Thursday, November 6, 2008

Less Heavy Still Cranky, but Smiling

Thanks to all those who have helped lift my load these last 24 hours. The comments, the tulips, the beautiful sculpture, the visits and probably mostly the prayers have really lifted my load. It really helps to have so many wonderful people holding you steady and bearing some of the weight with you.

I have felt better today. The bath did help last night. And I read a good book to inspire my mind with more uplifting thoughts. That always seems to help as well. 

There has been much discussion about the role of anger in the grieving process among some of my fellow angel mom friends. I haven't really felt angry in all of this. I honestly don't think I ever will. I don't want to. I think it is a natural and normal feeling under the circumstances but I don't think it is always a necessary part of every person's process. 

But I could be wrong. I am still new at this. Maybe I just haven't hit that yet. Really I would be shocked if I did some day get angry about this, but I have been shocked by things before. I know enough to know I don't know everything. 

Still the issue has been on my mind and it has made me reflective on whether or not I have anger that is showing up in other ways. So I have been cranky. Tonight I commented to Jonathan, "maybe my crankiness is my form of anger in the grieving process?"

My sweet husband, honest in all things, gave me what was to me a reassuring response. "No honey, that is your way of being pregnant. You are 10 times more cranky since becoming pregnant."

It is true that I find it exceedingly difficult to be cheerful when I feel like crap physically. I have amazing respect for those who deal with chronic pain and are still able to be nice. I am working on that but really, I have a LONG way to go. I am lucky my kids are patient with me and accept my apologies quickly when I get cranky with them. 
The cheerful highlight of my day was sitting down to dinner in an empty Chinese restaurant with my three little girls and the four of us have a very nice dinner together. They were so well behaved putting their napkins on their laps and drinking out of goblets. They all tried and somewhat successfully ate with chopsticks. There was lots of stabbing involved. They all tried every dish and each found one they loved. 

For Sabrina it was the broccoli stems and the general chicken.
Lauren loved the broccoli and rice. 

 Ann Marie enjoyed the beef, the chicken and the rice with sauce on it.

As for me, I enjoyed the food, but even more I enjoyed discovering that my girls like Chinese food as much as I do. I have no doubt that tonight was one of the first of many all girl outings in my little family.


Sarah and Matt said...

I hope that you are able to avoid the anger stage of the grieving process. I lost my Nana five years ago today so I am reflecting on these last 5 years. My Nana was so much more than a grandparent to me. She and my Grampy raised me and losing them was like losing my parents. There were definite times of anger in the time after losing my Nana. Looking back I wish I had been able to have more peace, but I realize that that was way of dealing.

Today has felt like a heavy day to me. Five years seems like such a round number. I find that I still miss her just as much today as I did that very first day, but that I am able to remember with less hurt these days. The tears are still there but they seem to fall in a different way.

I am glad that you were able to enjoy a nice dinner out with your sweet girls. I love having mother daughter time with my little girl. In fact I see a chinese dinner in our future. Hugs to you adn your sweet family!

TMI said...

GNO is the best! Especially when there's chinese food involved!

Hollie Wood said...

Stephanie! I hope you feel better real soon. You have a lot on your plate right now! When I found out I was pregnant with my fourth, I was scared, terrified, absolutely beside myself. While pacing and then doing a little laundry and crying my eyes out, the 3rd verse of How Firm A Foundation came flooding into my mind: Fear not, I am with thee, oh be not dismayed. For I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand. Upheld by My righteous Omnipotent Hand. I was immediately humbled and then cried tears of humility to know that my Heavenly Father was aware of me and my recent fears and I sung that verse over and over to comfort myself in the months ahead. He is there and He will comfort you! You have so many people praying for you--so many you don't even know. But we are here! And we love you!

Leanne said...

Hi, you don't know me but i have been following your blog. It has been 3 years since our youngest son passed away and I can say like you that I have never really been angry at the situation or at a particular person, but I had a lot of days that I was just irritable, and the thought came to me that it is a type of anger, it wasn't aimed at anyone or thing, but my nerves were shot, my emotions were raw and I had times that I was just irritable and it was part of my grieving process. It isn't there much anymore, but I find it again when I'm feeling bruised and raw. I do know that Heavenly Father loves me and understood what I was going through and he understood even when I didn't always understand.

Anonymous said...

Could those pictures be from the great Amlee?? I miss that so much since we moved further away. That is the best kept secret in Las Vegas

RhondaLue said...

