Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Like Stones Under Rushing Water

Okay, so I'm just going to confess it out loud for the whole world: I AM HURTING. I AM HURTING SO BADLY THAT I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TAKE MY NEXT BREATH. I don't know how to keep putting one foot in front of the other to try to get through this whole thing called grief. It's more than just grief, it's a lifetime of wondering what her giggles would have sounded like, if she would have been silly like her daddy, or a planner like her mommy. It's a lifetime of missing my Caroline. This is a pain that I would never wish on anyone, no matter how awful they are; no one deserves to feel this.

I am merely holding on for this ride. I'm strapped in, and realize that I have no choice but to go through all the dips and flips in the track ahead. You can't just stop in the middle, which is where I am now...smack dab in the middle of the biggest valley of my life. My heart literally hurts, my body aches, the tears flow freely. Part of me wonders if I'm ever going to even feel "real" again. I wonder if I'm ever going to feel anything but this hurt. Don't get me wrong, I do have fleeting moments where it doesn't hurt unbearably, but they're short lived.

Last night, Arthur and I went to a concert (an effort to be normal again). We went to see NeedtoBreathe. The show was great. I had to have a little cry during a time when the lights were low though...another confession. I took Caroline with me, as I do everywhere. She is always with me, always on my mind. I wondered if she would have liked the music, I wondered if it was something she would have enjoyed with us. And then I missed her. I missed everything about her. Again, music is playing a big role in my life right now (wish I knew how to actually play something!!!) They have a song called Through Smoke. I suggest you listen to that song some time, and pretty much all of their other songs too for that matter. This is a little taste of the lyrics:

Who do you believe when you can't get through
When everything you know seems so untrue
When I'm lost in a place that I thought I knew
Give me some way that I might find you

I feel like I'm in the smoke right now. I don't know which end is up sometimes. It's not that I'm losing my faith, anything but actually. I'm praying that I can be used by God through this, and that I can glorify Him and honor Caroline at the same time. But today, I am just begging for a little help. I'm lost in a place that I thought I knew and I'm begging for Him to give me some way to find Him.

Love and prayers,

Monday, November 22, 2010


Thanksmas or Christgiving...I can't decide. What should we call these holidays that we smoosh together? I do not know. What I do know is that I've worked all day on the house getting my Christmas stuff out and everything decorated. I did this in hopes that seeing all the happy Christmas stuff would make me feel happy. So far not so good. I'm having a really rough time getting in the holiday spirit. This really isn't something new for me, the holidays have been stressful for me since adulthood (ah, to be a child again!). I was looking very much forward to the holidays this year though...I was going to be a MOM! I was going to have a little blessing to share with the family and get to experience everything with. It was going to be glorious. And...here I am. Blegh. You might be saying, "Now, Nicole, just pull yourself up out of the dumps. It's not going to be that bad." And I'll say that you're probably right. It won't be that bad. But I will still not have Caroline. I will still go shopping (which I used to love) and see that EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD SEEMS TO HAVE A CHILD OR JUST HAD A CHILD!!!!!!! It's like a kick in the gut each time I see a stroller in a store. Yes, I'm happy for those families, yes, I want there to be people who are happy, but I MISS MY DAUGHTER. My heart aches for her.

I try to do crafts and keep busy to keep my mind off of everything. It's not that I don't want to think about Caroline, it's that I can't wallow in the sadness that I feel. So I just made this:

I thought it was pretty cute, and happy.

If I don't manage to get another post written before Thanksgiving, I hope that each and every one has a wonderful day and enjoys their time with family. While this post seems like I'm mostly griping, which I guess I am, I do want to say that I am thankful for many things. I have an amazing family, some really great friends, a wonderful husband, and a faithful God. I actually have been very blessed in my life, I can't deny that fact.

