Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Kate's Anniversary


Most of the people reading this already know our situation, so I won't completely rehash it.  But in case you've been a follower of my blog and are suddenly receiving the first update in 3 years, I'm going to explain why.

On October 2, 2014, we welcomed our 4th baby, a sweet baby girl into our family.  It was a day filled with joy and anticipation - we didn't know if it would be a boy or a girl!  We added our 3rd little girl and we named her Audrey Katherine. We all called her Kate.  A couple of months later, Judd and I decided we felt like our family was "complete" and we wanted to move into the next phase of our lives.  



  



On April 19, 2015, we lost our sweet Kate to SIDS.  She was 6.5mo old, healthy, thriving, growing.  Our entire world fell apart. 



I am updating my blog today because I feel like I have a lot to say, and to make a FB status this long might annoy some of my friends or cause FB to implode, so I am updating here instead.  



An entire year.  A year filled with lots of firsts, lots of tears.  Tons of change.  Immeasurable growth.  Grief. Sadness.  Even some joy.  I am sharing my feelings here because after Kate died, I longed for someone else.  Anyone else who knew what it was like to put a perfectly healthy baby to sleep and never see her alive again.  Someone else who understood the pain, the trauma, the heartache and helplessness.  I've never in my life felt so helpless and defeated.  My life got turned upside down that night.  It was 2am, and the pitch black darkness outside echoed how my heart felt that night.  Like a giant hole right in my heart...and my gut.  I found her that night when I went to check on her.  I kept thinking to myself, "how am I ever going to forget that?" and the best answer I have so far is that I won't.  But somehow, I'm learning to live with it.  



In the year since she's been gone, I have gone through the entire grief spectrum...multiple times.  You always hear people say you go through the stages of grief until you reach the last stage - acceptance. I'm here to tell you, after you reach acceptance, you can easily start back at the beginning and go through them all over again.  It's a never-ending cycle.  If you are searching around the internet looking for someone else who has gone through this, know you're not alone.  I am going to tell you some things that helped ME.  Please realize that everyone is different, and everyone handles grief differently.  These were just the things that helped me get through my darkest days.  If this doesn't describe you, feel free to skip down to the end.



  • We moved houses.  This was probably our most drastic change.  I heard from several people that it helped them, and several more who said it didn't make a difference, and a few more who said they couldn't bring themselves to leave.  No matter which category you fall into, that's okay.  I realized that it was making it harder because we would leave for a weekend to visit family and have such a great weekend.  But the moment I opened our door and stepped my foot back into the house, it was like a flood of grief washed back over me.  To this day, I can still walk into that house and feel the grief all over again.  Don't get me wrong, I loved that house.  We made some amazing memories there.  I brought 3 of my 5 babies home to that house.  But when I walk in there, I see the day we came home from our family's house the morning she died.  I see all the people visiting.  Her empty crib.  The playmat lying unused on the floor.  I feel the grief all over again.  I'm thankful that moving had the effect that we hoped for.  I think it helped for numerous reasons.  It gave me something to focus on - a new house to decorate and make "ours" again.  We had some projects we wanted to do, and those took a lot of time and kept my mind occupied.  If you feel like this is something you can feasibly do, and you think it will help you, do it.  I couldn't bring myself to open her closet door one more time in that house.  I had someone else pack it for me.  Do that, too, if you need to.  Someone would love to do that for you.  Let them.

  • I made small goals for every day.  My brother-in-law, Aaron, gave me this strategy.  I still find myself using it when I start feeling down or defeated again.  When I catch myself beginning the stages of grief again, I revert back to this.  Make little goals for yourself.  The first week is a freebie.  Do whatever you want.  If you want to lie in bed all day, do that.  If you want to get out and go shopping, do that.  Don't let anyone tell you how you should be grieving.  Everyone grieves differently, so you have to do what works for you.  As an example, some days my goal was simply to do the bedtime routine with the kids.  We stayed at my mother-in-law's house for a week or so after Kate died, and for a while, I let other people bathe, dress, feed, and put my other kids to bed.  Eventually, I knew I needed my routine back for myself and for my children.  They needed THEIR home and THEIR mama to do the things she'd always done.  Make goals. One day my goal was to call a grief counselor.  One day my goal was to cook dinner.  Eventually I began to make 2 or 3 small goals.  Sometimes I'd add one bigger "weekly" goal.  If you ever miss a goal, don't fret.  Try again tomorrow.  Give yourself some grace and wiggle room.

  • I had family go take down her things.  At first, in the first 2 or 3 days, I wouldn't let anyone do that.  Then I realized that every time I walked into my bedroom, I was throwing myself for a loop by seeing her empty crib.  I asked a few close family members to go over and take down her crib and some of the bigger items and put them in our shed.  For me, seeing them empty was a harsher reminder of our loss than not seeing them at all.  If you can't stand them being gone, put them back up.  You have to do what feels best for you.

