Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Moving Forward

Every day at 1:00 I think of Joseph. It's his naptime. From the time he was about 18 months that has been when his little body turned in for a mid-day rest. Any earlier and he just wasn't ready but if I left it much past then he would start to melt down. I am still trained to think I have something to do at one o'clock every day. Holly is a little more flexible and can make it even until about 3 some days, but usually it is closer to 2:00. But in my head I still think I need to be home at 1:00.

It is things like this that happen every day that make this grieving thing so hard. I really do feel like I'm doing much better, but it's when I randomly feel like announcing that it's Joseph's naptime to our friends at lunch that I wonder if I will ever be normal again. I have so many secret memories and associations that can be triggered at any time, and they can trigger so many different emotions in me. Sometimes I just want to laugh but other times I want to cry.
A few weeks ago we were at the library with some friends and their children. Holly and I came out to the courtyard early before the story time was over and there was another little boy playing by the fountain. I don't see many little boys who look like Joseph but this one reminded me of him so much. He had the exact same sandy hair that was unusually thick for a child. He even was dressed similarly to the way I dressed Joseph. And he had that boisterous personality that we all know and love. Holly just stood and watched him for a while and within a few minutes they were chasing each other and playing. At one point she came over to me and he just came over and smiled to try to win her back. It was so sweet. But I had this crazy thought, "I wonder if I could just watch him for a day...would his mom let me, I wonder?"

Our friends came out shortly after this but I felt like I was just done for the day. I couldn't muster up the strength to have a normal conversation and I know I probably acted a little like a zombie. I was just so overcome by memories and the longing to see my Joseph play with Holly. And I couldn't help just watching him to see if he really acted like Joseph.

My friends may not have noticed, or if they did they weren't bothered, but I am bothered that I can so easily be "not present" when I'm around friends. I have always enjoyed get-togethers and parties and being social, but when I can so easily drift into this world they can't understand it just makes it hard. I feel like I'm the outsider, even though no-one is making me feel this way.
About a month ago I started seeing a counselor to talk about everything and work through some of my feelings. It has been so very helpful and I wish I had done it sooner. At the last meeting she asked me what my goal was--where I'd like to be in a few months. I had a really hard time answering her because on the one hand I don't want to stay in that overwhelming sadness but I don't want to move on and forget Joseph and just pretend like he was never part of our family. So, my answer was that I wanted to be somewhere in the middle--able to live and move forward with hope but to always bring him with us wherever we went. I want Holly and this new baby to know him and see pictures of him and know that he will always be part of our family. The hard part about that is that it will inevitably bring sadness, as we will then have to acknowledge he is no longer with us and that we will be separated from him until heaven. It is hard to even say I want to move forward because it feels like the more we do the farther we move away from him and the time he was with us. But she did encourage me that moving forward is not betraying him, as I had inwardly believed.

I am writing all this because I thought today how many people carry burdens like this all their lives. Maybe it is the memory of abuse or neglect, a deep loss, a struggle with infertility and/or miscarriages, chronic illness, or a painful marriage. And each day they have to struggle against the temptation to be bitter, to just "check out" or give up, or to stay isolated for fear of being abnormal. I guess I realized there is pain all around me and I am not the only one. But thankfully we do have hope. We can bring our burdens to God without trying to minimize them or ignore them and he promises rest. He recognizes that we are weary and burdened (Matt. 11:28) and he offers some relief. He doesn't say, "Cheer up and get on with it," but "Come to me." He will do the changing.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's A....

Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

We went for the 20 week ultrasound and are thrilled to say everything looked great and our little girl is growing and moving around well. It was amazing to see her little fingers and toes moving around. Nana came prepared with two signs, one for a girl and one for a boy. As you can see, we used the girl sign because we are having a girl! Holly has been convinced all along that she is having a sister so she was ecstatic when we told her it really was a sister. When we were leaving, she looked a little disappointed and asked, "When are they going to take the baby out?" She thought we were going to get to really see the baby today, poor thing. It is a long time to wait. But if the next 20 weeks go as fast as the first 20 then it will be here in no time.

We are so thankful for this little growing baby and cannot wait to meet her!

And Allen can look forward to many more tea parties and playing like this:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A 5K for Joe P.!!

We have some more exciting news! Allen's sweet brother, Matt, is organizing a 5K in Joseph's honor. He and his team have come up with a date--October 31st in Nashville, TN at Centennial Park. Mark your calendars and start your training for this fiercely competitive race (Just kidding!). The wonderful Rally Foundation is helping him organize it and all proceeds will go to this foundation to fund childhood cancer research. They will create a website where you may sign up so we will keep you posted about that once it is available. We are so excited about this and are so grateful to Matt and his team for honoring Joseph in this way.

In other Peabody news, we are still planning to move around the end of May/beginning of June. We haven't found a house yet, but at the end of the month I will be going down for a shower and plan to look at some houses then. We have not started packing yet, although that will probably start happening soon (I hope). We accumulated about 5 million new toys this last year, so I'm really dreading tackling that play room. My sister, who is toy-organizer extraordinaire, has promised to help me so I'm holding you to it, SJ!

I've decided to tackle another project--digital picture organizing/printing, just so we have more stuff to pack. :) But, since I haven't printed a single picture since um, 2006, it just has to be done. I have found a great website and it is really easy to upload my many pictures pretty quickly. It has been very sweet to look back at pictures of Joseph and Holly playing together, going to parks, playgroups, etc. They were the cutest little team ever. I know it is crazy to post pictures from over two years ago but I have to share a couple of my favorites (these are February 07):

We wish you all a very happy Easter tomorrow. Yesterday I took Holly to the Resurrection Trail at church and tried to help her understand that Easter is, in fact, about something much bigger and cooler than easter eggs and candy. It was really well done and it made me cherish Christ's sacrifice so much more as I pondered what it meant in real life for us and for Joseph. I think she really understood that Jesus was killed but when I told her that God made him alive again, her face lit up and she was so happy, b/c I also told her that it meant one day she and I and Daddy and Joseph could all be alive together again in heaven (she was quick to add Kellogg to our family). I was so glad we went, though, because sometimes I need things explained to me in kid-terms to make it real in my heart. At the end of the trail all these children dressed as angels were exclaiming, "He is risen!" and it was such a beautiful glimpse of heaven to me and made me feel like we were close to Joseph. We really can only imagine the beauty but I know it has to be staggering. This Easter I am so thankful for the miracle of the resurrection and the sacrifice of Jesus that allows us to have confidence in our eternity.