Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Choices

Dear Stevie,
It would be so easy for me to become an angry, bitter person right now. Everyday I can feel like I am teetering on the edge of a deep, dark pit filled with "woe is me" and "I hate the world" sentiments. Sometimes I am so close to diving in, head-first, and getting lost in those ugly, murky waters; swimming around in my sorrows. Usually, though, before I can fall in, someone or something grabs me by the hand and pulls me away from the edge. A friend, calling just to "check-in" and see how I'm doing. My mom, taking an extra-long break to take me out to lunch. The dogs, jumping up and licking me all over my face. Dad, making me amazing homemade guacamole and trying his best to make me laugh. The pepper plants out on the deck, popping up and growing bigger and bigger everyday. A fellow "baby loss" sister, leaving an encouraging comment on this blog.

There are days, like today, where I would love nothing more than to jump into that pit of bitterness. But I know I need to keep reaching out and grabbing onto the hands that want to help me, because once you're in that pit, it's so hard to get back out.

Not allowing myself to fall into that pit, to let your death turn me into an angry, bitter person, is a constant, daily struggle. I have to "check myself" all the time. When I find myself in one of "those moods" (many of you know exactly what I'm talking about, I'm sure), I have to consciously ask myself, "Hey, is this the kind of person you want to be? Is this the kind of person your daughter would want you to be?"

I know I have every right to be angry. I have every right to be bitter. I'm not saying there aren't moments and even entire days where I am both. But I refuse to let those feelings consume me and define who I am as a person. I refuse to let your life and death turn me into a person that I don't like. You deserve better than that, Baby.

I used to think that when people went through tragedies and emerged better, stronger people, it was just something that "happened." Right after you died, I remember thinking, "well, at least I'll end up a better person because of this," totally thinking I would just magically be transformed or something. I know now that's not how it works. It's a choice. I can choose to let your death defeat me, or I can choose to let your death make me stronger. I can choose to stay stuck in my sadness, focusing on all the bad that has come from your tragic death, or I can choose to try and make some good come from your beautiful life. These are choices I have to make, every single day.

There is a song I've been listening to quite a bit the last month or so. It's written by Steven Curtis Chapman, a Christian singer I grew up listening to as a kid. He wrote this song a few months after his five-year-old daughter, Maria, died after being accidentally run over by her older brother's SUV while playing on the driveway. The chorus of the song goes:

"Out of these ashes, beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins, we will see it with our own eyes"
Out of this darkness, new light will shine
For we know the joy that's coming in the morning
Beauty will rise."

I don't think I'm quite at the point where I am ready to do any dancing (literally or figuratively!) around your death, but this song has become almost like a "battle cry" for me. I can't promise that I will never be angry about your death. I can't promise I'll never be bitter. But Stevie, I promise you your life and death will not be in vain. I promise you I will choose to do everything in my power to find and embrace the beauty you have brought into my life, and into the world.

I promise people will look back and say, "wow, look at all that has come from that little Stevie girl's life." You have so much more to accomplish, Baby girl. There is so much beauty, just waiting to rise up from the ashes. I just know it.

I love you so much. I promise I will make you proud to call me your mommy.

Always and forever,
Mom

23 comments:

Michelle said...

Im gonna look for that song right now..I love that song...very true..it is our choice...a constant choice. Thank you for your wise words!

Dana said...

This is so touching. I do know how you feel. It would be so easy to fall into that pit. Just when I feel that I am about to, something happens, someone says something, or there is a comment on my blog or another Mom's blog entry that pulls me out, at least for the time being.

I know Stevie is so proud of you and is so glad that you are her Mom. You have helped alot of people and I bet you are going to help alot more by going on TV and talking about her. I don't think that Stevie could be prouder of you.

Dana

Michelle said...

You should look up Steven Curtis Chapman's song "Heaven is the Face of a little Girl" It is another beautiful song

Kristin said...

I have the whole cd and yes, I like that song a lot too. I have had a hard time listening to songs that try to get me to "look on the bright side," but it's different when the person who wrote the songs has gone through an unthinkable tragedy too. I find the whole album incredibly inspiring. Another wierd thing: apparently Steven Curtis Chapman has a daughter named Stevey Joy. How weird is that??

Angela said...

The week after Charlotte died I told my husband I was worried about becoming bitter & angry. You're right, it is so easy to fall into that pit. I too am grateful for all of the wonderful people - both in real life and online - who help me keep my head above water. Those people and a lot of prayer get me through each day.

Christa said...

I don't know how you feel, but I can definitely say that you, Stevie and Andy are transforming others because of her death. She made a difference, she mattered, and she's having a profound effect on people.

I'm so sorry that this beauty had to rise out of ashes...and that it couldn't just rise.

Britt said...

Kristin, I have had these same thoughts. I have wanted to make Ella Grace proud of me and to make sure that I lived out the legacy that she didn't get the chance to leave. I think that it doesn't happen by chance that some people come out of tragedy stronger, better people. I think it is a choice. They make the decision to grow and to draw nearer to God through the hurt and the pain. I think of you and your precious Stevie very often and I am praying for you!

Whitney said...

