Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Emotional Whiplash

Events from Tuesday May 6

This morning I actually woke up and went to the gym—what I normally do on a Tuesday morning. It felt good to do something, anything, that seemed remotely normal or routine right now. I think I am geared so that when things like this happen, I want to find my way back to some kind of routine as quickly as possible, but I realize that this kind of grief will defy timetables and schedules. We have to let it be what it is… and accept that what it is for me will be different than what it is for others… and that's okay.

After breakfast, Laurie and I faced the difficult task of going to Duda-Rucks Funeral Home to plan our daughter's funeral. There just seems to be something out of whack with the cosmos when parents have to bury their infant daughter. I keep hoping I might wake up from a bad dream, but unfortunately it seems all too real. Probably the hardest thing was seeing the tiny casket in which she will be buried. We knew we needed to see it, but it was hard.

Once we finished at the funeral home, we went to Franklin Square to see Becca. What a welcome sight to gaze upon her beautiful face after having to sit in that place where the stinch of death permeates the place and plan her sister's funeral. But it certainly does feel like emotional whiplash— from the anguish of seeing Hope's casket to the joy and comfort of holding Becca in our arms. I really feel like having her here softens the blow somewhat from what this would feel like if we lost a child and did not have another child. Laurie nursed Becca while we were there and she ate well.

Unfortunately, Becca has a bit of jaundice so she can't come home today. They have her under UV light and in a little jumpsuit to protect her. Laurie commented that she looks like a "little glowworm". ☺ The good news is the EKG they did yesterday came back normal. We can use some good news right now! Hopefully, the jaundice will clear up and she can come home tomorrow. We certainly want to get her home so we can stop shuttling back and forth to Franklin Square a couple times a day, but at the same time we might as well wait until she is ready so we don't end up having to bring her back. As one nurse put it: "Look at it as 24-hour babysitting." Soon enough we will be dealing with having an infant at home on top of our 2-year old and everything else that is going on.

After we finished at the hospital, we went home and had lunch. We had a visit from Laurie's District Superintendent Tony Hunt and from another friend. All the while the phone kept ringing with various people on the other end. There are so many details that need to be tended to right now. It can be overwhelming. Laurie and I spent some time planning the funeral service—i.e., music, scripture, etc. In some ways we shouldn't have to do this, but in others it's good to do because it lets us make the service more personal and meaningful to us and appropriate to honor Hope. It's hard for Laurie not to want to help plan the service since she is a pastor and it's "what I do".

We went back to Franklin Square in the late afternoon and Grandma Gates watched Brady—but it was clear that he didn't want mom and dad to leave again. We fed Becca again, but this time she wasn't has receptive to nursing. They gave her a bottle of milk mixed with iron supplements and we suspect that she got a little spoiled and didn't want to have to work to get milk from Laurie's breast. We ended up giving her a bit more milk from the bottle. Hopefully, next time she'll be more receptive. The lesson learned may be—don't offer the bottle first.

On our way home we picked up fast food from Dairy Queen and headed home to spend a little time with Brady before he had to go to bed. We know he's getting short-changed a bit on time with mom and dad right now but there's just so much to get done with having to care for Becca and plan a funeral. You're just not supposed to welcome an infant home and have a funeral for an infant in the same week! We just keep pushing forward doing the best we can, but life has a surreal quality right now. You make it through day-by-day even moment-by-moment and feel support to keep pushing forward coming from a source beyond yourself. Sometimes you just feel like you've been run over by a truck, and then it backed up and ran over you again, and again, … I think it will help to get through Friday and Saturday, but in other ways this pain will be with us the rest of our lives.

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