Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Blog Is Moving to Bloglovin'

You need to find me on Bloglovin' to follow my blog.  Google Reader will no longer carry my blog as of July 1st.  I hope you will continue to follow my blog!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How & Why I Had To Forgive

Many of you have asked me about forgiveness.  The answer isn't easy when you are hurting and licking your raw wounds of  obvious betrayal to you. It is hard when the person who hurt you doesn't even realize or will admit what they did.  Let's get real.  No one wants to admit they are wrong.  It is just human nature.  Some are just too wrapped up in themselves to even understand the depth of their wrong doing.  Others, do it deliberately convincing themselves it is for your own good.  Then, there are just the mean people who hurt you and don't ever look back to see their destruction.

After the stillbirth of James Collins, Jr., I was the victim of all of these hurts.  I have forgiven the small hurts and the life-changing hurts.  Not one of  the people who hurt me had experienced the death of a child. No one can ever understand that kind of hurt unless you have been there.  It is even hard to imagine that kind of pain.  There is no do over or second chance.  You have lost that loved one forever, in our case, our son.

My pain was so much more intense in those first raw months due to the fact that not only was I alone, I had to deal with hurtful things said by family, ( mine and James') the very ones I needed most.  This post deals my mother-in-law due to her many big hurts.  My husband was as much a victim as I was.  He was being guided by his trusted mother.  My Scar Opened Up Today tells that story.  It was awful!  It took time for me to forgive her.  I do believe she was a victim of the times and society when handing out her advice.  I didn't see it then.  The pain was too recent.  I also believe she just wanted the whole mess to go away.  She didn't want to deal with a grieving son and daughter-in-law.  Our son was an inconvenience.  If she loved him or grieved him, she hid it very well from us.  She wasn't a support system, but drug us down.  It made an already traumatic experience so much worse!  Did she understand that?  If she did, she never showed that either.  She was silent in her sabotage of our healing.  After I had my rainbow children, we began to get along better.  I included her on so many activities.  She loved our rainbow son very much.  The same went for our second rainbow son.  She was very close to them and that made me happy.  Life was getting much better. Then, our only daughter, Reita Gale, was stillborn at 20 weeks.  I thought she would surely treat this stillbirth differently.  She was in the room when the nurse brought Reita Gale to my room.  She stayed and watched as James and I held our daughter and mourned her.  She chose not to hold her granddaughter.  When the nurse tried to console her over the death of her granddaughter, she just replied that she already had a granddaughter and didn't have the time for another one.  The look on the nurse's face was indescribable.  I made up my mind at that very moment that she would be the one left behind at my daughter's funeral. We had a quiet graveside service with only James and our two rainbows attending.  She never mentioned the funeral or my daughter again. The hate returned.  The words she spoke to the nurse that day were deliberate and just plain despicable.  That was very mean, selfish and destructive.  It erased all of the work I had done on forgiving her from my previous stillbirth.  Not only do we suffer the death of our child, we suffer hurtful actions and words plus the burden of forgiveness falls on us!  It is like pouring alcohol on the open wound!  However, after time, I just took her for who she was warts and all. Don't give me a pat on the back.  All of us fall short.  She did a lot of good, but she couldn't handle stillbirth.  Yes, she was selfish and mean to me at those times.  Yet, there were other times when she was completely wrapped up in my rainbow sons.  As my rainbows grew up, she was proud of them and tried to never miss an event in their lives. I took them to visit her and my father-in-law weekly if not more.  I learned to love her for loving my sons.  I learned to forgive her through love.  In her elder years, she thanked me for being a good mother and a good wife to her son.  She also thanked me for always keeping her informed about what was going on with her grandsons lives.  I often invited her and my father-in-law over for dinner.  They loved playing board games with their grandsons.  It was a blessing to see them interact together.  I don't know when it actually happened, but I forgave her because I grew to love her more and more.  The good out weighed the bad.  Who of us is perfect?  The Lord's Prayer instructs us to forgive others.  He gives us the strength to do so if we ask.  It may not be right away.  Forgiveness is an on going thing.  I have to keep reminding myself that I forgive her, especially when the hurt surfaces.  My mother-in-law died before seeing any of her great-grandchildren born.  I was with her alone in her hospital room when she died.  We talked.  I talked.  She died.  Then the others came in.  She knew long before she died that I loved her.  Did she know that I forgave her?  I don't know because it was a subject off limits to discuss due to her wishes.  Is she with my son and daughter in Heaven already?  I'm not sure because I don't know if that sacred moment is saved for just their Mommy and Daddy.

If you need to forgive someone who has hurt you during your grief, please make a choice to do so as soon as you can.  Harboring hate or anger hurts you more than it does them.  It eats on you.  Their words can't be undone.  Maybe they will talk with you about it.  Even if they won't, for your sake and the sake of your rainbow children, forgive them.  It will be one less burden on you.  Pray about it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Letter To My Stillborn Son



    My Baby James Collins, Jr.


