Monday, 4 November 2013

Nobody Tells You

When you're pregnant with your first child, nobody really tells you the truth about how hard it is to have a newborn.  You hear the stories about sleepless nights, colic, sore boobs and the baby blues but none of it really means anything until you are there yourself.  It's only then that you realise that although you love this baby more than anything else in the world it's hard, hard work.

It's so hard that at times you forget that you were ever excited about having a baby.  It's so hard that you question what you've done and wonder if you've made a huge mistake in having a child.  It's so hard that you wonder if you will ever feel like yourself again.  It's so hard and no one tells you that you can be so tired that you feel physically sick.  It's so hard and you wonder if you and your husband will ever have the same relationship ever again.

But then your baby starts smiling, and the colic starts getting better, and they may have a good night where they only wake up once for a feed and you think that having four hours sleep in a row is the best thing ever!  Then suddenly you realise you are getting more done during the day without having to carry the baby everywhere you go, and you start forgetting what it was like when you couldn't move off the couch all day, and you had cracked nipples, and you couldn't even go to the toilet, have a shower or get a drink.

Your baby then starts doing exciting things reaching, rolling, sitting up, sleeping through the night, crawling, walking and talking.  And it's still hard work, and always will be (even when your newborn is 14!) but it's then that you remember why you wanted to have a baby, and you look at your husband and you realise that  relationship is even better now, than before you had kids.

It's the same with grief. Nobody really tells you how hard it is.  Or if they do, you don't get it, and none of it really means anything until you are there yourself. 

But you don't have another stage to look forward to. There's never going to be a time when there is smiling, or crawling, or walking or talking.   There's never going to be a stage where you think 'this is why I wanted to go through grief'.

Of course there are stages, but a different stage doesn't mean it's easier. It's just different.  The shock has gone, but the sadness is greater than ever.  
You can cope better with the day to day things, but your heart is so empty that you wonder why it hasn't broken and stopped.
There is nothing to look forward to at the end.   I of course believe there is an 'end' in that I will be with Noah and Aaron again, but that doesn't take away the pain you feel every day because you just want to feel them, and hold them, and smell them, and hear their voices.
I don't want to be visiting their graves.  I don't want to be talking to them in my head, wondering if they're listening.  I just want them.  You don't want people to tell you it's time to move on. 
Nobody tells you how to grieve while you are trying to be strong for your children who are grieving at the same time. 

I hear many times 'thank goodness we know families are forever' and yes that's true.  But it doesn't make it any easier when I know I can have up to fifty to sixty years to wait for that time when we will be together again...and nothing and no one is going to replace them.   And it's hard not to get angry at times because you feel like you have to be strong because of what you believe and know.  Sometimes you just want to say it's not fair.  Because it's not.  
You hear that the second year after someone passes away is harder than the first, but you don't understand that until you're there.  And it's so hard for other people to know because you look 'fine' or even 'good' but it's when the shock has gone and the reality has set in. 
The second year is when you really get scared that people are going to forget these two amazing people who were once here, and will forget how much it hurts to not have them with us.  And you want to keep talking about them because you don't want anyone to ever forget them - ever! 


  1. Lisa this post is so beautifully written. Grief is so personal and it is something that we don't understand until we go through it. I appreciate your courage to share your deepest thoughts and feelings. I pray for you that one day your grief isn't so hard and you feel more happiness & joy than sadness. Vicki Travers

  2. I don't have the right words I need to express my sorrow at what your family has been through. But I just needed to let you know that I have been following your 'journey' (for lack of a better word, I'm sorry) and I send you, and all your boys so much love and strength. xx

  3. This is just such a touching post. You are right, you do not know what it is like to go through something until you have been there. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings .... so real and honest. Time allows us to move forward in small steps. Wishing you and your family love and peace.

  4. Your comments are so truth both about newborns and about grief. Nobody understands that in the first few months after a death when everyone is there is actually when you need them the least because shock is the best friend and reality isn't there. Years 1-2 and 5 have been by far the hardest for me. You strength to put it into words is beautiful and people won't forget especially if you maintain them as active family members for the years to come.

  5. I read your blog sometimes - and some others about families who have lost loved ones. I ask myself why I do this and is it healthy, but I think it's because I don't feel so alone when I read what you have to say. 20 years ago my brother died and I never got to share my grief with anyone. No one seemed to care. I didn't know that my feelings were kind of normal. I am better lately than I have been in many years, but it is still hard. That emptiness is still there. I didn't want to forget him or let him go and so I stayed in my grief, dug hard, and ignored the rest of my life. You're right, no one tells you it will never go away. They want to say things like "You'll see him again." and "It will get easier." That didn't help me. What I wish is that I had had someone to talk to who would have told me what I needed to do to truly move forward - not "move on" because "moving on" seems like saying you don't love them or want them back. I don't think grief is something that goes away - but there is a progression that must happen for life to be good again. You have to learn to stand next to that giant pit, but not look into it all the time and define yourself by it. I guess what I am saying is that, in time, you have to make decisions that take you toward happiness and not toward grief. Embrace the life you have and not the one you lost. Make your new relationship with them the one you live with - not resent. It's OK to be happy again - someday - and not because you forgot them. It seems like you are doing a great job for your kids and no one could expect anymore from you after what you have been through. I just wanted to share because you wrote things that I have thought and I wanted to tell you my perspective from 20 years later. But there's no timeline - you just do your best. It's not fair and I am so sorry. I do not compare my loss to yours - only that I have experienced grief, too. I'm sure you have so much more to cope with having lost two loved ones and being the mother left behind to take care of everyone else. I am so sorry. I know I didn't say everything exactly right, but I hope you know I meant to be supportive and not critical. God bless.

