Passing Pinwheels chronicles life after loss. I decided to sit down and write about the people, activities, and words that helped my family and me cope as we came to terms with the stillbirth of our son Garrett in June 2011.
What Not to Say to a Grieving Parent
Capture Your Grief Photography Project
Our Adoption Journey
Celebrating Garrett's Legacy
From our family blog, written June 12, 2011:
And the world goes on...
Man, when I sat down here I thought, "I got this." I've been planning what to write here for a few days but sitting down to actually do it? Not quite the clinical experience I was hoping for so we're going to do this ripping off the bandaid style...
Last Sunday morning I went to the hospital with what I thought was a kidney stone or urinary tract infection only to find out that had we lost baby Garrett after something called a placental abruption. Apparently, I had a major blood pressure event that caused the placenta to tear away from the uterus. The only symptom I had was an intense backache so you can imagine that they told us they couldn't find a heartbeat and they needed to focus on saving me, we were...well, the world changes so fast.
I still haven't wrapped my head around this. I've always been so fit and cautious about my health. But they tell me that had I been a little less fit or a little later to the hospital, I might have gone into renal failure and ended up on dialysis, or worse. As it was, I lost nearly half my blood volume and got close enough to a hysterectomy that they opened me up Monday night but ended up not having to do it. I'm also on blood pressure medicine, hopefully temporarily.
Anyway, I'm sure I will talk more about all that later but for now, I just would like to tell you about Garrett:
He was born around 1am Monday, June 6. Oddly, Autumn's due date was June 6, 2007. He had black hair, all fuzzy and monkey-esque. He was 4 pounds, 9 ounces, and 19.5 inches tall--one inch longer than Autumn was. Mike, my mom, Lainey, Papa D, my sister and I got to hold him for a little while after the nurses dressed him in his little bunny outfit. He was beautiful.
We buried him Saturday morning at Memorial Park where Mike and I had our engagement pictures what seems like a thousand years ago. I wanted him to be somewhere pretty and where we had happy memories and I am so glad it worked out. There was a service for family and close friends that was a little larger than I expected and Mark, the children's pastor at Fellowship, did an amazing job sharing scripture and celebrating the incredible impact that someone who only lived 35 weeks had on the lives of those around him. There's a verse from Isaiah he shared that I can't remember but I'll share it once I get it from him. One I do remember is from Zephaniah and my friend Christy Edwards shared it with me:
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing.
I desperately wish that I could have Garrett here on my lap now, but I'm also so glad that I believe in something bigger than me. Mike and I like to think of Garrett in heaven with Jesus, that he won't feel pain or sadness or get in trouble or anything like that. We like to think of how we'll see him again, transfigured and everything God intended Man to be. I don't think I could cope if I didn't truly believe that there's a greater Plan with an ultimately good God behind it. The verse that Mike clings to is Romans 8:28:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Since last Sunday, Mike and I have clung closer together. We appreciate so, so much about our life:
we have incredible friends.
our family is possibly the best family ever.
we have the coolest daughter ever.
there's no one in the world we'd rather endure this with than each other.
I told Mike this morning that if baby Garrett's life does nothing else but draw us all closer to each other and closer to God, nothing else but make his mama and papa love each other and appreciate each other more than ever, then that's a darn good legacy for a baby.
Thank you all for your support, prayers, love, acts of service, and the list goes on. There were times this week that nothing else was holding us up but your love and prayers and we thank you, thank you, thank you.
Remember, Christina Rosetti
REMEMBER me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.