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Dose of Happy: Baby Olive’s Mom

If you’ve not heard of Baby Olive’s Mom, please read this post here (there are mentions of baby loss and suicidal ideation), so do be careful with yourself.

I promise, this will make it worth it all:

Dear Becky and The Band,

I am unsure of where to begin.

Reading back on my post, I realize how disturbing it was and that my judgement on that night was wrong.

However i do thank you for the support. This was the first time that i reached to such a low level emotionally and the holiday blues just made it worse for me.

However, it did help so much seeing all my loved ones again during the holiday season because my work is of such nature that it requires me to be away from home for long periods at a time. There are currently no construction / mining projects with open positions close to home and our project has a lot of shift changes according to project scope changes.

Due to that, i have isolated myself for a few years not realizing the emotional damage i caused.

However after my post and reconnecting with my friends at home during the holidays i realized that there is so much beauty in healing too.

When i came back i also started being more social and involved in charity events, small talk to fellow neighbors and joining the church again – which I have not done the past couple of years.

The blog made me realize that it is important to realize your weaknesses and pain to be able to adjust your lifestyle more for improved mental health and to help you heal and use the life experiences you went through to help others in need  – even though it might not be directly linked to your own pain.

Since i started healing from my pain, i have grown to be such a better and kinder person and although it has only been just over a month i am exited for my life ahead and it feels full of purpose again.

I still miss her so much, but using the pain to help other people in need has changed the experience from a dead end to a positive life choice – without the requiring of medication or seeing a therapist.

I really thank you for that from the bottom of my heart.

And again i really apologize for my post; it was an emotional breakdown of all the hurt of the divorce and her loss that has just smothered me that night, but i am certain that i will never reached that point again.

I have also posted the following to just say thank you for the responses and prayers although I only read it now it has really helped so much and forever!

i can assist your team on helping other women in similar situations or completely other situations i would love to.

Reaching out has helped a lot and i also reached out to a family member.

I am glad that i pulled myself out mentally and i feel like a different person.

I also started by helping others where i can (e.g registering for bone marrow donation and donating blood ). It gives me another reason to hold on as well as spending more time with my two daughters has also cleared my min. This made me realize it is okay to break down for a minute – but it is not okay to leave them behind without a mother.

This blog has also helped me realize that there is so much people with the same pain and that it is okay to open up and that there is support without judgement.

i thank each and every person that shared their concern and opened up about similar heartache it really does make my burden more bearable.

rocks with the word grateful

And another AWESOME update:

As a women in the construction industry and a single mom, I do come across as a very strong and independent women and if my thoughts were shared with my family and friends, I would totally feel ashamed and isolated again, however after sharing my thoughts with you a lot has changed before i even read your posts, but i do feel that your page has saved my life and turned it around completely and here is why…..

I felt a sense of relief that i could open up about my loss for the first time without the judgement of close friends, family, and collages in my personal life so i finally had a go-to safe haven place to deal with my grief. After i wrote my letter, i felt compelled to read other stories on your page (witch made me realize I am not alone with this loss & if they can survive it, I can too).

Then i felt somewhat better and thought hey how can be proactive? have nothing more to lose how about i just check the self help links?

So i did and i realized there is hope. I gathered some tips and gave it a try and I am so amazed by the results.

I don’t only feel better but i actually truly feel like the strong women that i pretended to be for three years.

You may share as much about my letter as you feel comfortable doing as long as i stay completely anonymous, simply for the fact that i would hate to be judged by anyone close to me as i still find myself to be fragile sometimes (not in a suicidal way, more like “i want to eat that whole slab chocolate and cry for a while” kind of way ) but i not ready yet for such a setback.

hence, I have reached out to you.

You are so sincere in your posts and your page is amazing and i believe you have saved my life that night and i can not thank you enough for that.

You gave me a place to go to with all my overwhelmed emotions when i needed it the absolute most.

It was so inspiring that i decided to give back in a way.

I am not a very good writer but I thought hey everyone struggling is in need of something so i started donating blood and registering at SABMR to give back as my general health is at a stronger stage than my writing.

