Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Old Me

Today has been rough.

Actually, the past few days have been rough.

It started off with our story circulating the anti circ forums again. I understand what they are trying to do, and I admire the amount of passion they have, but everytime our story is brought up again, it's like ripping open a wound that has just started to form a scab no matter how "good" their intentions are.

Accusations have been made- accusing me of mercy killing, name calling, and of lying. I've said what I am going to say to them, but ultimately it is a lost cause. (and once again, I'm asking you not to respond to them if you see our story posted. No sense in stirring the pot.)

Then, today marks 3 months since Joshua's death. Can you feel that already open wound now gushing blood?

It hurts.

I took Hannah to the doctor today to look at one of her toe nails (it got ripped off somehow and is growing in funny). I was digging for our insurance card and I pulled out Joshua's medicaid card. I about lost it right there in the middle of the waiting room.

All of that brings me to this:

I miss the old Jill.

I miss the days that the worst problem that we had was not enough money at the end of the month. I miss the days that I would get angry at Shane for not taking out the trash. I miss the days of seeing human beings as mostly good.  I miss the Jill who always laughed out loud at the most inappropraite of things. I miss the Jill who could laugh at the stupid things that happen to me and the randomness of my life. I miss the Jill who always had a positive outlook on life. Most importantly, I miss the Jill who's faith always seemed to come easily.

All of that has changed. Not a single one of those things rings true in my life any more. I hardly laugh at myself any more. I have a hard time trusting people- especially strangers. I have a hard time trusting in God's promises. I find myself constantly expecting the worst to come instead of hoping for the best.

I watch my daughter. She is the happiest, most carefree child I have ever seen. She skips around, singing little songs, playing little games, and laughing at everything. She is stubborn and feisty and full of life. I see so much of the old Jill in her and I mourn and then I pray. I mourn for the piece of me that I lost through Joshua's death and through the attacks that followed. I mourn for the little boy that I will never see follow in his sister's footsteps. I pray to God that my little girl will NEVER have to go through what I have gone through- the pain of losing a child.

I feel like I've lost myself and that the old Jill will never be back. I'm struggling to find who I am. I'm struggling to find laughter and hope. I'm struggling in my real life relationships- I'm withdrawing from them because I don't want to be the "Debbie Downer" of the group. I don't want to force people to focus on my pain while so many others have so much else to worry about. I don't want to be that person who 10 years down the line who has no friends because I have completely isolated myself because of my son's death.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is, I miss the old me and I'm terrified of who the new me is becoming.


Tiffany said...

I have only been following you a few weeks, so I really don't know the "old" Jill. However, I feel a connection to you, just like you are. I think you are full of life still, and I know that GOD will ultimately have his work completed in you. I think the most important thing is to work hard as to NOT isolate yourself. This won't help. I hope in time you will be stronger. When I read your post it made me think of Matthew 5:3-4. Be blessed, Jill!

Josefina said...

I'm not any kind of professional, but to me the changes in you sound like the normal effects of what happened. Depression, or maybe PTSD, as you've mentioned. You mentioned visiting a therapist or counselor...I imagine you're still going? It's so good if you are. Your recovery is not going to be fast. You know that, though. But look at you: you were at the doctor's office with your daughter, handling that on your own. That's a big change from only a couple months ago. Courage, girl. I really believe you'll laugh again.

Carla Sue said...

As a friend who knew, as you say, the old Jill and the new Jill, and as a friend who speaks the truth in love - I love the old Jill, but I love the new Jill too. And I see a ton of the same features in both Jills. I think that there will come a day when you laugh more, when your heart is not quite so heavy. But at the same time, you will have a different, more Godly perspective on life. And, all in all, you will be a better Jill. Each day, we face the challenges that shape us into the person that God wants us to be.

Mandie Hamrick said...

Praying. Jesus knows your heart.

The Real Life of a Red Head said...

Brooke- I do know that. I have trusted all of you from day one and I continue to trust you. Fully and Completely.

