Sacred Silence – Journal Entry #7

BookSacredSilence

Journal Entry #7

September 10th, 2013

Twenty- seven days. Twenty-seven gut wrenching, soul stirring days since I gave birth and said goodbye in the same moment. What I felt, what I feel, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. The hurt is hard. Harder than I ever expected.

I lost my father when I was fourteen to lung cancer. He didn’t even smoke, but he died a liberating death of a disease that tore my world apart at the seams.

When I say “liberating”, I mean it as such. When the Oncologist told my daddy that he had stage 4 lung cancer, he smiled. My daddy smiled at the doctor who had handed him a death sentence. He didn’t cry, ask for chemotherapy treatment, or vow to fight, he simply smiled and said aloud, “I’m ready when the Lord’s ready to take me. Life has been kind to me. It’s been VERY kind to me.” He nodded, leaning back in his chair, the rest of my family stunned as the eyes of his little girls and that of wife’s filled with tears of terror.

Three and half months later, my father died at home. My mother, my sisters, and myself surrounding his bed at a quarter after three that cold December morning, hands holding his, stroking his cheek as his final breath left his lungs. He had been unresponsive for nearly a week, hospice coming by the house several times a day to administer pain medication to keep him comfortable, but for a week I watched my father die. I watched his body fail, his spirit diminish, and as a young girl who was just learning how to cope with what the teenage years were like, I had to stand up and be strong. To be a woman of faith, when I felt like faith had failed me. My daddy faced death without an ounce of fear. I had to learn to do the same. I wanted to be like my daddy.

Now I’ve faced death again years later. Yet the loss of life is so very different this time. The taste in my mouth is one of  bitterness. My only son, the one I prayed for, longed for, taken away before he ever had a chance to experience the beauty of life.

Today I wrestle with what my daddy faced. Facing death without an ounce of fear. I’m fearful. Afraid to move forward without Zach. Afraid to live a happy life with the debilitating sorrow that fills me from head to toe.

I’m afraid for my marriage. Miles and I have distanced ourselves from one another. I miss my husband. Who we were a month ago. Time heals all wounds. This is what I hear, and what I’m trying to believe. In time, we’ll find one another again. I believe that. I have to believe that.

I quit my job today. My boss understood as well as my co-workers. Sometimes life demands a change, and where I stand now, I need to find change. I can’t return to the place where my nightmare as a mother began. Find that strange, weird, or cowardly, but I know what my heart needs. It needs change. It needs change for Zach’s memory.

I carry on. Today I planted a lavender bush in the backyard by our porch. I have always loved lavender. It smells amazing. It’s beautiful. It reminds me of my son. I can see him, smell him, touch him here. Little by little, I search for any remanent of hope. Little by little, I uncover it.

..Alana

Copyright 2013

Written and owned by Valerie King at http://www.valeriekingbooks.com

 

Sacred Silence ~ Journal Entry #6

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Journal Entry #6

September 5th, 2013

Three weeks. I hate this. I hate the way I feel, how I look, and the burden that I carry. This will never get easier. Never.

I spent the better part of today with my best friend Kate. We laughed, carried on and talked about life…the good, the bad and the ugly. Kate is pregnant. Three months along. She’s just beginning to show. That tiny bump; I remember that. The cross between looking bloated and looking pregnant. The time when your hand moves across your belly without even noticing. That’s what motherhood does; changes your motions naturally.

Was it hard being around her? Yes. But it was also helpful to view new life again from another angle. In the eyes of a lifelong friend.

I already know what she’s having. A boy. I can feel it. I told her so. She decided to tread lightly within the subject, but she also offered me a generous gift that I told her she didn’t owe. If she has a son, his middle name will be Zach.

Do you know what that means to this heart of mine? More than I could ever fathom. The life of my son living on through another. The outpouring of love and support as Miles and I tread through unimaginable grief, little things like this only encourage and encompass those words uttered by Nadine at the women’s shelter. “Healing brings hope. And hope helps you heal.”

Kate had handed me hope today. And one day, I would tell her. Today, I wanted to relish it on my own.

After writing this down, maybe “hate” was a strong word to use today. I think I’ll use “hope” instead. I do “hate” this, but I also have “hope” that Zach’s life will forever live on. Healing comes next. I vow to find it.

.. Alana

Copyright 2013

Written and owned by Valerie King at http://www.valeriekingbooks.com

Sacred Silence ~ Journal Entry #5

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Journal Entry #5

September 3rd, 2013

Miles and I had lunch today at our favorite deli. I felt peaceful and at ease for once until I saw a woman across the aisle from us nursing her newborn son, the back of his head laced with brown fuzz, his tiny hand nuzzled against the bosom of his mother’s breast. He looked just like Zach.

