Tuesday, March 21, 2006

So here I am, posting my thoughts onto the internet because I feel the need to share a piece of myself with whomever wants to listen.

My story starts like this:

My life took a right hand turn, flip-flopped, and forever changed on September 14th, 1998. That was the day that I found out that I was pregnant. I was almost 20 and it obviously wasn't planned. I figured it out though, and in nine months my daughter Madison Grace was born. The transition into motherhood wasn't as difficult as I had anticipated. I made it work. I stayed in college, worked as much as I could and supported my daughter as well as myself. I was very happy. Just when I thought that I had my life in control and on the right track , an emotinal freight train broadsided me throwing my life into a whirl wind and once again forever changing it. It was October 8th, 2000, and I had lost my daughter to SIDS.

It was a Sunday afternoon. I was at work and Maddie was with her father and his parents in his apartment in the Married Student Housing where we both lived. I worked at the local community hospital in the admitting department of the ER. It was around 1pm when an ambulance was dispatched to the college apartments where we lived. Now because I worked as a part of the ER I had a radio in my office so that I could hear about the patients that were being transported to the hosptial. When I heard the tone, and then the call my heart sank. At first I thought that it had to be another child in that complex, but deep within my soul I just knew that it was her. Why and how I knew this I really don't know. Anyway, the panic and swells of emotion that I felt was overwhelming. To this day I still feel brief waves of this combination of emotions, and it always humbles me and renders me a bit helpless. My daughter was pronounced dead at 2:22pm. I stayed at the hospital with her for as long as I could. I held her and talked to her. I was surrounded by family and friends who were all in just as much shock as I was. Then, after who knows how long I left. Without her. I had lived 20 years of my life for myself, and just 16 months of it with her... Leaving the hospital without her was like leaving a piece of me behind. I sometimes feel like a chunk of my soul is still there, wandering up and down the hallways searching for her.

Lets fastforward to today. It's been over 5 years since her death. I'm married now, and I have two other children. I finished college and I've managed to make it this far. It's amazing what the human soul can do when it has to. I still can't explain why I wasn't commited to a mental hospital and I don't know where I found the strength to keep mucking through life, but I did. Here I am.

In memory of Madison, my family and friends raised money and built a playground in the same college housing that we used to live in, and we also started a scholarship for single parents. For the first three years, although I missed her greatly, I felt satisfied that we did all that we could do to honor her memory. It wasn't until her 5th birthday that I started having a hard time again. I dealt with the reoccurance of the waves of grief, and rode the emotional rollercoaster and cried when I needed to cry. Then her 6th birthday came, and I felt as if I needed to do more, but what? Then the 5th aniversary of her death came and my heart ached for something that brough a piece of her back to me. I started reading books and doing some research on parental berievement, and that helped. I can't believe how little is out there on the subject, it's almost heartbreaking. Then about 6 weeks ago there was a car accident in that same little town where she died. The car accident involved a car and a school bus. The children on the bus were fine, but there were two fatalities in the car. A 16 year old girl, and a 14 year old boy. It wasn't until two weeks after that accident that I discovered that the boy that was involved in that accident used to live in the house that my husband and I now own. We bought it a year and a half prior from his mother and step father. My heart ached. I started grieving all over again. I cried, I felt weighted and that combination of emotions that flooded my body when I found out about Maddie's passing kept pushing it's way back into my soul. Now a good person would have called, carded, or done something for the family that had just lost their son. I have yet to do so. I'm just not sure what to say. When the time comes, I will find the words and I will be ready.

Now I pour my heart and soul out here because I have learned somethings about myself and about the whole grieving process during these past five years of grieving (which only came to me within the past few weeks). The first thing that I have learned is that there is just not enough information out there for bereaved parents. I'm not talking internet, but more along the line of books, studies, and reports. The things that are out there really only cover the first two years of loss. Now I have found two books that are wonderful tools that I opened my mind and heart in regards to living through the years of my life while carring the weight of my daughters death, but I want more. More needs to be done.

The second thing that I have discovered is that I have found my tangible piece that I have been searching for. A friend emailed me a forward that had hand sculpted, "marzipan babies", on it. Now, with a little more reseach I learned that these creations we not made from marzipan, but out of a polymer clay. I have been playing around with polymer clay for years, and I took it upon myself as a challenge to make one of my own.

As of this morning I have finished my 7th piece and I'm half way through my 8th. I have had to force myself to stop, put down my tools, and walk away. I spent over two hours this morning pushing and sculpting my clay, and it's been so therapeutic for me! Even if I don't sell these critters they have served a purpose, and that's what really counts. I feel that if I can find comfort in these little guys someone else might too. When it comes to grieving there are no rules or guidelines. What I have learned from these books is that bereaved parents go out seeking pieces of their deceased children. They search for that tangible piece that will forever keep that child physically close. Although the memories will always be there, it's in that physical, touchable, loss that is the hardest for the parents to cope with. For years I would scan the shelves of stores, craft fairs, whatever, for SOMETHING that would bring a piece of her back to me. Every now and then I would indeed see something and I would buy it but it wouldn't give me the peace that I was so desperatly searching for, it only satisfied that desire for a short time. By making these little guys I have found my peace, My Tangible Peace, and I want to share them with whomever is interested.

I will post pictures of my babies in the days to come. Thank you for listening.


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