Sunday, April 5, 2009

Peace on a Sunday

During this current journey (and believe me, it's a journey) with Princie, I've felt intense feelings that honestly, I haven't felt in years...doubt, fear, anger. While I'm normally a realist, I've been feeling pessimism gnawing its way into my thoughts and feelings. I have begun to question my ability to be a good mother. I fear that my sweet girl will push peers away, and feel lonely. I have even felt anger towards my Heavenly Father. Thursday night, I had a little chat with Him: "Haven't I suffered enough already? I've buried a child. Do You remember that? Well, You should because my firstborn child is with You now. Could You please look at her, and remember how losing her ripped my soul to shreds? Could You please look at me? Remember how far I've come. Do You remember the days when I just wanted life to end? Do You remember my pleas, my sorrow? But, look at me now, I survived. You helped me. Why do I have to feel heartache again? Why do I have to feel so helpless with regards to one of my daughters...again. Ok, granted it's absolutely nothing compared to losing a child, but still, my heart is hurting. I am truly, sincerely thankful that nothing we face with Princie is life-threatening. But, I think it really stinks that we even have to take this walk. Over the years (even as a child) my life has served up heaping helpings of hurt and heartache. It would be greatly appreciated if You could just ease up on me a bit."

No, I don't expect life to be an easy path to maneuver. Yes, I understand it isn't all about me. No, I don't believe that just because I had learned a multitude of life's lessons before I was even 25, the learning should stop. No, I don't expect that because I buried my oldest child the rest of my life should be a pain free cakewalk. Yes, I know there are countless others who have and continue to suffer far beyond anything I have experienced. Far beyond anything I will experience in years to come. No, I don't wonder why me. Yes, I realize that although I've experienced great hurt and pain, I've also been blessed beyond belief. No, that fact is not lost on me.

But Thursday night, I was exhausted. I won't lie to you. In that moment, I could only think a few things. I can't bear to watch another "meltdown" like I just watched. I've already felt enough pain in my life. I deserve healthy, happy children. Was my prayer selfish? Probably. But I made a promise many years ago that I would never speak to my Father in Heaven as anything less than a friend. And, the words I spoke that night, they were the words I would've spoken to a dear friend whose help I needed. A friend who knows that I understand this life, with all of its lessons: sorrow, joy, disappointment, fulfillment, despair, hope. A friend who also understands that sometimes we have to vent. We let it out, or face internal combustion. My Friend, He knows.

I know He hears me. He hears each one of us. I know that pain isn't erased just because He hears. As I prayed that night, I knew the truth. My learning didn't stop after the lessons taught with Victoria. The very nature of this Earth and this Life did not change because I buried a child. My nature changed. And because of that fact, I can dig down deep, remembering who I am. I will make it on this journey. I will be open to all that my Friend and Princie have to teach me. And, I will remember this: Just as I know that God did not "give" Victoria Trisomy 18, He did not "give" Princie sensory integration struggles. But, He will most certainly give me strength, and peace, and the power to endure. I have felt the refiner's fire before, I'll feel it now, and I'm quite certain I will feel it in the future as well.

Valsy sent me the following video. It pierced my soul. It reminded me of who I am, who each of us are, and the power that lies within. Every part of it touched me. I found it interesting that when "pessimistic" and "criticizing" thoughts/words were mentioned, the dark shadow was pointing back at the person. Do we forget the harm we can do to ourselves? I believe we do. Thank you Valsy, I needed this. Oh, and the background's on my's what I wake up to every morning!

Please don't be turned off by the words about sin below. I promise the video is uplifting and inspiring...not a call to repentance. So, here's to all of you. Readers, and closet-readers. Christian, Jew, Atheist, and Agnostic. It doesn't matter to me. You know I am a Christian, but there's something in this video for everyone. Doesn't matter who you are or what you believe. My hope and prayer is that something in this video touches your soul, brings you peace and respite, even if only for a moment.


Sue said...

You asked me if I had become more spiritual of late, but now I see what has happened. It's you. You are reading and seeing through spiritual eyes.

It's you, Natalie.

