Monday, February 1, 2010

Grief's Journey

The five stages of grief are

1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

I haven’t ever been able to accept Kendall’s death. Don’t know that I’ll ever be able to. I seem to bounce back and forth between anger and bargaining, like pleasegodgivemeherbackipromisei’llbeagoodmompleasepleaseplease. And when that doesn’t work I feel depressed, and hopeless. And so, so angry.

It seems everyone has forgotten about her but me, and that only keeps me isolated from the world more. I think about her about 50% of the day. That is a lot – one in every two thoughts of mine is consumed about my beautiful baby daughter, gone from this earth forever. And I cannot handle it. And this grief, this anger, it is tearing me apart. And I feel so lonely in all this. I isolate myself because it’s so hard to pretend to be happy around everyone else – because no one has lost their daughter and they do not know how it feels. I’m tired of pretending to be happy when I’m not. So I just keep to myself. It seems so much easier that way.  If other people have moved on, does that mean it's time for me to move on, to let her go, too?  I do not know the answer to this; only know the impossiblity of it.

I just can’t do it anymore. I’m such a failure. I seriously am. I have a feeding tube. I have no damn college degree because I decided that pursuing modeling and thinness were more important. I act like a child, when I really should be an adult. I am a selfish person. I have so many weaknesses. And I know this, and am working on them, but today, my dear readers, they fall heavily upon my shoulders. I am just so tired.

This post is not a pity post. I do not want comments telling me how awesome! And amazing! And Brie you’re none of those things! Comments. Because I am. And it’s okay. I guess today is just one of the days when I feel the burden of my mistakes, of my flaws, more heavily.

My grief’s journey hasn’t ended. And I hate pretending that it has. I’m just going to say it: I’m not okay. Today, I’m just not okay.

48 comments:

tracy said...

i'm so very sorry you feel this way Brie. My heart hurts for you.

Dena said...

It’s okay to not be okay. I was not okay for a very long time. All I wanted was to be alone. I spent every lunch hour alone in my car at the park crying and then sleeping. It is hard when the people around you cannot fully comprehend the loss you have suffered. It makes it even harder (and in me spurred a sense of rebellion) when I felt that everyone wanted me to “get over it and move on already”. Grief, as you know, cannot be rushed and is not something you can snap out of. To a certain extent, I think wanting to me alone with her memory is part of the grieve cycle. Kendall was so loved and longed for. She was your precious baby and deserves to be missed.

My advice would be to not let your grief for Kendall turn into self-loathing. Her legacy should be that she helped make her momma become a stronger and better woman.

I pray for you and your family.

Penny said...

Brie, God may say that "faith is the power that can move mountains." But I say that Love is the only power that can change our hearts....Take a moment and ponder on how your love for Kendall has changed your heart. I see it in so many ways. I would never have chosen her death to happen but what has happened since has profoundly changed you and your love for her has changed everything. I do not see you as a failure but as a woman who is truly trying to understand her disease and trying so hard to overcome it for her living son and husband and for a future daughter. You are working so hard and facing so many demons. Sure you don't always overcome but you have never given up. I respect your feelings of depression and sadness and I honor the woman that these feelings have made. God told Samuel that he does not look on the outward appearance but on the heart and your heart is so open and vulnerable and growing. He(God) loves that about you. You do not let pride stand in the way of your growth and that is just one of the strengths I see in you. Continue to mourn but please realize your love for her has changed you forever and you will overcome your troubles because of your love. Every living soul should work on patience and selfishness and anger, etc. If you opened your blog to all of your readers' struggles with these issues you would realize that you are not alone and you are not a failure. We are all failures except for God's grace and our desire to keep trying. I am sorry for your sadness and I would do anything to help as I am your Mom and you are my lovely daughter.

"Julia" said...

Everyone must grieve in their own way and in their own time. I wish loss were easier, but it is not, and, actually, it should not be. Kendall's passing was a profound event. I hope I never have to experience the loss of a child.

Reassurance won't do you a bit of good, right now. But know that you've an army of family and friends and readers and each one of us loves you.

