writing this! My grief over losing Peyton almost 5 weeks ago is still fresh, and it is incredible how much it hurts. Articles like this remind me that I am allowed to grieve as I need to. Some times that means being angrier than I have ever been in my life, at other times that means sobbing uncontrollably while my heart is breaking into pieces. You are an amazingly strong woman who handles horrific losses with grace, in the short time I have been following your blog I have felt closer to healing every day. I will always miss my precious child, but I’m starting to believe that I will survive.

  • Tessica Trudell

    July 22, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Diana, I am there with you. My most recent loss was 6 weeks ago. My son Ezekiel was born too early at almost 22 weeks. He breathed for half an hour. It was so awful to see. I tried to not think about him fighting to live. Almost 7 years ago I had a son Samuel stillborn at 33 weeks. I feel for you so deeply… Having to bury more than one child is one of the most unthinkable things ever. But God is still good through the hurt and pain. But it doesn't really ever go away. Here I am, 7 years out of my first loss (besides a couple miscarriages too), and I still cry when talking about him. It's still so vivid in my mind…

  • Andrea

    July 22, 2014 at 10:30 am

    SO true. Thank you. It’s hard to not feel guilt, or insufficient somehow, when others are handling their losses “better”. One of the pit falls of social media- the moms that can post picture after picture, update after update after update, of them bravely smiling and being blessed by their loss….it’s hard. I’m not at all criticizing them, their losses are just as real and we all handle it differently- but with all the other issues loss/grief brings, feeling inferior on how we cope, feeling like our relationships with God must not be as close- these shouldn’t be additional burdens. Your transparency, the raw pain in your words- they have helped. So much. Thank you for what you do, for giving words to feelings the rest of us can’t express.

  • Elle

    July 21, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Your faith inspires me. And although I don’t really know you, I just like you as a person. I follow you on Instagram and laugh at your captions. Especially the recent one with all of Sam’s Army gear spread out all over the floor. I, myself, am a police wife with a gun safe in our bedroom and bullets in the washing machine. I’m jealous of your house and Bella’s awesome Land of Nod playroom! And also your hair – how does it always look so good?. My point is that, like I said, I only “know” you through your blog…you are so much more to me than someone to feel sorry for. Even if that something is hair envy.

  • Danny

    July 21, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Hi Diana, thank you so much for your writing. I lost a baby girl at 24 weeks to stillbirth in February 2013 and then a baby boy at 17 weeks to pprom in April 2014. Each loss was a week after mine and then my husbands birthday. I too felt like my baby boy would make a lot of things feel better or right. I was truly happy and not even really scared in the second pregnancy. Ugh. It’s just unreal. Thanks for putting words to the pain that I have been feeling. I can say that as I pray Jesus reminds me that everyone will have a “thing” in their life that breaks them. In his omniscience he can choose whatever thing he allows to be the thing to break us. It could be cancer, disability, the death of our other children or spouses or whatever other disaster that you can imagine but for whatever reason he chose this. This is our “thing” and It doesn’t feel good at all. We will all be broken in Christ at some point. And as beautiful and faithful as that is I am still mad about it but that just makes me human.
    With all my love, thank you

  • Anne-Marie

    July 21, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I’ve been reading Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery, and an early story she tells is of her own child’s premature birth and subsequent death. Her philosophy on this is to never gloss over it, but to acknowledge it as an experience that happens in families. I feel like if Ina May can’t get rainbows and butterflies over her loss, after decades, then that’s just not a thing some people ever experience. Ok. That’s how it is. Tragedy and loss can be transformative, I know, but I don’t get this one either, for what it’s worth.

  • Pamela Neumann

    July 21, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    One of my deepest regrets when my twin boys were born was that I was so in shock I didn't hold them or see them when they were alive, and only saw them after they died 1/2 hour later. I don't know if this helps or hurts, but your description of what happened as your boys died actually comforts my heart and makes the guilt less for me. I was so scared, and when death is glossed over I feel like I was so weak as their mother to be scared in that moment and not be with them. Thank you for your honesty.

  • Wendy Chapman

    July 21, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Diana…what happened to your baby boys is horrific as is the pain and wounds you carry from these losses. Never feel you must justify it to anyone. Those that have lost…especially a child, know this agony only too well. It is not rainbows & sunshine. My own Mum has lost 2 children at two different times and many years later is still grieving. She didn’t lose them as tiny little ones as you have (my brother was 16 & my sister was 19) but the loss of these children that she grew inside her body and loved from conception are gone from her and she still bleeds. She asked me the other day if there was something wrong with her because there are many days still that she has trouble getting through…I told her that no, there was nothing wrong with her at all…why is it an expectation to get past the loss of your precious child or children? I personally don’t think it’s possible…I believe you just get to a place where you can breathe a little easier and have days where you find you can lift your head up a little bit more…by no means is that getting past it but finding a way to live ‘with’ it….because ‘it’ never leaves you…they are your very heart and soul so how could not having them ever be acceptable?
    Never feel you need to apologize for feeling as you do, no matter how much time passes. It is what it is…raw, horrific and agonizing. You are not alone. ♡

  • Jen

    July 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    praying for you always and thinking of you and remembering your angels! don’t ever think you aren’t touching someone with how you feel. Death isn’t pretty and roses and butterflies, it hurts….standing with you in this grieving process. Thank you for always being real!