Josefina- yes, I am continuing with counseling. Sometimes I feel like I get so impatient with myself- I just want the pain to go away. I'm tired of the heavy-ness that I carry around with me day in and day out. I think you are right on all levels.

Carla- thank you. i love you

Beth W. said...

Lord Jesus, I lift Jill up to you. I pray that you would be the lifter of her head, give her your peace and reassurance that you are still there and know that she is struggling. Give her mercy and grace to deal with everything put in her path. Remind her that there is "no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and are called according to His purpose." Protect her from everything that threatens to drag her further down. We love you Jesus and count these things done in your name and by your precious blood. Amen.

Jill, don't consider yourself to be a debbie downer. You have a lot to work through and friends who understand and are willing to work through it with you. Don't let satan isolate you through that lie. We all love you. If you ever want/need to meet for lunch again just let me know and we can make it happen. As I said on FB today, I have been thinking and praying for you. On the way home from preschool I started crying for you and I hadn't even turned on my computer for the day yet. God knows when you need support and he has faithful people who know when to pray for you... even if we haven't spoken to you God still tells us. Love you sister.
I know it's not a fix all, but have you been reading your Bible faithfully?

Nikki said...

When I had Orson a couple of weeks ago, we had him circ'd the day we went home. Now you know my other 2 kids have heart defects and even though Orson is healthy (for now, anyway) I still worried about circing him. Not because I was worried it would kill him, but I thought about you. I thought about Joshua and for some reason I hesitated. We ended up doing it and the night we came home Justin was changing him and his umbilical cord stump hit the super swollen part of his penis and he bled. It looked like a lot to us because it's blood and it's coming from a baby! However, my rational side kicked in and I was like "he'll be fine. It's not that much blood"

I thought of you again and felt so much pain for you, because I know I felt horrible when I saw that blood and I can only imagine what it was like for you to stand by and wonder if your decision was the right one.

I know you know, and I know all of your supporters know that the circ did NOT kill Joshua. I know several people who lost their child to HLHS who had their son circ'd or pierced their daughters ears, and they passed away X amount of time later. It's a crappy coincidence. Nothing more. All the people out there trying to say you did it on purpose, or are in some way responsible for his heart failing to keep up with him, need to mind their own business.

They are on the outside looking in and of course it's easy to cast stones and voice our opinion, but what separates them from normal people is decency, compassion and love. They have none of that.

I don't know the old Jill, but I admire the new Jill more than you'll ever know :)

Jill said...

As long as I'm sucking air, you will have a friend. I know your pain.

I love you SO much!

Shawn Becker said...

I hope Beth's prayer can bring you the comfort that God want's for you.
This journey will be slow but know that you have so many people praying for you and your family. Hold strong to the ones you love and have all negative words fall on deaf ears.
Even though I have been following you for some time, I am not sure of the connection with the circ and Joshua's death. In my opinion it must have been a terrible coincidence and I can not imagine that people could be so cruel to link the two.
What you need is loving arms, not cruel words.
Today will be hard and let your body feel the pain. Remember what you are feeling is normal and expected. Give yourself time, continue with your therapist and love yourself. You may never be the old Jill, but who stays the same. We are always evolving and You WILL be Jill.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak as a mother who's lost a child, but I can speak as a child who's mother lost a child. My mother is not the same person she was before my sister passed away. She never will be. She can't possibly be. Neither will you. Our life has ups and downs and those make us who we are. I bet money you aren't the same Jill you were before you became a wife. Nor are you the same Jill you were before Caleb was born. Then Hannah. Then Joshua. You're struggling to find your new "normal." My sister died over three years ago and my Mom still has her days where the grief is so raw it's like it happened yesterday. But she's definitely come a long way at becoming the new Sue. I love my old Mom and I love my new Mom. I don't see you as the type of person who would isolate yourself. You're just finding the new you. {{hug}}

~Amy (Amy H-g) I have to comment as Anonymous on this one because I'm on my husbands computer and I don't want to log out of his Blogger account hahaha!

Anonymous said...

Love you, Jill. I am here any time you need me. You are not a downer in my eyes. Burson

*Alice* said...

