Well all want good things to come from difficult events in our lives. I think it's human nature to want to believe and have hope that there is something good that can come from even the worst situations. It's no different for me with my experience with Thomas' death.
Kevin will be leaving very shortly for Iraq. I can almost count on two hands how many days it is until he leaves. It's overwhelming sometimes because it feels at times like only difficult things have been happening in our life lately and having him go away at such a time is really hard. But I believe that good things have come of our experience with Thomas' short time in our life that are making us more prepared for the future, including Kevin's deployment. It's very easy to take someone's presence for granted when they are always around. But when they are gone, there is no getting them back and you will almost always have regrets about your time together and the things that "could've been and should've been". Our lives are not perfect, and never will be, but we can make an effort to take advantage of what we have while we have it. And though we haven't done anything extraordinary with our last days together with Kevin before his deployment, we have taken advantage of our time together in other ways; we tell one another we love each other, we are more aware of the others needs, we take time to listen. It's sad that the death of our son is what brought us all closer together as a family, that this event is what it took to really unite us, but I think we're all grateful for the gift of awareness that has come from it.
Amidst everything difficult that has happened I've wanted good things to come, so that I could see the "light" at the end of the tunnel. For now helping others seems to be helping me to see that light. Helping the Marines out with a place to stay and a good meal. Being more understanding with my kids. Being a better, more patient and more understanding wife to my husband.
There are other good things that have happened too that I am coming to appreciate as well. Growing up in a dysfunctional family made showing and feeling my feelings very difficult. No one ever said it, but I grew up feeling like I should shut up and put up and however I feel didn't matter because I couldn't change anything. Over the last few years I've come out of that more, but with Thomas' death even more so in a different way. I'm learning gentleness with myself, and acceptance of my frailty and my own need for acceptance by myself. I am ok. My sadness is ok. My grief is ok. I don't need to apologize, or pretend to not be mourning for the sake of sparing others feelings. It's been very good for me to be able to share my story with some women here around town, and have them express sadness and pain and even speechlessness because I feel the same way sometimes and it's ok. Sometimes a hug is all that is needed. And hugs are good. I'm feeling ok taking them when I need one, whereas before I would sort of hold back afraid that someone would be offended by my physical forwardness. It's not that I don't care about making some one uncomfortable, but maybe they needed a hug more than I did and were too afraid to take it.
I've been working on a few things. Or rather brain storming some crafts and things. Aside from needing something to do with myself, I feel a real need to help other women who have or are going through something similar. It's been hard because you think to your self, "What can I do? Where do you even begin?" And then I thought about my own situation and the things that would have helped me and I came up with some ideas and did some research.
Because of how small Thomas was there were no clothes that would have fit him. He was so tiny that he could not have really been dressed. Perhaps maybe with a super-preemie diaper, but I think when they are that small they just leave them undressed and lay them on blankets in incubators. The hospital did a wonderful job with wrapping him in a blanket with a matching hat that some woman had knit and donated to the maternity ward. It might seem silly to others, but as a mother it was extremely sad for me that I had nothing to cloth him in. The thought doesn't cross your mind when you are in shock that you need to think about things like that. I can imagine that other women wouldn't think of that either. So that is what I have been brain storming about. I've found a couple of patterns online for burial gowns, and wraps for tiny babies. Even booties. I might have found my calling.
I drew up this little beanie and sewed it in about 10 minutes. Now I can adjust the size and make more to donate.
I'm grateful to that woman that gave my baby that hat and blanket.