Not for the Light of Heart

Or as my friend, Rachel so astutely titled a similar post, The One Where Heidi Rambles On About Death.

I have been blogging for almost two months now, and I have found that I absolutely enjoy doing it. I am looking at my kids differently now and really reveling in those ah-ha moments that happen throughout each day. I'm noticing and appreciating the things they do on a daily basis. I am currently reading a journal of a Montessori classroom teacher and in some ways, this blog has become that for me. A journal of my children's learning and growth. A place I can read through years from now and remember the things they were learning and doing at a particular age.

A friend of mine pointed out that from reading my blog it seems like my life is in a really good place right now. I thought about that, and although you could certainly find moments of chaos if you were to become a fly on the wall in my house, the reality is our house is running quite smoothly these days. We have our health issues as always with the kids, but even those seem to be fairly well managed. I am extremely content with our decision to make me being at home a priority even when the money (and occasionally well meaning relatives) may tell us I should be going back to work.

There is a place in my heart, however, that is screaming right now. It is screaming for some acknowledgment, some recognition, and some healing. It is longing for peace that I don't know will ever truly come. "I yearn for peace and keeps me awake tonight," to quote the song that is currently playing on KTIS right now (true fact). This place has a name...her name is Kenna.

It seems that the older Kylee is growing and the more she is changing the more Kenna is "talking" to me. The more she is saying, See, another baby helped you heal but she can never replace what you won't have with me. I had this idea that Kylee would help Kenna's memory be less painful, but that is not the case. Gave purpose... yes; but made less painful... no. Kenna will never sit at my dinner table and I will not hang a stocking for her this Christmas. Last year I pretended Christmas didn't happen. For my kids there were presents, but if not for my parents bringing them, my boys would not have been to church on Christmas Eve. I made it through the Christmas program only because I practiced listening to the music in the privacy of my own. One of the songs was titled, "Would You Like To Hold The Baby." I wanted to scream YES everytime I heard it. I made it through, but barely. How ironic that this year I will be playing Mary while Kylee plays Baby Jesus...

Last year I included Kenna on our Christmas card by including her foot print. It was interesting to watch reactions of other people. Some made warm comments about how nice it was to include her, some made no comment at all, and others made comments that were quite hurtful. One person actually told me it was creepy to have her footprint there. I think she meant the size (I had to shrink it to make it fit), but it really doesn't matter what exactly she meant. I included Kenna again this year, although I won't reveal how. I will wait to see who exactly has been with us on this journey of grief close enough to notice. I fear that next year I will not have a new idea or way to include her. Or perhaps people will be tired of hearing about it...then again I don't really care if they are.

One strange (and positive) thing that seems to be happening lately is the acknowledgement of Kenna's life by members of our church. We were newly returned to town after Kenna's death last year and although it was included in the prayers, most people probably didn't know who Tim & Heidi were. People have been telling me stories about others in their life who have been impacted by the death of a child and asking me questions about Kenna. Yesterday, for example, while we were sewing Christmas Program costumes in the Fellowship Hall, I had the opportunity to share quite a bit about Kenna. One woman (Aidan's Sunday School teacher actually) asked about her service. It was nice... and no one thought I was crazy for still talking about her (which is for the record not always the case) and no one gave me pity looks. Another woman (who I didn't know even knew about Kenna) came and told me she had been reading a book and it made her realize how bittersweet Kylee's life must be for us. The book is called, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. The title gives me chills and I haven't even had the chance to read it yet because it seems to be perpetually checked out of our library.

We have not laid Kenna to rest in the ground yet. I'm not sure we know the best way to do it. I would like a place to visit her, perhaps with a headstone or other memorial stone. I would like to have a special place for her, but I also want it to have meaning and I don't know that a headstone in a cemetary would be that for me. Perhaps a tree with a plaque in the park where we held her memorial service and we could scatter her ashes. I'm quite attached to her urn, however, and the shelf in our living room would seem barren without it. I have no idea what to do. Tim says maybe for her second birthday. Maybe I will be ready then.

I don't know if this is all coming to head right now because of mixed feelings about Kylee, the holiday season, or just the season of grief. Perhaps it is a combination of all of them. As many hard times as I thought I had faced in my life, nothing compares to this. East is so much further from West then I could have ever imagined.


Rachel said...

Oh, Heidi! I never imagined the day we met that we would become such kindred spirits. I wish we didn't have the connection we do, but God knew I would need you as I start this journey a year after you. Can I have your address? Email me, I'd like to send you our Christmas letter and picture. You can see how we included Felicity this year. I have thought about years to come and how we will represent her. It's so hard! I'm glad KTIS is available to us. I'm in the habit now of turning it on right away when I wake up. Having the songs, even the ones that bring me to tears, brightens my mood and helps me focus on hope in my sorrow.

May this Christmas be what you need it to be, instead of what is expected by everyone else! Don't ever think you have to forget Kenna, your first baby girl!

Meredith said...

Oh, Heidi, I'm so glad you posted your heart here. For some reason, I have been reading about a lot of parents who have lost babies recently, and my heart has been heavy. In your words here, I can feel your anguish, and it calls me to prayer for you.

You will always be Kenna's mom, and she will always be your baby girl. I wish I would have known you better when you first moved to town and lost your dear girl, and I'm grateful for the chance to get to know you better now. I pray for the grace and understanding to be a better friend.

ericka said...

Heidi I feel I'm sure only about a millionth of your pain and I wish there was more I could do....
I remember last year when I got your Christmas card I almost cried when I opened it, and I know this years is just as great... and I do know that each year you will come up with some way of incorporating that precious baby girl!
I remember when you asked me to read at Kenna's service and of course yes was the first thing out of my mind and mouth but as it grew closer I realized just how hard it was going to be to speak at my lil god-daughter's memorial but god held my hand that day as he often does and as I know he continues to hold yours! I still have that cd from the service and every once in awhile when I'm thinkin about baby Kenna and the rest of you guys I put it in and listen to it. It was tough when I finally got to see Kylee of course my first thoughts were of Kenna I think that's part of what took me so long to get down there but at the same time it was a blessing holding that little bundle of joy. While I was holding Kylee I just got this peaceful feeling kinda like the morning when I came down stairs and the bulbs we planted at Kenna's service had opened on her due date.