"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm,
and carry them close to his heart, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I've been Lamenting...

Now all three of my kids have a cold. But Rachel has it the worst. She is blueish and not moving as much and so I am on guard for spells. The day ahead looks hard and long. I have a Dentist appointment this morning too and I don't want to leave Rachel.  But then it is always hard to leave her. 

Last night Dave asked me how the day was.  And then I found myself talking and things started pouring out of me that I wasn't really aware of.  I have been trying for so long to be strong for everyone.  I didn't want to admit how disappointed I really felt or how my heart hurts.  Sometimes I don't feel like I have the right to complain. I have friends whose only child died.  I have friends who have waited many years for someone to share their life with and they want kids.  But I have been working so hard to be thankful, to do eucharisto - be thankful, focus on what is good and right etc....that I forgot that it is ok to lament too...that sometimes lament is necessary and good.  And my lament has been so bottled up, like a time bomb waiting to errupt. It hasn't errupted yet, but last night was like a tiny hole letting out some of the pressure.
Then this morning, Abigail was singing this little song to Rachel in a cheery voice and I had to turn away from her so she wouldn't see my tears streaming. And that hole widened a bit more.  These were the words..."We want to keep you but you're going to die. You're going to die. We want to keep you but you're going to die." And my thought....was "oh God, this is not the song I want my daughter to be singing to her 11 month old sister!  This isn't right....oh, this just isn't fair." 

Last night I told Dave how I felt about the day. This morning I told God. I think I was afraid to finish this last night because I knew I would cry and then I wouldn't sleep...This is how my "Psalm of Lament" goes...(and I warn you - this is pretty raw. I am not holding back on this one - well, scratch that - I will probably still hold back because this is on my blog, but truthfully, I don't know where I'm going to end up...)

God, I watched my two children play in the bathtub today. 
Soon they will be too old to do this together.
Abigail would have had so much fun playing with her 11 month old sister in the tub...
I can almost see it....Rachel sitting and splashing her big sister...      
I wanted this...I want this so badly.  Can you see how it hurts?
I have this picture of Abigail sitting in her high chair on her first birthday...
Sitting....Eating and playing with a carrot muffin...Laughing...
I will never experience these joys with my second daughter.
I won't applaud her first steps or have a conversation with her..

What are you doing God? 
How could you give us this beautiful little girl and have us fall in love with her, all the while knowing that you will take her away??
You didn't give me what I wanted! I wanted three healthy children
The number isn't really all that important.
What I really want is Ethan, Abigail, and Rachel.
And it hurts beyond belief to know that I can't have this.
Life used to seem simple before.
My biggest complaint was lack of sleep and temper tantrums.
I remember how my biggest decision that day was what to do with the kids...walk to the Library, go to the Park, get together with friends. 
I remember what it was like to look forward to something.
And now...everything is upside down.  Nothing feels secure or safe anymore. 
Many of our friends have palliative care kids, or children who have died.
It seems rather impossible that there are healthy kids at all.  
All the bad is clouding over the good stuff.
That beautiful joy in celebrating other's new pregnancies or births isn't there anymore.
And I miss the joy of celebrating milestones...
I grieve bitterly that Rachel can never be that happy smiling chubby baby in my arms. 
And I can almost see it - in a way that I haven't ever allowed myself to imagine. 
Her face in all of those healthy babies I saw at the immunization clinic....
How it should have been..

And God, I am so tired. Tired of the constant unknowns.
Tired of wondering every time I go shopping, if I'll need to leave everything and run home.
Tired of always wondering where Dave is and how fast he can get home.
Tired of not having energy to talk with my friends or pour myself into anything at all.
Tired of wondering when we will have a funeral - when my friends are making plans for the summer. 
We are just plain tired. When do we get our break God?
Just one day...just one day to not have to hurt like this. To not be so tired in every part of my being..

And God, my biggest complaint.  
Rachel is so frail.  She is brave and beautiful but she is so little.
And she has to struggle to breathe. She has to suffer.
And it hurts my heart so much.
How many more times do we need to endure these spells?
Because I don't know if I can do it any more.
God, please have mercy on her.    
God, please have mercy on us. 

ok...many tears later, I am finally done.  Funny thing is I feel better.  And I feel heard.  And when I read over my own questions and complaints again, they don't seem as big as they did when I was writing them. I almost expect to hear God respond with a long list of questions as He did with Job.  Maybe I will go and read the book of Job....or some psalms.  Although on second thought, I should really give some attention to my kids now.  I have been rather negligent this morning.  And I just snapped at Abigail when she dropped something and woke Rachel up....So, into the day I go.


paige said...

big lump in my throat as i read your lament.

Anonymous said...

