If Grief comes in Stages…I am still very near the beginning

Warning. This post discusses loss. 

Today has been all about guilt and regret.

Over the last couple of days, I have begun to have memories. Memories of times just a few short weeks ago when I was worried. I remember wondering if my baby’s heart rate had slowed. Was it too slow? Was something wrong? I googled “Normal fetal heart rate” and found that my daughter’s heart rate was in the normal range for her gestational age. But, I remember worrying. I let it go, but I worried. When was this?

I took the time to look at my search history today. I guess so I could regret even more. I found that I did the search twice. I searched on Tuesday, August 8th…when my daughter was still developing and alive. And, I searched again on Monday, August 14th…when my daughter’s heart had already stopped beating and I didn’t know it.

I regret googling on Tuesday, August 8th and stopping there.

I regret not calling my doctor and going in for a checkup that week. I don’t know if they would have caught what was happening with my daughter then, but I could have given her a chance. I am not a big worrier. I walk around with a lot of “peace that passes all understanding.” I thank God for that. But, right now, I can’t shake this regret. Not now. I wish I would have given my baby girl every opportunity to live. I can’t tell you that the outcome would have been different.

Chances are, I would find something else to regret, if I would have gone in to the doctor’s office that week.

But, for now. I regret.

I regret that my baby is in heaven and not growing inside her mommy.

I regret that I am sitting in the rocker that we were given 13 years ago to rock all of our babies.

I regret that I didn’t sit down in this rocker once while my Mary-Linda was still with me.

I regret that I didn’t take my children in to see the 13 week ultrasound when Mary-Linda was dancing.

I regret that I didn’t live every moment of this pregnancy like it could end.

I’ve read that it’s good to go through every stage of grief. That it’s good to feel all the feels. The bad and the bad and even the good. I guess what I am doing is “good.” And, I’m talking about it here, because I planned to talk more about my experiences as my baby daughter was growing. I didn’t think it would end up like this. This wasn’t the plan. But, I am still talking, because, as I have sadly learned, we are not alone in this. Many of my dear friends have experienced this and come out the other side. I feel very alone and I feel so much better when I am with someone who listens or shares or just sits with me. I know there is hope for me. Hope for us. We have this beautiful, lovely family full of kids that are home with me because of Hurricane Harvey and who frankly are driving me nuts.

But, this timing must be perfect, because it’s the timing that it is. I can’t change it. And, no matter how much regret covers me, I can’t change that my baby daughter is in heaven. So, for now, I’m super sad.

Meanwhile, I shared a song at her memorial service, which we had for the 6 of us with our pastor at Church of the Apostles Houston just before Harvey made land fall. I recorded it in my living room, after the storm, as a song of hope. You can tell I am in a state of shock still, because I recorded it with no makeup on and didn’t care one bit. One day I will probably laugh about that and regret it too! But, for now, that is not one of my regrets.

In case you didn’t see it and would like a song of hope in your storm. Here it is.

Save Me, Oh God by Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam

We Change, but He doesn’t. Thankful for that…

It’s happening. Change. Lots of change. And, transition. I’m transitioning. My family is transitioning. We are all in a state of transition. And, it’s not the change that really bothers me. It’s the leaving. The “leaving” part of this change is the hard part.

The going. The arriving. The being. The working. Being welcomed in ALL of that. It is wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. It’s encouraging. It’s affirming. It’s right.

You see, I’m changing jobs. And, by changing jobs, we’re changing churches. It’s a BIG change. I’ve been working as a full time mom for the last six years. Meanwhile, I’ve been a part time worship leader at our church (2 weeks on 2 weeks off) also for six years. I’ve been the Youth Praise Band leader, also part time. Currently, I am the preschool music teacher, part time. And, volunteer lots at my kiddos’ schools. I also put out my first album during this stretch of time and spend a little time promoting that where I can. It may sound like a hodgepodge of jobs that don’t amount to much, but to me it’s been my life. I’ve been happy, but perhaps a little overworked. And then, I get offered this amazing FULL TIME job at a church plant in the heights. What is a church plant? It’s basically a brand new church that is being planted. Planted means that it isn’t affiliated by another church, but starting from the ground up. Ours is an Anglican Church called Church of the Apostles. We became ¬†involved just as the church launch team was ready to officially launch the church- meaning “invite people to visit” last Sunday. We’re off and running and it’s a beautiful thing. There is hardly a moment of rest to take in the meaning of leaving and how that feels, because we are so busy with the planting.

As part of our transition, we were able to take part in a special “Ten Years of Service” church service honoring the pastor of St. Andrew’s and his family. That was our last Sunday with St. Andrew’s and during that service our family was commissioned and prayed over alongside new members. It was beautiful to see the church welcoming in and sending out at the same time. We have been truly blessed to be part of this church family and we are blessed to be sent out and welcomed in to another church family.

So, as we transition, we feel thankful. Thankful for the last few years and thankful for how God is providing for our family. It is hard to leave, but our hearts know that we are part of the big Church. God’s people. It’s not restricted to a building or a denomination. We are God’s people and we are part of His Church. Thank you, God, that although we experience change, You Never Change! You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.