Collin Xavier Coloura

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Split Personality

I feel as if I have a split personality when I think about where my faith lies lately.  I'd say the death of a baby can really test one's faith.  I honestly feel like I have two train of thoughts on this matter.  One side of me knows that Collin is with our Lord and Savior, but the other part of me feels angry and questions how my God can bless me with a pregnancy only to take it away in such a devastating way. How do I reconcile my two thought patterns?

Over the last 8 weeks, I've not had much interest  in going back to church.  We decided to start back again today; however our church was having "baby dedication" day today.  Both Manny and I felt like we weren't emotionally prepared to sit through everyone dedicating their LIVING children to a life of Jesus.  It is a great decision, but we weren't ready for seeing it today.  Afterall, we have given one of our children to God in the most literal sense.  My faithful side realizes that God has called Collin for a special purpose.  But my angry side wants him here on Earth with us.  We decided to go to a friend's church.  Everyone was welcoming and friendly.  I'm still going through major anxiety with crowds of people. (My "before Collin" self loved meeting new people and making friends), but seeing new people in a crowded setting gives me horrible anxiety.  I guess I'm afraid of running into people I know and having to explain why my son isn't here with us.  Or I'm afraid of getting the question "how many children do you have?" It's such an innocent question, but it's one I can no longer bring myself to ask others.  How do I answer? Do I say five and then have to explain that one is in heaven? Then that person feels terrible.  Do I say four? Then it seems like I'm not honoring the existence of my son, Collin? It's one of those questions that I dread being asked. I want to retreat into a shell.  And of course someone DID ask today.  And wouldn't you know, out of all the seats available in the church, a pregnant woman comes and sits directly in front of us.  There's constant reminders around us that we no longer have Collin.

Anyhow, back to church....yes,everyone was pleasant and I had an anxiety attack.  We go in and listen to the worship choir sing.  The pastor starts his sermon.  I'd already started crying before the pastor could even begin preaching.  One of his messages was to "surrender your worries, pains, and fears to Jesus".  My faithful side says "I need to let it go, give it to God", but my angry side kicks in and almost makes me roll my eyes.  Horrible! I literally feel the battle within myself.  Today, being the first day back in church, was so overwhelming that I almost had to get up and walk out. (If it weren't for Manny's arms around me, I would have) I cried throughout the entire sermon.  I thought to myself...I can't do this.  I can't come back to God while I'm so angry.  How can he fix me? Why would he want to fix me? When will he fix me? When will this pain go away? Do I want it to go away? How can I be worthy of His love and grace when I feel so angry with Him?

What I do know is that I desperately need my ever faithful friends to help bring me back to Jesus.  I need them to lean on.  I need their guidance throughout this storm.  I've come to realize that all of this, my anxiety, depression, anger, scatterbrained-ness, hopelessness, battles with my faith, are all part of my Journey through Losing a Child.  I know I'm not alone in this journey.  I also have to believe that my son is sitting in the most peaceful place we can imagine and that he is feeling utter and divine love.  That little belief and knowing I'll see Collin again is what helps me get through my darkest hours. 

I love you Collin.  I miss you so much.  I pray that my family finds peace.  I pray I can reslove my two "personalities" one day. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"What If"?

As I've stated many times since losing Collin, "what if" will be a question that haunts me until the end of my life.  I think it's natural for any mother to ask "what if" something could  have been different? What if I had demanded that the doctor come in to see me on that Saturday?  What if the doctor had diagnosed my pre-eclampsia prior to his death? What if my doctor had been on call? What if I had listened to the nurse and gone home and "performed my marital duties' as suggested? What if I had gone back the next day when I had  horrible intuition about something being wrong with Collin? What if you were born alive? Would my life be normal, because my new life has a whole different meaning of "normalcy" these days.  Ha, "normalcy"-that's to be discussed in a later blog post.

