Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Learning to Dance Again pt. I

The grass is turning. The leaves on the trees are about the size of a mouse's ear. The Spring flowers are putting on their show. (about a month behind schedule...) Lilacs are my favorite flower of all times. There is one particular place I go every Spring where I am surrounded by lilacs. It is the cemetery.As I posted yesterday, I was gone. To the cemetery. We have a few graves to visit. Grandparents, and my mother-in-law I was never fortunate enough to meet. But, there is one reason we head that way - it is to visit my daughter.

You probably know by now that we have four children. A boy, girl, boy and ohhhh boy. However, what most don't know is that we have had five children total (in five years time - yikes!). My girly girl was an identical twin. A mono-amniotic twin. (The two babies are in the same amniotic sack.) Without getting into details, let's just say this can lead to complications such as cords tangling - which is what happened. Our girls were taken by emergency C section one February afternoon. One came out wiggling and one didn't.


Portrait drawn by T.Halverson
from photo taken in delivery room


All I will say today is that as a parent it is very hard not to just lie down and die right next to your child. To hold your lifeless child's body is something that rips the life right out of you. This was 8 + years ago.

Each day since has been a journey. I have been learning to live again. To get up each day and not have it be the first thing on my mind, to not go to bed with a heavy heart. Learning how to make it through each day....and finally, learning how to dance through life again. Our journey has been a bit different since we look at the child we lost everyday. What I mean is the girls were identical. How one looks the other would have too. I know lots of people lose children but very few of them wake in the middle of the night to a little girl standing beside their bed and get confused. Is this real or is it a visit from the other side. If you lose a child you go through the process of , I wonder what they would have looked like or what they would be doing - it is almost more torturous to witness exactly what you are missing every day. Yet, it is a gift. A fine line to walk - trying not to teeter over the edge you are balancing on.

handprints from Alyse
taken at the hospital


I am not on this walk alone, I have my mate. My partner, my dearest... statistically we should not have made it through this struggle, most couples don't. It should have been too much, yet we survived. Together we are relearning the steps to this dance of life. We still step on each others toes sometimes - but we are learning the steps together, hopefully taking more steps forward then back.
We have since then had two other babies. A boy that we very much wanted and a gift in the package of a very unexpected boy. Who really plans on having 5 babies in 5 years time? Not me... but, I did it.


I love this cemetery. It is the Leaf Lake Finnish Cemetery. All the old head stones are printed in Finnish. It is peaceful, up on a hill, surrounded by fields on one side and a pine stand on the other. There are random flowers and bulbs that bloom from mourners of the ages past. Eagles, pheasant, humming birds, deer, and other critters make their way through. The wind blows and the sunset casts lovely shadow. The only traffic going by are family and friends heading home down the dirt road.

Beside being lovely we chose this cemetery for three other reasons 1) it was free, there were already a row of family plots available 2) there is family buried there already 3) it is 2 hours away from my house. I didn't want to be that mom that spent all her time staring at a headstone - I needed to move on... to step forward, not stay in that moment. There are still some days that it is hard to breath. Only the last two years have I been able to help plan my girly's birthday, and there will be days that will be joyous and unbearable all the same. I am no longer the same person I was, nor will I be again. But, I have learned how to dance again, something I always found joy in before.

20 comments:

math guy, dock guy said...

Thanks Jules.

julochka said...

of course you know that i relate to this on more levels than most...but what strikes me about the post is how fantastic it is to have the yearly ceremony/tradition of going and visiting and addie putting her hand next to her sister's hand.

i find that it fades, but it's always somehow there. for me, the birthdays weren't ever a problem, but for a very long time, i had a problem, no, a rage, seeing people with twins and wondering why they deserved to experience it and i didn't, because having twins seemed like something so special.

i don't feel that way anymore. thankfully, because a very good friend has twins who are now 6, but we actually weren't friends for several years because it hurt too much.

thank you for sharing your story, it's undoubtedly a huge step towards dancing again.

xoxox,
/j

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

I am so sorry, Jules. I do not know how one lives with seeing the other side every day..a twin, but I do understand the wondering of how different life would be should they be with us today. We lost our first born daughter after 10 months. My only consolation is knowing that it was God's will and not ours...a bigger part of a plan that we are not aware of in the present. To an angel in heaven....

Vicky said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I've learned over time there is nothing sufficient to say, so I say nothing but want you to just know my prayers are with you for this journey you will continue to walk.

This is a beautiful heartfelt post. Thanks for sharing it with us! Lilacs are my faves too, and mines are barely buds still.

~Thought's By Dena~ said...

this post touches the heart in so many ways!!!! I lost a baby before it was even born and the pain in that is very hard to deal with to this day...but you are right you have to learn to "dance" again...and realize that life does go on...and we do need to keep on living it...((HUGZ)) to you Jules....((hugz)) to you!!!

marinik said...

Oh Jules... thank you for opening your heart to us, it couldn't have been easy, now I see why you have such a deep heart and soul, anyone who has experienced this and survived it has so much that you've overcome.
Thanks again
hugs

The Fragrant Muse said...

I have tears as I read this. Thank you for sharing a very intimate part of your life.

Missy said...

WoW! Thanks for sharing such an intimate story! How hard every day must be for you, but also so pleasing for you! Your children are beautiful and you are doing an amazing job with them! No one from anyone can make the hurt better, but I will pray for you and your family! God has a way of turning pain into joy!

Sandra said...

Julie, I'm so sorry. And I'm glad you can dance again.

Kacie said...

I agree with what some others wrote, your children are beautiful! And I have so much respect for you and what you went through and are still going through... when I have kids someday, you are a one of the many great mothers out there I'd like to emulate. Hang in there, and keep on blogging and dancing!

Alexandra said...

Julie, thank you for sharing your heart. There are many women in my family who have lost children before they were born and one who lost a child not long after he was born. It has happened to friends of mine as well. I hope that I am spared this pain and the effort it takes to rebuild your relationship and live in the aftermath. I will email this post to friends and family, because i have no doubt it will help them to be able to speak more openly about their experiences and to know there is a way through. You have no idea how powerful your words are and how very many people you have helped by sharing them. May you keep dancing. xoxo

Delwyn said...

Jules,
thank you for sharing your story. That too is part of the healing...

Happy days

Lorac said...

I hope that one day your heart heals enough to dance through every day!

MagnificentDebra said...

I have often wondered and been afraid to ask. Thank you for sharing this part of yourself. Your words are amazing at communicating the heart. I feel I understand a little bit more and admire your courage a whole lot more. Love to you and your family. Welcome home. xxoo

Polly said...

Such a poignant read, thank you, Julie for sharing this. I hope you'll learn to enjoy the dance soon.

Adam said...

......i have nothing......really, but I couldn't pass this post without leaving a comment.

The title instantly made me think of this song.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9okz7FD21U

it doesn't relate to the subject matter other than the fact that it relates to the title.

Tara Thayer said...

I've got nothing to say that you need me to say, but I just wanted you to know that I read this, cried a little, and wish you a whole lot of love.
tt

Liss said...

Oh Jules,

I am very sorry you have had to endure such heartache that many like me can not begin to imagine. When I see lilacs now I will remember you and your girl and say a prayer to help you to continue to find your dancing feet.

Pattern and Perspective said...

How sad, Jules. I'm glad you are learning to dance again. It is good you carry Alyse with you, in your heart, each day.

Candi said...

Hi Jules. Even though I have not lost a child, your post really touched me. We go through this life taking so much for granted. Thank you for reminding me of that. God bless you!