Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Ones Left Behind

Recently I have joined yet another TTTS group online within Facebook. This one is for grief support and I'll be honest, most days anyway, I think I am able to give more support than I need to receive...which makes me feel pretty good about my TTTS journey. The discussion recently came up about others views on religion after TTTS touched their lives. I've spoken on here before about the views of some, especially those who lost both of their precious babies. I always find it interesting to see how the loss of child or children changes people's views of religion. It definitely affected mine, changed it somewhat but for the most part it just secured my position that God is infinite is his love and support.
Anyway, back to what was said by some and then to what was said by me....
Some people commented that they felt like there can't be 'a God' because why would anyone want to do this to us, what did we do to deserve this 'hell' and pain. Some people believe that it is a beautiful fairytale that brings comfort to those who need it but really it's just that, a fairytale. But others felt the opposite, they felt like there must be a God, and that he must have really wanted their babies and had an amazing job for them. It made me ponder things and put my feelings into perspective and words. I think I've written some of this before but this is what I wrote to them and wish to share with you...

We are all entitled to our opinion and all grew up so differently. We all experienced TTTS in different ways too and it affected us differently. I grew up believing in a 'good' God...not the hellfire and brimstone kind, not the evil and sin sorta situation. More like God does amazing things for everyone and He has a purpose for us all. I had always wondered at people believing that God took those people home that He did because He had a special job for them. I, too, thought that it didn't seem right...why take a good person and leave a jerk here??? I have since come to believe, very strongly, that God's purpose in the whole grief and crisis journey is not about the person He takes, it's not about having a special job in Heaven for that person (though I do believe that He may give special jobs to people who are there). I believe that God is here, not for those that go before us but for those left behind and that the loss isn't about their job in Heaven but about our job on earth. I truly believe that Cole went ahead of us because there was a great purpose for me here on earth that I would need to feel this hurt, this pain, this brokeness to understand. I don't think God wants to cause us pain or wants to see us in pain. I don't believe, again, that it is about the person 'He takes from us' but rather about Him being here for us after that person is gone. I believe very strongly that I will see my son again...I believe very strongly that Cole and God guide me towards a goal...their goal. I am so very drawn to do and say things that I never was before and to me, this is my angel and my God speaking to me. I am sorry that others don't feel this way but I don't feel I am living in a fairytale...and if I am well...well at least it is a place of approaching peace and hope (I say approaching because there are still bitter moments and angry times but they grow less and less).

I've spent a lot of time talking about this subject with a few people both in person, online and on the phone lately. Some people truly support and agree with me, others look at me as if I have two heads. Some think what I say has merit (some even sent me personal messages to say thanks for this perspective) and others have shot me down. And guess what...I don't care either way. I am going to do what I feel drawn to do, I am going to be the person I feel God is pushing me to be. Do I want others to believe what I, not really. I mean I guess I'd like to think I am not alone in this thought process but what you believe is so truly personal that I don't believe we ever have a right to questions others beliefs. I do believe we have a job to share God with others and to help them see that He is there for them but is it my job to change people's minds about their religion, to convert them to way.
Something that I have stressed often though is that this is so very hard to get to, this place of peace, for some anyway. Actually it isn't the place of peace that comes first for me, it's the place of acceptance. It has taken me so long to accept that I just have no control over the major things that happen in my life. When we found out we were expecting the twins I was blown away...couldn't have seen that one coming for anything. I questioned why and how but came to a place of acceptance. When we lost Cole I questioned again and in all honesty I am not always done questioning. But right from the start I believed there was great purpose for this 'twinness' to come to my life, for Cole to be my son in Heaven and not on earth. I believed God had a plan for me, the mommy left behind. When I was in the very early stages of the loss..the first 3 months or so after he passed away...really before he was born, I was sure I knew part of the reason... I felt it MUST be to bring our family closer, to get Geoff and I working together better as parents etc. Each time that would blow up in my face, each time I would get a call from home that left me upset, angry, frustrated etc. I would question this plan or question myself. In time (okay in a very very long time) I came to realize that I just might not EVER understand fully this plan but I could accept it, I could take God into my heart and ask Him to help me get there, help me make good choices, help me be what He wants me to guide me. I feel so drawn to helping others, so drawn to fundraising, raising awareness and now to writing my book. I am very certain that I was left behind for a reason and that part of this is the reason.
Incidentally, I am thinking of calling the book "The Ones Left Behind" but struggle with this since the first third of the book or so will be about the pregnancy and before the loss...but we'll see. And for those reading this who wonder what the heck I am talking about...I set a lofty goal for turn this blog and other writing I've done into a book about our TTTS journey. So far it reads like letters to my boys but in adult tones. Some of it is conversation and interactions with others and others is just feelings, emotions and personal messages to them. I hope that it will all come together to show how much my boys have taught me and that being left behind with an angel watching out for you is a pretty amazing thing.
I'm going to leave this blog with another poem that was shared online in this same group...I really like it and think it captures just how I've come to feel about God...

No Footprints

I've listened to the "footprints" poem
a million times or more
Of how when only one set shows
upon the sandy shore
It is the Lord carrying us
and taking on our load
And His are the only set
of footprints that showed.