Laretha said...

Natalie I am crying reading how your heart hurts. I don't have any words that will make that hurt go away.

I don't know why God chose you to walk this journey, with Victoria and now with Princie. But I do know He wouldn't have chosen you if He didn't know you could do it, know that good will come of it and know that you will touch other lives because of it.

I believe you are chosen of Jesus Christ to walk thru this, I believe good will come of it and I know you will other lives because of it.

You are a special woman, a special mom and a special friend.

Love you.

em said...

so i called my friend the other day b/c even though i know there is no proof of autism and vaccinnes, let's be honest, i was putting off his 1 yr vaccinations. i talked to fiauna about it, posted her thoughts, read more of her thoughts...and still i was scared. i felt guilty. would i not love my child as much if he had autism? of course i would still love him. how could you not love those gushy cheeks;-) i called my friend. she said it all. it's not that i wouldn't love him if he had autism or anything else. it's that no one wants to go through something tough and scary like that. no one wants their child to suffer or have challenges beyond what is the "norm." after which i said, i'm turning the car around and going straight to the doc for the vaccine. this is ridiculous i said. i don't want him to die from something that he could have been vaccinated for. i'm a teacher, i know how amazing early intervention is and how much the quality of life is improving for children with autism. so we went in, and i was still nervous, stil scared. scared of the unknown. scared i wouldn't be so brave in the face of reality. so they stuck the needle in, brennan screamed, and they pasted a scooby doo bandaid over his left thigh. we walked out of the pediatrician's office and i thought, "man, i'm glad he's over the rsv. i'm glad he's alive."

your courage is an inspiration. you are brave in the face of reality...even if you don't know it yourself;-)
love, emily

Sue said...

I should add one more thing, Natalie. My daughter has an auditory processing disorder she has struggled with all of her life, and one of my sons is bipolar. It's such a blow when you first realize the unique challenges your child will face, but the Lord does walk you and them through it. Just like Elder Holland said today, you are not alone. None of us will ever be left alone or unaided, as the Savior was in those last moments of mortality.

Of course, you already know that. What you will also know, as you take this journey with Princie, is the deep joy that comes to "called and chosen" parents who are privileged to observe every little victory along the way as our children's amazing spirits face up to divinely allowed imperfections and triumph over them, one way or another...just as Princie's own spirit will...with a little help from her friends (heavenly and earthly).

Love you.


KC Mom said...

I have to echo what Laretha says..
plus something else.
I don't think you should be hard on yourself for the way you have been feeling. Your daughter's diagnosis brought on feelings of grief...a pain that you know all too well. It's a type of grief that you will go through that can't be changed. You grieve over the loss of what the future for Princie might have been or how it might be compared to what you imagined, hoped and wished for. This is not the path that you would have chosen, of course. But...knowing you and knowing a little bit about the must be pretty amazing. Because the Lord knows you can handle it. He knows you are well equipped with the capability of getting through this challenge and will be a force for good in bringing about knowledge. You will do this. will also cry and grieve a lot along the way...and that is okay. Peace be with you.

mom said...

Right now, I could cry...I read your blog between conference sessions...I wrote my comment and somehow I did not post it and I lost it in cyberspace!!! Oh well, these are my "now" thoughts...

I do want you to know that President Monson was speaking to you this morning..yep, he must have said, "This is for Natalie." I think it was mighty nice of him for the rest of us to be able to hear his thoughts for you..:)

I have a magnet that reads:"I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much."-Mother Teresa

Something inside tells me, just as the Lord knew the struggles of the journeys of those President Monson spoke of today, the Lord knew and still knows every step of the journeys you have been asked to make in this life. He knows you and "He trusts" you. He knows all too well that many, who are asked to make difficult journeys in this life, will not be able to do so. They lose hope, they lose faith along the way. There is nothing of great enough worth on the other side of the journey to continue on.
They cannot walk their own journey, much less help carry someone else.