Me too...big lump....L-lew

Anonymous said...

I have wanted to leave comments for you ever so often, but I feel inadequate doing so since I don't know you and since I have not yet experienced the kind of pain that you deal with on a daily basis. I want to avoid sounding trite and inexperienced.
I don't really know you, but I have kept up with your blog for the last 9 months. I made the lamb touque for your Rachel, that Rachel Frisen sent you :) And I feel honored every time I have seen a picture of her in it.
I applaud your openness and your willingness to open that hole. It is hard when you really don't know what will come out of it and it is easier to cover it up and go on with life.
I just wanted to share some insight into a fleeting thought I had a couple years ago in hopes that it will encourage in some sort of way. I know it can't even begin to dent the doubts and questions that you must have but nonetheless...
I have three kids 2 boys and a long awaited girl. Shortly after my daughter learned to walk, dance, and sing... (which was all about the same time, she seems to be born entertainer)... I sat admiring her as she sang her sweet heart out in a very loud and off-key tone. As I watched her a prayer popped into my head "Lord, please let me keep her for a while" All at once I shoved this morbid thought out of my head for fear of jinxing her life. Of course I realized right away that this was silly and her life is in God's hands. But as I thought about it I realized that this thought was a blessing. A blessing for God to share with me, perhaps a glimpse of how I should see my children. And then I thanked God. I thanked him for entrusting me with HIS 3 beautiful children. That he would honor me above all others to raise these particular children, for as long as he sees fit. They are a blessing that he has shared with me, even if it turns out to be just a little while and I will embrace every second that he gives me with them.
Well, I'm sure that God has showed you these things before but I think it never hurts to be reminded. I pray for you guys often and I am so encouraged by your blog. Thank-you for blessing us all with this journey that you are on.
- Echo

Carlana said...

Wow, that is quite the song that Abigail sang to Rachel. Yes, that must have been sooo painful to hear. That "Psalm of Lament" you wrote was great. I'm sure God appreciates hearing about your honest sadness just as much as the songs of thanksgiving and we, your friends/blog followers, do, too!

Brenda Funk said...

If it helps, I cried along with you. Love MOM

LindaWD said...

I've been following your blog since last spring - I was in MS with members of your church when they found out about Rachel. I have been praying for you ever since, along with members of my bible study group.
I love your Psalm of Lament - it's so real and honest, and if we can't be real with God, who can we be real with?
Praying that you'll find mercy and peace.

Valerie Ruth said...

i love the honesty and authenticity of your heart. i can't imagine how it must break over and over again. much love.

Carol Taves said...

Thanks for being so painfully honest - I'm crying with you.

Danielle said...

Hi Kendra,
I have been following your blog for quite some time and I want to let you know that your post brought me to tears. So many things you lamented about resonated deep within me. For those of us with very sick children or with children who we have had to hand over to God far too soon, I don't feel like we can lament very often because it is hard for other to hear the honest, raw truth about our sadness, anxiety and grief.

Your words are beautiful. I loved hearing what is truly on your heart...a heart that has had to carry so much more than most people could ever imagine. I've often asked God the same thing...how could you let me fall so deeply in love with a child who (for me) was so quickly taken away?

I can't even begin to imagine the mix of emotions that you experience on a daily basis. You are such a strong woman and an amazing mother. Know that you all are being lifted up in prayer. You are such an encouragement...love to you all.

Anonymous said...

Tears in my eyes too for you....and a prayer for strength for today. Roselle

fawne said...

i can't think of anything to say except I'm so glad you shared this. there's a lot of feeling in my heart but no words on my lips. no words that are sufficent. i love you friend.

Anonymous said...

tears are good...the lament is good...we need to release and express those feelings.....

This morning I was reminded of the song "Hungry I Come to You" that I listened to a lot when we were going through that rough time during Renee's last four months. I listened to it again, a YouTube version, in preparation for Good Friday.

Just wanted to let you know that I'm praying for you.
- Martha

Anonymous said...

How long O Lord will You forget me?
How long O Lord will You look the other way?
How long O Lord must I wrestle with my thoughts,
And every day have such sorrow in my heart?

Look on me and answer, O God my Father
Bring light to my darkness before they see me fall.

But I trust in Your unfailing love
Yes, my heart will rejoice.
Still I sing of Your unfailing love
You have been good, You will be good to me.

This song by Brian Doerksen, taken from Ps 13, was my heart's lament during my husband's illness and death. It became a declaration of God's goodness when He didn't 'feel' good to me.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Kara said...

Dear Kendra, thank you for your honesty. And you are being brave, very brave even in your lament. I think of your family so often. I wish we could have a heart to heart in person and lament and rejoice together. Much love to you all.