Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I'm not who I was

Life has changed a lot for me since Carleigh's diagnosis, and even more so since Carleigh's birth. I've been shaped into a different person. While some of the change happened after the diagnosis, most of it has taken place since March 28th-the day Carleigh was born still. The Holly that existed before all of this simply does not exist any more. We are 2 separate people. And if you're waiting for her to come back you're wasting your time. It's never gonna happen, at least not that I can see.

I am going to tell you how I have changed so that maybe if you encounter me you can cut me a little slack. After all, I am still in the throes of grief (even though I will try very hard to hide it from you). Don't expect me to pick up with my merry little life and act like nothing happened. I'm never going to 'get over' losing Carleigh.

I have always been an easygoing person. Losing Carleigh has made me a more anxious and worrisome person. The anxiety is worse than the worry. These emotions are like a rollercoaster for me. Some days are better than others. Some days I just don't care. They make me feel and do things the old Holly might never have.

I have always been comfortable at home and didn't mind if we didn't get out much. Now I would prefer to only venture out when necessary. I can feel that little bit of panic in me when I leave the house for anything besides work. I don't enjoy this feeling so I'd rather just stay home. Don't tell me I need to get out. You don't know what I need. You have no clue.

I spend a lot more time on the computer. So what? Has it ever occurred to you that the computer is one of my outlets-my place to find and give comfort? It's one of the only 'places' I can turn to and find people who understand me and my grief and won't judge me for doing certain things. You can call me crazy but I know they won't.

I am more protective of Kyndra. I don't like it when she is not with me. This is where some of the worry and anxiety can creep in. So don't get offended if I don't let you have her or hold her. I don't expect this to change for a very long time. Get used to it.

I am stronger in the Lord. This is one of the good things (besides my beautiful daughter) that came from this difficult journey. My trust and faith in Him is more than it has ever been in my life. I am thankful for this.

I've always enjoyed seeing pregnant women and babies, but since Carleigh is no longer with me it can be hard at times to see other women being pregnant and toting around their babies. Just last week at church someone had their new baby there and I purposefully avoided going anywhere near the baby. I know I am ok holding babies because I've done it already. This is one of those up and down things. Most of the time I am ok with this, but on that day I wasn't and I knew it. Perhaps it's because I am more emotional at church than anywhere else. So if you are pregnant and you have a baby and I avoid you, don't take it personally.

There is not a single hour that goes by that I don't think of her. Carleigh is always on my mind, even when she isn't on yours.

Please try to understand. I shouldn't have to explain myself to you about why I do certain things. I'm trying so hard to get through this life without Carleigh. It's difficult and it just plain sucks, but I am trying to make the most of it. I am sure that as time passes these things will get better for me. Don't try to rush me when I am not ready.


Jodi Lansink said...

Everything you just said is ME! It was like I was reading that thinking I should be writing the same thing---I hate to leave the house, my house and my computer are a sanctuary for me. I feel sad when I see pregnant women or hear babies crying in stores-----so I like to stay home. I know that will get better, and I am trying to get out more, but I am with you 100%!!!!!!

Holly said...

you will be a different person...and even though you struggle, you are still strong with Jesus. My prayers are always with you Holly

Nickel Pickle said...

Your so right. I lost some friends after Logan died because they were waiting on the old me to come back, well she isn't going to. She's gone.

I also found a lot of comfort from the computer with the support group & my online mommies I talk to. I don't feel like I can be open with my grief with my friends in real life, I don't feel they get it or maybe they don't want to get it.

I also became very protective of my son Jake & I am even more protective of Chloe.

We will never be the people we once were before we lost our little ones & people can either accept it or they wont.

My Very Own Angel said...

Holly you hit some if not all of the same feelings I have. We are not the same are we?? Some of the change from losing our babies is better, like our relationships with God, but some things...gosh I wont let anyone watch Vashon. I was the mom that let him stay the night away from me when he was only 2 mo old. I was the mom that left the state for 6 days when he was 7 mo old. Now I wont go to the grocery store and leave him with anyone but his dad. I know how you feel, always thinking of you.

I love you

Rebecca said...

You are a wonderful person. Be who you are and don't worry about other people. Reading your blog has really helped me with my pregnancy and knowing what I'm going to have to endure. You are a strength to me, and I wouldn't care what anyone said.

Celia said...