Thank you all for your continued prayers, please know that I am praying for you too.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Keep My Heart Alive

This has been a rough week. Not in its entirety, but it certainly has had some tough spots. Arthur has been back to work and I have had more alone time. It’s been hard on me. I wish I could say that I was able to keep myself busy and keep my mind off of any sad things, but it hasn’t been that easy. The most random things remind me of Caroline and I realize all over again that she is gone. It hits me with a force that almost brings me to my knees, a physical pain that weighs too much to hold up. These are the times that I need to pray, and beg for God to give me even an ounce of strength. But honestly, sometimes in the midst of those storms, I don’t even have the strength to pray. All I have are my cries. The cry of a mother who has lost her beloved daughter, the cry of a mother who has empty arms that ache so much for that baby, the guttural cries that come from deep within a broke and hurting soul. These are the times that I can barely catch my breath, much less form sentences to beg God for a little help. As I was crying my heart out the other day, I remembered Romans 8:26:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

There have been several times since Caroline left us that I haven’t even had the words to pray. There have been many times that I hurt too badly to find the words to tell God what I needed Him to do to help me. Thankfully, He can make sense of me when I can’t gather my thoughts.

I’m also finding that music is helping me a lot through these hard times. I heard a song by Sanctus Real, it’s called “Keep My Heart Alive.” It struck me that there have been times in my life that I’ve said empty hallelujahs, as the song says. I think that we’ve probably all had those times if we’re honest; times when you don’t necessarily feel like praising God, times that you’re just going through the motions. So, it is my prayer that Jesus keeps my heart alive, and that He saves me from this world that’s breaking right before my eyes. I do want to be able to sing praises and glorify Him, even when I feel like my hope is fading and I can’t go on.

Sanctus Real – Keep My Heart Alive
I’m so tired of politics
And all this bad news
I’m so tired of chasing the moment
Instead of chasing You

I let the world wear me down
I’m desensitized
Jesus, keep my heart alive
Keep my heart alive
Only You can save me from a world that’s breaking right before my eyes
Keep my heart alive

Take these empty hallelujahs
Fill my lungs again
'cause I wanna sing
And I wanna mean it
I wanna feel again

And let the world hear the sound of something about
Jesus, keep my heart alive
Keep my heart alive
Only You can save me when my world is breaking right before my eyes
Jesus, keep my heart alive
Keep my heart alive
Only You can save me when my hope is fading and I’m losing the fight

And when the world wears me down
You’re my life’s love
You keep my heart alive

Also, there is a family that has just gone through losing their precious baby girl Kylee. She was also stillborn; her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. Please keep this family in your prayers.

On a positive note, I received the necklace that I ordered in Caroline's memory. It's a beautiful heart with her name on it and a little pearl. My new friend Becky at Munchkin Mama Designs (see her link to the right) made it for me. THANKS BECKY!!!!!

Love and prayers,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Will Carry You

So, I’ve been reading the book “I Will Carry You” by Angie Smith. She lost her daughter, Audrey Caroline, after carrying her through the full pregnancy even after receiving notice that Audrey was “incompatible with life.” The book deals with the grief that you feel as a mother and a Christian facing the loss of a child. I have really been able to identify with her. I would certainly suggest this book to anyone who has lost a child, or is close to someone who has. It offers great insight into the mind and heart of a grieving mother.

They wrote a song (her husband sings in Selah) about their sweet Audrey. The lyrics are posted below:

I Will Carry You
There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I’m not
Truth is I’m barely hanging on
But there’s a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says…

I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen Me
To carry you

As I type this, my heart is breaking…because I desperately would love to be able to take those photographs, wipe those teary eyes, and sing those sweet lullabies, because I DO love her.

4 weeks ago tonight, I gave birth to her. 4 weeks ago tonight, I lost my first child. 4 weeks ago tonight, a part of my heart went with her. 4 weeks ago tonight, my life changed forever. 4 weeks ago, I felt God move in my life in a way I never had before. I was chosen for those 39 weeks to carry her in my womb. I am chosen to carry Caroline through the coming years. And despite my broken heart, I do praise the One who chose me. Caroline’s life, though so brief, has so richly blessed me, and I pray that I am able to take the blessings that I’ve gotten from her and the things I’ve learned through this journey (of which I am still very much in the midst) and help others.

Love and prayers,

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This weekend has been a pretty good one. Time spent with family usually makes for a good time.

