Finding a New Normal

Thanksgiving and Christmas couldn't have come at a better time.  We needed the hope and joy that that time of the year brings, but New Year's was an unexpected day of heartache and tears.  New Year's used to be an evening of sparkling cider, watching the countdown on TV and kissing my love at midnight.  The first of the new year was a time of reflection, resolution and reinventing myself... again. December 31st was much different this time around.  I spent the day grieving the last 364 days that were the year 2012.  I spent the day crying over the birth and death of a miracle.  I spent moments sitting in the nursery, reliving precious moments that I had in that very rocking chair just several months before.

I felt every stage of grief that day...

Denial... trying to be happy and brave all the time, because that is what I can handle right now.  I can't handle tears.  I can't handle just checking out from the present.  I want to be strong.  I have to be brave. I have to show my husband and daughter that I'm not completely losing it.  I have to hold it together.

Anger... Why me?  Why my baby?  Why was I chosen to learn these lessons?  I have yet to feel really angry about losing Zoe.  But that day, I was angry that a cure for HLHS didn't exist.  I was angry that our cardiologist didn't bring Zoe into the hospital sooner to get her O2 sats up before sending her in for surgery.  I was angry at myself for getting the little sleep that I did because I could have been holding my baby during those few hours.  I was angry at myself for handing her over to the surgical staff that morning, naively thinking that she would be back with a new heart by the end of the day.  

Bargaining... thinking those dangerous words "what if..."  What if we had tried Fetal Intervention at Boston Children's... a method of cardiac repair in utero?  What if we had had a different Cardiologist?  A different Neurologist?  What if she hadn't had two strokes?  Would she still be here post Glenn?  What if I hadn't ever left her side in the hospital, to go home for a nap... a shower... or for clean clothes?  What if there was something I didn't do or could have done?  What if we hadn't taken her off of life support?  What if we had waited just a few more days?

Depression... I realized on New Year's day that a part of me died with Zoe and that I am broken and will always be broken until I am reunited with her.  She is a part of me that I will live without for the rest of my life.  She is gone.  No matter how long I keep her diapers in a bin downstairs and the baby monitor still sitting on my nightstand... she isn't coming back.

Acceptance... She's not coming back but I don't doubt for one second that we will be together again someday.  I will see her beautiful face in my arms again.  I will raise her and witness her growth into a beautiful woman.  I will touch her dimples, chubby cheeks and precious hands again someday.  She is mine and she is mine forever.  The past year was tragic and horrifying.  Heartbreaking.  I watched my daughter struggle and suffer and take her last breath.  I had to give her back.  It wasn't too soon because it was her time.  A few days more... a few weeks more... none of that matters because of that peace that was felt when I just knew that her work here was done.

The above does not lead me to believe in any way shape or form that I have and am finished grieving.  But it does give me a sense of understanding and ownership for the mess that are the thoughts in my head.

These last few months, I have been trying to find my new normal.  Six months ago, normal was living out of a suitcase, in and out of the hospital.  Normal was changing diapers and feeding bags every 5 hours, giving my child Lovonox injections on top of multiple medications twice a day and talking to doctors was the extent of my social life.  Six months ago, my life was normal.  Sleeping 8 hours every night, doing housework, having play dates and lunch with friends is not normal. But that is my life now.  When the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, it was 2013.  I was involuntarily moving forward.  "Forward" being the keyword as I will never move on but I will keep moving forward for my family, for Zoe and especially for myself.  Focusing on the daughter that I no longer have here is not going to be my theme for 2013.  I will not remember Zoe for the how's and why's of her death, but the messages that she delivered in her short lifetime.  I will remember her in all the good that this world has to offer and I will honor her in all the good that I have to give.

This year is all about finding a new normal with Zoe forever in my heart.

Zoe's grave on Christmas Eve

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just want you to know I don't know what to say, there are no words for me to express that would give you comfort. So instead I'll try to do what Jesus would,and tell you that I love you. I'm so sorry Kacie and Andrew. I know you'll wince (I have been reading) but I was born on April 11th, 1982 with Single Ventricle (DILV, which compares to HRHS), d-TGA, ASD, and VSD, and also Pulmonary Stenosis which was changed once that artery was cut off. I just want you to know ... that I had no idea that Zoe had left us, I've been very sick myself and not able to check her blog in long time, in fact I had not seen you post anything on Facebook with all the changes until tonight ... I have written you here before ... I know you feel bad for me because I'm sad about Zoe ... please don't ... you are her parents I read about her online and she touched me ... she lived inside of you and with you and moved you like God can move a mountain ... just know you are being prayed for ... you are cared about ... and if you ever need anything ... I do want you to know I'm here! May God hold you tight until you can hold Zoe again! Prayers for you both and Londyn.