To quote an old Irish blessing: "may the sun shine warm upon your face" and "may God hold you in the palm of His hand."

Always praying for you.

Cammy said...

You have a lot on your shoulders now, Brie, I hate that for you. It is ok to not be ok about Kendall. I have never had a child, much less lost one, so I won't pretend to know what you're going through, but know that I'm sending positive thoughts your way. I watched my mother deal with two miscarriages when I was growing up, and it is very complex and intangible at times. You did not choose what happened to Kendall. That is one burden you cannot let yourself bear, because it is crushing and undeserved.

As for past life mistakes, one of my therapist's favorite phrases is "It is what it is." You can't go back and change those decisions, but each and every day is a chance to make new decisions going in a positive direction. You can't do that if you're not putting too much mental and emotional energy into beating yourself up for yesterday. You still have all your old talents and attributes, except with much added wisdom and perspective to help you as you go forward.

Please let me know if you need anything, take care and treat yourself kindly.
Much, much love,
C

Maeve said...

I know you don't want comments about your awesomeness, but here's the secret: the fact you're not okay doesn't change the fact that you are also a great person. The two points are not mutually exclusive. Here's the other secret: just because you're a great person doesn't mean you have to be chipper. It's okay to be not okay.

I can't imagine what it's like to lose a child. Truthfully, I don't want to. But even though we may not understand what you are going through, we are here to support you. Even if you feel alone, you do have an army of people to help in any way they can.

Don't apologize for feeling like crap. You have nothing to be sorry for.

Just remember to take care of you.

brie said...

thank you, all, for your support. i'm just so sad today and i couldn't hide it behind humor. today i just need to hurt.

sarah said...

Everyone is allowed to hurt - I think those of us with ED's tend to believe that we are not allowed to honor our emotions, and that when we have emotions we are a failure.

There is no time frame for grief - take all the time you need. You are allowed to hurt and it is okay to not be okay.

Keep talking about it and know that you have so many people on your side.

Take care of you ...

Eating Alone said...

Brie, I think your there at step 5. Your accepting that you hurt. Moving on doesn't EVER mean forgeting. It means that you accept the pain. And don't forget that these are not once and done steps. You will go back and forth to them over a long time. Just keep in mind that the pain will not kill you and that you do still have a great gift and responsibility. It sucks that everyone seems to be moving on when you can't, but remember that they still love you and will support you.

HUG

Crystal said...

I was once talking with my aunt about grief. She, too, lost a daughter. She compared it to carrying a 50 pound sack. After her daughter's death, everyone was supportive and helpful and loving. But her death didn't affect them the way it affected my aunt, and they all moved on. Meanwhile, she had to continue carrying that sack. No one else could carry it for her, and when she started to "fall behind" other people because she had this giant sack to carry, people started to get frustrated with her. They had moved on, why couldn't she? She did, of course. Never completely, it just took longer than other people because she had to carry that weight. It will get better for you, and then you'll have a day where it will get worse. Grief isn't linear, it's evolving. And absolutely different for every person.
From your blog we can use you have a lot of people who love you, and even more people out in blog-land who are supportive. I've been reading for a while...Sorry this is my first comment. I hope it helps a little.

Amanda P said...

You don't have to be okay. And, if I may speak for Kendall (which I undoubtedly may NOT, but I will anyway), she would not want you to punish yourself. You are her mother - and she loves you. Seriously.

Will said...

It stinks to not feel okay...but sometimes you have to just sit in the shit to deal with it. YOU HAVE TO FEEL IT TO HEAL IT.

As a parent carrying a baby...I do think you were more attached. IT might be easier for others to move on since they didn't have this baby inside of them. It won't be easy and you'll never forget her. She'll be your angel baby and one day you will reunite with her. It's a hard thing to accept or attempt to accept b/c we can't undestand why this happens. We don't know if there was something wrong with the baby or the reason that the time God allowed the baby to be here...was only safe in your belly and never to enter the world.