I never went through the anger when I lost a close loved one but I know people that have. They probably don't understand my acceptance (still sad though, don't get me wrong!) and it's hard for me to watch others question and get angry but know that it's normal for a lot of people. Grief is hard any way you toss it but hopefully we'll manage to be strengthened and carried through (sometimes dragged!)to our eternal reward.

Hope the pregnancy hormones ease up a bit. You, by the way, are totally absolved from your irritability!

Anonymous said...

Glad you are feeling a bit brighter today, Stephanie.

Love to you


Stephanie said...

Hormones, pregnancy and such a life altering change all had up. You are amazing. You have expressed your feelings so well and continue to strive to improve.

This too shall pass keeps flowing through my mind

Tiffany said...

I think you get to be as cranky as you want! I just adore you, as I'm sure many many other do! I love the relationship you share with your beautiful girls! What a great mom you are! I hope to see you soon! Lots of love,

Marcee said...

The grieving process is truely one of the most difficult things we as humans must suffer through. I lost my gramma 5 years ago and it hurt. I did get angry. She is an amazing woman and was with my grandpa since she was 15!! Now he is left in a house all alone and still cries at times. It was too hard to have her taken away so suddenly. She wasn't sick. There was no warning. Just had a heart attack in the car w/him next to her and that was that. She was only 68. It is still hard but we are getting by. I saw her every day and that makes it harder. But Heavenly Father helps to make it easier. you never forget, you are just able to get along w/his help.

Glad to hear that you are feeling better today. I am pregnat as well and due in May, so I know what you are going through, in that manner. How nice for you to be able to spend that time with your daughters. What a special thing. I love the bonds between mothers and their children... it's priceless.

Amanda said...

I'm so glad you're feeling a bit better today. As always you are in my prayers.

Rachel said...

I thought it looked like Amlee, too. That's where Adam and I had our engagement dinner. Also where we went for our first meal after a two week stomach flu, we were starving and food never tasted so good. I love Jon's response about your crankiness, it's great to have an honest AND loving husband. If anyone can avoid the anger stage, it'll be you. I think the more you understand about God's eternal plan the less angry you get, but you never know. When I lost my Grandma at age eight I already had a pretty firm testimony of the next life, and I could picture here there, so even though I missed her i felt like she was in a happy place and I wasn't angry. But then a few months later my primary teacher taught a lesson on fasting. She explained that sometimes just prayer isn't enough, sometimes if it's really important we have to fast. I felt like if I'd known that I could have fasted and my Grandma wouldn't have died, and I was so angry that nobody had explained it to me before. But you're so much older and more well-grounded in the gospel, I wouldn't be surprised if you avoid the anger altogether.

Jed and Kaydence said...

I'm pretty much a fire breathing dragon when I am pregnant. But congratulations! Cut yourself some slack -- I'm sure you're not nearly as cranky as you think you are. But I suppose that would be for Jon to answer, right? He and Jed could get together :).

I may have to borrow your girls for an afternoon one day. I'm always with my stinky boys. Outnumbered four to one. When you are tired and need a nap let me know!

Sue said...

Boy, you've got me hungry for Chinese food now, and that's not nice because I have to weigh in tomorrow and can't act on that craving! (The sodium always makes me retain enough water to float a ship...)

This is just my opinion...and I may well be wrong... but I have to believe that any human (and thus imperfect) being who loses something or someone of inestimable value so unexpectedly (health, for me; a child, for you) is bound to feel anger at some level. I still have those moments when I don't take my physical limitations well, and I've been struggling with my illness since 1989.

Having said that, prayer is always a sure remedy, and I am grateful to note that when I pray to Heavenly Father to help me not be angry with Him (or in general), He is always quick to comply by first understanding my feeling and then assuaging it. Thankfully, He is the ultimate safe place to go with all of my feelings, because He loves me unconditionally. He knows I love Him as well, to the very best of my imperfect ability. He's also aware that I depend on Him, as all children do, to understand me when I lose my perspective and to assist me in regaining it. I don't feel guilt about my anger as long as I take the necessary steps to release it.

I should add that I was never prone to anger or depression before my illness, quite the opposite, actually. But when, at first, I didn't recognize and actively move through my anger around that loss of health, it was manifested in feelings of hopelessness and depression. A therapist helped me move through this by teaching me how to identify all of my feelings and keep the "bad" ones moving through rather than letting them simmer inside. That's just me, though. I don't know if any of my experience pertains to yours at all as we are each so unique in our feelings and reactions.

