Today has been ridiculously difficult, even as I have rejoiced in being able to enjoy my two beautiful children who are still with me. After moving from Colorado to the Pacific Northwest, my daughter, Ande, has been acting out in reaction to all of the incredible changes that have taken place in a few short months. In January she turned three, and a short six days later we had baby Carrick, a full two-and-a-half weeks earlier than we were expecting him. Ten days later, Carrick was back in the hospital again for RSV. Then my adopted grandmother, Mary Lou, died. Two weeks later, we were given an effective "or else" on the transfer to come out here.
We were prepared for it though, and had prayed and fasted about the possibility of moving to the Northwest since October's General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I had felt strongly after President Eyring's talk at the broadcasted General Relief Society Conference in September 2009 that we were being called to come out here. So, our little family of five packed up into our new-to-us Suburban to make the drive out the first week of March. We stopped in Temple Square on the way, which was wonderful. I had never seen it before, and as a relatively new convert to the church (going on four years), it was quite a marvel for me.
We arrived in a small(ish) town in Washington to spend the night before my husband would start his training the coming days. We went to the Seattle Aquarium, and the three kiddos and I had a blast checking out sea otters, tide pools, petting sea stars, and even catching sight of a harbor seal in the sound while waiting for the aquarium to open in the morning. We went to bed that night exhausted. Everyone was tired and worn out from our big day out. The kids were frazzed. I played with Carrick, gently lifting him up by his hands to help strengthen his neck, and then asked my hubby to hold the baby for me so that I could sleep. Hubby woke me in a panic just a few short hours later. He had woken up with a start and Carrick wasn't breathing. I held him in my arms, but he was limp, like a tiny rag doll. He was still pink and warm, but he was completely non-responsive. Hubby tried a blessing to call him back to us while I called 911. Paramedics responded and were on site almost immediately. I don't know how long they worked trying to bring Carrick back, but it seemed like forever while I watched those diligent heroes of the night in their efforts to save our son. March 9th will forever be etched in my memory, and I fear in the memory of my two small children as well.
Today is two months since the death of our son, when his perfect spirit was called back home to our Heavenly Father. While Hubby and I both feel the tender mercies of our Father in preparing us for this event, I am still devastated; perhaps more so now than I was even a month ago. A month ago we stood firm in our purpose and resolve. We knew that Heavenly Father needed our son more than we did. We knew that our son was too perfect to have to fight the challenges, temptations, and sorrows of this earthly probation. We knew that he had come to receive his physical body, and that upon the Resurrection, that his perfected physical form would be given back to him. We knew that because of his perfection and because he was too young to have been held accountable for any sins (the age of eight is the age of accountability and of baptism for the remission of sins), his spirit was resting in the beauty of heaven while he awaited that day. We knew that based upon our faithfulness to the covenants of marriage, and individual covenants that we have made in the temple of our Lord, that Carrick would one day be restored to Hubby and me, and that we would have the blessed opportunity to raise him without trial or affliction. I still know these things, but that does not lessen the pain of missing him.
There have been days where I have longed to sleep and never wake up again in hopes of seeing my son again. I miss Carrick so badly that I feel I can hardly function sometimes. I want to lay in bed and never crawl out again. And on days like that, I am especially grateful for Ande, because right now, she is demanding all of my attention and more. My real problem right now is trying to feel grateful for being a mother to my two remaining children when I can't be a mother to the child that is waiting for me. I want to say that I have lost Carrick, but I can't, because I know that it's not true. It is so difficult for me to even want to be a mother. I love my children more than anything on this earth. I will absolutely, unequivocally die to protect them, but I don't know how to take care of them right now because I feel like I can't even take care of myself.
A little over a week ago, a beautiful, dear friend of mine from Georgia (with a corresponding, incredibly cool accent) helped take Ande and Kyle so that I could go to LDS Family Services for some counseling. And boy was I grateful, because I needed it. Even though I know that my Heavenly Father wants me to feel joy, and sorrows over the pain that we are all experiencing over Carrick's death, I still occasionally blame myself. I want Carrick's death to be my fault, because then I can say that I had control. If it was my fault, then I can prevent it happening again to my other children. I know that's not true at all; it's selfish of me to even think, but I still want to have some shred of control over the situation. That would be my desperate OCD perfectionism coming out, but I think that it's human nature too. I say that, even as I know that as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, it is my responsibility to try to rise above the "natural man." That doesn't mean that I'm not allowed to feel grief, rather that I'm not allowed to use it as an excuse to be selfish.
Lately, I have felt so whiny that I'm actually sick of myself. A friend back in Colorado who had a miscarriage said that when she got to this point, that's how she knew that she was getting better. I hope that's true for my sake (and for everyone else's). I'm a totally independent DIY kind of girl normally, and I'm so unaccustomed to being labeled as a charity case. That's why when I broke into tears during Relief Society meeting at church today, I was horrified with embarrassment even as I was relieved to finally have a break in emotion. No more fake shiny-happy smiles, no more little-miss-perfect. I'm a little afraid that I scared half of Relief Society though as I bawled in the next room with that same special friend who helped me get some help through Family Services (hereafter referred to as Georgia). I'm normally terrified of what other people think of me. Part of that is from my upbringing, the rest is probably from a little insecurity over being a convert to the church. I think I'm just going to have to get over that. If I keep having break downs like this, I think embarrassment is just going to become standard fare.
Overall, I would say that this weekend was relatively neutral. There were some pretty bad breaks, but Hubby and Georgia mitigated the worst of it. I feel so bad for my two kiddos sakes. I love them so, so, so very dearly, and I know that I'm not being the mother that they deserve right now. I want to take this opportunity to heal from events both recent and past to become the person that I know my Heavenly Father wants me to be.