Last month, as I had mentioned here, my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. I feel so blessed that he is my partner, and thank God every day for having led me to him. Our relationship is different than it was before Peyton's birth. Really, how could it not be? There are days when there is a distance in the silence that was never there before, and others where we hold fast to each other. We have been devastated beyond words at losing our baby girl, and for the most part have grieved in completely different ways. But through it all, we have remained together.
To celebrate our anniversary we took a few days to get away and visited Newport RI. We needed to be out of this house and spend some time on "us." We are very different, complete opposites in many respects. He keeps most of what he is feeling inside, while I pour every emotion out onto the page, this blog, or in conversation. Sometimes, on the darkest days, I have wondered if there is anyone, my husband included, that really "gets me" anymore. During this trip he showed me that he still does.
In early June I had written a post about my journey through this grief. It is actually the post that I am most proud of, and for some of you will be a repeat, but I am including it below. The post was entitled Sea Glass. It read:
It was recommended months ago that I find a journaling through grief group to help me process some of the emotions that came with losing Peyton. I was lucky to find a group to meet with on a near weekly basis, and the support from these women over the last several months has meant more than any words that I could write. This weekend I went on a retreat with them to the Mercy Center in Madison. I walked along the shoreline, combing the sand for something to bring back to Peyton that was representative of my experience with the group. I found three beautiful shells; one yellow, one orange, and one brown and white, that looked like the face of an eagle. I also found three beautiful pieces of seaglass; blue/green, clear, and brown. When I went for my daily visit with Peyton on the top of the hill where she is buried, I shared with her my experience from the weekend and what I had found for her. I described to her what shells were, how they ended up on the beach and what they looked like. I told her why I had chosen the ones I had, and detailed the vibrance of their colors. Then, placing them near her picture, I moved on to tell her about the three pieces of seaglass that I was holding in my hands; and in starting to speak about them, realized just how much their experience mirrored mine.
I told Peyton how most people find seaglass on the beach and admire its beauty, without giving much thought to all it has endured to wash up there. Like the bottle that these smooth pieces of glass came from, at first I was shiny and full and had purpose; but then she passed and it shattered me. Sharp and broken, I cut out in every direction, the pain so overwhelming that it hurt those who reached out to hold me. The grief and the anger dulled my spirit, and the waves of emotions pounded me relentlessly. The reminders of losing her were everywhere, crashing down on me without reprieve. As I entered Peyton's bedroom - crash. As I passed happy mothers on the street - crash. As I felt the emptiness she left in my arms - crash. I tossed and turned in that current, and was left disoriented by its attack. My sense of direction gone, I just prayed to safely reach the shore. In an instant, I, like the broken bottle, lost my ability to hold, support and protect what had come from within me. The tears washed over me, leaving only dullness where there had once been shine, and yet through it all, like the sea glass, I am still here.
This beach is certainly not what I had expected, and sometimes when the tide comes in real high, I can feel the waves coming back for me, but I won't give in. I know that no matter how safely I land in the sand, the rhythm of those waves will always be close enough to feel, but I am staking my claim on this piece of shoreline, and in doing so, know that I will be left standing. I am forever changed. My life had been clear and transparent, each step seemingly planned out for me before I reached it, my purpose well defined. Life has deepened me, washed a different perspective over me that I could never have imagined, and left me worn. I, like the blue/green, clear and brown shards of glass that I found this weekend, have stood in the path of the universe, feeling each blow in its efforts to pound me out of existence, and like the shards of glass, have not been lost to the sea.
People walk the beach and see pieces of seaglass, something tangible to take home as a reminder of a trip, but I know that there is so much more to their story. I know that these smooth little stones hold a special kind of beauty and wisdom, one that can only be attained by surviving the journey.
And so this brings me to the showing. After spending the day talking and walking through Newport my husband pulled me into a shop. "I found you the perfect anniversary gift," he told me, with pride in his eyes. Taking my hand, he brought me to a glass case. "See," he said pointing, "one for each year we have been married, and it's seaglass, just like you." I was so touched. This was the first time he had ever told me that he'd read my blog.
And so today I share with all of those following mel's show and tell , my beautiful seaglass necklace, the gift that means more to me than any other. When my husband couldn't find the words to tell me that he still understands, that he still "gets me", it was with this necklace that he showed me.