One thing is for certain, the emotional ups and downs of pregnancy can't help matters! Who knows, though? Maybe those hormones will help you move through the anger phase of your grieving more readily, since that is obviously not your tendency and probably not your comfort zone either. You are wise and open-minded to be exploring all the possibilities for your crankiness (which I suspect,by the way, seems much worse to you that is observable by those around you...)

Sorry this rambled on so long. Still sending thoughts and prayers your way!

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

I ♥ your blog! Thanks for sharing :)

Lena Baron said...

Stephanie, I'm glad your had a special night with your girls. Those moments lighten the load.

Today marked the two year anniversary of my little Rhea's death. Looking back I think there have only been very little true anger moments. I too was careful not to dwell on them and they moved quickly. However, I most definately had the irritable days where all of the emotions that come from grieving meshed together and came out in that form.

You're in my thoughts and prayers!

sumi said...

Stephanie, I am glad you are having a better day.

I ahven't had angry days either, not do I want to have them. I sometimes wonder if there is something wrong with me because I haven't felt that.

Does your offer to let me join in at angel mommies still stand? Email me at if it does. :-)

Anonymous said...

From personal experience after losing my son, I rallied around my friends. Someone told me once, that I could either push people away or let people in...I found when I let people in, it doesn't just help you but them. After all, service of any kind (prayers, a visit, a phone call, anything) are acts of love. Sometimes people don't get it right but they have their heart in the right place.
Even though we live far away, there will always be people there, waiting to give you a hug, to go get ice cream, or just good old fashion girl talk, a movie..Take it from me and do not make the mistake I did and push those that were trying away.
Its hard being on the outside but know that their intentions are good and they are done out of love. I do not know know why I am writing any of this but I just feel like I shoud.
Hang in there. Know YOU are loved.
Prayers are being said around the world for YOU and Your family. Take comfort in that.

Anonymous said...

this comment is for anyone who has lost a child, their health, or experienced a significant change in life.
I am grateful to understand the 7 stages of grieving. If I could rename them, I would also call them the 7 stages of acceptance. Everyone grieves differently (and we all grieve for different reasons), but I think these stages help us along the road to accepting a new "location" in life. I think anger is expressed differently in people. But I do feel that it is a significant part of the grieving and accepting process. With the knowledge of the gospel and a personal relationship with the Savior, I feel it is possible to process this stage of grieving appropriately. The Lord can comfort us in our sorrows, and bear us up in our grief. He can change our anger into peace. You may feel that this stage is not a part of what you will experience, but if you do experience it... I don't think you or anyone else should feel bad about it. I think we view anger outside of the grieving/accepting process as a violent, aggressive, and unsuitable emotion. Anger does not have a place in our lives, but it is something we naturally experience and we learn with time and skill, to moderate it. Anger as we see it in the grieving process, can be: why me? why is that person I love gone? why did this have to be different? Many of us don't express anger we express frustration. I think it is important to acknowledge and process this stage of grieving/acceptance because when we name and identify what we fear, we eliminate the power that it has over us. I think processing and experiencing this part of grieving is a significant step in accepting the changes that we all experience each day of our lives. Some of us go through these steps rapidly. But when the loss or change in your life is significant it can take awhile to go through these 7 stages. I just think we all need to tell each other. It is ok. and you can do this.. one step at a time, placing your hand and your heart in the hands of God, one step, one lesson, one milestone at a time.

Heidi said...

That's funny, my morning sickness made me think the same thing about being positive and cheerful with chronic pain. (And I had to skip your food portion of the post, sorry! The only food I can think of right now without getting sick is a Snickers bar...).

And I love the wisdom of your line: "I know enough to know I don't know everything." I learn a lot from you--thank you.

R & R in Oklahoma said...

I lost my 4 month old daughter a month ago. I have not and most likely will not ever be angry at the situation. I have a strong faith in God and I choose not to be angry at him or anything else.

I do how ever, have a shorter fuse then normal. I can get very cranky very easily. I have explained the situation to the ones that get the most of it. Thankfully, they are understanding and love me through it.

It is so great that your family is able to prepare for a new arrival. I do feel sorry for you and will prey for you about the sickness. I know that is the part I am dreading about getting pregnant again. I hope that your sickness will go away quickly.