Miles had caught me staring. He turned to look at what had captured my attention. The lunch conversation we had been sharing grew silent. I finished my salad with two final bites, leaving my plate almost half full. Hunger fled.

He reached across the table as I fought back tears, lacing his fingers with mine. The intimacy was nice, but felt unusually strange all at once. My heart hurt in my chest. Literally, it felt painful with every beat.

“This is so damn hard.” That’s what I said above the loud voices of the lunch crowd, and I never cursed. Today, I had to say what I felt. The reality of where I saw myself. There was no other way around it, as we sat alone for another half an hour.

My husband was late for his afternoon meeting. I knew he was, but he sat with me anyway. I think he is finally letting his grief surface. Up until now, he ran from it. Yet as we sat, eyes focused on the grain of the dark wooden table for two, the warmth of his touch radiated his need to finally get close. To understand that our son was truly gone, but we still had each other.

For that, I am grateful.

.. Alana

Copyright 2013

Written and owned by Valerie King at http://www.valeriekingbooks.com

Sacred Silence ~ Journal Entry #4

BookSacredSilence

 

Journal Entry #4

August 29th, 2013

Two weeks. At times it seems so much longer than that. I finally willed myself to open the door of Zach’s nursery today for the first time since losing him.

Miles and I hadn’t done much, as we weren’t expecting him to arrive so soon. His closet was full of diapers, newborn clothes and receiving blankets though. I pulled them out, folding each little cotton suit with pristine care, placing them in a cardboard box. All but one. I kept the very first item I ever bought when I found out I was pregnant. A little tan onsie with a giraffe on the front and the words “I Am Loved” stitched beneath it. He is loved. He will always be loved. I tucked this little suit beneath my tank tops in my dresser drawer. When I needed to feel him, remember, I’d always know that it was there.

The rest of the items I took to a women’s shelter downtown after lunch, handing them over to a beautiful young woman, with smiling brown eyes and braided hair with olive skin that reminded me of my youth.

“This is so generous of you! Everything is brand new. And the diapers…we need these badly. Thank you.”

I nodded, unable to answer as the tears started to build. She reached over and touched my hand, my eyes rising to hers. She seemed to understand my story without a word ever uttered. I could see it swimming in those almond shaped eyes of hers. Apparently I hadn’t been the first mother to step foot inside these four walls with a box of “new”, and heart of “loss”.

She finally spoke. Nadine was her name. I’ll never forget it. “Healing brings hope. And hope helps you heal. Peace to you, love.”

I offered her a warm smile. She accepted.

As I sip on a cup of tea, that giraffe onsie in my lap, and a pen in my hand, I am doing my best to find hope. For I realize that I gave a speck of it today to Nadine without even realizing I had done so. And in return, she had given it back.

.. Alana

Copyright 2013

Written and owned by Valerie King at http://www.valeriekingbooks.com

 

Sacred Silence ~ Journal Entry #3

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Journal Entry #3

August 27th, 2013

I did something today I never thought I’d ever do. Leave the house with a smile on my face.

I couldn’t help it, nor could I hide it. The love of my two sisters and my mother had cradled me with grace this morning. Our very first stop was at the floral shop two blocks from our house to buy a bouquet of white lilies. Lilies for Zach. The four of us sat together, my mother Beatrice, my older sister Lainey and my baby sister Paula, arms around shoulders, and soft fingers wiping away tears as we reminisced about my son while sitting by his grave. The sun was hot, sweat running down my brow and it was only ten in the morning. A Texas summer for you…but I wouldn’t have traded that moment for the world. It was strangely comforting beyond measure.

It felt odd having to say goodbye, running my hands along the parched earth before bending over to kiss the ground I knew my son lay underneath. After leaving the cemetery, I honestly wanted to return home to my seclusion. I felt safest there. But my mother insisted on lunch and some time away. When my mother insisted things, you didn’t argue. A small part of me didn’t really want to. I wanted to feel the love that I knew had gone missing.

There was a quote I saw on a store window today in downtown Dallas.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

I saw a future with Miles before we ever married. I saw a future when I found out I was pregnant. I saw a future when I learned that I would become a mother to a little boy. I saw a future when I let him go…and it was ugly.

Yet somehow I see a small measure of hope in my world. A blessed future. Life doesn’t end here. I will see my son again. Although he is absent from my arms, he is mine. I am a mother. My future consisted of me becoming a mom, and I am. Regardless of the heartache that longs to destroy me. My future has brought me here, and with my head held high, I have the right to grieve, but I also have the right to live. I will live for the memory of my son.

