A Life Altered

by arianne

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I sit on the porch, watching the blue sky — it is much more blue than ever before.  I can’t be mistaken, can I? This really is the bluest ever. Those clouds over there, the white puffy way that they appear, grow and mold, and dissipate into the next as they race across the sky.  They seem faster than ever before. The way the wind goes through those tall trees.  The lower leaves are blowing, the upper leaves are not.  Wind is only touching the parts it wants to move.  Each of these things cross my mind and marinate.  Sit a while.  I have time now, because most other things don’t matter at the moment.  I am changed.

The way nature is analogous to life is not lost on me, the growing and dying, and I imagine this is the longest I’ve ever stared out into quiet leaf world and wondered about the Creator.  How it could be that He made all this so perfectly, some of it for lesson, some for fun and some just because.  This New Me sees these things so differently now.  The New Me takes the time to see things differently.  I am changed.

The thing about life altering experiences is that you are just so ALTERED.  In the first days after we found out Mabel had been lost, I had the most unsettling feeling that I didn’t know how to act.  I didn’t know what to say or how to feel, what to do with myself or my arms or my hands or my thoughts.  I felt like I didn’t know the person I had suddenly and irrevocably turned into, in that split second when we got the news. New Me was totally foreign, and she was a mess.

Driving home from doctor, I cry out to husband.

What do we do when we get home, watch TV?  This is all so civilized.  So ridiculous.  This is all so wrong.  I don’t know what to DO with myself.

I couldn’t get over how sitting in a waiting room, for confirmation, another look at the screen, when we had already been told what they’d found, was a part of this wretched process.  That it was happening so calmly, and had happened like this to countless others before me.  Shouldn’t people be wailing and writhing around and shouldn’t everyone be mourning?

Sit here, sign there, take this. I need your blood pressure, dear.  All these to do’s circling around a baby who had passed away.  None of those to do’s settling on the reality of what we were all doing.  I feel like I don’t have the words to describe how surreal and out of body it all was.

It was traumatic. I am changed.

Go ahead sweet girl, go ahead and go home.  Have something to eat.  Make sure you drink water. Have a rest.

I scream inside HOW can you all be so civilized when my baby has died?! No one hears, they have other people on the list to help.  People with live babies are waiting.  I am not much use to these people anymore.  Move along now.  I am changed.

God whispers that I can do this.  One foot in front of the other.  I listen because I have no other choice.  He says get up in the morning, and I listen because I have no choice.  My stubborn streak seems to have been washed out of me and down the drain in the bath.  Replaced with a quiet obedience that is happy to hand other the steering wheel.  I am changed.

I notice little moments with my kids like never before.  This dimple, that eye sparkle.  The glowy look when we discuss a really good round of Uno.  I don’t care about things that are fleeting, I didn’t realize I did before, but — oh — I did.  I still enjoy entertainment sure, but tv shows and silly things and the drama of the internet seem to be entirely useless in my life now.  A quiet peace runs through my veins, placed there specifically by Jesus.  I name that peace Hope, and know it is a special kind that comes only from suffering. I am changed.

We struggle, oh do we struggle, with boys who are still autistic in spite of a life altered.  Even though their parents are grieving.  Boys who seem to need even more of our energy as they process their loss and how to react to ours.  Their issues bother me less, I am more patient.  I have sympathy for their inability to control their anxiety and raging outbursts, because I can’t control mine either.  Parenting them right now seems so much harder and so much easier, all at the same time.  I am changed.

I remember my labor and birth with Mabel, what I had to do, and I know it was Strength from above that got me through.  I remember reaching down to feel her head, knowing she was crowning.  The feeling that I had with each of her brothers, yet her head so much more tiny.  So many mamas who have birthed their babies have felt that moment, known it usually meant excitement.  That it usually meant pushing was almost over and you’d meet your baby finally.  I knew this time was different, but the joy in that moment still stands on its own.  I am changed.

I sit and stare at this screen each day, longing to spill out what I have inside, wondering what to write about next.  Do I write about the beautiful mundane, just the mundane, or do I write about Mabel every day?  How can I…but how can I not?  This confusion is maddening to a soul like mine who spent a lifetime thus far on self-reflection and working on growth.  It feels like starting all over.

I am so, so changed.

***

Friends, I have a request.  I am craving music, healing music.  Music about Jesus. I haven’t purchased new music in some time, this type of music in many years.  I long for comfort, music about the Word is a big way I receive comfort.  I need your recommendations.  Right now I am drawn to slow/indie/contemporary songs just because I can pray through them or sway through them or cry through them.  The faster rock I so adore seems to be too hard on me right now.  I would love to know what music heals and inspires you, even if it’s not “new”, it may be new to me.  Honestly even an instrumental that inspires would be great too.  Thank you so much for your help!

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