Tag Archives: death

The Baby Dub Blog Book

I have been encouraged by many people, some close and some not-so-close, to turn this blog into a book.

I am going to do that.

In planning said book, I wanted to include some of the stuff from when I was pregnant with Hudson, some of the blissful-unawares, the funny musings of a pregnant woman who didn’t know what kind of hell was coming next. But I’ve been putting off the project because, quite frankly, I wasn’t sure how well I would handle reading back over the early writings. To read what it was like to be pregnant, to be reminded of all the beautiful fun, to see what I thought was so rough, well, I didn’t know if I could take it.

But this afternoon I spend some time editing the first part of the book – the Pregnancy part.

And I LOVED reading it.

I miss being pregnant with Hudson so much, and I am so glad that I captured so much of the experience here in this blog. The first doctor’s appointment. The first time the Hubs felt her kick. Sharing the news we were having a girl. The last hour has been spent alternating between laughter and tears, all a pretty amazing trip down memory lane to a much better time, a different me.

And then, I came to this post, from my birthday last year, from the day my Grandpa died.

Losing a family member is never fun, but it does force you to reflect on the lives they’d led, on the way they’ve impacted who you’ve become, and on how you want to impact the lives of those around you. […] As hard as it is to lose somebody, death, just like life, should be a celebration. Where a new life gives us reason to celebrate potential, memories to be made, dreams to be dreamed and anything that’s possible, death gives us reason to celebrate the contribution of one person to the world, to celebrate the things that would never have been the same without that person, and celebrate our remaining chance to be important and make a difference for those in our lives.
Either way, celebrate.
If nothing else, life deserves to be a celebration.

When I first told my good friend and writing buddy TGF about the idea of turning the blog into a book, and expressed my concerns about what to include from the pregnancy, she told me this: “If you are editing things out, make sure that you put in the stuff that has a special meaning to you now… the stuff that means more because of your experience.”

Who knew I was so wise about how to deal with death? That passage I wrote while contemplating the passing of my “rogue rider” grandpa has a special, poignant meaning to me in the wake of my daughter’s death. We had to switch so fast from celebrating her life to dealing with her death, from dreams and potential to contemplating her contribution and realizing all the ways that our world was changed by her brief existence. It is hard to live these days without her, and writing about her helps to keep her close in my memory, and hopefully helps others who go through a loss. But when it comes to living life, I hope that I am doing more than just memorializing Hudson. I hope that I am celebrating her.

Because life deserves to be a celebration.

 

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Numbering your days

I recently decided to pick up this book:

20,000 Days and Counting, by Robert D. Smith

On Smith’s 20,000th day of life, he went on a little personal retreat and made a plan for the next 20,000 days. This book is your personal road map for making the most of the time you are blessed with here on earth – with little, easy to digest nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout. I would recommend it to anybody who is as obsessed with the passing of time as I am.

I’ve been alive 10,878 days. Exactly 3626 times as many days as Hudson was alive.

Three days is a long weekend. Three days isn’t even half of a week. Three days is  all it takes for a little human being to change the world. She leaves ripples in her wake that will turn into tidal waves of change. She was, and is, amazing.

In the 20,000 Days book, Smith mentions a video called “When I Die: Lessons From the Death Zone“. I watched it this morning. I want you to go watch it right now.

I’ll wait.

…Life screams at you with its intensity.
I saw my children born, {…} and I saw the incredible, massive potential of that moment. And when my father died, and the air left his body, it was as powerful as the air entering the body of my daughters.
He died very beautifully at 9:30 tonight. Gail is in rapture and says that she felt total bliss from him at the moment of death and that it was a message for all of us to not be sad.

I’m not going to lie to you. I laid in bed, hugging my giraffe print body pillow, and I cried as I read those words on the screen of my Kindle Fire.

What would it feel like to die? What did Hudson feel as she passed from this world into… what? Without a grasp of any kind of language, do you think her intent as she died in our arms was a message for all of us to not be sad?

I have a lifetime of waiting to find out.

What I do know is that in her three days, she was surrounded by nothing but love. In her three days, not a moment was wasted. In her three days, people focused on her with an intensity no other human being will ever know in a longer lifetime. We memorized her face, we drank in her incredible, massive potential, we prayed fervently, we willed the universe to help our daughter hold on.