Your are the best.

All my love,

Baby Olive’s Mom

If you are feeling alone, scared, helpless, and suicidal, please contact the National (US) Suicide Lifeline, which provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. Call 1-800-273-8255.

AT THIS TIME, THE SUICIDE HOTLINE CODE 988 IS NOT ACTIVE. 

If you are not in the US, I have created a list of international suicide lifelines, which can be found here

(apologies for the sporadic posts – we’re getting our ducks in a row)

Wednesday: Baby Olive van der Lingen

What you may or may not read below is something that you should be warned about. While not particularly graphic, the post contains strong themes such as child loss, stillbirth, baby loss, and suicide. If you feel that you cannot handle any of those triggers, please click here to be taken away to a world of glittery whimsy. Don’t feel as though you should read this if you’re not ready or if you’re never ready. Part of being healthy is being able to stop yourself if you’re uncomfortable with the following post. 

I need you to know that this is a first for our site and that I left it alone for a long time because I didn’t want to do more harm than good. Finally, it dawned on me that this anonymous poster (who I simply cannot locate – I tried) gave us her deepest feelings and fears. Even if I am uncomfortable (and I am), these are her sacred words, and they deserve to see the light of day. You’re very welcome to reach out to me via email: becky@bandbacktogether.com

This site has a motto, a simple one: we are none of us alone, we are all connected. 

We take stories here – all of them – and this is no different. 

These are her sacred words that she wanted me to share with you. 

And so I am.

If you are feeling alone, scared, helpless, and suicidal, please contact the National (US) Suicide Lifeline, which provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. Call 1-800-273-8255.

AT THIS TIME, THE SUICIDE HOTLINE CODE 988 IS NOT ACTIVE. 

If you are not in the US, I have created a list of international suicide lifelines, which can be found here.

Baby Olive ✝️ July 2016

I was around 7 months pregnant when I lost my baby girl.

…I do not know how to cope with her loss anymore, i never really opened up about the pain and grief and the more time goes on the worse it gets.

I feel guilty and out of line when i speak about her on any other day except for her birthday… this year I could not even speak to anyone about her.

I don’t even understand what I must feel and what the normal grieving process is. Some nights even feel worse than the nights I lost her.

I had this idea that i would be over it by now or that I would not think about her so much.

I thought time would make it all better…..

tonight is one of the worse nights I’ve had. I just started missing her more than ever and then I felt like my heart is shattered all over again.

i can barely breathe from the crying, I feel the pain in my throat. My heart feels like it is being ripped out right now.

The image of her little lifeless body in front of me is stuck inside my head. She just looked like she was sleeping.

I just needed her her to breathe.

I just needed her to breathe.

Why did she die???

Why did she have to die?

I can’t explain this pain.

I don’t think anyone will understand what I feel right now. If I ever had to talk to anyone about this pain, what would they think? I just can’t talk to anyone! I will just be a burden or they will think I am seeking attention; that is mostly the case when i bring her name up to my ex-husband. I didn’t mean to blame him for not being able to save her, all the build up hurt just got the best of me. The grief turned into hate, hate towards people that do not deserve it, it made me push them away.

i just feel like screaming now!

Sometimes I wonder if I will feel better if I could talk about her, sometimes I wonder if it will ever get better….

Will I ever get closure?

i do not think i will male it through this pain…

i smile the whole day so no one even notices how broken I am. Once I am alone, I break down.

It is like a black hole that just gets bigger…

The pain consumes more of me each day.

Suicide is no longer just a thought, it is a pat of my plan, it is a matter of fact.

I am not scared anymore to go

I am so sorry for what i leave behind; the people I love that I leave behind. They don’t deserve it, my kids, my family, and my friends don’t deserve it… they have done nothing wrong.

i Just cannot go on , i have died inside a long time ago. Who i am now is just a body that is on repeat and that is not life. Feeling so numb and hurting this much is unbearable.

I hope the ones i leave behind will try and understand. On the brighter side at least my ex-husband will be happy.