Dear New Jill,

I know you dont much like your new outlook and personality but please know that slowly and surely the Old Jill will eventually find her way back home.

There is always a chance that she may get a little lost while trying to find the right path home but she will eventually remember her surroundings and she will come knocking; usually when you have resigned yourself to the fact that you will never see her again.

Dont give up hope and never put too much pressure on yourself.


Old (but slightly Cranky) Alice

nabrissa said...

Those of us who love you need to continue to pray hard for you, without ceasing, so that your heart be guarded, that Satan would NOT have a hold on you in those moments when you are too tired to watch out for him who lurks tirelessly nearby, that the comfort of the ultimate healer would wash over you by his grace and through his love and that your brokenness would allow the Lord to mold you (in ways he wouldn't have been able to before, with the old you) into a better you!!! A you you with scars, yes, but a better, though different, you just the same; a you just as Carla described. A you that He can mold and use for even bigger things, the kind of you who, once he's molded you just right, you will also be soooo excited and proud to be because you'll have every confidence and assurance of being the you He desired to see all along, this same kind of you Joshua can be soooo proud to have had a part in bringing out, the kind of you who can touch so many more, who can love so much deeper, who can see much more as Christ sees, who can stand so much stronger with so much more grace than ever before, the kind of you He longs to bring about so that you might fulfill all that he has planned for you, and so that, in doing so, it'll all bring you a few steps closer to the kind of you who is ready and finally worthy to enter His kingdom, ultimately, the same kingdom he'd already deemed Joshua ready for 3 months ago... that's what most of us all are striving for ultimately isn't it, to be gathered together with all the saints, in His presence.

anyway, all of this to say, keep on keeping on, as best you can, and when you can't rely on the Lord and on the people He's placed in your life to love you and help carry you through...

He allows us to carry different burdens, but He never intends for us to carry them alone, that is why he longs for us to have fellowship with people, so that we can rejoice together in times of rejoicing and so that we might help each other carry the burdens he's ENTRUSTED us with also... mostly for that reason even, i'd say!!!

Angela said...

To the new Jill,

As a mother who has lost a child, it is a scary thing to realize who you once were will never be who you are again. While people get frustrated or annoyed sometimes that they have lost the "old you", you are trying to figure out how the "new you" fits in with everyone and everything around you.

So many days I felt like I was losing friends because I couldn't keep up with relationships. I still can't sometimes. I'm either too tired, busy, or emotionally drained that I need time off. Not everyone is patient enough to wait...

Although I will never be the old Angie, I am starting to love the new Angie. I hope that you, over time, find the same.

The new Jill knows that not taking the trash out isn't worth harsh words. I can only hope that this has taken your marriage to a deeper and stronger level. I know it has for us.

The new Jill may not laugh right now, but one day, when it happens, you will soak in the richness of it. You will treasure the moments of joy and the good that does exist in this world. You will laugh harder and longer. Some day.

The new Jill knows that true faith isn't when life is easy. You see now how desperate we are without God, how weak we are and how His strength is what carries us.

Hazel's first birthday should have been January 1st. I am in the middle of reliving each of her days that she was here with us. It is painful - torture at times. But the hope is still there. Sometimes dim and almost extinguished, but the Lord has His hold on me and will not let me go. What I know now, what I see now - I wouldn't want to be the person I was before my daughter. I am amazed at what Hazel has done in my life and thank God for opening my eyes. It doesn't take away the hurt but it makes me cling to my hope. And what are we really without the One who has given us that?

PS This doesn't change the fact that this still really sucks for both of us :) Thinking of you and Joshua this night.

Rainy said...

I say prayers for you every single night. Actualy it is for you and every other parent, husband/wife, mother/father, brother/sister and any other family or friend that has lost a loved one. May you be at peace as you walk this road that is before you. I send tons of hugs to you daily and while I don't always comment, I am here.

Lauren said...

I feel like I wrote some of this post... I don't feel that I am the same person after Caleb's death either. Thinking of you. ♥

Anonymous said...

just wondering why you delete comments when you said in the past you wouldnt? will you answer this or delete it also?

