Sunday, April 29, 2007

Do's and Don'ts

I'm kinda ripping this one off of another family's blog from support group...great idea!

Friends and family want to help. The support we have received has been amazing and we are awe of everyone's generosity and prayers. Unfortunately, we are not the best at making decisions in life right now (well - Al is doing pretty good - me not so much) so when someone asks what we need - I don't know what to say. Here are some ideas on how to help.

First of all - DO pray for us. DO hug your children, grandchildren or someone else. Life is short and we are NOT in control.

Don't leave personal relationships torn or tattered. Say what you need to NOW...and tell people you Love them.

Do continue to call, email, send cards and come by. We need to know you are still thinking of us. It's only been 4 weeks and we are still on an emotional and physical roller coaster. Any contact is better than no contact.

Don't be offended if we don't call you back or don't want to talk when you call. Please call again and be ready when we do need to talk, cry or get out.

Do continue to send meals - again we can hardly make a decision about if we are going to eat - making the decision of what is a real "humdinger". If Eli didn't have to eat, we might not even eat at all some days. Common sense tells us we have to keep our strength up - but grief can sometimes override common sense.

Don't say "at least you have/haven't". A very painful mistake to make is to say something along of the lines well at least you still have Eli, health, one another, God, etc. In our painful and sometimes irrational state we might respond in a not so nice way. We would trade anything to have AJ back, but we don't and the "at leasts" don't help.

Do talk about AJ. Ask questions - if we can't or are not ready to talk about something, we will tell you. We are proud of AJ. His life was precious and his birth cherished.

Don't pretend that nothing happened or tell us when we should be back to "normal". Life will never be normal again. We will never be the same as we were before. Don't be surprised if we aren't "ourselves" - God changed us for the better.

Do help. Sometimes instead of "let me know what I can do to help" say "let me take care of this for you". Remember - decisions are not a strong point in a situation like this. Sometimes we don't know what we need help's ok to be bossy if you feel we need it. But be ok if we don't accept right away - we may be having an ok day and have things in order at the moment. Be ready to jump in when we need you.

Do offer to take Eli for an evening so we can be alone. We need time to help heal one another and spend time talking, crying or just being together. Eli doesn't understand why mommy and daddy are sad or crying. We try to be strong for him, but we have to have time to let it out as well.

Please continue to be prayerful, supportive and willing to help if we need you. We love all of our friends and family and will continue to need you in the weeks, months and years ahead.

If you wish to make a contribution to a charity in AJ's name we are requesting that you donate to (MEND - Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death - a wonderful support group) or to the First Baptist Chruch Daycare (Eli's school). You can visit to sign his memory book if you wish.

An Epiphany...

Today at church we discussed the fact that if you listen and pay attention to the things God is doing in your life - then you begin to see how much He is actually doing. I have to believe that all of the babies and pregnant women we see everywhere we go is part of His plan.

This is one of those situations in life in which friends who have recently had a baby or are pregnant have a sobering reality check - appreciate every day you have with your children (in the womb and out)!!!. We want those of you who have had a baby or are pregnant to talk to us...don't avoid us...but understand that it will be HARD for us. We are happy and excited for you. We might cry...we might not be ready to hold your baby...not because we don't necessarily want to, but our arms ache to hold AJ (Yes they physically ache). It's not fair to your baby for us to hold them and burst into tears...

So on to my epiphany for today. God is placing all of the babies and pregnant women in our path as a part of His plan to restore our hope. Seriously - at lunch today there were 6 tables in a small place - crowed restaurant - and one table had a pregnant woman, 2 had newborn babies and another with a probably 6 month old. There was no where else to sit in the entire place and so we sat there. I tried so hard to to cry all the way through lunch. A couple of times I welled up - but I resisted breaking down. I left and began thinking about the situation. At the time I sat there feeling somewhat sorry for myself that AJ wasn't with us at that moment. How badly I want to hold a baby again without bursting into tears. But as I began looking to God for "why can't we go anywhere without being surrounded by that which is a constant reminder of our loss" - I realized that maybe He is using these situations to restore our hope. Hope that we may go on to have another child in the future. Hope that we will be able to help others going through (or who will go through) this same situation in life. Hope that we will again be able to hold a baby without crying. Hope IS part of His plan.