We all have bad days. I did before losing Silas. I still do after losing him. However, my perspective has forever changed since losing Silas.
The things that triggered my bad days before are still frustrating, but there is a generous dose of thankfulness because I get to face those trials with my husband and two of our children.
I have avoided writing on this subject because it may seem critical of others and their complaints or concerns. I had many of the same gripes before our loss. I looked at how hard my life seemed in comparison to the lives of my friends and wished we could have better financial stability in the midst of union layoffs, that we could have my mother-in-law here to help watch the kids for appointments I had as she was so eager to do before she passed away, that my children be better nappers like my friends’ kids were, or that my husband would cook dinner once in a while or even initiate eating out so I could take a break from the mundane.
Social media can be incredibly helpful in times of grief because so many people can reach out to you and be present with you in your grief by offering words of compassion and words of encouragement. However, as a grieving parent, there are many challenges the social media world presents. It is often used as a platform for venting about the frustrations one faces. There are the posts seeking attention through complaints and the posts seeking martyrdom status. I suppose one could label my posts as ones authored by a martyr.
My biggest complaint with the venting posts is the lack of reflection. Sure, vent about it, say it out loud, get it off your chest. But, let that come full circle and see how blessed you are, even in those struggles.
Before I lost Silas, when my then three year old would throw a fit, I would feel defeated in my parenting skills and I would want to complain, thinking my child was the only one ever to be born with a thick skull and a healthy dose of stubbornness. Hardly, I know! I was emotionally and physically drained at the end of every day and I felt like the most ineffective parent in the world. I was sick of the temper tantrum and the constant redirections. Would he ever get it? Now, when I face moments like those, frustrated to the gills, threatening yet another consequence, my heart softens and I think, “I am so grateful I get to do this for you…that I get the opportunity to help you grow and learn.” And I thank God. For the hard times! Something I never really did with much sincerity before my perspective shifted.
So much of the time, we thank God for the blessings He has given us, and it is not until we come through the storms in life that we can finally see how He has blessed us even when we felt so alone. I’m so grateful that I now see the blessings He has given me right in the middle of the “parenting storm.”
Finding the right perspective has always been a huge key for me throughout my life. I remember being pregnant with Lily, who was due in September, and thinking it was so incredibly hot! The summer heat zapped what little energy I had in the third trimester. But, I would think of my grandmothers who were pregnant all summer with some of their children and marvel that they could survive without the luxury of air-conditioning. Silly, I know, but it would give me the fortitude to power through. I also realize there are so many women who would gladly endure any pregnancy discomfort just to be blessed with a child. I felt that way when waiting and waiting for Silas to join our family.
God blessed me with the most beautiful perspective when I had Silas. We tried for nearly a year to conceive him. I began to think it would never happen. I so desired another child to add to our family. When we finally found out we were being blessed with another child, I was so incredibly grateful. Those long months of trying and disappointment really made me consider that we might only have two children instead of the four we had planned. My perspective caused me to love my third child like he was the last child I would ever have. I sure hope he isn’t the last child we add to our family.
When Silas was born and in the NICU, the nurses offered to feed him so I could get some rest, but I always declined. I never wanted to relinquish any of the time I had with him. I knew I was in for long, sleepless nights…and because of the NICU schedule, they were even longer and more sleepless than with my other two. But, I was so grateful to get to do all of those things for him. I didn’t feel the haze of new motherhood like before because I was so incredibly aware of the gift I’d been given and I wanted to soak up every single moment with my baby boy. Diaper changes were an honor. My husband didn’t even get the chance to change one for a few weeks!
For months, I had friends and mothers come to me and tell me of how their perspectives had changed since our loss. One friend told me she often thought of me as she was up at night feeding her little boy. While it hurt because I was the one with empty arms at night, I loved hearing of how Silas was continuing to bless others by showing them where the true importance in life lies. I know many are still affected by his death, but as time moves on and the shock of losing him isn’t as fresh, people fall back into their old routines and the same old problems move to the forefront again.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, when things are difficult, take a deep breath, place your feet in my shoes and look through my eyes when your teething baby has kept you up all night. I wish I would’ve had that chance. Instead, for months, I was plagued with the nightmare of losing my baby. Look through my heart when you announce you are expecting again. Before losing Silas, and even after my miscarriage, I felt pregnancy announcements could only bring joy. Now, they are a reminder of something I desire so badly, yet have been denied so far this last year. They also bring back the hurt of waiting so long for Silas, yet losing him so quickly and it causes me to wonder why some are so easily blessed while I feel so forgotten in the midst of this cruel storm.
When my children want to watch the same movie over again for the 100th time, I roll my eyes, but then I wonder, what would Silas love to watch over and over?
When my mountain of laundry seems so big, I wish it were bigger.
When I vacuum and sweep, I wish it could be because I was making sure my toddler wouldn’t eat what might lying on the floor.
A lot of the seemingly insignificant things become very significant when you don’t get the chance to realize them.
A lot of the frustrations in life melt away when you think you may not have this moment again.