I just want to go home, I want to be in heaven , I want to rest with my baby Olive.

I don’t belong here anymore.

After her loss, I tried my best to be happy, but I’ve never been happy again since she has died. I mastered the art of pretending to be happy at least , but I just can’t feel it. Funny how i even have the nickname “Smiley”… lol

If there was a person i’d have been able to open up about her, it would have been her father, but because of the ways in which i brought her up in our fights, he doesn’t want to hear anything about her.

I guess I cant blame him; it is my own fault … I never had a guideline or a manual on how to deal with the mixed emotions and thoughts her death caused.

I kept quiet about so many feelings that I should have shared and I lashed out about so many thoughts I should have kept to myself.

Anyway, it is to late late for the “should have’s” and “what if’s” and “if only i hads.”

Nothing will bring her back and nothing will change this pain. All this hurt killed me inside.

I didn’t die that long after she died; now it’s just my body that is left behind wondering around, longing to go, waiting impatiently to go.

Yes, I do think my death will be a shock to everyone in my life including my boyfriend ( which is the most amazing guy on earth). Some people don’t even know about Baby Olive, so most people that are the closest to me wont even link my death with hers.

The truth is i that just want to go. I feel so numb to their opinion about why I left – it won’t even matter. There won’t be a note it a sign before if I go, I will just go.

i guess the only reason i am still here is to finalize a few things before I go. I want my departure to be easy for those I leave behind, I want to be quickly forgotten. I don’t want anyone to hurt or feel guilty. My wish is to make it seem like an accident.

I am not even sure whyIi wrote this. If i ever had to say i am sorry, i will say sorry to her father for the anger and the blame and the hurt. I would have apologized for the person i was, I am sorry for my actions and how they affected you. I am sorry for being so controlling and crazy over you. I just never loved the way  I loved my husband and I’ve never hurt like the day i lost her.

I am not good at handling those strong emotions –  it just comes out wrong and I am sorry. Sorry will never fix anything and even if I had the chance to say sorry now, I know it won’t matter.

It has been 3 years.

I don’t even think you will remember. I know that you are happy now, I know you love her more than me, I know she is so much better and prettier than me, and that is good.

I will not bother to disturb anyone.

Whatever is left unsaid will forever be…

i guess writing this gave me some peace before I go, even if it will never be read or understood. Even if those i leave behind will never know that I got some peace before i go.

i feel so much better to knowIi can finally go. I feel it’s so selfish, yet I am no longer living even if i stay.

I will give my family my very best to make sure they know how much i love them and how much i appreciate them.

They are the best; that’s why i want to go without them considering suicide.

While everyone starts off with a new year, I just wish to start of with my eternal life without this pain and hurt.

i guess I am hoping to meet her there too … most nights, the thought of meeting her soon helps me to fall asleep.

I don’t know what I was supposed to feel or how, how to soothe this pain, but I do know i want to end it.

and i will.

I guess that’s just where my story ends.

my book of life has been completed and i guess not every story gets that happy ending.

I leave to see you breath, my angel.

In memory of my baby girl,

Olive van der Lingen

Spotlight On Child Loss: Falling Apart

Child Loss

Every year, 10,000 children pass away.

This is her story.

 

My world is falling apart.

My just-turned-six year old is dying.

His brain stem is deteriorating, a side effect of the chromosome abnormality he has. Twenty-nine surgeries haven’t been enough to save him, though they have bought him more time with us.

We are told that he’s the only child in the world who has his conglomeration of medical conditions (the chromosome abnormality, spina bifida, a connective tissue disorder, chiari malformation, intracranial hypertension, and another half-dozen minor diagnoses).

The amount of pain medication he receives every day is a drug-addict’s dream, is administered around the clock to keep him from experiencing pain. It is so beyond awful that I don’t have words to express my feelings. Watching him decline is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life and that is saying something.

As if that isn’t enough, the two children my family adopted from Ukraine eighteen months ago have a lot more “going on” than we were told about.

My two-and-a-half-year old has Down syndrome, autism, and reactive attachment disorder. She functions at the level of a ten month old.