Remember when we went to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert together and the "Newsguy"bumped into you?:) I miss those days...

Love you, Kristin!

Kelley and Chris said...

I can really relate to everything you said in this post. The choices that we make each day are so important to how we process all of this. That being said, it's exhausting. Grief has made me tired. I want to take a break from it...but that isn't going to happen anytime soon. Hugs to you...

Shaun and Courtney said...

Kristin,

Thanks for such a great reminder. It's so much easier to reside in the pit...there's a solace and a quiet there, and often, you feel closest to the person you are missing there. But staying there is selling yourself short and robbing God of the opportunity to use your life and your hurt to accomplish great things. You may not think so now, but I promise you that life will get easier. Yes, that void will always, always be there, but it will become less consuming. The sun will shine again.

Praying for you daily.

Courtney

Danae said...

It's so hard not to be bitter and angry. But, you are right. Although we didn't choose this path, we can choose what we make out of it. There are some days that I choose the bitter and angry route though, and there are other days that I don't.

I'm going to look up that song...

Julie said...

thank you so much, kristin. there are many days i need this reminder.

Maggie said...

I think Stevie is already proud of her awesome Mama! :) It's hard to not be bitter and angry and when you feel that way, it's just the absolute worst. I struggle with that A LOT. Many hugs to you today. Stevie has touched so many lives already. She's a special little girl.

justine said...

Saw your post on Rebecca's blog today, and wanted to come by and tell you what a gift you have given by being able to share your story, and Stevie's. And how brave you are to recognize the choice. Thank you for this.

Anonymous said...

I agree. It is such a gift that you are sharing Stevie's story and your journey.

I have NO doubt that Stevie would/does feel so blessed to have you as her mother.

Much love,
Jenny
(lurker, reader... does writing a comment deem me a non lurker?!). xo

Jennifer said...

Beautiful letter to your precious little one!

Brie said...

It's definitiely a struggle...but one thing that I always remind myself on the bad days, is that I just need to keep my feet moving one step in front of the other...and some days I may take a step back, but it's okay...I may need those days to happen every once in a while so I don't feel like a bad mom when I have a good day.

My baby wouldn't want me to be a downer..She'd want me to be strong. So this is what I have set out to do..but on the deep dark days, I allow myself a little bit wallowing, because it's a release for me..and it makes me feel good that I loved her enough to still miss her. Sounds terrible, but I am being honest.

Being sad over my daughter's death from time to time, makes me feel like it's "proof" that I adored her.

Cheek said...

We are strangers in real life, but I came across your blog and your family has touched my heart. I've read all your posts back to Stevie's birth day, and also viewed your 365 photographs and the "Stevie's Impact" page. I'm so sorry that your beautiful girl is not still here on earth with you. The grace you are showing in the face of this pain is incredible and inspiring.

I was riding the train to work this morning, thinking of Stevie, and noticed that a passenger was short on the amount to pay for her ticket. Stevie gave her an extra dollar bill I had in my pocket.

Violet1122 said...

Kristin, I admire your strength so much.

I struggle with bitterness and fear constantly. And some days I think the ugly side has completely taken over. But you are right, we always have a choice.

Stevie has impacted so many lives already. Thank you for sharing her and her story.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristin,

I thought you might be interested in reading this woman's blog. Her name is Heather G. Young and I do not know who she is, I actually found her randomly while browsing baby belly pics. Her story deeply impacted me, as did yours. Here is the link if you would like to check it out, I would definitely say it's worth it.
http://heathergyoung.blogspot.com/ If you go to the archives you'll find the story of her daughter Grace.

April said...

You have already done an amazing job of keeping Stevie alive and making sure her life wasn't in vain. This sounds just awful, but it almost seems like you were made to cope with this. I've met so many mamas who lost their little ones, and you are a rare person who has taken what they were handed from pretty much day 1, and turned it into something everyone will remember. What you've done for other moms with the Forest, the news story, reaching out to so many, you've already made Stevie sure that Stevie is such a huge impact. You should be proud of what you have done for Stevie to keep her alive. You may see it as you've just kept going, but you've probably touched more people with Stevie's story and done more for her little life than many moms(including myself) have been able to do in years since they lost their child.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristin,
Your words really touched me today. I have a niece who lost her babies. I wish she would find that place to reach out and let those who love her help her. She's lost to so many in our family and it hurts so bad knowing how sad she must be. I hope your words of how you're dealing with this sadness help people like her to know that life is a choice and to know they are not alone in their sadness journey. Good Luck and lots of love.

Nicole Brueck said...

Hello,
I heard about your story on WCCO last night and wanted to leave you a comment. I am a loss momma of 5 babies (3 of which were stillborn). It's been 8 years since I lost our first, but I promise you this...it does get easier day by day, month by month, year by year. The first 6 months to me are a blur still, putting one foot in front of the other, faking a smile so people would think I was "okay" when I really wasn't. I applaud you for bringing your story for others to see. It is okay to talk about, and it doesn't make it all better, but it helps.
We are now the parents to an almost 3 year old adopted from Russia, but wouldn't undo all the losses as it brought us to him and made us realize how badly we wanted him. God bless you!

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