  • Becky

    July 21, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    how refreshing… a blog where someone can write openly and honestly about their feelings! Thank you for that.

  • Christine Battaglia

    July 21, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Dear Diana,
    Pain is real and awful!! Thank you for being honest and transparent. You help others with your truthfulness. Even though I’ve never met you, I pray for you and am thankful for your courage.

  • Liz Lovelace

    July 21, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Diana, I’ve been thinking about this since I read it a few hours ago, and the best response I have is from 1 Corinthians 15:
    ~20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.~

    Death is supposed to hurt, it is supposed to feel ugly and horrible because it is one of Christ’s enemies. If Christ embodies all that is holy and beautiful, His enemies are against Him, so they/it will be the opposite–wicked and ugly. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how God can use His enemy (death) for His purposes, but that’s the awesome God we believe in and trust. Death is still His enemy though, and since we are in Christ, it is ours, too.

    This truth validates the pain we live with each day, but we also hope because Christ is and will be victorious. So will we.

    “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” 2 Cor. 6:10

    Preaching to myself, sister, but thank you for reminding me of this great truth today. Holding you up in prayer.

  • diana

    July 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

    No one is telling you to feel otherwise. You are free to feel however you’d like. I’ve read so many books on the process and the one thing I learned was it was all crap. There is no “right way” to grieve and the steps of grief? Those are BS, too. They don’t tell you those steps are not in order when you’re grieving. Just like you feel like you’re doing something wrong (you’re not), reading your posts makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong (I know I’m not either). You really are brave not just for sharing but being honest with yourself, something I wasn’t doing for months and it caught up with me. Reading your posts on grief makes me take a step further into this unreal life. Love to you. So much love.

  • Elizabeth Clements

    July 21, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Your life has never been my nightmare. I know, now, that if I lose a child or all of my children, I will live and I will survive, I will change, and it will suck. I will lean on God. I will. I have followed as you claw for purchase in mountains of grief. I have followed as you carve out little places of sanctuary. It's raw, it's real and unreal. It's unfair. Its like watching someone go through hell, trials, and tests to become a warrior.

  • agurski

    July 21, 2014 at 11:10 am

    always lots & lots of prayers to you friend. always.

  • cristina

    July 21, 2014 at 10:47 am

    You are so allowed to feel this way! I know people that you are describing..i find myself alot wondering …what the heck? I think the way you are grieving is healthier..

  • Mary Evelyn Smith

    July 21, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Thank you for writing this. I felt the same way after my son was diagnosed with spina bifida. I felt so lost and angry and when I scoured the Internet for information, I often found people who seemed so positive about their child’s diagnosis. They wrote that they wouldn’t want their kid any other way and that they knew it was meant to be and blah blah blah and I just felt like, how can that be? I don’t know about you but I couldn’t heal without letting myself get angry and scream and cry and shake my fist at God and really let myself feel the injustice of it all. I know we aren’t in the same situation but when it comes to grief, I think all emotions are allowed. You are showing other mothers that they are allowed to feel it their way, too. You are doing it right.

  • Amy Davis (@SomebodysParent)

    July 21, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I feel respect for you, your honesty and your courage. You don’t have to make it beautiful for anyone.

  • kristine454545

    July 21, 2014 at 10:23 am

    For a long time I couldn’t relate or deal with the grieving parent community at all. For different reasons. I hated everyone telling me they knew exactly how I felt. No one knows exactly how I am feeling at that moment. My point is that even though we are in this together and sometimes we need each other, sometimes reading things from other loss moms hurts for me too.

  • Jennifer Thomas Johnson

    July 21, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you for your honesty! I agree with you that my daughter's death was not beautiful and hasn't given me rainbows and sunshine- it hurts and makes me want to throw up and tear my hair out and scream and throw things. I should have my almost 7 month old baby here with me and nothing about this reality is nice and pretty.

  • kasmith03

    July 21, 2014 at 10:08 am

    No trite words, just hugs and prayers and tears along with you. Thank you for being transparent with where you are.

  • Erin @ DIY on the Cheap

    July 21, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I’m so sorry, Diana. I don’t know you, but I pray for your family all the time.

  • Kimbrough

    July 21, 2014 at 10:06 am

    When I hear your story, my first instinct isn’t to “feel sorry” for you or think that your life is awful. While I do very much emotionally feel for you, my first thought when I think of Diana Stone is “what a badass”. I’ll pause and apologize here to anybody who that phrase offends, but for me there’s no better way to describe it. You’ve endured great tragedy (twice over- 3 times in all) and are still here writing, believing, surviving. You are so much more than a woman who lost her sons— I’m AM sorry that’s been part of your journey, but I commend you for making the effort to be more than that. You’re a wife and a momma and a blogger and, okay, maybe not so much a sewer (yet!) but you are so much more than a grieving woman. I’m sure that goes with you and is a part of whatever you do, but from my perspective, you’re doing what needs to be done for you. No similar experiences in life are the same and people cope differently. No need to compare. You be you, lean into Him, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

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