Okay so Christmas got ahold of me and took me away from my computer and my focus on wrapping this up. With the subject of acceptance I began to research just to see what was 'out there'. I found this and knew that it contained a wonderful message.
But it just didn't feel like the message I wanted to blog about.
I knew what I wanted to write about but just couldn't find the time to do think about it and get it written. Well that's not exactly true because I have had this subject on my heart for days and thought of little else at times...because it is the hardest to write about. It's been even heavier on my heart since Sunday night when my newest TTTS mommy friend, a fellow Canadian who I actually met online through a real friend, helped to find support via a facebook group and even financial aid through Fetal Hope, who I spoke to about Dr. Ryan and who, when she met Dr. Ryan spoke about me, who I got to know better as she flew half way across Canada to have surgery and who sent messages back and forth with for many weeks.... running on here I know, please bear with me cuz this is another hard one... when my new TTTS mommy friend suddenly went into labour, was flown to Edmonton and sadly, said hello and goodbye to her boys on Dec. 23. My heart has ached for her and I have had such a hard time accepting this one. She has already had late term pregnancy loss in her life and this was her last pregnancy no matter what happened. So acceptance of what is brought to our lives has been pretty heavy on my heart.
I picked this subject, this gift to end my project before I started as I knew I needed to end on a note of peace but also needed to push myself ahead to accept, even more, what my life is, has become. I had no idea then what would happen only a few days before the end of the project and no idea how challenging it would be...thus why it took me so many days to write.
The thing about acceptance is that it only comes when we are willing to let it....
Acting or ready to act gladly; eagerly compliant:' and I can promise you that being ready to act gladly about losing your child, being eagerly compliant about saying goodbye is next to impossible for most people and is certainly not something that happens with ease. I am not sure I ever went willingly but I certainly didn't for a great many years. I am not sure I am even yet at the willingness stage. I have accepted that this is my life and can see it for the wonderful life it is...a life that would not be possible without that piece of my heart that belongs to Cole, that piece of my 'babies puzzle' that shows his face with and angelic innocence and peace. But somedays...somedays willingness is not as easy.
When I began to plan what I wanted to write about for acceptance I knew the perfect thing to use. I had already written about it atleast twice....but little did I know how deeply it would affect me to pull this past post up, watch the video and write about it once again.
The scene that speaks to me most about acceptance is from one of my favourite movies, 'Courageous'. This scene is one of the hardest ones for me to watch and rewatch from this movie. I remember being in those shoes, the shoes of a parent who can't make sense of what God is doing in their life, who does not know how to go forward after losing a child, who feels so confused, angry, bitter and frustrated. It is a process...sometimes a long and painful one. The pastor in Courageous puts it like this....
"Adam there needs to be a grieving process, and the Lords the one who carries you through it. It takes time. It takes time for healing. I've heard many people say who've lost a loved one, that in some ways, it's like learning to live with an amputation. You do heal, but you're never the same. I would also say, that those who go through this and trust in the Lord discover a comfort and an intimacy with God that most people never experience.”
This last line is so powerful to me. I remember in the days, weeks and months…okay years after we lost Cole I knew that I was not the same, would never be the same but I slowly began a relationship with the Lord that I didn’t know was possible. I always believed but when I thought about my son sitting in our heavenly Father’s lap, rocking in a chair with Jesus I just felt such comfort. It still took me so very long though to really come to Christ. It’s funny because people will ask my husband and I how long we've been Christians and I just stumble over the answer because it wasn’t like it is for many born again Christians… I didn't confess my sins and invite Him into my life and start from there. I think He was always there, I always knew I had Him in my life. I have spent a lot of time in the last 30 days or so reading and rereading old blog posts and I am shocked, to be honest, at the things I wrote before I was 'born again' in a sense. I was so close to getting it, to understanding what I needed to do and yet I was so far away too. Before I got pregnant with the twins and took my TTTS journey I thought I knew God but I had no clue what it meant to really 'know' him. I think I thought I could do it alone, that I was in control. And I guess in a way I was because I fought Him and his will, I celebrated free will, every chance I got. But when Cole was gone and my heart felt broken I began to look at my life and my faith differently. I knew I needed God in my life but I didn't trust my life to Him I don't think. But over time it became clearer and clearer and my relationship with Christ began to slowly grow. I took in bits at a time of a new faith, a new belief, a new relationship with Jesus. And then as I began to explore things in a new church it became crystal clear to me that I needed, desperately, to grow my relationship with God. I felt myself turn to him like he was a friend and I found great comfort in the intimacy of our relationship.
