I'm not sure I understand the grieving process. The minds insistance on dealing with issues ...even if you, as the owner of the experience choose to not deal with a situation that causes pain. You can put it aside for a time, sometimes a long period of time ..but eventually it will surface. Sometimes you can see the trigger that causes it, other times not.
It is quite normal for men and women to not deal with issues of abuses in childhood to start to deal with them in their mid to late thirties and into the the forties.
An anniversary of a death, or a friend becoming ill with an illness that took the life of a loved one.
For me, dealing with my step father's suicide ... it was having a few friends who were suicidal ...all coinciding with the 25th anniversary of his death. That forced me to actually look at how his death had not only effected me but what meaning was I going to let it bring to life.
I have had a few situations that were grief causing situations. I did not find the people around me very understanding of the pain I was going through. "He was 'just' your step dad!" I can't even count the number of times I heard that comment. (um, he married my mom when I was 13 months old, sorry, he was my Daddy)
The dismissal of my pain, soon caused me to stuff the pain.
When I went through my divorce ...that one I learned to stuff fast "you're young, you'll marry again!"
Wow! I heard that comment the WEEK of my ex asking me for a divorce ...
With in a week of the divorce being granted ... life was expected to go on ... Happy shall we be! "Speak only good words over your life or you'll give the devil a foothold to destroy your life!"
Grief? Not allowed ... only allowed to speak good!
There was no one that I could tell of the feelings of loss, betrayal, fear ... and just plain being ripped in two.
Then I married again. I got pregnant ... I felt the baby move a little early, but not too much, about 16 weeks. I went in for my prenatal appointment. It was time for an ultrasound. They'd told me that if the baby was in the right position, and it was clear enough, they might be able to tell me what the baby was. As I lay there, listening to the heart beat, they said the heart beat was 162 bpm ...and they did the ultrasound ...all I could see was the spine and the head and some fingers. The technition called the doctor in so I could be told what the sex of the baby was, because she (tech) was pretty sure she could tell. The doctor said that he would bet it was a girl. He said, that ultrasounds weren't perfect. So don't go pink crazy yet. Wait till we do a later ultrasound.
I didn't ... I knew in my heart that this was a little girl. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had answered my prayers.
I ran home from the doctor's and told Don. We immediately came up with a name
Jessica Dawn Eagler.
She was due the end of the year ... a New Years Baby ...we talked about how fun it would be to have the first baby of the year and how much we did NOT want a Christmas baby.
Jessica was after his grandmother Jesse and a friend of mine, Jessica, who'd died when she was 14.
I was just starting to wear maternity clothing and was having so much fun. I was waitressing and so enjoyed telling my customers that it was a girl named Jessica Dawn, after my friend, her great Grandmother and her Daddy Don.
Then, one night, I was waitressing in August, I felt sick. Just sick. I didn't hurt, I was just sick. I was a bit dizzy and I couldn't handle the heat of the resteraunt. I almost passed out a couple of times.
I told my boss I had to go home at 1 in the morning ...and I started to go home. Instead, I drove to the ER. We had no phone at home, so I couldn't call my husband. It didn't occur to me to call anyone else, a friend, a family member. I didn't want to make a fuss.
In the ER ... the doctor asked me if I was having pain .. I said no. He looked at me funny, like he didn't believe me. They did some lab work and gave me a pelvic exam. He asked again about pain as they hooked me up to a monitor for the baby. There was no heartbeat. I started to cry. I told him again there was no pain. He just didn't believe me. I really honestly don't remember if there was no pain, or if I wouldn't accept that there was no pain. I kept telling him I was sick to my stomach, there was no pain.
By 6 in the morning, August 19, 1988, I'd lost Jessica Dawn Eagler.
The medical records reflected that it was a 19.5 week pregnancy. A miscarriage.
But, by my count from my due date, I was past 20 weeks and almost 21 weeks. A stillbirth.
My sister "miscarried" at the same point in a pregnacy several years later, and was given the choice of picking 20 weeks or 19 weeks. With 20 weeks, by law, you're required to have the funeral. 19 weeks, it's a miscarried. The mom is 'spared' the stress of the funeral. My sister, much to my dismay, chose the 19 weeks.
I was not given the choice. They made the decision for me. I'd have taken the 20. I needed the finalization of saying goodbye. Although, right then or there, I'm not sure what my decision would have been.
I think it was the few days after as people were acting like we'd lost our newspaper that I'd wished we'd had the funeral. For people to realize, we'd lost a BABY. We lost a part of our family.
We bought a little silver bear from an engravement shop that says "Jessica Dawn
8-19-88 We love you" and we thought ...we would always keep her center of our thoughts. Christmas time, my mom and Don's mom bought a little ornament with her name engraved on it. Don and I bought her a stocking that we put up every year.
When Samuel was about 6, he asked what the stocking was for. We explained that he had a sister in heaven. We asked him to not tell his brother, but to let his brother figure out the stocking or the bank, like he did ..and ask in his own time. Being a little boy, he couldn't wait to tell his little brother about his sister in heaven. So, a few weeks later Benjamin shocked me as he asked "When do I get to see my sister Jessica?"
Over the years, Benjamin has occassionally asked questions out of the blue like that. He talks about Jessica as if he knows her. To them, it's not a question that she is a part of our family. Don, and I, do not talk about her. The loss, is too painful. Her bank sits on our computer desk, and occassionally we both look at it, and I can still see the pain in his eyes when the stocking is hung. When Benjamin says something about her, I feel like I've been jabbed.
When Kylie died last week ... Benjamin's comment was "Jessica is there to show her around"
For the last few days, I've been staring at Jessica's bank. As we had a senior graduation banquet this weekend at church, the realization that she would have been a Senior in High School that would have been her in one of those beautiful dresses ...
So, why Kylie's death has forced these memories, I'm not sure. My psychiatrist wasn't surprised at all. His response was "maybe now you can get to know your daughter as well as Benjamin knows his sister"
wow. My daughter. I've never dared to call her that. It makes my stomach turn flip flops and it hurts my heart ... she's the baby we lost.
My Daughter, Jessica Dawn ... I wonder what you would look like at 18? I've always pictured you with dark curly hair like your daddy ... blue eyes like mine ... and more than likely ornery like me. What are you like in heaven? Are you a baby? Are you 18? Are you taking care of Kylie for Teresa like I'd like you to? What does time do with babies who are stillborn? My Daughter, Jessica Dawn.