And perhaps, that moment when she let go was total bliss for her.

Every once in a while, something somebody says to me in the aftermath of Hudson’s death will burn into my brain, and my mother dropped one of these on me very shortly after Hudson died. My dad is a pastor, so he spends a lot of time with people in their dying days, with families in the dreaded “after”. From hospital visits to funerals, my parents have more experience than the average adult with death. And my mother commented to me on one of my particularly bad days, “It has always struck me how tenuously we cling to life.”

Tenuous. Having little substance. Flimsy.

My grandfather died on my birthday last year. He had a long, painful battle with cancer. Over a year before he died, we thought we were going to say goodbye to him. He’d been on life support and the decision was made to take him off of the machines that were keeping him alive. As family gathered around him and sang hymns and prayed together, we all were thinking in the back of our minds that these were our last moments with Grandpa. But his attachment to life was more tenacious than tenuous, and he somehow fought back to us, against all odds. We got another year (and some change) with Grandpa.

When Hudson’s heart stopped on July 14, my Grandpa’s recovery flitted through the back of my mind. In those moments, I tried to live in two dimensions: the dimension where my daughter was dying in my arms, and the dimension where my daughter was fighting to live in my arms. I wanted to cherish the minutes I had with her because they were my last, all the while clinging to some tenuous hope that she might be stronger than the force taking her away from me.

That’s kind of what life is like. In every moment, we are living and dying. We are one stupid mistake from death in every moment. We are one freak accident away from life. We are as old as we’ve ever been and as young as we’re ever going to get, RIGHT NOW.

Let life scream at you with its intensity. You don’t have to know how many days you’ve been alive to know that each one of those days is a gift. Number your days, or don’t number your days…. but live them.

 

 

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This world is not my home…

When I was in high school, we used to sing this song during chapel.

This world is not my home, I’m just a’passin’ through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door (golden shore?)
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

A few years ago, a very close friend of mine lost her baby. She was about 7 months pregnant with her first child when they discovered that their baby girl didn’t have a heartbeat. My friend had to be induced and go through the whole labor and delivery process knowing there wasn’t going to be a baby to bring home.

As is so often the case with bad news, I got the news on Facebook. After texting my dear friend my condolences (meager comfort though they may be), I posted my own thoughts on the inter-webs. I posted:

This world is not my home.

A few short weeks before we had Hudson, I met up with a fellow pregger friend for some fro-yo. We hugged, I gave her a little gift (some maternity clothes I thought would come in handy), and she apologized for missing my baby shower. She had just found out that their baby had a heart defect, that the little guy would need to have heart surgery within the first year of his life. I remember being flabbergasted, driving home and thinking in the car “This world is not my home.”

Then we had Hudson, and she died.

I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

Don’t you think there has to be something more? Even though I’m a little ticked off at God for letting this happen to us, for not answering our prayers, this experience has actually made me believe in God more. This world can not be all we get. We so easily become complacent with our lives – maybe we aren’t “living the dream,” but we aren’t sick, poor, destitute, we might even be pretty comfortable, getting to do the things we want when we want, happy with our spouse, good friends, good family. So we think “This world is alright.”

And then something really effed up happens, and we remember that this world is NOT alright, that something is very very wrong with our world when parents have to bury their children, not to mention the horrors that happen in other countries, the lack of civil liberties experienced in other cultures, the just-plain-evil exhibited in the name of religion or freedom or some other “noble” cause. The death of our daughter was enough to make me seriously contemplate holing up in our house and waiting for “End Times” (as my husband calls the Apocalypse).

But the life of our daughter was so amazing, beautiful, an overwhelming flood of good feelings, proud feelings, love feelings… this world is not alright, but so much beauty can still survive in such an ugly place.

My friend who lost her baby late in pregnancy ended up getting pregnant within a year with baby #2, a beautiful healthy little boy, one of the prettiest babies I’ve ever seen. My friend whose baby boy has a heart defect has made it through the scariest stages of his early life, and he’s recovering from his surgery nicely, surrounded by loving family and incredible prayers.

Horrible things happen in this world, but beautiful, wonderful things happen in this world, too. Redemptive things. Cathartic things.

This world is not my home, but I do have to live in this world.

And I will make this world more beautiful.

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