But having this relationship does not mean that the process becomes easy, it doesn’t mean you don’t question, every single day, why this is your life, why you had to lose, why you have to hurt so bad. Adam’s pastor shares that God “doesn't promise an explanation, but He does promise to walk with us through the pain. And the hard choice for you is whether or not your going to be angry for the time you didn't have..., or grateful for the time that you did have."
I made myself watch this scene twice tonight because I knew that I needed to hear these words...and I needed to cry tonight over the loss of yet another pair of babies to TTTS. I needed to read the words above and think about this hard choice that I have had to make in order to find acceptance. Because it is a choice and it is an impossibly hard, at times, choice and it takes such great courage to make that choice to not be angry but to celebrate instead. I dreamed of the things we would have done with our twins, I envisioned all those matching outfits and toys. The dreams of our matching children climbing on a school bus, packing to move to out, graduating from university, standing up as each other’s best friend at their weddings. I had planned so much and then, like my friend Colette, every single thing I planned had been ripped from arms, stolen from my outstretched hands. For both of us, we were so darned close, the dream was within reach... just a few more weeks, a few hundred grams of weight and we would have been safe and clear to deliver safely. I know I was so very angry at times. It just seemed so unfair to not have had those dreams come true, to have not made those memories, that time together with my amazing identical twins. I wanted (ok I did) to scream and throw things. I wanted my life back.
But gradually, over time, I became more peaceful. I found hope in the future, in the reuniting I would have with my son. But it wasn’t until I watched the movie Courageous for the second time last winter and was reflecting on many areas of it that I realized that finding that peace and hope was wonderful but it was a peace and hope centered around acceptance of what I had lost. It was never a celebration of joy for what we’d had.
But what an amazing thing we did have. What an absolute blessing from God. I did this math last winter and I just have to share it again, to show just how blessed by God we were to be part of this unique group... Only 3% of all women have twins. For easy math that’s 30 sets of twins out of 1000 births. Only 15% of all twin pregnancies are identical… 15% of 3%... hmmmm 15% of 30 is 4.5 out of 1000…though other research says that identicals occur as little as 3 out of 1000 births. That is pretty amazing odds, what a blessed miracle. I am one of so few women to experience the wonderful shock of finding out your body had performed this amazing miracle and split an egg into to two identical little beings. I will never, ever forget those moments….”I have some news for you Mrs. Tummers…there’s two babies in there!!!”. No one can take that moment from me and no one can take the excitement I felt at telling everyone I saw that I was having twins. I didn’t have a lot of time with Cole but I will cherish each and every memory of that time. Each and every ultrasound, each and every flutter and kick. The quick growth my body experienced, the rapid changes. The plans for my babies…what they would wear, where they would sleep, what Halloween costume I’d dress them in. I woke each and every day in wonderment of the miracle that was happening. I remember saying to Geoff atleast once a week…’wow, we’re going to have twins…that is so amazing’. I will cherish the memories of my worries and questions and of the places I turned to for support. But most of all I will cherish the memory of seeing him month after month via ultrasound… kicking, waving, sucking his thumb, hitting and kicking his brother. I will cherish those pictures and I will be forever grateful for the time I had with my son.
Grief is a journey and that journey has so many twists and turns along the way. I am so very grateful that I have the Lord to lean on as I take this journey and I am so very grateful for all the memories he allowed me to have of the times before grief became a part of everyday life. Moreover, I am so very grateful for the courage He has given me to grieve publicly, to share my heart and soul in hopes that others will find peace, to be able to look back at the whole journey with a smile, a tender heart and great joy.
Acceptance, for me, is hope, it's joy, it's memories and it's not wishing I could turn back time to change things but rather that I can embrace the memories I have and apply all they've given me to the future