My four-and-a-half year old has Down syndrome, a heart defect that wasn’t repaired properly, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, atlanto-axial instability, autism, tethered cord, syringomyelia, mild hearing loss, and is considered both medically complex and medically fragile.

We’ve been told repeatedly by numerous specialists, that she isn’t going to have a long life. She functions at the level of an eight month old.

Neither of the girls walks, talks, signs, eats (they’re g-tube dependent, just like my six-year old) or interacts well with people (they interact, but only on their terms).

When we adopted the girls, we knew they had Down syndrome and that the four-year old had a heart defect.

Everything else has been a big ‘ol surprise since we brought them home. Honestly, it feels like discovering new problems with our kids never ends.

We didn’t know our son had this chromosome abnormality and would die soon. If I’d known this, I wouldn’t have adopted him, or at least not when I did.

To top it all off, my marriage is falling apart.  I know I should care, but I don’t have the emotional capacity to handle it. I just want him to leave me alone. I don’t want to have to deal with him on top of everything else.

I’m struggling.

I’m struggling in every sense of the word. I don’t know anyone that understand how this feels.

Yes, lots of people have lost a child to death.

Yes, lots of people have a medically-fragile child.

Yes, lots of people have large families.

Yes, lots of people have multiple children with special needs.

But I don’t know any other people who have a large family with lots of kids with special needs, some who are medically fragile, with one who is terminally ill?

If there are, would someone please point me toward those people?  I REALLY could use a friend, someone who’ll say, “This totally sucks!” along with me. I know people don’t know what to say to someone like me, but I still want them to say something – the silence is deafening.

This road I’m on is lonely.

I just want to feel like I’m not on it all by myself.

Call To Action: International Child Loss Day December 9, 2019

On December 9, International Child Loss Day, we will share with you a list of people who have lost their children, siblings, cousins, best friends, similar to the way we did for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.

Those tables, forever missing one, are each welcome to share their loved one with us so that we may never forget.

I’m asking you today to pass this post around to anyone who may need it, you can use it if you need it, and you don’t have to have been the parent to feel the loss.

The way I generally organize these precious names is pretty easy:

Name, Parent’s Name, Date of Birth, Date of Death, Cause of Death, a Picture or 3, and if you feel like it, a bit more about your child. Who they were, what they loved, what they hated. Anything you’d like.

You can either send the information to me, becky@bandbacktogether.com or you can use the online submit form. Or, you can lurk. All are acceptable and all are welcome.

We are none of us alone; we are all connected.

Child Loss

 

what can you say when a baby dies?

what can you say when a baby dies?

ive been wanting to post for a long time about what to say when someone loses a child. some days i feel like i really didn’t lose a child so much as i lost the possibility of one, or two, as it were. when my mother remarked that i didn’t really have them, i knew what she meant, and i agreed, after i recovered from the initial sting of her candor.

what to say when baby dies

i didn’t after all. my dear ayla, the one whose bag of life was so grievously compromised, never showed us any signs of spirit after she was born. she was on the shuttle already as we nuzzled her warm body.

sweet juliet was pink, opened up her little mouth, stretched her limbs. morphine i cried out, “T! cut her cord!” so desperate was i to believe the deceit of her movements. silly people, my daughter is fine!

run along now. ah but reality resurfaced all too soon. the amazing wonderful caring loving angel at my bedside nurse worked swiftly to baptize her and deliver her to our arms.

this is where is gets hazy for me.

i know T held his sweet girl as she went on to join her sister. he says she made a face that looked just like her mama right before she drifted off.

i slept in and out of consciousness for hours, waking only to deliver the placentas and fill the space-age barf bags i was provided. when i finally half-shook my stupor, my mom helped me shower and put on a stretchy netted undie.

the doctor came in and told me i could leave whenever i wanted or i was welcome to stay. i gave him a ‘watchu talkin bout willis?’ kind of look. i was in no shape to leave and after awhile i was moved out of the birthing suite into a regular room.