Ditto!! I too get panicked whenever I have to go anywhere....The biggest problem in that being that I work at home so unless I absolutely NEED something I really NEVER get out of the house! My home and my computer both bring me great comfort. That and drawing closer to women like you, who understand me completely. I will never be the same again. I have had a few people tell me that they miss my smile and laugh. It's not that I don't do either of those any more....It's more that I just do them less often than I used to. I was a very carefree person before Noah and now I find myself constantly worrying about EVERYTHING! The other day Will hit his head pretty hard and I cried and cried thinking of all the things that COULD happen due to a head injury....This is not a path I would have gone down before having Noah. Now I find that whenever one of my kids gets hurt even just a little bit I worry about the worst possible things.
We will never be the same again. This journey of loving and then losing our babies has a way of changing us. I cling to my faith and do so especially on the days when my pain is so intense.
I GET it Holly, though I wish neither of us had to "get" anything. I love you and miss you. I agree....we should talk very soon.

Kate said...

Good for you to recognize all of that about yourself. You definetly are not in denial! Life is different for you and Anthony now. I think it would be silly for someone to think anything else! Love ya!

Mom Putnam said...

Well, it is official now, I have failed as your mother-I am so sorry for the way last night turned out. I was insensitive to you. I KNOW things have changed and I KNOW it will not be the same. I only want what is best for you and it is apparent to me I don't even know that. My love for you will NEVER change, it is hard getting used to the new you and I am trying everyday and know now I will never get there. My only wish, (if I could have one now) is that as my daughter you would open up and talk to me more like you do on the computer, don't be afraid to tell me anything after all, I AM your mother. We should be able to talk to each other not hide anything and just go on as if nothing matters or happened. I am going through my own pain and struggles too, not as bad as yours pain of course but none the less I still have my own and I have NO One to talk too, not even on here so I keep it inside and try to go on the best I can. Until I fail like I did last night, then I don't even know what my purpose is at all. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how very very sorry I was for being so insensitive and such a jerk and that I love you more than anything in the world.

Trisha Larson said...

I think that it's so great that you have this outlet for your feelings. I wish that I would have been blogging last year when I was so alone. I had tremendous anxiety about leaving my house and any type of group situations. Since I had other kids, I had to get them where they needed to go but it took a toll on me. I wonder if it would have been easier if there weren't so many things that I HAD to do.

Since I am a year ahead of you, I want to tell you that you are just where you should be. You are growing, changing and dealing with your grief in a healthy way. Your wounds are raw and it's normal to want to protect them. My advice to you is to keep talking about everything. Healing comes from that.

You ARE different now. I don't know how anyone could be unchanged after losing a child. Though it's a tremendously high price to pay, and you never would have volunteered for it (nor would I have) is a gift. You will have a deeper love for God and your family, you will have an eternal perspective on things and God will use you to be His hands and feet.

I just love you to pieces for all that you are and for the friend that you have been to me.

Hugs (and kisses too)!


Brooks said...

You're right, you shouldn't have to explain yourself. I hope no one has told you to get over it. It's not like some boyfriend from high school. Both Holly's have been good people who try hard to love their family and please the Lord. That's what matters.

Jami said...

You are so young to have had to go through so much already. You have every right to feel whatever you feel for as long as you need to. Praying for you as you continue your journey...

April said...

I know that must have felt good to write. Like you said, you shouldn't have to explain yourself and you don't! But using Carleigh's blog is the perfect tool to release some pressure - I read and don't judge. "I'm Not Who I Was", are you listening to that song a lot and identifying with it? Great song!

Mindy said...

Holly there are alot of things I would like to say. But I will say you are not crazy, you are acting normal for the situation you have gone through. No one knows how they will react until they have gone through the experience. You have to cope and you are doing a very good job at it. Experiences shape who we are. No you will never be the same because something that was suppose to be there is not.

April said...

What I want to say is "Good for you Holly!, I hope that post of therapeutic, exactly what Carleigh's blog can be used for." But I don't know HOW you felt writing it. FEELING all of that is hard enough - but feeling like you need to explain yourself (or care about what other people think) - just adds unnecessary weight. You most definitely will be a different person! I hope you always feel that you can express yourself on here with no discrimination!

Have you been listening to "I'm Not Who I Was" lately? An idenifying song - has it been speaking to you?

Anonymous said...

Sending you some internet hugs!!!!

Tina said...