A co-worker of my mothers had the audacity to ask her "if I'm over it yet because it's been enough time and I have four other children"? In response she was asked "what if you had to choose one of your kids to send to heaven, which one would you choose?"  She was dumbfounded.  Of course she couldn't choose one of her own children to die.  What parent could? So, why is it expected of me to "get over it" just because my son was a stillborn baby? Is his life any less important than that of my four other living children? I think not! He was created out of love. He was deeply wanted and anticipated.  I protected him for 38 weeks and I grew to know his personality even as he grew inside my belly.  How could I love him any less than my other four? I understand that not everyone feels that I should "be over it" by now, but you'll always run across the few ignorant people who  deem a  baby's death as less horrific or significant than an older child's death.  Either is any parent's worst nightmare and hell to live through.  Until someone has actually lost a child, they have no conception of what it is like. 

I calmed down and asked myself another very powerful "what if" question.  "what if I could do it all over again, would I"? Of course I wish the outcome could have been totally different, but given the choice between losing Collin or never have been pregnant with him to begin with; what would I choose"? Had I never been pregnant with Collin it would certainly spare me and my family a lifetime of pain. But, plainly stated, if I chose the latter then I wouldn't have the privilege of being HIS mother , knowing him and loving him unconditionally.  Even though he was born "sleeping", I cherished every second I spent with him.  Because of the circumstances I had to love him enough in that little amount of time to tide me over until I meet him again someday. Imagine having to love your child for only hours. That's how much time we were given to shower him with affection.  I wholeheartedly wish that I could have  HIM now, but God has chosen him for a purpose beyond our comprehension.  He is a perfectly formed angel called by God to fullfill a greater mission.  I am proud to call Collin Xavier my son, my fifth child. He is loved as much as each one of his brothers and sisters.  None of their lives or his are any more significant than the other.  So when I'm asked "what if" you'd never been pregnant.....then I have to say-I'd do it again in a heartbeat even if it means I have to spend the rest of my life living with my grief.  I don't want to survive my grief, I want to learn to live with it, because that grief is proof of my abounding love for a child that I'll never know.

Tiny AngelsTiny Angels rest your wings
sit with me for awhile.
How I long to hold your hand,
And see your tender smile.
Tiny Angel, look at me,
I want this image clear....
That I will forget your precious face
Is my biggest fear.
Tiny Angel can you tell me,
Why you have gone away?
You weren't here for very long....
Why is it, you couldn't stay?
Tiny Angel shook his head,
"These things I do not know....
But I do know that you love me,
And that I love you so".

Author Unknown

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Eyes Wide Shut

My inclination was to always shield my children from the subject of "death".  I felt it was too "scary" of a subject to talk about with them.  I titled this Eyes Wide Shut because that's exactly how I was with the subject of death.  My eyes were open to the fact that it existed, but I always shut out the subject with my children.  I by no means expect all parents to feel the same way I do.  It IS a scary subject.  Since we lost our precious Collin, my kids have been exposed to so much.  They see their mother crying daily-sometimes I'm in hysterics.  They see their parents' anger.  They see us praying. They hear us talking about "what ifs" and "how do we go on?"  The scariest of all...they saw their still, lifeless brother in a baby casket. 

When Collin passed away one of our worries was how do we explain this to our children? They saw mommy pregnant and now I've gone to the hospital to have the baby, but he won't be coming home.  Their expereince with death has only been with the over-fed goldfish that my mother in law insists on giving them.  What do we tell them? How do we explain this? The first thing we did was AVOID it altogether.  Manny didn't come home on that Monday night until they were in bed.  He left the next day before them, as to not have to tell them anything.  (Again, eyes were shut)  We kept them home from school on that Tuesday with fear that someone might accidently tell them something about Collin.  We didn't know how to handle the situation.  What parent would?? Not only did we have to worry about our devastation, but our childrens' emotional well being.

I was released from the hospital the day after Collin was stillborn.  We immediately went to the funeral home and planned his funeral.  Again, we wanted to shield the kids from seeing him.  I was determined that he was going to be buried the same day as his funeral service.  But, God works in HIS way.  He had another plan.  He gave us time to be with Collin at the funeral home.  We were able to hold him and touch him for several days.  It gave us time to decide that it WAS right for the kids to see him.  Because they've never been exposed to or talked to about death, this was SCARY for them.  I'll admit, I never thought that I could hold something that no longer had its spirit.  But when it's your child....your shut eyes open VERY wide!!! I wanted to look at every inch of his perfect body.  I wanted to kiss him all over. And I did!

