Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Benefits of the Doubted

Sometimes I can't sleep at night.

Last night was one of those nights. I wasn't having a particularly hard night or anything I was just restless. I think My husband was too because he was silent as the grave. Whenever he is silent, he is awake. It's the snoring that lets me know he's asleep. (and in his defense it isn't snoring, it's just breathing but I need silence to sleep dangit! Can't he just not breathe?)

But anyway. I was laying there and my thoughts were drifting all over and back and I began to wonder why. The question of all questions. I don't really ask it in a "WHY??????-insert tears-" kind of way anymore. I just wonder why.

What was the purpose? What was the point?

Well I know, for Gracie, at least she needed to come here and get a body and become part of our family. But for me. Why for me?

And I don't think I know the complete why, or the rippling effects she will have in the years to come but I do think I have learned one thing.

Everyone has hard things.

It's simple, obvious even, but I think we forget. We all know... but we forget.

I am now an advocate for the doubted and am constantly fighting for their benefit.

Everyone, everywhere gets the benefit of the doubt from me. Whether it is someone who said something seemingly rude or someone who cuts me off in traffic, they are now recipients of my benefit.

I can tell you this though. There is nothing like a personal tragedy to bring people out of the woodwork who want to share their tragedy with you and give you the beautiful gift of empathy. EVERYONE has hard things. EVERYONE.

Most people just don't wear a name tag that says, My name is Veronica and I am currently struggling with [blank], the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life.

I cannot even count the number of times I was driving home from a doctor's appt in  Dallas just trying to keep a grip on the edge of the precipice I was hanging from. I was distracted. Sometimes tears were blurring my eyes. Yes there are road rage jerks out there, but I like to think that often times there are people like me. Just hanging on.

I am not sure why I wrote this. I am debating whether or not I should even post it. But I probably will. Maybe everyone that reads it will remember it and be a little kinder, a little softer to others. And I think that would be good.  


  1. Amen.
    Thank you for the adjustment in perspective.
    The ripples have already begun. :)

  2. You are amazing Em. If I had just gone through what you have I know I would have less sympathy for the petty trials of others, not more. Your compassion is unbelievable. When you validate me when I tell you about the things that challenge me I can hardly believe it. You have literally been through hell and yet you can still find it in your heart to comfort me when I've had a bad day.
    One more reason why you're the best. I'm so glad to have you as my friend Ems!

  3. I'm having a can't sleep night too. I think hard things happen for a few reasons: just because (like chance or nature playing out a certain way), to help us build "character" to become better and stronger people who can do and handle more, and perhaps most importantly, like you said, to help us gain compassion - both for those in similar situations and different. There's probably more, but that's what I've got tonight. And on the last post, my best friend's sister died, and she faces the similar issue when talking about siblings. I think she usually includes her in the number unless it's a question where it clearly doesn't apply.

  4. I think it IS good. I've learned this too, but its a most excellent reminder that I hope I will remember everyday- thanks for reminding me today. Love ya.

  5. I came across this page by complete accident. My daughters name is also Gracie Belle, and she just turned 3, and I was googling her name, and came across this page.
    I have tears streaming down my face, and I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for your loss, and how STRONG of a wife, mom, and person you are for going what you have gone through.
    Ironically, when I was pregnant with my Gracie, bloodwork during my pregnant showed concerns and I had to make an appointment with a perinatologist to get me in before 19 weeks "to determine if I needed to terminate the pregnancy". Thankfully everything was fine.

    You, your family, and your Gracie are in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Amen. EVERYONE has hard things. And hard things can really suck. But yes, I feel much more connected to the human race the more I suffer and am able to witness others suffer. I appreciate you giving others the benefit of the doubt. We all need it. I know I sure do.

  7. You have every right to ask the "WHYS". You are 100% right when you mentioned that everyone has hard things to endure. Whether it is a battle with drugs, losing a loved one or whatever, the Lord has given each and everyone their own personal Gethsemane to endure. Hard things are tough, brutal and mostly unfair but as you mentioned it brings us closer to others and I think that is how the Lord blesses us with compassion towards one another.
    Hope you are doing well. We think about you guys alot.

  8. In so many ways, your experiences match mine, just a few years ago. Jason was born in August 2003 with Trisomy 13 and lived about 40 hours. He was my 3rd son. No one can answer "Why me?" for you, but I will share some of the blessings that have come to me and helped me answer that question for me.

    First off, I am a better mother to my other children. I have given birth to 4 more children and adopted 2 in the last 10 years. My baby is 8 months old. I am more patient and deliberate in my parenting. Things like a fussy baby at 2 am are a chance to cuddle alone with my baby, not a frustration like they were with my first 2 kids. I am more grateful for their health and enjoy just being with them more.

    Next, my testimony has grown by leaps and bounds. In addition to the amazing spirit I felt holding my baby and how thin the veil was at that time, I've had other very spiritual experiences and I KNOW that Jason still lives. The waiting time from the diagnosis to the time after Jason passed away was hard, very hard. I had to rely on my Heavenly Father in a way I never had to before.

    I've also become more compassionate. You touched on that above, but this experience gave me empathy and understanding that I could not have earned without the trials.

    It made me stronger. I lived through my own worst nightmare and survived. It wasn't easy, but I made it through. And I know that if I can make it through that, I can make it through everything. Not that I want to, but I know I can.

    It made my marriage stronger. My husband and I learned to trust and rely on each other at a deeper level. We saw each other grieve deeply and helped each other when it seemed more than we could bear. (As a side note, his grief really didn't hit HARD until a few months after the funeral and everything. Once I was doing better, he didn't feel like he needed to be my rock and I was then in a better place to help him when he crashed from the grief.)

    Right now, your grief is still raw. And will be for awhile. That's normal and good. For me, as time passed, the moments "when it just hits you like a ton of bricks that you baby is gone and not coming back" are fewer and further between. For me it took about a year to pass all the firsts. The first Christmas, the first summer, the first birthday, first relative baby blessing :). . . . Now there are less "firsts" but when one comes, it can bring the memories crashing back down again. I went to my first child funeral since Jason about a year ago and felt as through Jason's funeral was yesterday.

  9. I also understand how hard it is to tell people how many children you have. No matter what you say, you feel like you are lying. If I said 3, I felt like they were looking around wondering where the 3rd was, if I said 2, I felt like I was betraying his memory. Personally, I decided to include him, as much for my boys sake as anything. I didn't want them to think, if I die will I not be one of the family. His picture is also up on the wall along with the other kids, even though that also make people uncomfortable sometimes. He had a cleft lip/palate and it's very noticeable. It's gotten easier, either with time, or because I now have more kids. Saying 9, 7 at home, well both are big numbers. If someone then questions, I'll tell them I have an angel baby waiting in heaven and an older daughter adopted from foster care who now lives on her own.

    As hard as it was, and I would not wish that experience on anyone, ever. I have come to know that it is what would stretch me and make me grow is ways I never dreamed possible. I am a better "me" because of that experience and I believe that one part of Jason's mission to this earth, besides him getting a body and a family, was to strengthen me and help me grow so I could handle the other challenges I've been given since then.

    I know this is long and rambling, but I hope some of it helps at least a little. For me, hearing about others trials, especially similar ones helped me at least feel a little less alone.