With the work that I do at the hospital I try to coach people on how to cope with the silly things that people say. Mind you, it has been a lot of years since we have been fresh to the experience of grief. I know that people said funny/weird things to us, but I luckily have a terrible memory so I don't remember. I have collected quite a repertoire if you will from other peoples experiences that they have shared with me. I am going to share a few that have come our way. I hope no one is offended because we have all done it, even me and it's what I do for a living! This will just give us all reason to pause before we speak. What I have found that works are these two sentences, "I can't imagine what you must be feeling" because we don't even if our situations are similar. Even between our feelings of Trevin and Tatum are different, so our current self could barely relate with our past self. (are you all following this?) The other is simply "I am so sorry." There is nothing that could be offensive about either of these statements. "Aren't you glad he/she is in the arms of Jesus?", Nope! (In belief and theory yes, in reality, no! I want them here with me) " You are lucky to have an angel baby" Again, nope. You never feel "lucky" when your baby doesn't get to grow up here with you as you had planned. I could go on, but I am not going to. Just pause and think. Luckily Lance and I have a pretty healthy understanding and sense of humor about things so it doesn't cut us as deep as some I meet. So feel free to practice on us and we will let you know if it is a go phrase or not:)
Sunday was OK. I felt a little bit like the elephant in the room, everywhere I went. Our Sunday school lesson was on the plan of salvation. Hilarious. Our poor teacher. He is a good friend and he did a great job. He got a little emotional referring to the past several months with Tatum. It was sweet and made me feel good that she is not forgotten. It still feels very weird to go anywhere without her, like an arm is missing or something. I keep having phantom feelings of the stroller sitting next to me in sacrament meeting. Ooh how I miss her. If she was sleeping during church I would usually just sit and feel her feet or her hands or stroke her head. Not sure how to replace that with anything. After dinner we walked down to the cemetery so we could retrieve some of the flowers at the grave. It was really hot, but it was so awesome to be able to just walk down there. Such a nice feeling, weird as that sounds.
Sunday night at prayer Hilary insisted (as she usually does) that we pray for Tatum to gain weight. If we forget she yells at us, so it is just easier to do it. Maybe there is a need to gain weight in Heaven, we don't know? This night she interjected a lot during the prayer. She said "Tatum is sleeping", "Cause she's dead" and "Tatum died" I think she added "We miss Tatum" It was all pretty sad but sweet that she is still remembering and that she is able to express a little bit of what is going on in her head and heart.
Ahh Monday. First of all it was Monday, I forgot to do laundry on Saturday (one of my regular days). I guess I didn't forget, we were doing the funeral. So I had a lot of laundry to do, and I didn't finish it, boo. The house is a total pit. And I have no motivation to do anything, much less clean the house. Luckily it was one of our friends birthday so I had a lunch date to look forward to. I did pull it together to go for a little run and then I pulled my bike down to go on a bike ride but the seat was acting weird and my handlebars were tilted forward. I fiddled with everything for a few minutes and then just decided to go. I went on the new bike trail that is just a few minutes from our house. It was great fun and I didn't crash:} Always a goal of mine. The entire time, though, I just kept thinking that I wished that I couldn't be out there. Just 10 days ago I wouldn't have been able to do that. I am grateful that we tried to do certain things still even though we knew that Tatum wasn't going to be with us for long. We tried to make our lives as normal as possible, but I would have never in a million years gone on a bike ride for 2 hours or so. I know that she wants us to do things now because we can. It is the only reason that I do right now. It hurts a lot.
I went to pick up my friends in our car because I wanted to take my bike to the bike store to have them fix the seat and the handlebars. They took one look at my bike which is not one of the bikes that they sell and they were suddenly not sure if they could get a certain part. I wanted to scream at them "I don't have the energy to do that because my baby just died!!!!!) Instead, I said thank you and headed back to the car with my still broken bike. Grrr.
We went to lunch and it was so fun and yummy. Sooo grateful for good friends who listen and let me laugh or cry, whichever flavor it is for the hour.
Heidi and Hilary and I went to Costco when I got home because we were completely out of milk. We have a good friend that works at Costco that his wife and baby died 4 or 5 years ago, from a sudden complication while she was pregnant. As we were talking he was saying how sad and sorry he was and I said "At least our mom didn't die too, right?" He is a friend that I can say that to. His situation was so devastating. Those are good reminders to keep things in perspective. Not to lessen what we are feeling, but really this could be much worse. Tender mercy to see him today, cause I wasn't loving Monday.
We got home and another good friend brought us a yummy treat for Family Home Evening. We certainly would not have had one, which would have meant it was not a complete FHE according to the brethren of the church:) Then my good friend from Provo brought us the most delicious dinner. In all these past few months, I don't think we had one duplicate dinner. Everyone is so creative.
We had some family come over and they were helping the kids put a puzzle together when Lance started playing the CD with the pictures that my friend had taken at the funeral services. That brought a mixture of emotions. I am so glad we have them. I still can't believe that it's real. That made it real. This has happened and this is your new reality. We finished the night playing games. It was fun to laugh and visit and tease. The laundry isn't folded, I didn't complete one cleaning task on my list, not one thing really accomplished, but we spent time as a family. That is important. Before we know it, our family will change again with Halea moving out and then shortly after that, Hayden. It is a slippery slope for the next few years.