T showed me the text he had sent out to our friends and families:

 ‘this morning at exactly 20 weeks we delivered Ayla Joy and Juliet Grace. we held them in our arms, baptized them, and kissed them goodbye.’

i never would have thought to send a text and i forwarded it, in disbelief, to many. one went out as an answer to a ex co-worker who had not 5 minutes earlier asked how everything was going: not good. its not good.

the condolences started rolling in. well, mostly condolences. T got a few ‘congratulations!’ back, from people who had just scanned the text. that’ll teach em to cut corners. this is where it gets tricky.

i in no way want to sound ungrateful for people’s sympathy. any words of consolation or comfort were of course appreciated, and the commonplace ‘im sorry’ and ‘you’re in my prayers’ were lovely to hear. though

T wondered aloud exactly when all of his friends had started praying.

its just that the words that meant the most to us were unique. one friend wrote ‘you gave them such beautiful names’, another, ‘your little girls are angels now, they will always be with you and i will never forget them.’ after he and his wife could gather themselves enough to be able to call me; my cousin, a dad of two boys, cried with me. he said ‘i wish i could have met them’.

so what can you say when a baby dies?

certainly nothing that anyone said took the pain away, but having the girls acknowledged was something that meant a lot to both T and me.

when an older person dies, you don’t just say you’re sorry, you usually elaborate about the person and what you loved about them. that’s what we especially appreciated about these few comments. people were not just pitying us, feeling sorry for what we went through, they were remembering our girls to us and acknowledging that even though we didn’t really get to have them, lord, they were here.

Remembering The Band’s Babies: The Ache

When a baby dies, we are fragmented. Shattered, we must pick up the pieces and put them back together as we pay tribute to our children, our tables forever missing one, our families incomplete, our treasures in heaven, our babies alive only in our hearts.

It is through our stories that they live forever. These children were here and they mattered. They were loved.

They are loved.

My therapist told me that I hide behind walls of humor.

And I do.

I laugh so I don’t cry. And I have been doing a LOT of laughing lately.

But I have been doing as much crying, just behind closed doors. I have been going through all the stages of grief and grieving in like a minute every single day. It’s wearing me down.

I miss the baby I lost so much that I ache.

I thought Christmas – her due date – and what would have been her first birthday would have been harder.

remembering the bands babies

I’m okay in public and with those who she’s disappeared to. I can pretend everything is okay; that I am fine.

I’m not fine.

But today. This date which means nothing to me is harder than her day. Tuesdays and the 28th of every month are torture because she was taken Tuesday, July 28th. But today?

Why am I aching for her today, a day that means nothing? Why do I miss her so much that I can barely breathe?

She would be a year old.

What would she look like?

Would she look anything like her sisters?

Would she look like her daddy or me?

Would she be walking?

Would she be talking?

Would she cuddle me when I needed her?

It’s such a punch in the gut, living without her. Having these thoughts. And seeing her and her “birth” (which wasn’t a birth to anyone but those who really loved her) every time I close my eyes.

My therapist wants to talk about it; deal with it.

If I talk about her and heal, will what few memories I have fade?

I don’t know that I can relive that night out loud. I see it over and over in my head. I wrote about it here. But I can’t say out loud. I can talk to my husband and mother because they were there, they know. But even my husband doesn’t grieve with me. He has almost moved on. I don’t think I ever will. I held her in my hands. And always in my heart.

Everyone grieves differently and he just wants me to be better.

How do I get better?

Why on a day when I should be semi-okay does the grief come out of nowhere and take me to my knees? The pain. The anguish. I feel like I am drowning.

All I want is to hold my little girl in my arms. To rock her and smell her sweet smell. I never got to smell her sweet smell. It’s not fair.

I want to punch walls and throw things and scream at the top of my voice, “it’s not fucking fair!”

This aching, this longing for something that can never be. That is the hardest. I miss my daughter. I can’t breathe without her today.

Maybe tomorrow will be better but today it’s not going to be okay.

Today, I want to fall apart.

Today, I feel like I am dying.

You are invited to add your child’s name to our wall of remembrance.