.. Alana

Copyright 2013

Written and owned by Valerie King at http://www.valeriekingbooks.com

Sacred Silence Novel ~ Journal Entry #2

BookSacredSilence

Journal Entry #2

August 22nd, 2013

Miles woke me from a disoriented nap this afternoon. When I grabbed the phone, I realized I had been crying in my sleep. The tears…they never stopped. Zach has been gone a week today. Our conversation went something like this:

Miles – “Hey. Just thought I’d check in before my next meeting. Everything alright?”

The words had stung like a bee. Everything alright? No, not even close, so I had lied, choosing to avoid lighting an emotional wildfire.

Me – “Yeah, I’m fine. Just doing a few things around the house this afternoon.”

Miles – “Don’t overdo it, Alana. The doctor said for you to take it easy for the next few weeks. I agree with him.”

Me – “I know you do, but I can’t just sit around this place. The quiet is too much sometimes. I have to keep myself busy.”

He had sighed heavily at my reply. He did a lot of that lately. Sighing, like the thoughts in his head were too much for him to say aloud. Instead of letting pieces of himself go, he just buried them deeper, within a long drawn out frustrated sigh that he used to cover his brandished hurt. Miles had always been such a support to me, a man of great words, but his inner voice was missing. The man I knew and loved, was hiding within the shadows of his misery, alone. I wasn’t expecting an invitation for me to join him anytime soon.

Me – “Perhaps we can talk…”

Miles – “This is not the time nor the place for talking about this, Alana.”

Me – “I know, but when will it be time? We can’t let this just drift off into the distance; pretend that it never happened. It did, and I’m so afraid of moving on.”

The line grew quiet after that, and my question remained unanswered. Just like always.

Me – “I’m afraid of moving on without you, Miles.” Still silent. My throat burned badly as I tried hard to swallow the bile that had risen quickly from my empty stomach.

Miles – “You’re not moving on without me. We’re in this together. I’m just not ready to open up the wounds just yet. Please respect my wishes this once, Alana. That’s all I’m asking.”

And all I wanted was to find truth in his words. The words he refused to say aloud. The diversion between us opened up a little wider, as my heart grew a little weaker.

Miles – “Listen babe, I’ve got to get back to work. Hang in there, okay? I’m trying to do the same.”

Me – “I’m doing my best, Miles.”

Miles – “I know you are. Just take it easy. I love you.”

Taking a deep breath, and closing my eyes, I had said what any good wife should. “I love you too.”

So here I sit. Bent over, head aching with sheer force as it lay within the sweaty palm of my left hand as I write. This is so much more than losing Zach; this is the beginning of losing myself. Miles and I had been married for almost seven years, and what an amazing seven years it has been. Even through our struggle with infertility, the two of us stuck together, hand in hand through every test, procedure, poke, prod and agonizing wait for test results, without fail. After losing Zach last week, I feel my hand slipping slowly from within my husband’s. The reason for our bout with infertility was because of me, and the loss of our miracle baby…was also because of me. I couldn’t give my husband what he wanted more than anything; a child. A child that he could love, lead and cherish until his dying breath.

My gift, my everything, stolen.

.. Alana

Copyright 2013

Written and owned by Valerie King at http://www.valeriekingbooks.com

Sacred Silence Novel ~ Journal Entry #1

BookSacredSilence

Journal Entry #1

August 20th, 2013

This morning I stood in front of the long mirror nestled in the corner of our bedroom, running my hands over my still swollen stomach; only today it was soft and frightfully uninhabited. My fingers wove themselves together, cradling the crook of my belly that once held my baby boy as he grew sweetly for more than five precious months.

I swallowed hard at the reality that had hit me square in the face five days ago at this very hour. I glanced at the clock. 4:34pm; the time of Zachariah’s birth. That unforgettable afternoon that will remain forever embedded in the wreckage of my shattered memories for the rest of my life. My frame was disheveled, my hair a complete mess, and my face swollen from continued bouts of crying when the thoughts of my indescribable loss arose.

Miles had immersed himself back at work today, the words between the two of sparse. Perhaps neither of us knew what to say anymore, how to cope together, leaving each of us to mourn Zachariah on our own.

Work was waiting for me, but I wasn’t sure I could ever return. Not for a good long while. I knew it would be excruciatingly hard to keep my frazzled emotions in tact with the sea of people I saw on a daily basis, but it was also the place where the loss of my little boy had begun. The thought had crossed my mind more than once that perhaps returning to Dr. Parson’s office was completely out of the question. I wasn’t sure I could ever step foot into the one place I knew hurt lurked; where it had swallowed me whole and stolen my very livelihood away.

