* I wrote this post at the beginning of June but couldn’t post it. As I’ve battled through depression and hopelessness since Brooklyn passed, a friend of mine encouraged me to stay committed to the Lord’s redemptive process. Today is a difficult day for me, and I keep getting drawn back here and wanting to write. I think this is part of that process for me.
It has been almost 3 months since my last post and Brooklyn’s memorial service. I have wanted to write an update for a while now but couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write. I haven’t known what to write because my thoughts and feelings have seemed like a bowl of confusion.
I wrote a post on our new ‘Normal’ when we came home with Brooklyn from the NICU. Our most recent ‘normal’ is completely different but has required a lot of adapting like when we brought her home. After Brooklyn’s memorial service we felt a huge burden lifted from our shoulders. Life was far from easy, but we weren’t consumed by the rigor of Brooklyn’s 24/7 care, the fear that the next hour would bring her passing, and the fight to celebrate and find joy in every moment. There was a flood of emotions, and we were surrounded by 100s of friends and family. Within a couple of days, we were alone in our house just as it was before Brooklyn… Corrie, Maggie (our dog), and me. It kind of felt like we were at this amazing sold out concert and when we opened our eyes from a quick blink, we discovered that we standing in an empty room with no signs of the band or fans. I feel crazy even trying to draw an analogy because I can’t really express how strange life became, and is.
In general, I feel unable to accurately communicate where we are right now, but I’ll try. The reality is, we still have everyone surrounding us with love and support. Most days I am not able to give a status update or express ways that we can be supported. A lot of our close friends and family have told us that they don’t know what to do. Don’t worry, I don’t know what to do most of the time. We go to sleep every night not knowing if we’ll wake up and get out of bed or stay in bed all day. We have done both.
We have had to adapt to life being really messy. It seems impossible at times to get relief from the pain and longing to hold Brooklyn again. There are constant reminders of the life we had only months ago. I notice in my life that once I have something my awareness of that thing goes through the roof. As a kid, I remember riding around in my parents’ newly purchased minivan and feeling like I saw that same car everywhere. I had a special connection with those people – we were all a part of the “Ford Windstar” club. Thankfully, my parents got rid of that poorly made car a long time ago, and I haven’t seen a Ford Windstar in a year or two. I’m completely ok with not being in that club anymore. Now, I just see babies everywhere. Instead of the typical camaraderie felt between fellow parents of newborns, I feel bitterness and jealousy. Why do they still have their child and we don’t? Why did they get a healthy baby and we didn’t? This is nasty collateral damage that I’m not proud of. I’ll probably address this and how I’ve dealt with it in a future post.
We didn’t leave the house that much for the first month for this and many other reasons. Unfortunately, we couldn’t even find refuge in our house. We have a nursery filled with cute dresses and tons of baby stuff, so we closed the nursery door and rarely go in there. Everything in our house seems to have a beautiful or difficult memory attached to it:
-Bathroom sink & bathtub: where we bathed Brooklyn
-Kitchen: where I prepped all of her meds and feedings, sharing memorable meals with friends and family
-Living Room chair: where I spent the majority of my time holding Brooklyn, spilt lots of formula on this chair while feeding her through her gravity fed syringe
-Couch: late nights laying here & watching Brooklyn sleep in her pack ‘n play, family & friends picture location, where we were holding her when she passed away
We tried to distract and cope by watching comedy TV shows, but the commercials seemed to be filled with babies and families. More recently when we’ve ventured out of our house, we have found ourselves abandoning our plans at times to get away from babies, awkward & stupid comments/questions from others, or all of the above. We really wish we could resume our ‘normal’ social lives and be around all of our friends. The pain and reality that we aren’t pushing Brooklyn in a stroller and talking about sleep training with other parents sucks. Before becoming a dad I never wanted to talk about this kind of stuff. I would do anything to have that conversation right now because it would mean Brooklyn was with us.
Thankfully, we have seen some progress towards hope and joy. We took a spontaneous road trip to Denver, CO with some of our best friends over Mother’s Day weekend. What could have been another hopeless weekend turned out to be a beautiful one. Corrie and I took a day trip to Boulder, by ourselves, on Mother’s Day and had lunch in one of our favorite places – the Rocky Mountains. We connected over a good meal with beautiful mountain views, stories, and prayer. My favorite quote came from Corrie, “I’ve never cried in a prettier place. This is way better than my typical view of our bedroom ceiling”. I love her honesty. She’s really cute.
All-in-all we’re still trying to navigate how life looks for us. I want so badly to be out of this craziness but in reality, it is what it is. We can’t control life. This has become abundantly clear to us. We can engage the Lord and fully participate. This is our commitment.