Friday, September 26, 2014

Another Anniversary

Another year, another anniversary.  How lucky are we to have one another? Of course I can only speak for myself but I think you are  pretty lucky to have me!
Seventeen years equals a multitude of life transitions, such as: Our four apartments (I am calling your parent's basement an apartment) before we transitioned into owning, then it became three houses; five vehicles (not including work vehicles but definitely including that stupid Grand Am). We have survived one another's education - you finished your trade certificate and I finished my culinary apprenticeship, hairstyling school, my undergraduate degree and my Master's (and you call yourself a Jack of All Trades). There have been changes in our jobs, you have had two different jobs but with  a multitude of success that has led you to a career that you love and ummmmmmmm there have been a couple different jobs for me BUT who is counting (just my parents).  There have been fur babies, whom we tested our parental skills on, loving them and of course finding the strength to let them go.  Lastly but of the greatest value, there are the boys. Four beautiful children. They have been the most amazing teachers of love, patience, resilience and of loss. Now in our seventeenth year of marriage we will become parents again, an amazing gift and another adventure.
Seventeen Years married to you. So many joys and adventures, some heartbreaks and sadness but when I reflect back on Seventeen Years, for me it can only equal one thing, Love.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Confronted with A Different Approach

Yesterday I attended a specialist appointment. Like many specialist appointments they took a very thorough medical history.  First a nurse met with me and did an overview of my health history and got my vitals and then a doctor reviewed and expanded upon the initial assessment. In the course of the interview I experienced the medical model in its belief and approach to neonatal death and I had to share it here because all too often bereaved parents are faced with similar ignorance (not necessarily in the medical field, it can happen everywhere).
So this was not the way that I was going to come out with this news but to understand this blog, it is relevant to the dialogue. I am pregnant! Surprise for many. We are so excited and terrified (but that is another blog).
So this was the initial conversation with the nurse:

Nurse: So is this your first pregnancy?

Me: No, it is my fifth.

Nurse: FIFTH! Wow, good for you with all those children at home.

Me:This is my fifth pregnancy and I have three children at home, our second son died.

Nurse: Oh, I am sorry.

The rest of the interview pertained to my health. When I met with the doctor, her bias was much more evident.

Doctor: Has this been a healthy pregnancy?

Me: Yes, but I have had abruptions in three of my pregnancies. My second son was born at 23 weeks and died shortly after.

Doctor: OH, so is that the child that you told my nurse had died? 

Me: Yes

Doctor: Well it was not viable at 23 weeks.

Me: We understood that at the time and we made the tough decision to have him in our community so that we could hold him and keep him until he died.

Doctor: Well I met a child who was born at 26 weeks the other day and they were not healthy.

Me: um.

Doctor: So why would you think it was a good idea to have another child with Chronic Fatigue?

Obviously, the doctor had her opinions which she felt very comfortable expressing. Under some circumstances I do feel very comfortable educating people as I believe that most ignorance is a lack of knowledge (most not all). In this case her viewpoint was complicated by layers of beliefs that I did not have the time or energy to engage with. At the end of the day the person who I need to be comfortable with is me and out of respect and honour to my relationship to my partner as well.
We are looking forward to 2015 when a new Lambert will enter our family where Flynn is remembered and honoured as the valuable Lambert he is.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

No Orchids

This year Flynn's anniversary was different.  We did not recognize it with the same tradition that I have grown accustomed to. Truly I was okay with planning the change in scenery and I enjoyed the time we spent with the boys. If I am being honest I did not miss the moodiness, body aches and extreme fatigue that I normally experience in anticipation of the anniversary. Instead we were eagerly anticipating our escape from daily routines and I knew I could still hold Flynn's memory close and acknowledge him on that day.
In my blog about his anniversary I struggled with the feeling that his birthday was not as comfortable as I wanted or needed it to be. I have come to realize that it was not only the change in scenery or the lack of a time held tradition that made it so different. Moreover it has taken me months to reconcile and recognize that the changes that were made to Flynn's anniversary had a more profound effect on the grief that journeys alongside me.
Every year on May 3rd I purchase blue orchids. They were the flower that showered Flynn's tiny casket and on his anniversary I leave some in the cemetery and I bring five home to represent our family. I place them in the centre of our home, typically the kitchen, where they bloom for a month if not more. They had become a symbol of our grief and consequently marked a period when those around us may extend care and compassion especially if we were less than our optimal selves.  In their own way the bunch of orchids were symbolic of our mourning, while not active any more, still a time that we could give ourselves.
This year, not only were we far away on Flynn's anniversary but there were no orchids. No symbolic representation of our grief that we could meet daily, touch and have loved ones appreciate.  What effect did that have on me? Now, in retrospect, I believe that the lead up that in past years I was so accustomed to became a down swing following this anniversary. The days and weeks that followed May 3rd were filled with fatigue, sadness and periods of depression.  While I found ways to cope and manage these all too familiar feelings it took the guidance and understanding of a friend to help me see the significance of the symbols in my grief. It is with gratitude that I am finally able to write this blog, something that I have struggled to express for months.
So next year? I don't think I am willing or ready to permanently change the tradition surrounding Flynn's anniversary and I will likely look toward familiarity as a form of comfort but I know without a doubt there will be orchids.