I would like to add a couple things to your list...I don't care if my house is spotless, it just doesn't matter. And I really don't feel like cooking anymore, plus it would require me to go to the grocery store, which leads back to not wanting to leave the house!

Mary Ellen said...

Oh sweetheart my heartbreaks for you because I have been right where you are. Everything you wrote felt like it came straight from my mouth. You are not alone and there is nothing wrong with what you are thinking and feeling right now. I know that since I am a little further out I can see things from a slightly different perspective but right now you have to work through your grief in your own way. It is a process and there is no right way to grieve. I deal with people not understanding why I am not "over it" yet.

I can say that the anxiety does get better with time but I am still working through it. All I can promise it that you are in my prayers. I am also going to add the people in your real life that God will bless them with more understanding.

Katie Pollock said...

It's DancingK, Katie (or Harley's mom) from CafeMom. I can't say I understand how you feel because Harley is still fighting. But I can say that I feel the same way. I see pregnant women and get that sour feeling in the pit of my stomach. I wish I could go back to those times of bliss, before Harley got sick and I found out she was dying (or so the diagnosis says: that only goes so far because God has the final word). I know I can't and that gets me through it. My neighbor has a daughter a month older than Harley and I love seeing her (her name is Sierra), but it saddens me to think my daughter could be doing the same things and playing with her. All my friends have babies or are having babies and at times it's hard to be happy for them. It's like Harley was meant to be, meant to be that age and meant to be playing with all our friends' kids, but she's not. It hurts. Sorry this is so long, but it helps to get it out and I wanted you to know you're not alone. I know you have alot of friends, especially online, but I'm here if you need to talk, too. = )

Misty said...

Holly, I love you for this post. I am also touched to hear more about your journey with grief - - although I'm finding it's more and more like mine. Thank you for sharing. It's hard to be vulnerable.... Love you.

Crystal said...

I am so very sorry for your loss and although I have never lost a child, my neice did.... He was still born and it was a very sad time for all of us. His name is Jordan and he would be8 this year....doesn't seem like it has been that long. When we talk about him I always use his name and not just "the baby" for me , he was and is a part of our lives and will always be remembered. I think it is wonderful that you want to talk about your baby Carleigh. Some tend to want to keep it hushed but every Momma wants to share things about their baby and I think it's wonderful that you can!

stitchndeb said...

Actually, Holly, I am amazed you are able to do any of those things (blog, talk to people, work, leave the house, etc.). It's a real testimony to how much God is lifting you up and helping you. ~Debbie

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

Holly...thank you for sharing this so honestly from your heart. You expressed so much what I felt in the early years of my grief...and, I suspect the cry of many grieving mothers' hearts. Life for me was measured in what happened before Faith and Grace and Thomas and what happened after. I was forever changed. And most of those changes, God has shaped for good over the years. But I remember the anxiety and worry. In some ways, I have battled more anxiety than if we hadn't lost our babies. We were much more protective of Timothy and James. And, I think I have babied James more because of the years I longed for a baby to fill my arms. Thank you for having the courage to share this for those who have not walked there...and may not understand what it is like to be completely changed by the life of one little baby. May you continue to feel His arms around you as He carries you...and please know that you are welcome here anytime. You will be loved and embraced as you share your heart here. I am so grateful for the understanding I have found here, even so many years after my losses. I treasure this blog-family.

Love you,

Danielle said...

Very well said. I don't like leaving the house. I hate it when people assume I should "be over" Wyatt's passing by now. And I have lost a lot of "friends" because they don't understand what I'm going through.

Losing a baby sucks all by itself... but all the aftermath just adds salt to injury.

Please know that when you feel alone and like nobody understands what you're going through, there are many people here who love you and pray for you daily. We get it. We accept the" new Holly" with open arms and hearts.

Veronica said...

Holly, I just wanted to say thanks for just opening up and being real about how you're feeling. There is nothing wrong with being completely honest. You have opened up my eyes so much in the short time that I've known you and last night I went to bed thinking about what you shared with me on the email you sent me. Thanks so much for taking the time to do that and letting people like me in to your heart and life.

croleyc69 said...

Praying for you so much. No you shouldn't have to explain yourself to others. Know that I think of you daily. Yes you are a different person & it's ok. You have been through alot. Lots of HUGS. Again I'm glad I met you online.

