Friday, December 5, 2014

Gifts for Christmas Mourning – The Gift of a Hug

There is something about physical comfort when your world has been turned upside down.  There is nothing like the gentle touch from someone who cares when one of those moments hit you and you feel overwhelmed by sadness.  There is no feeling like being held up by a big, long hug when you feel like you can’t stand on your own feet any longer, like your grief and sadness has made you weak and you just can’t go on. 
I thought today I would share some of my memories of these type of moments.  Some that are connected to deep sadness but others that came before the deep sadness could arrive.
The day we lost Cole was by far the worst day of my life. It was a Saturday, 12 days before Christmas, and my parents, my brother and his new (and pregnant) wife and my two older boys who were being babysat by them, were on their way to a family Christmas.  Geoff had the horrible job of calling them on their cell phone to tell them that we’d lost one of the babies and weren’t sure how healthy the other one was. 
My parents did what any parents would…dropped what they were doing (which was difficult since they were ¼ of the way to family Christmas with 4 other people in the vehicle) and came to be with me.  I’ll never ever forget them walking into my hospital room.  First my mom, then my dad, both with tears in their eyes and soon sobs as they wrapped me in one of those type of hugs that feels like it will go one forever and that’s ok because you never want it to stop. 
Later that day I had another procedure done to try to save Cameron’s life (and thankfully it worked beautifully).  Geoff was done both emotionally and physically and also has a very weak stomach for big needles.  The procedure done involved a very big needle being put into my stomach and into my uterus…repeatedly.  My parents had a funny discussion about who would come with me, both of them thinking the other should be the one.  In the end, my science loving Dad, came with me for the procedure and provided more of this physical comfort.  He held my hand, he brushed hair out of my face, rubbed my arms and he wiped off my sweaty forehead and the tears off my cheeks. 
The next day we went home and I cried as we drove into town.  How was it possible that only 3 days prior I had left to go to work and a few appointments and now life would never, ever be the same again.  We parked in our driveway and I couldn’t move.  I could not bring myself to walk up the driveway and into the house.  I didn’t have the energy or the ability.  Geoff took my hand and we walked slowly in the door.  Then he held me as I cried knowing that my dreams of each of us walking in with a baby carrier were forever shattered. 
Those are all pretty sad memories but not all of my memories of physical comfort are.  I can remember so many times that I would be feeling sad and missing Cole and Cameron would just instinctively know that Mommy needed a hug.  Just this week at church I was caught in a moment of what if…what if I had four little boys being rowdy, what if I was planning gifts for four little boys.  All of sudden Cam crawled up on my lap and gave me a huge hug and told me he loved me.  Completely random and exactly what I needed.  It doesn’t even have to be a sad moment though where his affection takes me by surprise and makes me smile and just how blessed I am and how much I used to take that kind of stuff for granted.  Sometimes it’s a frustrating time and he suddenly stops me and says ‘Mom, I need a hug’. 

I think a hug, a touch, some form of physical comfort provides a release of something in our bodies, some chemical or something that is like a drug to our heart and soul.  Before we experienced this loss I enjoyed hugs but never seemed tuned in to what a hug can do. Now I know it’s a vital part of my life.  

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