If we could see God's big picture and knew his great master plan, we'd never question anything. But we can't....so we have grief and fear and worry.
Again, you HAVE to feel to heal. Time always helps but I'm sure you will always have thoughts of her.
And you should- you loved her and she is and always will be yours.

Suzi Q said...

Brie,
I am so sorry that today it a hard one. Moving forward doesn't mean forgetting what has happened nor does it mean that you only have good days to look forward to. Bad days will come and when they do cling to those you love you. Let them (us) support you. That is why we have family and friends. Much love!

Kerri said...

Brie, as much as it hurts to hear you talk like this, the fact is that it is really good that you AREN'T hiding behind humour anymore. This is a step in the right direction for you. And as for Kendall, the reason that you feel it so much more than anyone else is because no one else had met her, no one else could feel her and KNOW her like you could. So while others may be sad, it is always worse for the mother when a child is lost that way. No one but a mother can understand that connection you have to them when they are inside. And unfortunately, for that very reason, you feel like they don't remember or care as much as you. They can't. How could they? Honestly, even if they thought they did, we as mothers know that it just isn't true. That doesn't mean this won't get a bit easier as time goes on. It really wasn't all that long ago, and in terms of grief and loss, you are not' behind' in any way. Everyone grieves in their own way and you should never feel bad, guilty, or anything for this.

t. said...

i'm sorry, brie. i cannot even imagine what you must be going through. there is no timeline for grief, for healing. everyone just has to muddle through for however long it takes. i wish you much peace.

Melisa said...

Brie,

Thank you for being so honest. You may not think it but that is growth in itself. I am sure that Kendall consumes your every thought because she was apart of you. Always will be. Don't let the memory of her die. Then you will die also. But you do need to live so show her how to live. She will live on in you forever and ever. She is still your baby and you are still her mommy. I promise you will make it through this! You deserve to live:) Love ya girl

kristin said...

You will be okay, Brie. Hang in there!

love and hugs,
kristin

Teresa said...

I think you are forgetting one thing Be-Be, there is someone that knows what you're going through and that lost a daughter just like you, you're super supportive hubby. Now obviously she was growing inside of you and you were closer to her than anyone and I don't know B except for the few things he has posted in support of you (and meeting him for half a second one day), but he seems wonderful and only wants to do anything possible to make you happy and healthy so sorry if this totally seems like a tell you what to do comment but in the short time I've known you I've seen how happy little B comments can make you. So go your man, cry alot, talk a little and know that it's ok to not be funny Brie all the time.(feel free to cry and talk to me anytime too:) Love you!

brie said...

thanks all for the support. sometimes the grief just hits me so hard and it hurts so much and i wonder how i'll survive. today i guess is one of those times...

KatieS said...

I haven't commented before, but I've been reading your blog for a long time. I've never experienced a loss like that, but I know it must hurt badly. How could it not?

One of my favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 61:3: To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

When I read "beauty for ashes" I feel like that means that God can take the awful things that happen and make something good out of them, rather like your mother was saying. Those things were never supposed to happen, and it would have been better if they hadn't, but God can still take what happened and get something good out of them.

I'm not LDS, so it might be different in your culture, but in mine it's almost like you're not supposed to mourn, because your loved ones are in heaven and you will see them again. But even if you do see them again, which is amazing, it still sucks that you're not with them now. And God cares about people mourning. We're supposed to mourn; Jesus did.

I don't want to bombard you with scriptures, but here are some others I like.

Psalm 22:24: For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

Psalm 34:18: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

A post I found really poignant: http://www.millennialstar.org/tears-in-heaven-a-lds-perspective-on-stillborn-and-miscarried-babies/

I also have to say that I appreciate you sharing posts like these. Too many people only let people see the happy wonderful side of their lives. I think you also do some of your best writing when you're being serious.

bananas said...

Hi Brie. What can I say that hasn't been said already by all of these supportive readers you have? Really, nothing.

I'm sorry you're having such a hard day with this today. But yes, it is OK. And it will be OK, I swear. I love you.

CG said...

It sounds as if you are placing blame on yourself for the miscarriage...it happens in a staggering percentage of pregnancies, you cannot think that way. But as other lovely people have said, it's ok to be sad whenever you need to be.