Cade and Caleb looked at him from afar.  Chloe touched him and later held  him.  We took pictures (which I'm eternally grateful for now) with him.  I sometimes feel we didn't take enough of him!!! Death now had a face-their little brother. 

Collin's service and burial was the first experience with death that my kids have been exposed to.  It now leaves them with the question "wow, if Collin can die, can I?"  Chloe asked me that question as we walked through the cemetery yesterday.  In the past, my answer would have been "oh Chloe, don't worry about things like that. That won't happen for MANY years"  Today my answer is "we never know what the future holds for us.  We hope to have a long life here on Earth, but the truth is we never know.  We need to appreciate every second we have here.  And our future is certain that we will meet Collin again and experience the GREATEST love and happiness that we've ever known-in Heaven". 

I've now started REALLY talking to my kids about the importance of living every moment and appreciating thier life.  It's something I'm struggling to do at the moment.  I know Collin is in a happy place, but the selfish side of me wants him here with us.  Now as part of my kids' summer routine, we go visit the cemetery at least three times a week.  We walk around and fix flowers on other's graves.  We talk about proper etiquette at a cemetery-don't ever walk across graves.  We look at dates and talk about the people's lives that are buried at Ft. Sam.  We notice how many are children, taken too soon.  We look at others who have served our country bravely.  Somehow, even with death all around us, it's a peaceful place.

Losing Collin isn't a blessing, but the lessons he is teaching us are profound. I can no longer say that my family's EYES are WIDE SHUT....we live with death daily and all that it entails.  But, we also live with the promise that we will someday meet our son in Heaven. 

We love you Collin.  We miss you every second of every day.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Secret Club

I've always prided myself on being an outgoing person.  My husband and friend always joke around that I seem to know everyone.  I have to say I LOVE meeting new people and talking to them. I'm so grateful for all the hundreds of friends that I have and know.  Somehow, when I meet someone new, we become instant friends on most occasions.  However,  there is a new group of friends that I take no enjoyment in meeting. This group of women all share one major thing in common.  We share the loss of a child.  I now have become a member of a very "secret" club.  A club that I never dreamt I'd be a part of. It's a club that I really didn't think existed in my world. (Boy did I have blinders on!) It's a club that I ask "why does it HAVE to exist" ? This secret club is not one you'd ever join voluntarily.  It's a club filled with heartaches, anger, resentment, jealousy, prayer, strength, love, yearning, doubt, fear,etc. I couldn't begin to list all the emotions that are felt daily.  

This secret club of moms is amazing.  They are brutally honest about everything they feel.  We (because as I said, I'm now a member) share everything with each other.  We share our good days and our bad days.  We share the fact that many days going to sleep and not waking up often sounds better than facing years without our children.  We share the feelings of guilt about what has happened. As a mother, shouldn't we have protected our children?  How am I alive and my child isn't? It should be me that goes first.  A parent should never have to bury their child.

 Some of us are at different stages in our grief and struggles.  What amazes me is the profound love that each of these mothers has for their lost children.  Some mothers had only minutes with their child.  Some mothers had many years with their child.  Some of us had our children born "sleeping", as mine was.  No matter how many minutes or years you had with your child, it simply isn't enough.  Each of us share the heartache and the yearning for more time. 

I'm sad to now be a member of this club, but I'm eternally grateful that each of us knows how the other one is feeling at all times during our journey.  My "journey through losing a child" is understood whole heartedly by each member. There's never any judgement.  There's never any need to rush our struggles or feelings.  We are "what we are"!

 I pray that no one ever has to be a "card carrying" member of this secret club.  But, I know that "through my journey" I'm now better equipped to help someone through their "journey of losing a child".

In honor of all our angels.....We love you and miss you every SECOND of EVERY DAY!!!!!