Today marks two months since Alexander was born and received his angel wings. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to feel going into today but looking back now at 10:22pm I think it went well or as good as it could have considering. I started back working on Monday half days. I am so glad I decided to do that. When I arrived on Monday I was so full of anxiety and emotions I just cried when I walked in the door. I arrived to a warm welcome, a pretty sign and morning treats but I had to take some time to compose myself before starting the day. Sean gave me some really good advice the night prior - he said do all that you do to honor God...including your work. So I dried my eyes, slapped on a smile and commenced to doing my very best to honor God in all that I did.....my day went well. So today was day two of work and Alexander's two month angelversary. It was much easier to go to work today and I was able to focus on my work anticipating when I could just concentrate on Alex. I ended my half day by putting his pictures on my screen saver and background. As I drove home my focus shifted onto Alex and the tears fell. I was full of sadness and heartache. This happened from time to time the rest of the day. In between I managed to do my cheer director duties and attend Alexis's game she was cheering at. It's been a long evening but it was spent with the ones I love the most. I know Alexander would have loved it all and I yearned for him to be there all day. I miss him....I am sad.....but I am also grateful and blessed. I am joyful and I am hopeful. I end this day - this two month marker with a bittersweet smile. I am still very sad but hopeful about tomorrow.
Austin, Alexis, and Anthony posing :)
This week the kids are on fall break and we decided to tag along with Sean to Washington DC for a conference he was attending. I thought it would be a great time to spend with the kids before returning to work. Today we went walking around the National Harbor and we also went to the National Zoo. The day was great. The kids laughed and played....it warmed my heart to see them happy. I couldn't help but feel a little sad everytime I thought about Alexander not being with us. I imagined him cooing, me pushing a stroller everywhere, and of course me trying to find a discreet way to breastfeed - lol. Oh how I missed him today. The kids did too. We couldn't go into a store without Austin trying to find something with Alexanders name on it :).
What also striked me today was my crying spells. I mean, I really truly had a good day but ever so often I would feel like a stranger in my own body and I would just go in the bathroom, car, or wherever someone else wasn't to cry. All I could think was "I just don't feel right, I don't know me, I feel so different, I feel like a stranger in my own family, what's wrong with me, why am I crying..etc...etc.". I am still struggling in this area and it gets harder because I feel like my emotions are so blended together. It is easier when you know why you feel the way you do.....I'm sad because I miss Alex. Or I hurt because I loss my son. I'm mad because his life was cut short. Whatever the emotion/reason is. But what I struggle with is the emotions that come blended together with no clear reason. I didnt understand why I was crying or why I felt so out of place in the midst of all that is familiar (my family). I didn't understand what the root was. And I currently don't understand why I am crying as I write now.
Lord, you know me better than I know myself and I so need you NOW. PLEASE restore me....build me up oh God for I am broken and weak. Amen
Well, I needed to get that out. Tomorrow is a new day and I am hopeful. We are going to the smithsonian and I am taking the kids to see the University Sean and I met at (Howard). I believe that tomorrow will be another great day. My prayer is that I will be able to stay "present" and really enjoy the three blessings that God has allowed me to keep thus far.
We picked up Alexander's remains last week. It was wierd returning to the funeral home. Even wierder walking out with a small box that contained the remains of my precious son. The ride home was really quiet..solemn I guess. I kept looking down at this small box representing such a large beautiful life. The impact Alexander has had on us could never be contained as such but it still was comforting to have.
My days have been getting better and slowly I am finding my way. It's still scary trying to navigate my way but each day brings a newness/freshness that I am learning to embrace. I think about Alex a lot. I dream about how it would have been having him here. I talk to him often and in my own way I carry him with me as I move forward.
My journey has continued to draw me close to God. I find my studying and praying to have more meaning. In an attempt to make sense of all that has happened I have a thirst for God's word like never before. I long to be close to Him at all times.
I return to work next week......please keep me in your prayers. I know it is time but I have a lot of anxiety. I don't want to fail but I am afraid of succeeding????? How can I just go back like before? I feel so different. I just continue to pray and seek God.
Thank you all for your continued prayers.......
Well I did it.......today I finally called the funeral home to arrange picking up Alex's remains. For some reason that was a hard call to make and I have been putting it off. I have thought about it every day and have even carried some guilt for not calling sooner but in an effort to be gentle to myself (Jennifer I am learning - lol) I know it is okay. Sooooooo tomorrow I will go and pick up Alexanders remains - yeah! I am excited and look forward to having them with us. I opted not to get an urn because I really want to take my time to find the perfect way to keep them. Any suggestions?