     How has thirty-eight years passed by since your birth?  How have I lived without having you physically with me?  It amazes me that I have.  I didn’t want to.  I have missed you so much.  There is a part of me so deeply empty.  It is your space.  It never has been filled by anything or anyone.  I dream of you my sweet son, my James Collins, Jr.  I can still smell the baby powder I used to dust your things with.  I keep baby powder and use it on me, so I can smell you with me.  You know you are my first born.  That is an honor you will always have.  You made me a mother.  I wanted to hold you so much, but no one would let me.  I wanted to be at your funeral, but everyone left without letting me know.  So many people kept our time away from us.  But my sweetheart, you know how we spent those nine months together.  They were the sweetest filled with our secret times together!  You really enjoyed being nestled way up high under my ribs!  That was your special place for nine months.  I guess you were trying to stay as close to my heart as you could.  Did you know your time with me was going to end that second day in May?  I hoped and prayed until the very last.  When you didn’t cry, I thought the doctor could fix it.  Surely God would.  You never did cry.  I was the one who did and for a long time.  I still cry.  I cry for what we have missed together.  I knew you were okay being in Heaven with your Father.  I wasn’t okay, but that wasn’t your fault or mine.  It was just the way it was.  I so badly wanted you back so I could change your diapers, feed you, rock you to sleep, and stroll you outside to hear the birds sing.  I wanted to show you the flowers blooming that spring.  I wanted to lay you in your beautiful white crib and turn on your mobile for you to see.  I still have that mobile in my nightgown drawer.  I pull it out and play it sometimes while I am getting dressed.  I never did get to put you in your crib, but the first day I was alone at home after your birth, I got in it to feel closer to you and I cried for you.  I didn’t know that babies died inside their mommy.  I was a college Summa Cum Laude graduate, tied for the 11th place in my class and I wasn’t smart enough to know that you might die.  Why didn’t I know when I was three months pregnant that you swam around and made two knots in your cord?  All those months I carried you towards life, but that life was not to be with me.  Sometimes I am proud you are in Heaven.  You are in the best place ever!  You got the real deal!  What mother wouldn’t want that for her child?  You never had to live in this dangerous world.  That is some comfort for me. In fact, it is my only comfort.  I wonder often what it is like for you in Heaven.  Do you see me?  I feel like you do.  I remember the night you were so close to me.  It was the first night it rained after you were buried.  Remember?  I cried and wanted to go put a blanket over your grave so you wouldn’t be cold and wet.  You scolded me for worrying about you.  You told me you were with your Father in Heaven.  You wanted me to trust God with your care.  I  have never worried about you since then either.  It’s me.  I just missed doing all of the things a mommy does for her firstborn son.  I was so ready to be a new mother for the first time!  I was so happy and excited about having you, my sweet child.  Everything changed in a moment.  I turned into a sad lonely mommy without her baby to take care of.  Was that bad of me?  Should I have been stronger for you?  I did trust God to take care of you!  God gave me so many mothering instincts that just didn’t disappear because you died.  I didn’t know what to do with those instincts.   I hope you understand why mommy was so sad.  You know, grieving is natural after we lose someone we love so much.  It is very hard to do.  It has been the hardest thing that I have ever done.  I thought I would hurt so deeply forever.  I didn’t know that one day, that fresh grief would dim and not hurt as much.  I have never forgotten you.  I just don’t cry all of the time like I did.  I have told your two brothers all about you.  I still talk about you to them even though they are all grown up.  Do you play with your sister Reita Gale?  How about your other brother or sister?  I call her Abba Gale because the doctor believes she is your sister’s twin.  I have a twin sister, my family has many twins and every one of them are identical, so I just know Reita Gale’s twin is a girl.  You know for sure, don’t you?  I wonder if you are still a baby or did you grow in Heaven.  I think you and your sisters are still babies, but little baby souls since you don’t have your earthly bodies anymore.  Somehow, when I get there, I believe we can hug and cuddle and love each other with kisses and maybe I can rock you.  I’m sure I will recognize you and you me.  Your sisters will be with us and we will be so happy.  Then this empty spot in my heart will be filled.  Maybe this spot isn’t as empty as I thought.  Maybe it does have something in it.  It has hope.  It has love.  My love for you is stored there as well as my hope of one day holding you.  God is going to bring me to you.  It wouldn’t surprise me if you didn’t already know when.  Well, sweet baby of mine, I’m waiting and I’ll be ready.  I have been ready for thirty-eight years.  No one has ever taken your place.  No one ever will.  You are my son, my very firstborn baby.  I cherish you in a very special way because you are my firstborn.  Those nine months we were together will always be close to my heart.  These past thirty-eight years that I have missed you will be worth it when we are together again in Heaven with our Father.  Oh, how much I love you!!!  You are always forever in my heart!


