Our Most Recent ‘Normal’

* 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.

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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.

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14 thoughts on “Our Most Recent ‘Normal’

  1. Adam, I don’t know if there is a bucket somewhere that needs to be filled with tears before you can stop feeling so much daily pain, but i want you to know that as I read your post I added to it. I think you will find that ultimately your honesty and vulnerability will help both you and so many others. You are a godly man- we love you so much and are so grateful that God has placed you in our family. Praying for you and Corrie.

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  2. Dearest Adam and Corrie, I don’t intrude into your ‘normal’ lightly. You have said words that needed a voice and they’ve been heard. We’ve never walked in your shoes…not completely. We said ‘goodbye’ too soon to a stillborn son and four more siblings after that over five years. We watched and waited in fear and horror as we experienced multiple life-threatening scenarios with our two living sons. Over time we became numb. Why us? What did we do wrong? Why can’t we have a normal birth/delivery/newborn/child? I worked with many families as a nurse walking your road. There are no answers…no easy answers. My heart aches with you. The brainsucking pain, the depths of despair, the cold aloneness…it’s your reality. Yet God…He’s everywhere you turn. He’s in every tear that falls, every unsuspecting laugh or smile that escapes from you, in the sighs…and the silence. He’s big enough for all this. It may never make sense not this side of heaven but peace will eventually come and encompass your space. No, Really, it will. We had very little help or understanding as we endured each life loss. I know you’ve been surrounded by many yet still feel abandoned, perhaps. It’s hard when they have no concept…can’t…of where you are. They can’t wrap their minds around it no matter how much they love you. A ministry I’ve come to appreciate is http://www.sufficientgraceministries.org. They have some tools and advice I can highly recommend. Perhaps it will help with healing…with recording memories…or having community with those who have walked intimately on your path. Brooklyn understands what you are going through now. She can’t help you but i know she knows. She’s waiting for you. Makes going Home all the sweeter on her Bridge. May you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you back to life and health and peace.

    Walking in grace…accepting His new mercy daily, Mary & Steve

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  3. What courage during Brooklyn’s life and now… You will touch everyone who reads what you have poured out on this page. Thank you for letting us all hold you up in prayer. Love to you both!

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  4. We know exactly what you’re trying so hard to articulate. It’s so hard to explain/even put into words. Sometimes it seems pointless trying – but you did a wonderful job. Finding the new normal is hard because it feels anything BUT normal. It feels uncomfortable and like your life is just in limbo permanently. We are praying for you guys (sorry, Midwesterner talk there) lots. So thankful that your hope and peace rest in Him. His love is never changing, He is always stable, always our refuge when this life turns us upside down. Love you!

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  5. Dear Adam,

    I met you once when you came to visit Erica at Wells in the Woodlands. You were getting married. I adore your sister and feel connected to her. I started following your post and have been touched by everything you are Corrie have been feeling. I completely understand how you feel in some ways except I never had children but wanted them and I lost my mom to cancer at 21. She had that dreadful disease from the time I turned 10. I loved her so much. The pain I felt every time she went in the hospital seeing her suffer and trying to stay positive for me. I asked why and then why with that great loss I couldn’t have a child. I was told that after 8 years the pain from losing my mom would pass. Boy when that didn’t happen I was so disappointed. Losing a parent or a child is the worst loss as there is no greater love. As y’all know. It’s been 34 years now and i know you will help many people in your life. You both have the propensity to love and be wise at a level many dont understand and therefore will have a richer more meaningful love and life. You are special and are God’s soldiers. Brooklyn will always love you both and she is free and healthy looking down wishing she could let you know this. Grieving is a process and you are both in the throws of it. I am so sorry you have had heart hurting. It’s the worst. May better days come upon you both. God bless and keep you safe and loved.

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I can’t even imagine what you are going through. I wish we could have that little “Instagram” to see Brooklyn cradled in her fathers arms. Bless you and corrie.

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  7. Adam, thank you for such an honest and heartfelt share. You and Corrie are amazing young people who will get through this but always carry the experience with you. Your new normal will turn into a different normal with time. I feel grateful to know you. By the way, this is Corire’s Aunt Gail’s friend Mary who you met in Wimberly. I enjoyed both of you very much. Despite it all Corie could still find a smile in Levi’s attire.

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  8. Adam, these months are so hard. You honor us all by sharing your heart about the reality of grieving that comes with loving a child so loved as Brooklyn. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers at Trisomy 18 Foundation.

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  9. Adam and Corrie,
    My heart breaks for you guys. No words can describe or make sense out of losing Brooklyn. I am just so sorry, sad with you, confused, and hopeful because you will see her again. That is my only hope for our losing Tillie. It’s all I have. Praying for you guys. Thanks for allowing your friends into your lives so vulnerably. Mucho Amor!!! David

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  10. Youe pediatrician shared your blog with me last week at the Project Joy and Hope conference, at which we were both on the panel (I was the mom at the other end). You and your wife are such strong parents, I hope you don’t give up on yiur dream of having kids. Maybe Brooklyn will send down a precious, healthy brother or sister for you. You and Corrie will be in my prayers.

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    • Hi Teri. Thanks for the comment and your encouragement. It was great to meet you and hear you speak from your hear about your family’s journey. Thank you for your courage!

      AH

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