Also, I posted on my facebook that I am starting a name gallery for Alexander! I am really excited about that. Whenever I see anything with Alexander on it I light up. I stopped a young boy last night at the park that was wearing a football jersey with Alexander on the back - had to take a picture :). Sooooooooo......readers if you come across a street sign, billboard, or ANYTHING with the name Alexander or Rivers on it PLEASE take a picture and email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul"
I read this quote/poem in a book I have been reading and it brought me a lot of comfort and was a much needed reminder. Although I am still full of sorrow and my heart still aches the quote reminds me that no matter how bad this hand we have been dealt sucks....God is still so very good and Alexander is resting in the most peaceful precious place.....in His presence so it IS well with my soul. Alexander came into my life and left such a wonderful impact on me. I cannot help but think about God's love and goodness everytime I think about Alex. His life was so fulfilling and it embodied pure love. For so long I have been clinging on to the pain of losing him. I looked at the pain as the closest thing to having Alex. The pain brings me back to July 28th. For awhile I thought the pain in a way kept his memory alive, not fully understanding that letting that pain go is the only way to truly keep him. Now, dont get me wrong I know that the pain in not just going away. But, as long as I dwell on the pain I am living in the past. Instead God commisions us to have hope and faith that there is more to our lives than what we are currently experiencing. The hope of seeing Alexander welcoming me into the kingdom of God one day and the faith that I carry knowing that Alexanders life has and will continue to do a good work for the Lord allows me to cry and laugh at the same time singing "it is well with my soul".
Thank you all for your patience. I know I don't blog as often as most would like. I don't blog as much as I would like but it is very important to me that every blog be truthful and sincere so I stray away from writing just to write.
A couple Sean and I know work for family life ministries. Sean coaches thier son. Ever since finding out about Alexander they have taken a very big interest in us and our story and have offered up a lot of support. When talking to them they expressed concern about our marriage noting that marriages that endure a loss of a child have a greater chance of failing (which is true). The husband said something next that has stuck with me. He said, in order to fight that you have to be "intentional". You have to know what you are up against and make intentional steps to protect yourself. For our marriage he gave examples of praying and reading together daily. It was great advice, probably more than he realizes. FThe next few days in random conversations with Sean I would use that word...intentional. He'd laugh and say "man, you really like that word!". I do. It spoke to me in a different way......
I think about where I am at right now in my grieving process. I have embraced the hurt and pain. I have felt the sadness and emptiness. But in the long run I desire to be whole again...healed. I know the paths grief can take and I have always expressed a desire for Alexander's story and our grief to bless others, Honor God, and make a difference somehow. If that is what I want than I have to be intentional about getting there. It is not an automatic path. there are several courses one can take and they all do not end up in good places. But I know the path I want to take. It is not easy and the devil does not want me to reach that point. I know that and have to prepare for that. I have to be intentional.
So how does one do that? I am reminded of the scripture that talks about putting on the whole armor of God. I think that scripture deals with being intentional/prepared. Doing things to protect yourself because you know what you are up against. In my case...I know that everyday I am plagued with sadness and heartache that the devil tries to use to rob me of my joy and purpose. An intentional way to fight that is to start my day with praise and gratitude. So that even when I am sad and I hurt I have also created a barrier of praise that protects my heart and reminds me of the goodness of God. It is a daily struggle but I am determined. Everything about my healing has to be intentional if I want to end up in a good place. And this applies to everything in life....we have to be intentional. Our children don't just wake up one day and are well behaved, love God, embraces purity, etc. No, as parents we have to take intentional actions or make intentional decisions that directly feed those characters into our children.
So this is where I am now. I wake up every morning with great expectations. I intend to heal and be a blessing to others - that is my goal. I am in a very blessed place right now. I miss my Alexander more and more each day but I delight in thinking about him. He continues to bless me. I love him and I love being his mom. I am so proud of my Alexander and I cannot wait to see him again.
I am a married mother to five amazing children. Four still walking with me on earth and one blessed soul we had to say goodbye to early. This is our journey about loving and letting go of our son Alexander who was diagnosed with Potter's Syndrome BRA at 20 weeks gestation.