Also, you are NEVER too old for a college degree, if that's what you want. xoxo

Heather said...

You being vulnerable today simply shows that you are healing. In our ED we hide how we truly feel... but the fact that you're choosing not to do that is such a huge step in recovery, Brie.

I also think it's so crucial that you are accepting the negative actions that you've made because of the ED. To me, it shows that you're ready to be different. To want more for yourself. To get better.

Adam and Cassie said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. It hasn't even been that long. I've have to miscarriages both around week 6 and I'm still not over it. You had your baby longer, you got to know her and it's going to hurt like hell for a while. I have found that a lot of people don't understand what it's like and how it really changes your life. With everything you are going through I think you are doing an excellent job of handling it.
Just know you're not alone. Take it day by day.

Shawna Wilson said...

You are definitely not alone in those feelings. My Dad died the beginning of November...totally out of the blue. You are so right on with feeling alone when you see everyone else moving on and doing normal life stuff. Then you don't want to bring it up cause it's like everyone else is sooo over it and sooo over talking about it all. So you just keep to yourself and cry by yourself. I know... oh I know. My sister and I were just barely saying today how weird it is to see what kind of outlets we have to deal. Instead of going all bonkers and breaking commandments I have become a shopaholic. Seriously, I went into target to buy a $3 wallet I saw on sale, and ended up spending $90. It just made me feel better. And my sister thinks she's a foodaholic. She said she ate a grilled ham & cheese, fries, lrg diet coke, nerd rope, and a kit-kat all within a half hour. soooo... ya we are messed up. Don't feel bad. You are so not alone in those feelings...

Laur said...

thinking of you...

Devon said...

Brie,

I've read others' posts and feel that I can't say anything better than how your mother phrased it.

I do however, feel like I want to suggest a song for you to listen to. It's a really sad song so I have no clue as to why I feel tempted to give it to you...but I fully support the need and right to grieve and this song encompasses that. Look up Tonight by FM Static.

Hopefully this isn't too weird...I dunno...it started playing in my itunes as I was reading your post and thought you might find something in it.

Much love and calming thoughts as you bravely breathe in and out.

Lou Lou said...

i am so deeply sorry brie.
I am sending you love and light.
arohamai
lou

allegri said...

Brie, My heart aches for you as I read these posts. I am still so very sorry for your loss. Its not fair I know. But I also know she up in heaven smiling down at you. And those moments during the day, where you feel at peace, it is those moments that she is sitting beside you comforting you. She loves her mommy and even though she didn't have much time here on earth to show you that + to allow you to express it to her, she knows that you ache for her, that your body longs for the slight glimpses of her presence. You are not a failure. Having a feeding tube it is a sign of strength + perseverance a sign that you wont let life knock you down. I know its hard + I know it sucks, oh man I so know it sucks, but you can do it. Larry is here for you and so are we. Praying for you!

belinda said...

hon,
as others have said here and many have said to me, there are going to be days where you don't feel okay, and that is totally 1/ understandable and 2/ okay.

i don't know what it's like to lose a child but i know loss and heartache (i lost my partner of 9yrs to suicide last august).

i see everyone else moving forward, working, coping, laughing and then i see me.. an isolating mess that hides behind crude quips and humor.

what did i learn in my grief?
that you never stop loving the one you lost. and you know what? you don't have to. i found that so comforting. you don't have to "let go" as they say, i think you just learn to carry it.

i read a great book called "cleo" by helen brown, about the loss of her young son. i emailed her after i finished reading it because it touched me so deeply and she said that losing a child was like losing a limb and in time you learn to function without that limb. she also assured me that you do learn to survive & love profoundly.

while i have lost the love of my life and i am riddled with many emotions, i have the love for him, and his spirit and memory live on, in that love. i see this with you & Kendall too. You will always love her, of course, and she will always live in your heart. It's not the same, i know.