It wasn’t healthy to try and cope alone, but whenever I felt the urge to run to my husband’s arms, hurting and compassionately broken, I stopped dead in my tracks each and every time. Somehow I knew I wouldn’t find the remedy in his arms; not for now at least. Such a thought was unnaturally wrong. He was my husband, for God’s sake. Yet, I can’t bring myself to confront him. Not now. Maybe never. The truth tears at my heart. So I weep, alone. The image of my baby boy on my mind every waking moment. And it hurts. Oh how it hurts.

.. Alana

Copyright 2013

Written and owned by Valerie King at http://www.valeriekingbooks.com

Sacred Silence Novel ~ ZACH

BookSacredSilence

“Sacred Silence”

ZACH

August 15th, 2013

Withered. That is how I feel…here, now. Like a full, succulent red rose whose vibrant color enlightened those who encountered it, enchanting each with the fullness of summer’s glory, only to droop of unquenchable thirst from the dry season that fell upon it as the days passed.

For years I had remained a thorny bush, green leaves curling on end, but no bud produced, to grow fully into a cushion of silky, fragrant petals that claimed the senses with such ease.

Six and a half months ago I had felt the rush of living water flow through my veins finally, bathing my spirit with such eloquent beauty and sustenance. Life was forming, growing in a shadowed corner of the garden where I felt I would always remain without beauty, without a blossom that the world often hungers for, that I had always hungered for since I was a young girl.

Yet after years of standing alone amongst a fruitful garden, I had been handed the God given gift I had longed for, a bud forming on the tip of my thorn ridden life, so welcomed and so cherished from the very first moment of its unexpected arrival. From the very first instant of knowing I could envelope and nourish new life, that I wasn’t barren.

Yet today, I’m dying. My heart has fled, leaving an empty hole where it once beat with gratefulness for two. My eyes are hazy, scarred with a pool of hurtful tears that beg to wash me away to a world where hurt no longer lies. Yet if I let this moment go to soon, I know solid regret will find me. Somehow, I must find the goodness here as I hold him; to love him the best way I know how. He’s mine, and I must show him so.

Zachariah. That’s his name. Zach, my sweet angel whose eyes will never see his mother’s face, but somehow has stolen her spirit anyway. My heart beats for him although his is silent, still…broken. He’s tiny. His frail body filling my hands, his skin delicate, but perfect all the same. Perfect in my eyes, and in his father’s.

I stroke his cheek, the pad of my thumb caressing his moist skin that grows ever cold as we lay huddled in my hospital bed, the quiet murdering my thoughts as I muddle over every square inch of his frame, trying desperately to remember every part of him. I mustn’t forget a single curve, finger or toe. I made this, molded this, his father and I out of pure love. He’d want me to remember how he was wonderfully made; I’m his mother. It would be wrong for me to forget the most hidden pieces of my child. The way his hand feels within mine, and how his ears so tiny, remain deaf even though words pour from my mouth as to how much I love him, cherish him…miss him.

My husband’s arm cradles my shoulder, pulling me into a warm embrace that still leaves me bitterly cold. His face is expressionless as he pushes his raw emotions inward, unable and unwilling to wrestle with reality that his son is lifeless, departed.

“Do you want to hold him, darling?” I turn to look at my husband through fractured dark blue eyes, tears moistening the tips of my lashes, tickling my cheeks every time I blink.

He shakes his head no, placing his left hand instead on the top of our son’s baldhead, sweeping across it gently as his jaw tightens. Anger radiates from his cheeks, blushing a deep, swollen red as a single tear glides down his unshaven, shadowed face.

I push myself deeper into his chest, nuzzling my shoulder against his heart that races wildly out of sorrow. Raising my forefinger, I brush the tiny pale lips of my Zachariah: his father’s lips. I feel my stomach flip as emptiness tears at me, stifling a deep, monstrous groan of immeasurable loss.

“Why?” My husband’s voice is soft, but harsh. “Why us, Alana? We’ve waited so long for a child, and he’s been stolen from our arms. Why?”

The question drew the air from my lungs, my heart hurting as agony coaxed its wounded ego once more. I felt my eyes wither with another bout of angry tears, as I fought to stay grounded just a little while longer.

“He wasn’t stolen from us, Miles.” I felt him pull away, causing me to sit up straight as he shifted his weight from behind. My gaze turned toward his, both of us empty, hardened and sad. “Did you hear what I said?” I breathed slowly, drawing Zach closer to my chest.

