If you are friends or family of ours, please do not be offended that I didn't share this site with you. You are more than welcome to stay, read and participate, but be aware that somethings said here are not directed at you. While some of the posts and comments might be uncomfortable for you, remember the purpose of this site: It's dealing with My pain and My Grief that you just can't understand until you lose one of your own. I know you want to help ease my pain (and you have in many ways) but there will always be burdens you can't help me with, so I turn to my fellow bereaved.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Frame of Reference

Having survived our first set of 'Holidays' with our litle Olivia (wow I just typoed that as with our Olivia..) anyway let me start over...

Having survived our first set of 'Holidays' without our little Olivia, it has only brought us closer to another mountain to climb. Soon we will start hitting anniversary dates:

  • February 19th brings what should have been Olivia's 1st Birthday
  • March 13th brings her 1st successful open heart surgery
  • April 16th gave us the 'official diagnosis' of Alagille Syndrome

Even though February 19th obviously carries unspeakable importance, February 14th is going to hurt just as much if not more. The beyond obvious reason of Valentine's Day, 2/14/2010 will be the day that Olivia has been gone longer than she was with us. We were so fortunate to have our daughter for 5 months and 28 days, enjoying every moment (well almost all). Yet on Feb 14th, 2010 will be 5 months and 29 days that she our earthly plane.

Dates and times that would not have as much meaning if Olivia were still alive, take the place of her 'growing' milestones. We have to create our own markers to attach memories to, coloring all we do/see in the off colors jaded by sorrow. Everyone always told us "When you have your baby your life will change forever!" Little did they know how prophetic they would be, almost doubly so, because we were given the greatest gift one can receive, only to find out it wasn't ours to keep.... The swing from Highest of Highs to Lowest of Lows now colors everything I look at. It's like looking through a kaleidescope without the beautiful colors. Wandering through my life now I'm often reminded of a beautiful post a fellow grieving parent made on her blog about the long term shadow cast by the loss of a child on the landscape of one's life. (I've copied the entirety of her (andthroughthestorm's) post below to do full justice to the image. The original blog post can be found HERE-- I hope she doesn't mind. Visit their blog, it's well worth your time.)

I’ve had this picture in my head for a while and I’m now at the point that I’d like to share it. The picture is of a wide landscape which represents my life. My life goes from the left to right and as we move across time passes. On the left I cant see much on the very far edge, I’m young and I hate to say many of my memories have faded, it’s a bit misty. As time moves on there are hills and valleys, but on the whole its all fairly flat. The sun is high in the sky and even in the valleys it’s still pretty bright. Moving on there are a few valleys that are deeper and although they are lush and green on the way down the climb back up is rough, barren, hard and difficult to climb. In the centre of the picture I see the last few years. After a fairly deep and grim valley there begins to be beautiful flowers on the ground, slowly more and more till you reach a lush stunning garden full of colour and light. The flowers and beauty represent the time hubby and I were falling in love and the garden our wedding. The flowers continue out of the garden to the next landmark, a stunning glass prism, which as the light from sun strikes it floods the time from then on with an amazing rainbow of colours. The prism is the birth of our son. For a while the landscape continues with this wonderful scene , then all of a sudden the serenity is broken by a huge dark pillar of stone. The stone is by far the highest point on the whole horizon and it casts a shadow far to the right, but as time goes on the shadow weakens in its intensity and the light of the sun is more visible. At the base of the stone is a tiny climbing plant and as time passes this grows and eventually covers the dark bare stone in leaves of green and bright ruby red flowers. The stone is still large and makes the future quite dark, at least to start with, but in time stone is beautiful too.

At times it's hard to believe that any of what has happened in the last year is real, or ever was real. I'm surrounded by images, items, and reminders of a time that seems too long gone. Was that girl that nuzzled on my shoulder rubbing her face really mine, or has this all been a dream? I have flashes where the gravity of what we've lost it hits me. When I look, really look at pictures of Olivia, not just glance, I immediately get a constricting feeling in my throat, a slightly metallic taste in my mouth, a burning sensation in my eyes, followed by tears welling in my eyes, oh how I wish they were tears of joy. I guess I'm still too close to the monolith to get a true perspective on it. Hopefully in time, the stone will weather, the edges be less sharp, hopefully eventually it will lose it's stranglehold on sunlight that it seems to have at this time.

Let me end with another piece of music that's on my playlist right now:

Imogen Heap : Hide and Seek


  1. These milestones are of course a big deal and I am sure the first year is the hardest. But I don't think from my experience that the days themselves are as bad as I feared. It was helpful to have reasons to make a connection with Abigail. I wouldn't want the pain to be numbed.

    But so hard for you not having Olivia with you. So my heart goes out to you.

    I agree about Andthroughthestorm's blog, I love it too and remember that post well.

    Take care

  2. LITR,

    Thanks again for your kind words. I too agree that the pain of memories can be a good thing. Feeling reminds me how much we love, how much what we lost means to us, hence I haven't buried myself in a bottle -- which would be way too easy.

    I hope your journey continues to improve. I think of you and your family often.


  3. Ben,

    Of course I don't mind you quoting my post. Far from it. To know that the deepest feelings of my heart, the thoughts that occupy so much of my time, mean something to others is immense. Like an embrace, I am no longer alone but a connection is formed and one that touches my very soul. This path we walk is so dark and inhospitable, but the companionship and support along the way is a big part of what, for me at least, keeps me going. So thank you, it means a lot to know I am not alone. I hope and pray the coming dates will be gentle on you, but also meaningful as you remember your sweet precious little one.

    Mrs ATTS

  4. Ben: That wasn't a typo ... little Olvia WAS with you and always will be!!


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