Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mothers Day

May 10, 2009
My 3rd Mother's Day... I have so much to say in lieu of this topic so bear with me. I feel as though I should write on my personal Mothers Day past, present, and future.

Why is on day more important than another, when it is the sun that lights up every day? SIRACH 33:7

Mothers Day Past: My very first Mothers Day occurred on May 13, 2007. I was midpoint in my pregnancy with Elise and I had never been so proud. Finally, this day was not only a day for me to celebrate my mother... It was also a day for celebrating me! I had a baby in my belly and I was without a doubt a mom. I was loving on and getting to know my baby in-utero so well. I loved every minute of motherhood and embraced every second. I was feeling great and was starting to barley show. I wore my very first maternity top on this day! I didn't need to since my belly was still so small but I had been dieing to wear these stylish tops. I remember it very clearly to be a short sleeved black and white stripped T-shirt with the classic tie in the back. My sister-in-law, Christina, was the first person to comment on my barely visible baby bump. I think I spent the day with perma-smile. I was drunk in love with motherhood and I embraced every moment that this day had to offer. It was this Mothers Day that Elise and Rob started the tradition of celebrating me by delivering the gorgeous HUGE flower pot to our front porch. I love this gift. I tend to it with the most tender love I have for flowers. While my green thumb is not that green... I love and care for this plant each year with my whole heart! Mothers Day 2007, was my first and it will always be my favorite. I am glad to have had one with such joy and bright skies. To have experienced one Mothers Day un-tainted by grief. I am thankful to have had just one.

My second Mothers Day, May 13, 2008, will always be my least favorite and one of the most difficult days I have survived. I will admit for the first time in my life I resented this holiday. This day is dreaded by every bereaved mother every single year. Waking up on Mothers Day 2008 was nothing but heartbreak. How could such happiness have resided in this broken heart one year before. I sat in a lawn chair at my parents house in the sunshine feeling my baby stir within. I wondered how much fun this day would with her in it. Now this day is just a huge reminder of all I am missing... my sweet Elise Renee.

For those of you who know me well... know that I journal. My entry on Mothers Day 2007 was filled with toxic happiness. I was a happy-happy joy-joy mom writing about the growing girl in my womb. My journal entry for 2008 read much differently and was titled, Mothers Day Darkness. I wrote about such pain and how I was going to start celebrating, or rather, tolerating this day in a new way. A very non-Hallmark way for the rest of my life. I wrote about honoring and remembering my first perfect daughter, Elise, and how much I missed her and how devastated I was without her. I will always wonder why I was stripped of such happiness and joy. Why could I not be a "Cinderella Mom" like the rest? At the tender age of 29 it is hard to except that life as I knew if was over. Never would I be a "Cinderella Mom" again. I will never be the same or feel the same about this day ever again.

Waking up on Mothers Day 2008 left me wondering many questions. "Am I still a Mother?" Am I if there is no child to hold, no child visible to others? This question is one that pains the inner most depths of the hearts of every bereaved mother. Mothers Day is especially difficult because there are such things as new baby dedications done in churches, mother-daughter banquets, and the giving of carnations which are all designed for mothers with living children. A mother to an Angel agonizes over what to do and how to celebrate such a day.

We are told in SOUL that, even if your baby only lived one day inside of you, you are still a genuine mother. That is special, and worthy of recognition. So... yes, I was still a mother and will always be. I did recognize this day in my own special way. I spent the day validating the void I felt in my heart by honoring Elise and remembering her through her life and in her death. Yes, I am a mother!

Can a women forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child in her womb?
ISAIAH 49:15

Mothers Day 2008 was a beautiful dark gloomy day filled with storms. It was perfect for the bereaved mother that I was. Thanks Elise! The raindrops were music to my ears. Teardrops sent form heaven by all the babies and children missing their moms. What a glorious gift from the heavens above. I made a cup of coffee and was off to the cemetery to spend some time with Elise in her resting place. I remember dressing in black from head to toe and bringing her flowers. I had never experienced such emptiness, anguish, and loneliness in my life. I wondered if I would live in this darkness forever.

I had the longest talk with Elise on this morning. I shared with her the dreams I had for her and what I thought it would have been like if she were my living baby. We talked about the hole in my heart and the fear I had of never feeling okay in this life again. But most of all, on this morning, I made sure she knew just how much she was loved and missed. Tears stream down my cheek as I write this entry recalling the tears I cried for Elise on this day. So much pain. I remember it was raining and how I let the umbrella down to feel the raindrops on my cheeks she sent from heaven. Elise's grief watering me and my grief watering her. A mother and daughter DEATH can't take away. When I left her resting place I thanked her for the tears. It meant so much to me that even if for just one day she sent her tears form heaven.