Your Mother
I'm still in darkness of grief.  Your bear is some light as I hold it for comfort.  The light of our reunion is just outside. 
Looking for our light that you are already in.
So lonely for you and wondering how I have made it for 38 unbelievable years without you.
I love watching your pinwheel play in the wind!  I makes me happy!  For now it is the only way I can play with you.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth Arrived!

It's here!  My certificate for James Collins Fitts, Jr finally came in the mail thanks to the help of the MISS Foundation!  What a story of what it took to get it!  Here is the picture!

  Just when I felt every avenue had been explored and I was ready to give up, The MISS Foundation popped up on my computer screen.  Their goal is to help bereaved parents!  I quickly wrote them a message.  Within an hour I heard from North Carolina's MISS volunteer, Daryl Logulla.  As it turns out, Daryl helped to write the legislation to be passed  in NC to give parents their rightful Certificate of Birth  Resulting in Stillbirth.  He knew the law!  He knew I legally had the right to this certificate for my son.  Daryl also got the run around, but  knew the right words to say and what to say.  Within a few weeks, the very person at the NC Department of Vital Statistics that told me I could not get a certificate for my son, called me to say my certificate was on its way to me!  Also, since I had to work so hard to get the Department of Vital Statistics to get their act together, the $36 fee was waived!  She also told me that upon talking to the NC Attorney General, she was told where the files were that had all of the babies born to stillbirth in the 1970's era.  My son's records on file were found at last!  I knew they were there somewhere!  I feel so proud that through my son's death part of his legacy will be opening up hundreds if not thousands of forgotten files needed for other North Carolina parents who lost a child before or during birth can now have the birth not just the death of their baby on file with the state.  This helps to validate that we as mothers actually did go through labor and birth our children, even though they never took a breath on this earth.  They were human beings born not breathing, but born just the same.  They had to be named and a funeral home called.  To have a funeral, you had to of first died.  You can't die unless you were first alive.  Also, as a result of the struggle to find James Collins' records, the NC Department of Vital Statistics has improved its application form to make it easier for parents to get their certificates.  Also, this department has to recognized ANY Fetal Death Certificate issued by the counties of NC with the proper seal.  These new and improved changes came about because I wouldn't give up on my son's rights.  His rights to be counted.  His right to have his name in the Vital Statistics Records.  James Collins Fitts, Jr was here in my womb for nine months.  He was and still is very much loved.  His life counted even though he never lived outside of my body.  I am so proud that because of him, other parents will not have to go through what I did just to get a simple certificate, the Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth.                                                                      

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Scar Opened Up Today

I am back in May of 1975 right now.  The rawness of it bites at the deepest part of my very being.  Can anyone please explain it to me?  I mean how on earth could anyone be so heartless to sneak behind my back and convince my husband that it would be in my best interest if I didn't attend my own son's funeral?  My doctor discharged me from the hospital with full clearance to attend my son's funeral.  Who was she to think she knew better than the doctor?  I will never forget the moment I discovered everyone had left for the funeral leaving me upstairs with two "friends" to distract me.  The primal animal mother instinct in me fought like a wild beast to get out of the bed, get my car keys to drive myself to the funeral.  I tore at the bedding screaming blood curling noises I didn't know I had in me.  I'm feeling it all right now, 38 long years later and it drives me into madness.  My heart is beating so fast and I am in a sweat with ever fiber of me still fighting to undo that horrible deed.  I want to grabbed the clocks of time and go back to that day to be in control.  Now that I am so keenly aware of that plot against me, I would do everything so differently!  I was only 24 years old.  I was so  trusting and vulnerable.  I don't understand how one person could have talked my husband, my parents, my five grown sibblings, and my very best friend into not saying one word to me about the most unsacred of all plots. Were they in fear of her?  Not one tiny little syllable of this plot slipped out!  How does one keep such a dirty secret?  I still can barely conceive the fact that this really happened to me.  It would have been way much kinder to have just put a real knife through  my already bleeding heart and twisted it until I was dead.  Instead, I was emotionally mangled and scarred for life by this action.  Everyone walked on his sacred ground of burial but me.  They got to cry over his casket, but not me, his mother.  I should have been there!  I grieve over not being there.  It was suppose to be part of the grieving process.  I not only lost my son, but his funeral too.  If she were alive today I would slap her face.  Yes, I do get these waves of anger!  I am only human. 
I never did slap her face while she was alive.  I forgave her.  Don't even begin to ask me how.  It was the right thing to do. I never hated her, but I hate her actions and I can't forget them.  I was by her side when she died.  I ended up loving her.  I miss her.  Isn't that really weird?  Time does heal, it healed my relationship with her.  It has never healed what she did.  I am scarred and times like today, that scar opens up.  Then it all comes back to me so clear.