But, little Princie will have you. She will have a wonderful mother and a spiritual giant of a father...brothers and a sister who will help her "pull her wagon" on this journey. The Lord knows that her journey in this life would be much easier, less burdensome without this trial. This is her "Garden." But, He knows HER, as well. He knows her strength and her little spirit. He knows He sent her to a home where strong parents would be able to help her as she learns to cope and overcome the obstacles she has been asked to face in her journey through this life.

You know that my true hero is Mary, the mother of does a mother watch her child suffer so?....I do not know. When I think of her watching her son, her child she held in her arms, suffering and there was nothing she could do, my heart aches. I sincerely believe that having to watch your child hurt or suffer is the toughest pain to bear.

You also know because I have told you all your life there is no other love on this earth that equates to a mother's love, for I truly believe a mother's love is patterned after our Heavenly Father's and our Savior's love for us. Surely, only a God, some being far greater than man, could create such a unique love...That of a mother for her child. I only came to know and understand that love on the day you were born and I saw you, held you, and knew that God truly does love His children. I felt that can be a child, a spouse, a brother, a sister, a friend, and you can love, but being a mother is a love that transcends all other loves on this earth. It is a love as that of heaven.

I know, all too well, the pain of watching your child hurt. I will never outlive the pain of that day when I walked into a hospital room and saw my beautiful daughter holding that tiny little baby who lay all too still in her mother's arms...I, emotionally and spiritually, fell to my knees. It felt as though my heart was breaking and I might could surely die from the pain of watching my beautiful child suffer and there was nothing I could do..nothing, no words, no deeds, nothing, could ease your sorrow and suffering. Somehow, in that moment and for only a moment, my thoughts went to Mary...
And in that moment, I knew He felt my pain as I watched you. I knew He felt your pain and your sorrow....I know He feels your hurt, anger, sorrow and sadness that your little princess has to walk this particular path. But, walk it she shall....with you holding her hand ever so tightly along every step of the way.

How else can you stand as a witness to all those whose lives you touch as you testify that He does love each of us, calls us by name and that He shall truly "visit His children and ease the burdens upon their backs."

I am praying that your "Sunday Peace" will come every day as you look at Princie and know that this is the path she has take in this life and no matter what else, your strength, your faith, and your example will be what matters most to her. It will be through you that His love will surely "ease this burden upon her little back."

You are and you will continue to be one of "those people" President Monson spoke of, who walk the steps of their journeys, with faith and with the hope there is, indeed, something of far greater worth on the other side. Something worth you taking the journeys of this life, however, few or many, you are asked to take.

I love you...I think I shall write President Monson a "thank you" note....really nice of him to give that talk just for you...:)
Must be that "Sunday Peace" we all need!

Shauna said...

Well first of all I am big boobin crying heart, prayers and love goes out to you as a mother. What a beautiful post from snarky we know why your so special, because you have a great momma. Just as your blessed with a wonderful mom, Princie has a wonderful Mom, who will love her down this journey. And last but not least that video.. touched me to the core. your blessing people like me in the middle of your own difficulties.
P.S. Thanks for the easter card, I laughed out that me or what. Little did you know I have eaten an entire bag of mini eggs this week:)

Laretha said...

Hey girl, one more thing. I read a post today from Angie Smith at Bring the Rain. She lost her daughter right after she was born. Knew they probably would.

Her husband sings in the group Selah and they are releasing a song in a couple of months that she has posted for only 3 days on her blog.

As I read the words I thought of you - I thought of you a lot today. Here are the words to the song. Go check out her blog too, it will really speak to your heart.


(Written by Chad Cates, Tony Wood, Brian Petak)

Produced by Bernie Herms

And had the FIRE sung out of it by Amy Perry and my Toddy.

The cruelest words

The coldest heart

The deepest wounds

The endless dark

The lonely ache

The burning tears

The bitter night

The wasted years

Life breaks and falls apart

But we know these are…


Where grace is

Soon to be so amazing

They may unfulfilled

They may unrestored

But when anything that’s shattered

Is laid before the Lord

Just watch and see

It will not be


For every choice

That led to shame

And all the love

That never came

For every vow

That someone broke

And every life

That gave up hope

We live in the shadow of the fall

But the cross says these are all – just


Where grace is

Soon to be so amazing

They may unfulfilled

They may unrestored

But when anything that’s shattered

Is laid before the Lord

Just watch and see

It will not be


They may unfulfilled

They may unrestored

You never know the miracles

The father has in store

Just watch and see

It will not be



MammaWarrior said...

