Thursday, November 1, 2012

In the Blink of an Eye

How many times have you heard someone say Your life can change in the blink of an eye? Have you ever really thought about that? Do you believe it? Has it happened to you?

I can't even count how many times I heard that. I always knew it was true because you hear about tragedies and you know those affected will never be the same. I've had my life changed in the blink of an eye. And in the time it took someone to say no cardiac activity my whole world changed-- my plans, my hopes, everything. It's hard to take in in that moment--that moment where you think This must be a dream, this can't be true, this can't be happening to me. Have you been there? Do you know what I mean? Honestly I hope you haven't but sadly so many have for different reasons.

I had so many plans about what life would be like once Barrett arrived--what I would do, what trips would be like, outfits I would buy him, etc, etc. One thing that was most definitely not in my plans? Starting a non-profit. But oh the joy that Barrett's Blankets has brought to me! Thank you God and little man for that--without you that never would have been in "my" plans.

So many things are different now. Little things I didn't notice before can seem so important now.

Audrey & I at the game
Last weekend my family went to the Alabama vs. Mississippi State game--we're huge Bama fans except my husband. He's an Auburn fan--house divided. He didn't go with us, but we had a whole crew up there. It was so much fun, but I had one moment when I was alone and had time to think where I missed him an extra lot. We knew we were going to this game for months. Right before Barrett died, I bought an Alabama maternity shirt with hand prints on the belly that says "Quarterback in Training". I loved it and couldn't wait to wear it. So in that moment as I stood there alone and I looked down the street, I just "people watched" as I thought of my Barrett. I like to think that these little moments of warmth I had standing there as the cold wind beat down on me was my Barrett letting me know that he was there, though not in the way I had hoped.

Like so many times before I looked down at my flat belly and I thought of the shirt I should be wearing on what would now be a very pronounced belly. I thought about how Barrett should be kicking away at that spot on the shirt where the hand prints would be. Instead, that shirt is still in the packaging because it came in the mail after he died. I knew what it was and I couldn't open it.

Yesterday was the first holiday since losing Barrett. He wouldn't have been born yet, so I wasn't thinking of what costume he would be wearing or anything like that. But it still didn't feel right. He should have been doing somersaults in my belly while Audrey and I went door to door. My feet should have been aching from carrying the extra weight. I should have been fighting my pregnancy sweet tooth as I saw all of that chocolate. I should have been wearing one of those cute maternity costumes I saw on Pinterest and had planned to wear.

I was talking to someone yesterday about grieving a child and I told them that if it's never happened to a person, I can't expect them to understand completely.  The moment a woman finds out she is pregnant, the hopes and dreams for that child begin to form. Many have longed for and consistently prayed for the life inside of them for a very long time. The joy and attachment is instant. So no matter when you lose your child, it is devastating. Not only are you grieving for the child, but the hopes and dreams and plans that are gone forever. They will never again happen for that child. That's a hard truth to accept.

Here's my advice for everyone today who knows an angel mom--listen to them, think before you speak (there are so many amazing articles on what to say and what not to say--Google them!), and if they named their child ALWAYS refer to them by name--that is equal to acknowledging that they existed and they lived and they are important in this world. I know for me, my favorite thing in the world is to hear Barrett's name. I love to hear of how he has touched someone because it reminds me of the purpose God created him for.

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