Sherry (aka mamasherry79 on CM) said...


your post really touched my heart. You are so right. No one knows your pain or your feelings but you and the Lord. I couldn't even fathom what you have been or are going through!

All I see on this side is a strong woman who is trying to do the best with what the Lord has given.

All I can say or do is pray for you and be that soft gentle, listening ear for you. Please know I will not judge you or anything like that. I would love to just be an outlet for you to use in your times of struggles.

You have truly touched me! God Bless You Holly!

Katrina said...

I don't know what to say. I would hope that you wouldn't avoid me just because I'm pregnant because I am your sister and I need you there too. I hope when the time comes for this little girl to be born that you and Anthony are there just like you were for Audrey. I hope you wouldn't avoid it. It may not be easy for you, but it would hurt me too. I don't know what was said to make you feel obligated to write this, but I'm guessing it had to do with mom (going by her comment)?? Don't take this the wrong way because it is not my intent, but I see the hurt in mom when she finds info out through other people or through the computer. Trust me, it hurts her. I know you don't open up (at least not in person), but all mom wants is to know how you are feeling and be able to communicate with you in person or on the phone...not on the computer. I hope I didn't hurt any feelings. I have to get used to the "new Holly" just like everyone else. I have my own opinions just like everyone else, but I would never tell you to feel a certain way, just like I hope you would not judge me on how I feel. Remeber to keep God your #1 focus.

The Runge Family said...

Holly, if people can't love you for the person you have become and are becoming they were never really your friends to begin with. I didn't know you before you were pregnant with Carleigh, but I know that you have helped me learn and grow in my relationship with God. Seeing that he will only give us what we are strong enough to handle and what we will use in our lives to help others around us. I look up to you in way that even I don't understand. YOu are a strong women, don't worry about what others think!

Emily said...

What a great post- so very true.

Mochamama said...

You couldn't have said it better! I've experienced and continue to experience the same types of feelings and situations as you described in your blog today. I lost a dear friend of 8 years because she kept pushing me to "get back to normal quickly". I'm praying for you and like you am thankful for the computer and the ability to read others stories to help cope with the loss of our babies. God Bless. mimi

Cecilia said...

I saw your link on Kelly's blog and stopped by. This post means a lot to me, because it is exactly how I feel! I am a bit of an introvert anyway, and I think losing Ethan has made me even more that way. I wish others understood why I've changed and that many things, particularly the magic of pregnancy are gone. Thanks again for your honesty, it means so much to be able to identify with others!

My Forever Child said...

I've been meaning to comment on this since you first posted computer doesn't always cooperate. Thank you for your honesty and openness regarding your feelings. Way too often, most of us (including myself) keep the feelings bottled up and don't let others know what we're going through.

There are so many wonderful outlets online now that allow you to open up and bear your soul. These didn't exist when I lost my son 7 years ago, I wish they did. But I did join an online support group and make a simple memorial website for him. These were very therapeutic and healing for me.

Through your blog, you are not only receiving support, but also giving it to those who need it. And it is in giving that we receive.

Here is an online list of do's and dont's for family and friends if you want to print it out:

Christy said...

I was reading a bunch of your posts and stumbled upon this one. Glad I did. I relate to so much of it, as do so many other moms on this journey. Also, I read your mom's and sister's comments and wanted to let you know that I was touched by your mom's comments. I don't usually read comments but I was glad I did. I'm sure my mom feels much the same as yours. She hasn't put her foot in her mouth, if that is what your mom did, but I think she wishes I talked to her more openly. I don't think she is jealous or hurt by my blogging about my feelings but rather is happy that I have an outlet and that it helps me to write. I hope your relationship with your mom is a healthy one and she can show you the love that you need right now.
I was sad when I read your sister's comment. I hope that I can give you an objective and unbiased view by letting you know that you need to do what you need to do. And if it is not in her plan for you, so be it. I have 3 sisters of whom I am pretty close to and my loss has definitely been hard for all of us. I know they don't understand it all and just as they used to be able to finish my sentences, now, they dare to guess what I am thinking--if they are brave. I don't think it is appropriate for your sister to put pressure on you to be there when her baby is born. It's okay for her to want you there and hope you can be there but I really hope she understands that you may not be able do it.
Please don't be mad at me for this comment but I just want you to know that you have support here, if anything, when your family doesn't qutie understand. I guess we can't exepct them to ever fully understand us. Of course they love us, but unless you're on this path, there's that part of us you'll never know.

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