But what if when we look
there are no footprints to be found?
All we see is plain and simple
sand upon the ground.
No imprints showing that our Lord
is carrying us through life
Helping us when we feel
we can not handle all this strife.

Where is my Lord now that I've fallen
and can't seem to get back up?
So tired and lonely
trying to deal with what seems
an overflowing cup.
Where are those footprints
in the sand
to tell me He's right there?
Helping me with problems
and showing that He really does care.

Does He have favorites, OH NO,
please tell me that's not so!
By why does life seem easier
for some people that I know?
And sometimes I just scream out loud
although it seems in vain,
but often it gets harder each day
to deal with all this pain.

And then it dawned on me
as I realize how simple could it be.
I wonder why I was so blind
that I truly did not see.
It must have been a lightning bolt
that one day gave me light,
Cause out of the clear blue sky,
I finally regained my sight.

I saw a fluffy white cloud
shaped like an Angel dear.
That helped me to understand
and see things oh so clear,
That when I saw no footprints
and so often wondered why,
My Lord carried me on Angel wings,
when He decided to fly.
(by LyndyAngel)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Heaven on Earth

I recently finished reading “Mercy” by Jodi Picoult (great author, even better name!!!). Now the book itself could leave me with a whole blogging entry of its own as it is about mercy killing. It’s a topic I don’t think I’ll ever write about but thought provoking none the less. The book is about a man who murders his wife because she is dying and she asks him to. He then spends a great deal of time trying to ‘find’ her, to find Heaven.
This passage really spoke to me...I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to guess why....
She was sitting on top of the copier ... A million questions bubbled up in his throat. Do you miss me? Did it hurt? Are you healthy now? Do you love me? But he found himself silent, chocked by his own curiosity. ..... He thought Is she an angel? And when she nodded slightly, he grinned. Nothing had changed between them. She could still read his mind.
He understood then that heaven was what you made of it, that it differed for everyone, and that you could find it in the most unexpected places. He had been looking so hard for Maggie he had not bothered to notice when she appeared, thinking that without a requisite halo and a star in the palm of her hand, she was nothing more than a memory. But Maggie
... well, he had been seeing her like this for weeks: in the reflection of a dinner plate at Ellen’s house, or staring back from behind the bathroom mirror when he was trying to shave.
“You found me,” he whispered.
What a thought to ponder....Heaven is what you make of it and that you can find it in the most unexpected places...that our angels just might be around us, that Heaven might be around us, all the time. And maybe to even take it further, that we live in Heaven all of the time, we just don’t know what we are looking for or at.
I think Jodi Picoult might be on to something in a way. I am not sure about Heaven being all around us but I am quite certain that our angels are. I have a friend who has asked if I feel Cole and I would have to be honest and say, up until recently, no. I’ve wanted to, I’ve tried to envision him. You’d think that would be easy given that he looks exactly like Cameron but it’s just not like that for me. But recently I would have to say I really think I have felt, and maybe even seen him.
On Christmas Eve, amidst all the hustle and bustle and among the beautiful voices of those around me singing Silent Night I am quite certain that I felt him. I was holding Cameron on my knee with one hand and holding a candle in the other. The candle flickered and the flame almost seemed to tip sideways towards Cameron and a glow seemed to be all around him. I was overcome with such an intense feeling of longing and sadness as I pictured holding two little boys on my lap. The tears streamed down my cheeks but then I suddenly could feel warmth all over and a pressure on the side I was holding the candle with. I’d like to think that Cole was sitting on my knee at that moment too.
But I do wonder, after reading this passage from Mercy, if maybe we do look too hard for the signs of angels and Heaven and that maybe it really is right here, all around us, just waiting for us to take notice. It’s a comforting thought I think. It’s one that makes me wonder if the motivation to do things honour a lost loved one, to fundraise, to raise awareness, to support others on their journey, to speak often of that person...maybe all of those things are the ways that the loved one we miss so much is showing us that they are right here and have been all along. Again, pretty comforting. Another thought that occurred to me when reading this was about memories. The character in the book, Jamie, ponders whether the things he considered memories, the places where he saw his dead wife, the visions of her, were not memories at all but instead her angel spirit coming to him. Perhaps all it takes to see our angels is an open mind, a willing heart and the time and patience to be still.

One more comforting thing I want to share. It’s personal and completely about Cole. Well not completely. I wanted to share about my intense feelings of things being okay and being at the greatest place of peace I have ever felt since he passed away. The reason... Brian, my friend who passed away a few weeks ago. Recently I have been feeling such an intense sense of calmness and peace when it comes to Cole and I really believe that is because I believe that Brian is looking after Cole...and maybe Cole is looking after Brian too. I think that in my heart I just needed to know that Cole was being looked after in Heaven, wherever that may be. That someone was stepping into the role of parent and raising my son for me. I know that God is there for him, but let’s be honest, He’s got a lot on his plate. I am sure that God has many great parents up there for Cole but it brings me great comfort to know that one of my friends will be giving the love that he had for his kids here on earth and doing the amazing job he did as Dad to them to my son. As much as it makes me so very sad that Cole will spend his life away from me and that Brian will not be there to see his kids grow up, it also makes me feel very much at peace to know that he is there for Cole and that they will have each other.