It has been a while since I have been online to actually comment! Of course I had to come to read your blog to remind me why I love you so much! ((hugs)) you are so wise! Sadly it comes from the pain and life experiences you have been through. I admire you and your family! The R-word. Painful to say the least! I had a brother that was mentally compromised. (I don't even like the words mentally handicapped)
He died at 13. He had blessings many of us would never know. He knew NO hate. No predudice, no heartbreak. He knew pain from his body. But only love filled his heart and soul. When he died I realized how blessed we were to have seen his life through his eyes! The r-word is something so painful that is so easill rolled off the tongues of too many that have never seen this in their own life! I will think of your baby girl as I remember my cherished brother! There is nothing that can ever explain the pain thinly vailed words can be!

Leanna Tholl said...

Natalie, I can't imagine what you are going thruogh. But, I can say thank you so much for sharing!Your words always seem to touch me at the right moment. Thank you so much please keep being the wonderful person that you are.

Fiauna said...

During the early days of our trial with Keelie, my husband and I latched onto a motto: If it wasn't this, it'd be something else. We learned that we will always face trials, so face the ones your given because who knows what else could be coming. Hubby came home from priesthood conference and told me that the message he took was that Heavenly Father shapes the shoulders that carry the burdens. In other words, He prepares us to carry the load. When I look at some of the hardships I endured early in life, I realize that He shaped my shoulders to carry the burden of a disabled daughter without me even knowing it. And I also know that He is still preparing me for whatever burdens I will carry in the future.

I hope you feel at peace. The good days will come again ... I promise.

karen said...

I'm so sorry to hear that things have been so rough. I would always rather that something would happen to me, rather than see one of my kids hurting. I know just how you feel, and its so hard. But you'll have really good days too, so live for victories. All of this hard work won't be for nothing. Your daughter will thank you, and Heavenly Father thanks you in advance. Hang in there!

jen said...

so many eloquent words left by so many wise women. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all get together and cry and mourn and discuss in the same room? Think of the power.
I can't add anything else. Just know I think of you often, and I know that things do get easier, just as they get harder. Hold on for that easy time that is around the corner. I know it's there.

K2cole said...

I love the quote by Mother Teresa your mom put in her comments and can only say 'Amen' - I pray for peace in your heart, and sweet patience for your princess.

Love to you,

mom said...

Jen...wouldn't that be wonderful if we all could get together. I think there would be some tears and a lot of discussion, but I bet there would be a ton of laughter and joy, as well......

I agree, I think probably the wisest women around are reading Snarky Belle...I mean, they have to be...they are "snarkettes!" :)

K2cole: That Mother Teresa quote makes me smile every is on my refrigerator...well. most every day, somedays, I am like....seriously, this is just not funny..could You just lighten the load, a little! But, then I usually go ahead and smile..don't want Him to think I'm "murmuring" too much!

Shauna..Natalie sure loves you! I bet if we were all together, you would be providing a lot of the laughter! Thanks for your sweet words!

To all of you who commented: Jen is are so wise..and tender and compassionate! I want you to know that I am so thankful for this opportunity for Natalie to be emotionally and spiritually "surrounded" by strong, powerful, loving women who offer such amazing support!

To all of you who are "closet readers"...(Esther, I love that!)
I know she feels your prayers and support...I am always amazed at the number of people I run into who tell me they are reading!

I love you all!

Snarky Mama


Frosty said...

Natalie-your strength is amazing and your testimony inspires me. Princie is blessed to have you as her Mommy. I agree with everyone, He has chosen you for such a time/purpose as this.

What a precious video and message this holy week. Blessings to you, Captain and Princie.

Katie Hatch said...

I'm so sorry you're going through a difficult time. I loved this post. It was so raw and real. You'll get through this and will be stronger because of it. You're a good mother!