Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Saturday, October 29th, we had a memorial for Michael and Alena.

My husband and I, along with a few family members, decided to take our chances and hike up to Mirror Lake to say goodbye to our babies. We chose a lake in the mountains that we frequent almost every summer so that we could visit (almost) whenever we want. It's serene, crystal clear, and surrounded by trees.

We knew there was a great chance that it would rain and rain hard. It is Washington in the fall after all. But honestly, our time was running out. It could be snowing in the mountains soon and if we were made to wait until next summer, after the snow melts, I may not be able or willing to hike at all. I am hoping to be pregnant again by then and I won't take any chances. So with all of this in mind, we knew we had to try.

My mom, along with Mike's parents, sister and brother-in-law came with us for support. Luckily, we chose a spot that didn't require you to be an expert hiker because I am still on the mend and couldn't have done anything too strenuous.

On the way there, I saw a rainbow. It made me feel like this was the right thing to do and the right time. It was a sign from the world that things would be okay.

Once we arrived at the lake and I took a little while to ready myself, we prepared the babies for their new home. I held them, sent them my love, and said my goodbyes. Mike's father did a reading and then my husband read something he had written for the occasion. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and I was proud of him for having the courage to make himself that vulnerable. I certainly couldn't have made it through something like that, and I am the writer between us.

There was a lot of crying on my part and Mike had to be the one to spread their ashes in the lake. It was the one thing I was having too hard a time coming to grips with, so I sat beside him while he did the task. Afterward - we sent two red roses and two floating candles into the lake with them. The candles stayed lit longer than we expected them to.

Leaving them there was the hardest thing I did that day. It took everything I had to turn my back and walk away. It felt like I was leaving them there alone and I hated it. People kept telling me I would see them again soon and that we would be back, but that was not enough in my mind. I didn't want to come back to 'see' them that way. I wanted to be bringing my children there in the baby carriers we bought and for them to be spending time at the lake in our arms, not living there. I wanted them alive and safe.

Somehow I managed to turn away, and on the way back, the skies cleared and the sun came out. Again, a sign from the universe that they were where they needed to be and that I would be okay. I spent the rest of the hike back enjoying the sun on my face and mopping up silent tears. I already missed them so much.

Now I have mixed feelings about their ashes being gone.

I am sad because now I feel more empty than before, with few living memories to hold on to and now their bodies were gone as well. It was a comfort to be able to talk to them and spend time with them and I won't have that ability anymore.

But I am glad, because having them in the house with us made a harsh reality of the fact that they were no longer living inside me. They were dead. It may have made it harder to move on if I could see the physical evidence of their loss every day.

I am torn in two directions and it's hard to bring myself to the middle.

Nights are the worst. It's always been the time when I think about my day and everything else in my head. I get so tired in early evening, just waiting for a reasonable time to go to bed and then I can't sleep. I have always had a hard time turning my brain off and now is no exception. I go through all the stages of grief in a matter of an hour and it's exhausting and draining. And I know I will have to do it again the next night.

Sometimes I get so sick and tired of feeling down. I just want one whole day where I can block it all out and enjoy myself. One day to be happy like I was before. And I do try to be happy...but it always comes back - the loss and the sadness. I know it's to be expected, but I just want to be normal again. It seems like I am the only one who can't just 'turn it off' when I want. Maybe it's the hormones or the body changes or the simple fact that I had been carrying them with me every day for 20 weeks.

But it's just so frustrating that I have to feel the loss ALL the time, while others can laugh and talk about sports and move past sad feelings whenever they put their mind to it. I know some people can't see the point in dwelling and try to go back to normal... or maybe they just want to portray strength around me to hold me up. I get it, but HOW do they do it? I can't just turn it off or forget. I can get through a work day or other busy work if I engross myself, but it only lasts for short periods of time. I'm just tired of being like this.

I went a little off topic, but hey, that's the way my brain works right now. It's a bit of a mess.

I will leave you with a few pictures my mom took from the lake-side memorial. If only the sun had come out a few minutes earlier, the lake would have been a sight to see.

I also wanted to thank you all profusely for all the comments, love, and support you have shown in the last two weeks. It helps so much to know that I am surrounded by such wonderful people.


  1. I will have to hike out to Mirror Lake next spring, it looks beautiful. I am so glad you had a ceremony for your babies with your family. And I do believe the rainbow you saw, and the clearing of the clouds was a sign to you that your babies are okay, and that you will be okay again too. I wish I could tell you the magic secret to feeling better, but there isn't any. What you've been through is the most difficult event in your life. Parents aren't supposed to say goodbye forever to their children, it goes against the natural order of things. Yet you and Michael had that burden unfairly thrust upon you. You will get through this though. You and Michael will forever miss baby Michael and Alena, but the excruciating pain will dull to a deep sadness, and as you go on to have more children, you will feel more complete. There will always be a hole, but the hole will feel smaller as the joy of parenthood fills your life with love, happiness, and occasional frustration of course. I KNOW you will be a mama someday, I pray sooner rather than later.

  2. I think the memorial was a beautiful tribute to your babies. The rainbow and the sun seemed to have shown at the right moments for you; gifts from your babies I am sure :) Thinking about you both..

  3. Oh, and it is nice to hear you talk about hoping to be pregnant next summer. I am in a wedding next May, and told a fellow bridesmaid I was hoping to be pregnant again by then, and she told me not to rush it. I wanted to scream!

  4. Oh Liss, I love you guys! This is a beautiful post, and has warmed my heart. The two of you are so incredibly strong...and you don't even realize it. I can tell you this much - do not feel like you need to turn anything 'off'. They ARE your children, and always will be.
    I completely understand the feeling of wanting to be better again. And in time, you will feel like you once did. But until you do, know that I am only one phone call, and a few short miles away!

  5. I am so amazed at both your and Mike's strength. I can't imagine how difficult this has been and will continue to be. I think the memorial was beautiful, and I'm so glad you had those moments of grace. It's nice to hear that you are hoping to be pregnant soon, with the love and tenderness you've shown your first two babies I know you will be a wonderful mother.

    I love you both.

  6. You did get to carry your babies to the lake, and enjoy some time with them. Just not in the way you thought. I'm hurting for you and know that nothing we can say will erase the pain. Don't hurry to shut anything off, grieve the way you need to, you've been through a lot. Then when the time is right, and you see that rainbow or break in the clouds again you'll find the strength to move on. They are in a beautiful place, I hope you can find a little peace in that.


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