  6. Best post on grief I have ever read. Words cannot adequately express the deep sadness that accompanies profound grief. Why you have been chosen for this journey may never be known on this side of the veil, but I do believe nothing God does is in vain. May you and J, H, and K find peace in proportion to your grief.

  7. Lisa- that is so beautiful and a good analogy. I can feel the pain through your words and I am so sorry for all that you have been through. My mom passed away 13 months ago and I feel like I could wear a shirt that says- I AM STILL DEEPLY HURTING even though I may seem fine. Prayers to you -

  8. Lisa: I have been following your blog since Noah passed and I feel so sad for you. My heart has felt so heavy as I have read the sorrow you have experienced, but please know that you are an inspiration. I know you would rather NOT be an inspiration but instead have your husband and son with you, but for whatever reason this is your journey and in my opinion you are amazing. We need you!!! All of us woman who struggle through life, and death and pain. We need to see that there are strong woman who stay true to the gospel and continue to guide their children in the right direction. I can only imagine how difficult it is to have to set aside your own grief to make sure your children are dealing well and surviving, but I look at you with the utmost respect and admiration. My sister lost her husband when her children were about the same age as your boys were when Aaron died. She became a meth addict and her children were alone to flounder and survive alone. They have fallen away from the church and are lost. She has since recovered and has found her way back, but the damage has been done. I am so sorry you are feeling bad, but I hope that in some way you can find some peace knowing that so many of us look to you as an example. An example of strength, motherhood, and spirituality. I pray for you and your sweet family. Everything will be ok. With love, robin

  9. Thank you for your post of truth. It is so true....I never knew grief was SO hard. I wish I didn't know and I am sure you do also. Reading your blog helps me not feel alone. Sometimes I feel like I am crazy and should be handling things better.....well at least that is what everyone else thinks. We buried our daughter, Bryanne three years ago when I was twenty four weeks pregnant, we then buried another daughter, Bristol last July at twelve days old (she had hydranencephaly) and then almost five months ago we lost our princess, Bailey three week before her fifteenth birthday. She also had hydranencephaly. I am so lost without her, I know you understand. It is hard to put into words what these kiddos give back to us. I KNOW I will see them again, but as one of my favorite poems says, "Heaven just seems so far away." I do have three other kids that definitely help keep me going and my wonderful husband. I pray for you and your boys often.

  10. It isn't fair AT ALL. The only light if there is any light at all is the amazing women who are writing now, who share and care, who have heavy hearts themselves. I'm sorry matey xxx

  11. Bless your heart. Prayers for peace. That's all we outsiders can do. Pray for you. You lost two amazing people. And it's so not fair. ((((hugs)))) from a stranger who cares.

  12. I completely agree with you Lisa - I nodded and cried thru this entire post. It has been 20 months since I lost my son Jonathan and honestly....this year has been SO MUCH HARDER than last year. I do try to nod and respond to people's inquiries with "I'm fine"......but I am anything but fine. For me, I do not have any other children so my emptiness goes deep into my soul. I know I cannot say anything to help you ---- but I did want to tell you that you are spot on in how this feels.

    1. I am so sorry for your immense loss Diane. The thought of losing one of my children is completely devastating and have no idea how one survives.

  13. Lisa - you don't know me from Adam but I have been reading your blog for some time. I've never commented but, for some reason, this post struck a chord with me and I felt I should add my support with those who have commented already. I am in the throws of having a new baby (first born) in the home and reading through your words of comparing - even if so slightly - the untold truths of having a newborn and losing a loved one made my heart swell with compassion for you and a desire to let you know you're doing an amazing job. I am often touched by your strength and ability to put into words that which must seem unreal and impossible as you sort through your thoughts. I know you probably receive unsolicited words of hope and encouragement often - which makes me hope I'm not too bold for adding this - but this quote from Pres Monson's most recent address to the RS sisters has buoyed me up over the last few weeks and maybe it can help do the same for you today: "We were not placed on this earth to walk alone ... He who knows us better than we know ourselves, He who sees the larger picture and who knows the end from the beginning, has assured us that He will be there for us to provide help if we but ask. We have the promise: “Pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good." Sometimes it's hard - so, so hard - to understand why we have to go through what we go through. But knowing Heavenly Father knew the end from the very time he sent us off on this journey makes those super hard days a little bit more bearable and adds a sense of purpose to those days when it seams near impossible to find any answer to the question of 'why?'. You are admired and thought of (often) by many. My prayers are added with theirs that your 'good' days become more frequent than the unbearable ones and that you become more and more comfortable with your new 'normal'.

  14. Thinking of you Lisa, and your boys. Your strength and sincerity is so beautiful.

  15. That was such a beautiful post Lisa. So raw and real. Everything that has been said so eloquently in the comments I echo. And echo with love and tears for you. xo

  16. You are right Lisa. It is JUST NOT FAIR. I am so sorry you have to live through this. Hugs to you from BC Canada.

  17. Lisa,
    You don't know me, but we share a common Angel Mom Friend....Ashley Sullenger. I lost my sweet son Miles a year and a month ago now. I find what you wrote spoke straight to my heart today. It does seem like year two is going to be really hard and I feel as though the numbness is wearing off more and more and reality of this situation is feeling more and more real and more harsh. It's complicated, but I wanted to thank you for letting me know that I'm not alone in this feeling. Lots of love to you. If you don't mind I would love to add you to my blog of Angel Moms and keep following you!
    Andrae Kelly

  18. Absolutely beautiful post. Heartbreaking, sincere, and strong. You amaze me.
    ❤️ Mel.


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