  • Go talk to a counselor.  I really, really, didn't want to do this.  I'll tell you why.  I was terrified I would have to rehash the traumatic experience of "finding" her that night.  I was afraid (unnecessarily, I might add) he would want me to walk him through everything.  In actuality, he didn't need me to do that at all.  In my mind, I was terrified that I would remember something that my brain had forgotten - and I didn't want any extra memories of that night.  I talked to him with what felt comfortable to say.  For two hours, Judd and I sat and talked to this man we'd never met.  We asked him questions.  We listened to him talk a lot, too.  He explained some stages of grief a little more in depth, but the most helpful things that he explained to me were about how the brain processes grief.  He told me when I felt like I needed to cry, that I needed to go find somewhere to do that and let it out.  Otherwise, that adrenaline continues to build up until I eventually explode and have a huge meltdown that could've otherwise been avoided.  I took this advice to heart and I can say it worked for me.  If I allowed myself to have little cries every day, it definitely lessened the amount of times I would lie in the floor and sob uncontrollably.  (Please note I didn't say that it did away with the uncontrollable sobs all together, but it definitely helped.)  We only went to our counselor once, but if you feel like you need to keep talking things out, keep going.

  • I put everything I had into my prayer life.  If you are not a religious person, I hope you won't skip past this part.  In my opinion, this is the most important one.  I wouldn't be where I am today if were not for the prayers offered up on my behalf or the prayers I prayed every second that I had.  I prayed constantly.  I begged others to pray for me.  I asked them to pray for me in front of me...I wanted (needed) to hear what they were praying for.  I needed to know that people were praying with me.  Our family was so broken.  We needed comfort, strength, and peace.  The peace.  The peace that came with those prayers was everything we needed.  I cannot imagine how we would have gotten through those days without the peace that came from our loved ones interceding for us.  

  • If you have other kids, ask someone to take them every now and then.  I'm still not great at this part, but most of the time, when I have some time to myself, I use it to grieve.  A lot of days, I feel so busy with school and extracurricular activities, homework, dinner, bedtime routine, etc. that I find myself too tired to stop and grieve.  But when I'm alone, I almost always take the time.  Remember needing to let out the adrenaline?  That's where this comes into play.  I don't like to really let my feelings out when my kids are around.  They know I cry, and they know I'm sad.  But I never want to scare them or worry them. My oldest worries a lot, and I hate when she worries.  I do let them see me cry, and I tell them it's because I miss Kate.  But I always try to follow it up with something like, "But she's so happy where she is, in Heaven.  I just miss her down here.  But we will all be together again one day and that will be so wonderful!" I want them to know that Heaven is real, and she's there.  I want them to know that's our aim.  

  • Talk to your spouse, if you have one.  That's the ONLY person who understands exactly how you're feeling.  He lost a child, too.  His daughter died, too.  Men want to be strong for their wives and sometimes they'll hold everything in.  But talk to each other and make sure he knows that you won't think he's weak when he cries.  I needed to see Judd cry.  I needed him to cry with me...not us cry in separate rooms.  He helped bring me out of this.  I can't imagine going through this without him.  I'm so thankful we have each other to share this burden with.  

  I will never forget the night Judd and I were walking opposite directions down the long hallway at his parent's house.  It was days after she died.  He hugged me and I admitted the truth to him...I wouldn't be able to go through life without having another baby.  I needed that baby to care for.  I needed my "baby days" to end on a happy note, not a sad one.  We were fortunate, and the Lord blessed us with another baby.  On March 21, 2016, we welcomed our fifth baby, Whalen Grey into our family.  He has been such a blessing and a joy that we desperately needed.  So here on April 19, 2016, one exact year since we said goodbye to my precious baby girl, I sit here nursing the baby I never knew I would need.  The baby who is bringing joy back into our family.  The Lord is so faithful to his children.  



Kate is up there waiting for me.   I can't wait to get to her.  Whether I die tomorrow or 50 years from now, do not doubt my joy.  When I get to scoop her into my arms again, you all might be able to feel the joy down here on earth.  I have never been more thankful for my relationship with Christ.  He alone has carried me through these dark days.  When everything else around me failed and faltered, He was always there...nudging me on.  The hope that we have in His promise is a powerful one.  If you've never sat and pondered the hope that He offers you, please do.  It is a hope of seeing Kate.  A hope of a life with zero pain, zero death, zero grief.  It's all the good things and lovely things that you love about this life with none of the bad, ugly things.  It's so worth it.  He offers you comfort, peace, strength on your darkest days.  Unfortunately, we all will experience struggles at one point or another.  If you're sitting here reading this thinking about how nothing bad has ever happened to you (thank God, first) be sure to prepare yourself.  Eventually, it will come.  Trials come to all of us - but there's good news!



Romans 8:18 says, "For I consider the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us."  

Make sure you're there to witness that glory.  Glory so amazing that things of this magnitude don't even matter anymore.  





7 comments:

  1. Thank you for allowing me to hear your heart. I love you.

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  2. Your story has brought tears to my eyes. I have a little girl named Audrey Katherine too and I call her my ray of sunshine. You have been through the worst experience a mother could have experienced and I'm in awe of your story, strength and eloquence in this post. Thank you for sharing your story and the pictures of your beautiful little girl.

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  3. thank you for your strength and wisdom! Love you dearly. You hold a special place in my heart.

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  4. You are such a beautiful witness! I love you KLA-Davis! :)

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  5. Thank you for sharing your story. Sending continued thoughts and prayers for your sweet family.

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  6. "And God shall wipe away all tears" Your Grace extended to a grieving mother in Gluckstadt, Miss was shared by a cousin and led me here. I will pray for you and your precious family. Mourning lasts but Joy can overcome you unexpectedly and I pray you receive a moment of pure joy every day.

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  7. Kacie I remember you from the Nest days. A friend posted a link to your blog post. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Kate, but thank you for sharing your story.

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