#18: Schedules

29 Sep

I just got back from Mexico. It was a trip I had planned with a girlfriend shortly after Alex died. It was meant to be a brief getaway. A time to relax, to cry, to think, to talk and to just do nothing… Time passed and work schedules were changed, and we didn’t get to take this trip until just last week. As it turns out, I didn’t spend the time quite the way I had planned.

We did all the things you do inMexico. Enjoy the sunshine, drink margaritas, eat too much Mexican food, etc. When I got there, I didn’t need to sink into a depressing Alex coma. The sun was shining and my mood was soaring. Later in the trip, I tried to summon my grief and sadness. I wanted to mull it over and spend the time thinking about my precious boy. As it turns out, I couldn’t do it.

There’s no magical button that lets you recall your grief “on demand.” It is there when it’s there, and it’s gone when it’s gone. You can’t really wish it away when it’s inconvenient to deal with it, and you can’t call upon it when you want it. Grief and sadness have their own schedules and they don’t consider yours.

I know it sounds ridiculous. Why on earth would I think I could schedule my grieving? Wait for a time for it to work into my life and then just spend 4 days solidly, considering how much I miss Alex. The heart does not work that way, no matter how much the mind can will it to.

When I got back from a peaceful, serene trip, my mind wandered into the darkness and started to churn on memories of sweet baby Alex. When I’m on my way home with a thousand things on my mind- that’s the time my heart wants to think about Alex. Good grief.

Not like I have a choice- I succumb to the memories and the thoughts and the tears. There’s so much more that’s happened since the last time I strolled the path into the darkness. The Medical Examiner is signing the death certificate and we should have it this week. The cause of death is “inconclusive” with an asterisk indicating this heart condition.

As I wander through the fog of grief, none of these details change my journey. It’s still sad. He’s still gone. I still miss him.

I feel like I come out of the haze a little quicker. Not sure it is because the path is shorter, or because I know the way out. Either way, I now understand that I can’t schedule a trip to grief, and I can’t avoid the trip when it’s time. There are unexpected times when I’m sad about Alex and unexpected times when even deliberately thinking of him doesn’t spark the same sadness. There is no rational schedule to any of it.

Tomorrow is my birthday. For the first time in years, I’m not sure this one is worth celebrating. I have a theory on birthdays. If your life is better now than it was last year, then the number of candles on the cake doesn’t matter.

As much as I have learned from losing Alex, I don’t think I can say that this year is better than last year. I was 12 weeks pregnant last year on my birthday. I hit that magic mark where we heard the heartbeat and didn’t worry if the baby would make it. That magical milestone was cause for joy and thanksgiving. God had given me the best birthday present I could ever ask for!

What is this year? It’s missing Alex. As the holidays approach us, it’s a first Halloween costume he won’t wear, a first Thanksgiving set of PJs he doesn’t need and a Christmas bib he can’t use. Doesn’t feel like much of a celebration to me.

I haven’t forgotten the blessings I have in my life. I promise. I know they’re still there and I don’t take them for granted. It’s just that I wouldn’t say that my life is better this year than it was last year. It’s not filled with the excitement and promise of a new baby in our family. There is no guarantee of happiness. There is only hope.

When I blow out my candles this year, I’ll be praying that hope is enough. At least until next year.



Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


4 responses to “#18: Schedules

  1. marilynne johnson

    September 29, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    You are very inspiring daughter…our little Alex is very much missed I think about him everyday ….life is a celebration in its self….life is precious…when the Lord made us a family it was definetly a celebration of life ………so HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO OUR ONE AND ONLY LOVE MOM AND DAD

  2. Kelli Schatz

    October 3, 2011 at 12:16 am

    A friend of mine gave me the link to your blog and I’m so happy she did. I felt like you were talking directly to me on how to deal with this whole process. I gave birth to my daughter, Layla, on August 31, 2011 and she passed away on September 12, 2011 as a result of congenital CMV infection. While I only had 13 days with her…I could relate to a LOT of what you have said on your blog. You are 100% right..there is no “grieving for dummies” book or a timetable of how you should feel or when things get better, and I too have the questions of should we have more children, and if so, when? We’re not looking to replace Layla, but we don’t feel our family is complete with just our two year old son, who is also named Benjamin. THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing this blog – I’ve added it to my favorites so that I can actually read about how you’ve managed to “get through it” so that there is some hope fo rme that life will possibly get back to some form of “normalcy” eventually. Thank you for your writings…I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate being able to relate to someone that knows what it’s like to lose a baby that you’ve carried and delivered and then to lose them at such a young age.

    • Melanie

      October 3, 2011 at 4:51 pm

      Kelli….that is horrible. I am sorry for your loss as well.

      You mommies are so strong. You amaze me. Truly.

      I hope that you are doing well. I will add you to my pray for list.

  3. Melanie

    October 3, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Grief really is an interesting thing, isn’t it.

    My sister and I both lost babies (to miscarriage) in the same year. I, for one, was comforted by my doctor’s words “this is the bodies natural way of getting rid of something that wasn’t going to work in the first place” and friends words “it’s for the better.” WHile my sister reviled against those exact same words. “How dare they say those kinds of things to me,” she would say.

    Years have gone by…I have had two more miscarriages (and three more children) and I have tried to take each of them in stride. It’s probably a combination of my personality and belief that the Lord is over all, he gives, he takes and he does it all for OUR good.

    My sister has a “birthday” party for he lost baby every year, and me….I have a hard time even keeping track of the month they were lost or should have been born. Again, just a difference of personality.

    You are a strong woman doing your best to make good of a HORRIBLE situation. Don’t give up. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

    I just heard this talk given yesterday. It was inspiring and beautiful. It think you might find some comfort in it. ( (I have been having issues getting it to play without being choppy. You can go here and listen to the audio only (

    Just thought i would share. I thought of you and Melissa B. when I heard it yesterday.


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