You're not a failure, you're not. It's hard to write this, because i feel that way a lot of the time. but grief doesn't make you a failure, struggling with the ED doesn't make you a failure either. it kinda shows the opposite, that you are a lover and a fighter. not qualities of a failure honey.

the journey will take as long as it needs to. don't berate yourself for your feelings, they are true and honest. this is hard and exhausting. we are here.

much love to you brie.
x

Hannah said...

I'm praying for you, Brie.

Tiptoe said...

I do not have anything else to add than what has already been said, but I am wondering if you have thought about joining a grief loss support group. I know you have tons of family members and relatives around you, but it is possible that something like that may help you as well.

I think grief takes time and there is never a right or wrong way of how to handle it.

Krista said...

You wrote a comment telling me that I'm not a failure. If I am not a failure for puking 100+ times after losing my baby, then you certainly aren't a failure either just because you have a feeding tube. I love you and feel for you. You are not a failure!

Gena said...

Brie,

There are no words I can add that haven't already been said in the comments above. Just know that it is okay to be sad as long as you need to be. My 47-year-old husband was killed 18 months ago... I am not over it, our children are not over it and I'm not sure when or if we will be. I also lost a baby to miscarriage 20 years ago and I still miss him and love him.

Grief is an incredibly personal thing and everyone's journey through it is different. But feeling the sadness and letting it out is, in my opinion, one of the best ways of coping with it.

I am continuing to keep you in my prayers.

Gena

Courtney said...

Brie I'm so sorry. And I think you're right, that some days we are just not okay. There are days when we need encouragement and prodding, and then there are days where we just need to sit down, take a deep breath, and be okay right where we are. Even if it's not such a pretty place. I don't know when things will be less painful. Or why some of us seem to internalize and feel things so deeply that the heartache spreads to every fiber of your being. But like your mom said, I do believe that love has the power to heal us. Even when we feel irreparably damaged. I just wish for your sake, mine, and many others that the process would speed up a bit.

Katilexis said...

i dont know what to say Brie.. except, even though i'm in a completely different situation, i'm with you. i'm lost and i'm not okay.

just remember that you aren't alone in this.

With all my heart i want you to feel better.
love Katie
xox

Michelle said...

Tears are streaming down my face as I read your post and as I'm writing this. I am not ok today either, and I feel for you, Brie. Your words perfectly describe how I am feeling right this instant. You are in my thoughts.
-Michelle

Samantha Kay said...

Brie, love, sometimes it truly is okay to not be okay and to let the pain inside burn.
It's what shows and proves we, as living creatures, are still humane.

Keely said...

(hug) Sometimes I just don't have any words. But I care about you. And I'm here if you need me.

Alexandra Rising said...

Don't pretend not to feel how you feel.
Never pretend. Emotions come from inside you, you do not choose your emotions.
Never be ashamed to say, 'I am not okay.'
<3

brie said...

thanks again, all. i guess i just donb't want her forgotten. i don't want people to forget about kendall. i'm scared that people will move on so much, she'll barely be a memory...

Penny said...

Every year around my birthday I think more about life and death just because I am getting so old I think. One of the paradoxes I always think about is that everyone who has ever lived is eventually forgotten. I think that is why we try to amass stuff or children or writings so that something will survive after us, to demonstrate that we were here and we made a difference. Keeping Kendall's memory and "being" alive in your heart may be all that you will be able to really do. She did not leave any "stuff" here but she has increased your capacity to love and serve and feel and mourn and you are more alive now because of these experiences than before her life in you. You are more stretched and broadened and more sympathetic and understanding. She is pushing you still to experience even more so NO she will not be forgotten ever by you nor by me. She was perfect in form and size and then something happened and then she could not keep growing. When you know the whole story you will find out that it was part of God's plan for her for that to happen. Trust me that you will someday know the reason and then you will go, "oh, it was about her purpose in life and not about anything I did wrong. She will always be your angel baby to keep in your heart and mind to help you make sound decisions. No mother desires her daughter to suffer and no daughter wants to see her mom suffer either. We honor each other by trying to find the joy in our respective journeys. But it is ok to take time to grieve. I love you.

Sarah said...