The Real Life of a Red Head said...

because it is my blog, and if I don't want hate and vile comments, i don't have to keep them. it's that simple.

Kim said...

I have been following you for your painful 3 months and I think you are right where you need to be. Your wound is still so open and raw and you are doing more than many people could, you are actually sharing about it. People have a choice not to read what you say or listen to your stories if they have an issue but as for those of us who are praying for you and are following you we support you! Please don't be so hard on yourself. Take the grief as it comes and the happy times as they come. your children all sound so lovely, all 3 of them, and if you can just keep your head up you WILL be ok. Pray when you can and know the Holy Spirit prays for you when you can't. You are brave to put yourself "out there"so keep writing even if it is just to get thoughts out of your head. You are not a "downer" you lost a child and if someone can't understand that well...they don't deserve to be your friend!
WHEW! off my soapbox now! Have a blessed evening!

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog since about October. And after reading this post today, something came to mind to me later on and I'm hesitant to share for fear it will be not helpful or comforting in any way, but here goes.

I am so sad for the attacks your family has endured. I am horrified by them and cannot believe the way people can use something to twist any agenda. However, I cannot help but think of how many people have been led to your blog for whatever reason and heard for the very first time about Congenital Heart Defects. Joshua's story is making a new difference. YOU are making a difference. New Jill is doing that.

To be 100% honest, I found your blog by a poster on facebook posting "death by circumcision." I clicked on it thinking I'd read a horrifying tale of simple procedure gone wrong and found a very different story than that, the story of a boy with a broken heart, "congenital heart defects"... something I knew nothing about. I googled HLHS and read previous posts about precious Joshua's heart and I of course quickly formed the opinion that you were a loving mother just like myself. (And for the record, I wasn't coming here to judge in the first place, I can't really even say why I clicked on it to begin with, like reading a news story about a child that has passed away, you know that your mother heart should not read that stuff, but you do anyway, to say a prayer for the family, to know the story of another child and family's pain and hug your own children tighter just knowing how lucky you are.)

Just know this, new Jill or old Jill, for every one hateful person that has been led to your blog, there are fifty others that were led here, no matter what the reason in origination, that come and see the beauty, that learn for the first time about HLHS and congenital heart defects. That want to lift you up as a sister of God. Those people far outnumber the people who have chosen to put their agenda before their heart and ignore the very things that unite us as mothers.

I truly hope and pray that the negativity leaves. But, please know that your precious Joshua and his story has changed people for good. It has taught even the people who use their words for hurt, what Congenital Heart Defects are. Even the nay sayers can not ignore the whole picture in their heart of hearts.

I hope this is making even a little bit of sense what I'm saying. That I for one would not have known what HLHS and CHD was if not for your story, and I know many others can probably say the same.

So, New Jill, thank you for THAT.


The Real Life of a Red Head said...


Thank you. I appreciate your words.

Kari said...

Thinking and praying for you. I love the new Jill too :)

kari, Joel's mom.

The Hands said...

AS I was reading your blog, the Holy Spirit brought these verses to mind.

"Come to Me (Jesus), all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my load is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

Mellow said...

You will begin to find a little different version of the old you as time goes won't be the same, but you will find your laughter again, your smile. You are going to different forever, but you will find one day finding who you are again, but it will not be the same. God has you in his hands, and He will continue to carry you through your hurt, and uncertainty.
The difference between how we felt when it was 3 months after Johnny passed, and now 9 months, is very different. A piece of you is missing, and one day you will find yourself feeling stronger, but you will always carry that day it won't be as fresh, and will start fading to a scar..always a part of you. I am praying for your heart to heal...know that you are loved and lifted up.

*Alice* said...

I wish blogger had a 'like' button. Anonymous has made a good point, ignore the bad, breath in the good. xox

Christine the ArizonaIntactivist said...

I am sorry you are being attacked.

I have read some things lately that have been disturbing to me.

I would hope that love would come first.

"Never let a problem to be solved be more important than a person to be loved"

~Barbara Johnson

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