I watched him shake his head, his lips curling into a grieving snarl as he let go, the howl of a haunted father echoing amongst the white washed walls of our quaint, unabashed hospital room. He shifted himself off the bed, walking over to the one solemn window that overlooked Dallas, as night fell, and the lights of the bustling city awoke.

Lying back against the pillows, I let my head sink into the softness behind me, my back aching from giving birth. And my husband, seething with anger, completely unwilling to deal with what life had handed us this lonely August afternoon, staring out into the great void of a world that would never hold the hand of Zachariah.

He cleared his throat, pretending to be perfectly entranced by the world outside. “Yes, yes Alana…I heard what you said. But I don’t believe it. That little boy in your arms was my son; our son.” He rested his weary head against his forearm, his other hand tucked into the pocket of his khaki dress pants. “After three years of trying for a child, God granted us a miracle. The doctors told you we might not ever have a child, but we did,” his voice was eerily deep as he spoke.

Turning to face me slowly, I looked into his deep, dark hazel eyes that were now ringed with red. “We had a son.”

“We have a son, Miles.” I spat back at him insistently; my cheeks warm with tempered anger as I spoke. “We have him! Stop talking about Zach like he doesn’t exist. He does! Look at him. Hold your son, Miles. Whether he ever took a breath or not, he’s still your son!” The tears began to pour from the corners of my eyes as I leaned my head over, pulling Zach’s face to my lips as I kissed him over and over, my chest aching with sheer distraught.

I felt his arms slip around me once more, his lips finding the nape of my neck as he kissed me gently. Warm tears fell onto my skin as he let his mouth wander across my shoulder. “I’m sorry, Alana. I just feel so lost, so empty. I don’t want to hurt you, baby. I love you so very much,” his words soothing my spirit ever so sweetly as I tried to catch my hindered breath.

The words weren’t there, so instead I lifted my left hand, enveloping his that wove themselves around my drooping shoulders. Squeezing his fingers, he squeezed mine back, our love a true testament this very moment as we relished the final moments of being a complete family. The very thought of such a bittersweet ending brought the walls tumbling down again within my soul as I relived the horrifying event that had brought me here.

Early labor had landed me in the emergency room only eight hours ago. A dizzying afternoon that had pulled Miles out of a real estate meeting with a potential client, and left me crumbled in a heap on the floor of the dental office where I worked across town.

The pain struck out of nowhere. Death defying pain that caught hold of my breath as I stepped out of a patient’s room, exam gloves still on my hands, and a mask still on my face as I struggled to breath through the excruciating contractions of an all too early birth. My fellow co-worker, Meredith, grabbed me around the waist before I slid to the floor, warm liquid soaking through my scrub bottoms leaving a blood tinged pool on the cold tile around me.

That was it. This was the beginning of the end for me, for Miles, and for my dear sweet boy. Now here I sit, no longer swollen and full, but broken and completely shattered for a life that couldn’t be saved, my beautiful, departed son in my arms, and the dream of motherhood stolen from my world as I prepared to say goodbye to the little boy who would never know the meaning of visual love.

Zach’s heart will always remain entangled with mine, for a lifetime and then some. Whether here for a fleeting moment, or years on end, a child, your child, molds you instantly once they nestle within your womb. It reminds you how precious life is and how short it can often be. In my case, it paints a vibrant picture of what a miracle looks like in the face of my son. That’s one valid piece of truth I can always hold onto for forever and a day. I have a son. He is and always will be, my little miracle.

Copyright 2013

All material written and owned by Valerie King. http://www.valeriekingbooks.com

*In an effort to remember the little ones lost, IntelliGender has partnered with Beautifully Chaotic Blog to support and honor women who have lost a child. You can leave your child’s name on our sign-up sheet to be included in this year’s “We Remember You” walk held each year on Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness day in the month of October. If you would like to include your angel baby, please use our form here to do so. 

Beautifully Chaotic’s Mission Statement

We Remember You exists first to reach out to parents and families touched by the loss of a baby to miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects, abortion, SIDS, and any other form of infant loss. We honor the short but important lives of these babies and honor the grief and healing of their parents and families. By recognizing these babies by name we acknowledge the impact they have had on the world.

Second, we exist to link with other organizations, sites, and individuals who have the same passion; creating community and unity while furthering their reach.

Third, we exist to raise money for the Art Card Project, providing comfort and resources for women/families experiencing a loss in the form of a small card to be distributed by Dr’s offices, Hospitals and Birthing Centers and other organizations.