I like this post bc it's very raw and real, as to which everyone can relate to it in some degree or know of another person in a like situation. I believe deep down we all have these hard feelings about ourselves for one reason or another and whether or not we voice them can change or impact it either positively or negitively. I hope sharing this has given you some clarity or relief. Remember you aren't alone. <3

Shannon said...

You know it's ok to continue grieving. I don't think that really ever ends. One of my dear friends lost her sweet baby girl, Brianna, when she was stillborn about 7 years ago. They still think of her often and she is always included when they talk about their children. I went to her funeral. It was very touching. Anyway, the point is, you never forget and that's ok. Some days are definitely going to be harder than others. You are making such great progress. I hope tomorrow is a better day!

Katannah said...

I don't know if anyone else has said this, but grief is not linear. It's a wave form. It sometimes ebbs but it's always there, and it's not always step 1 to 2 to 3, sometimes you get to 4 and go back to 2 and then bounce up to 3.

The other thing I hate about grief is how it links to guilt, which links to self-hatred, which links to despair. As you well know. The problem is that it's so hard to take baby steps forward when you're grieving. You just have to find the will somewhere. And yes, you have to, no whining. You're still a mother.

And that's the really big thing I hate about grief - self-hatred can turn into self-absorption in a very abusive way. You get to where you can't see beyond what's going on in your head and heart. "No one understands! No one has gone through this!" Guess what, sister? We are all capable of drowning in our own hell. Your Kendall, my miscarriage, another mother's SIDS baby... we grieve. We don't forget. But moving on is not forgetting. And you don't need to plant your feet and refuse to move on to honor your daughter.

I don't know if these were good things to say but I felt compelled to say them. I hope I haven't hurt you.

brie said...

katannah - you didn't offend me at all. i appreciate your candor and your honesty.

xoxo

Tuffy said...

Brie...Remember who you are....I mean in Gods eyes.Remember why you are here.Let go of the image you hold onto...How would it be to just BE YOU!! And not what everyone else thinks you should be...God looks on the heart..So that is what should be beautiful!
Oh the joy sweet forgiveness brings!YES forgive yourself first, beacause its time to stop blaming Brie.God wants you to come unto Him and make HIM your best friend!
How would it be to totally and with all of your heart LOVE the GIVER more than the GIFT? Remember you are Gods special, pure, precious,innocent daughter his child so dear...And that is how he still sees you.. When you are away from him he misses you far more than you miss him.Do you know a bit about how he must feel now? To have your precious child so far from you? He misses you..Can you imagine it is more pain to him than it is to you. He loves you more than he could ever express..so now its time to love yourself...its time to let the pain and hurt out..its time to open up.. its time to forgive yourself....Its time for his sweet Love to fill your heart..He is waiting....And waiting and waiting...His love is unconditional!
(I hope you will not be offended by my words, beacause they were meant for me at one time too) Nothing is stronger than the LOVE OF GOD! I love you even though I've never met you...Because you are an amazing beautiful spirit. spirit!!! Not The shell your spirit occupies! So set your spirit free!!!!Free to Live , Laugh and Love with all of your Heart! With Love, From Andrea 27 yrs.

portraitsbycasey said...

Brie,
I just found your blog and find it hilarious, inspiring, honest and Ive fallen in love with another blog for me to stalk! I mean that in the most sincere way of flattery not crazy!
I will tell you that grief is one of the most damning phases of life. I too lost my baby I had carried. Saw several doctors telling me Id never carry my own child. It was gut wrenching. In august 2006 my mother was brutally murdered. My mother was my best friend. I loved her everything about her. And this man took her from me. She saw the struggles I had endured for several failed pregnancies and 5 months later I found myself pregnant again. In november 2007 I welcomed a beautiful baby boy thanks to god and my mother. I believe this was my last gift from her. Every day without her is hard, do not ever feel guilty for being sad or grieving baby kendall. everyone grieves differently and you sadly will forever but dont ever let anyone tell you that you cant grieve and still be happy. You seem to be an amazing wife, mother, sister daughter so remember everyday that you are special!