Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I Write in This Medium

When I started this blog, it was an outlet for teaching anecdotes. Then I moved and was no longer teaching, but I certainly had more time to knit, so I began to catalog some of those achievements. Then I got pregnant and shared some of that experience for friends and family that lived at a distance. And after losing Katherine, I processed some of my grief through these public writings.

I realize some may not understand why I felt the need to share some of those raw feelings in such a public forum. I'm not sure if I can completely explain that need either. I surely have many journal entries that never saw the light of day here because I thought they were too personal. But there's a feeling of anonymity here, this space online that, unless someone leaves a comment or references my posts in conversation, I can pretend it's this private space all my own. No one is forced to read, and for all I know, few do. I may be absent from this space for weeks, but it just draws me back when I have a spare moment. Here's a limited glimpse of my life. And I couldn't imagine writing about teaching and knitting without focusing on experiences that meant so much more to me than those insignificant bits. So I shared. And I hoped that maybe it would make a difference. I hoped it would help in my healing. That maybe if I could put words to the experience, I would remember the time better, even if it meant recognizing how deeply we'd been wounded, how far we had to come from.

While not the first time some stranger has written me about sharing my story, someone contacted me on Ravelry this week, a knitter that had the misfortune of losing their premature daughter this spring due to pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome (misfortune sounds like the worst word ever, so forgive me for not being able to select a better one). She said my words brought her comfort. She's very early in this period of grief, but it helped her to know that others had gone through the same diagnosis and yet followed that up with a healthy, typical pregnancy and a full-term baby. It gave her hope that there will still be a chance for them.

It's when I get a comment from someone who has been helped by my words that I feel like I have made a difference. In whatever small part, Katherine continues to influence people.

So, Katherine, had you lived, you would have turned 3 last Sunday. I would have loved to know what it was like to be a mother to you on this earth for more than a week, but I take comfort in knowing that you made an impact on my life, and because I was willing to share, even in the midst of the pain and hurt, I have helped others. People that have lost their own children. People that need to know one experience doesn't dictate their future and remove all chances for another child.

Today marks the day three years ago that we had to say goodbye. And it's hard to know best how to recognize this day. I wish it wasn't on our radar, but I am grateful for the ways your short life shaped mine. And I'm still working at it, trying to not keep my guard up, to not assume the worst. To let people in. To be vulnerable. So today, I'll live like I try to each and every other day. I'll draw alongside my husband who has walked beside me as we went through this dark journey. I'll hug and kiss and play with your little sister, think of the blessings you brought us, and pray for our continued healing and those who might be a little earlier on this journey. We have scars, but they're a little less raw today, and we're trying not to let them get the best of us. It wouldn't be fair to you and your memory if we were embittered, despondent people today because we were only fortunate to have six days with you. And by God's grace, I can say that we are not.

It seemed somehow fitting that this was the week someone wrote about the impact my story had on them. We're still seeing how we've been influenced by your life. And I can remember the early months of your loss, how we shut down and somehow made it from day to day. All the tears. The daily meals friends brought by. Returning to work. Physically healing first, then slowly the emotional and mental healing followed. The setbacks as we tried again, and the fear that accompanied the thought of a new pregnancy. Holding our breath as one more week passed without complications. And somehow our story was able to touch others and help them in their own grief and uncertainty. So however infrequently, I'm encouraged to keep returning to this space.


Linda Hagedorn said...

Eric & Faith,
Remembering with you. Katherine represented a small, brief glimpse of undying love. She wrapped our hearts around her small, tiny finger and how our hearts broke when she died. She will be loved forever and never be forgotten.
Love, Dad & Mom

~Amanda said...

I wish blogs had "like" buttons, because this entry is lovely. I'd write more, but every time I try the words just don't come out right. This is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing so much with those of us who read your words.