I cried out to God, "How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?" PSALM 13:1-2

I went home and spent the remainder of the day with God and surrounded by Elise's things. I love to touch and hold all of her things. It was on this very day that her wooden cross made its new home in the nursery. My heart felt warm having found it a home on this Mothers Day. In my tears, I wondered how God created a world that allowed some mothers to feel such joy and allow others to feel such sorrow. I wondered if my broken heart would ever heal. I didn't think it was possible. But I decided on this day that I would let God's comfort and the love of the baby girl crying for me from heaven light my path. I prayed that the light of their love would continue to illuminate the dark places in my heart. That in time both darkness and light would help to heal and transform me into something more than a bereaved mother. In time, I prayed for all of this to be true.

Mothers Day Present: May 10, 2009... My third Mothers Day. I guess you could say I have come full circle over the past year. It is amazing really how much can happen and how you can change in just twelve months. The age old question, "Does time heal all wounds?" comes to my mind. The answer for me is... No. But time does ease some of the pain and suffering. Time allows you a chance to cope with life and to find your path back in it. I believe that I have found my way again.

Since my second Mothers Day... Rob and I got back on the ride to parenthood. We were given a second chance to bring life into this world. Having lost Elise, the chance at this was monumental. Feeling the power of the Holy Spirit wake up your heart after months and months of the darkest grief is indescribable. In fact, I am lost in my thoughts just trying to think about how I might put to words the feelings I felt about a second child, for you my readers... But I can't. Indescribable is all I can come up with.

Most of you read all of my news letters about Ava's Journey to Birth so I will just briefly mention for the sake of this blog that the journey was not easy. Ava's journey to life was long, tedious, emotional, stressful, and filled with anxiety. But Rob and I survived. On April 15, 2009... just eighteen months and two days after saying goodbye to our first born child we welcomed our second. Ava Elise Kolkman blessed us and enriched our lives in the most amazing ways.

Having a second daughter in no way replaced our first. However, having a second daughter has been extremely healing. Not healing in the sense that the wound is completely gone because my arms will forever ache for Elise. But healing in the sense that Ava fills some of the void in my life. She is a breath of fresh air and someone new to focus some of my attention to. She is a person I have grown to love and will continue to love... just as I love Elise... for the rest of my life.

Waking up Mothers Day 2009 was a little more bright. While half of my heart aches for Elise, the other half rejoices over having Ava here in the now. I am and will always be a bereaved mother. But now I am also a mother to a living child here on earth. A part of me wants to grieve this day away which is a painful reminder of my daughter who is not here with me. But the other half wants to celebrate to the fullest with all of the other "Cinderella Mothers" out there who have never suffered the loss of a child.

I would have never believed this without experiencing it for myself... But on Mothers Day 2009 I found a happy medium. I did both. I grieved for my firstborn child who's absence will forever be felt by my heart and I rejoiced over Ava's presence in my life. I will never take for granted one single beat of her heart. I know more than most that life is short... life is precious... and life is worth celebrating! So I celebrated motherhood to the best of my ability. As much as my grieving heart would allow. I embraced the HUGE flower pot given to me from my husband and both of my girls. I loved all over my daughter Ava and gave her a million candy kisses. We went as a family to the cemetery and took a moment to spend with Elise in her resting place. I celebrated my own mother at a family dinner we took Ava to at my parents house. We lit a candle for Elise to symbolize both her presence and absence in our lives. As a family we celebrated motherhood!

Mothers Day Future: I realize that this day will always tug at my heart strings. It will always be a painful reminder of Elise's absence. It will always be tainted by grief. I am and will always be a bereaved mother. However, I am also a mother to a living child on earth. And in time, I would like to think that our family will be blessed again with life. I have agreed with Ava and "my future baby's to be" that when they want to celebrate me, especially on Mothers Day, I will let it be. I will let them celebrate me as their mother. I will let them see me shed a tear for their sister, Elise, and then I will dry my eyes. I will let them love me as I have loved them. And if you know me at all... you will know I have shown them the greatest of love. The love a mother has for her children. All them them... past, present, and future.I think we deserve a little happiness every now and again. This scripture reading says it best.... When time are good be happy. Ecclesiastes 7:1-14

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