Friday night, we had a weenie roast at Mildred's for Kimbel's birthday. It was nice to be able to go and be with everyone. I have to admit, I had a hard time getting excited about it. I had a hard time getting ready to go. I had a hard time in the car on the way there. I had a hard time when I got there. Not because of anything that anyone did....but because of what was missing...Caroline. It's amazing how much I miss her to have never really gotten to do anything with her. I guess it's really just the plans I had for my life with her. She should be part of my every day life (and she is, just not in the way I thought she would be). There's always that piece that's missing, there's always something "off." I hate that it feels that way, but it does.

Saturday was spending time with Arthur. We just spent the day together, and it was nice. We also found the biggest Dollar Tree I've ever been in (I enjoyed myself!)

And then we are back to Sunday. Again, we didn't go back to church. I really want to, but I'm still just not quite there. I'm so nervous about it. I don't know if that's really founded in anything, but it is honestly scaring me quite a bit. I guess it's because I don't really feel like I can go back to "life." Life as I knew it ended. Life as I knew it is gone. There is a new life. There is a new normal. I hate that. I hate that there is a new normal. I hate that I had to give up that dream. I hate that I had to give up my Caroline. I hate that my family had to give her up. But we did. And we are all working toward that new normal.

This afternoon Arthur's parents came and we went antique shopping. Antique shopping is something that we've always had fun doing together...and today was no exception, but again...something missing. That little girl affected our lives so profoundly. When we got back to our house we actually talked about her for a while. And it was good for me to be able to talk about her...it seems to always be good for me to talk about her. She is always on my mind, she is always in my thoughts. She is so special to me, I want to share her all the time.

I want to thank you all for your prayers and endless support. You'll never know what it means to us and our family. It is only through God's grace that we are where we are now. Were it not for that grace, dealing with this would likely be too much for me to handle. I ask that you continue to pray for us. Pray for our healing, pray for that peace that we need in the stormy times, and pray that God will use this situation and our story to help other people. I wanted so badly to devote Caroline's life to God...and I have been able to do that. Not in the way I had planned, but her life is very much dedicated to God through us.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

When We All See Jesus...

Last night was particularly hard for me. It was 3 weeks to the day that I gave birth to Caroline. I know it might seem silly to have a "3 week Anniversary," but it just all kind of hit me again. The grief weighed so heavily on my heart. I cried a cry from the depths of my soul. I cried harder than I have cried. My entire body hurt, I couldn't breathe, I couldn't hold up the grief any longer. It came crashing down around me. I felt like I didn't want to continue on, I was done.

I had to have a talk with God about what I was thinking and feeling. I told Him that He had hurt my feelings, to the core. I told Him that I was disappointed that He didn't want Caroline to actually get to stay in our family. I told Him that I did want His will to be done in her life, but that I desperately wanted my daughter, that my arms ached to hold her, my heart ached to see her again. I told Him that I was hurt that He snatched her away from me. I was then given some peace...peace from God. I don't understand the reasoning behind all of this. I don't miss her less, but I do have some peace. I have peace because her life has meaning...she has a purpose. And best of all, I'll get to see her again...When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Daddy's Words for His Girl

This is what Arthur wrote for Caroline's graveside service...I just wanted to make sure that it got captured and thought it'd be nice to share:

Precious is the only word for this little angel. A beautiful precious angel.

She was only with us for a little over 9 months, but she touched our lives in those months like no one else. Every little kick stirred our hearts, every movement with her, a true blessing.

Without question, she was both a Ramsey and a Looney. Stubborn and silly, but sweet and strong. Always bringing a smile to our face.

This little girl never made it into this world, but she showed us all how good and gracious the world can be.

Her middle name Elizabeth means "a gift from God," and that's exactly what she is, even now. And there is no doubt that right now, she is in the arms of her Heavenly Father.

I could make Bruce talk all day about the love and blessings this little girl has brought us, but that wouldn't begin to tell her story.

On her last day with us, her mama had been singing "Because He Lives" to her. And that's the exact reason that we can face the future, "Because He lives," all fear is gone.

All of you have put a renewed hope and strength. Caroline Elizabeth Ramsey has gone on to her home in heaven, but her memory will never ever leave us, and we love her with all our hearts.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The New Normal

So today, Arthur went back to work. It was hard just to know that he was there, for the whole day, and not where I could have access to him. He's been such a security blanket for me. He's been so strong for me, it was tough to let him go! Mom did come and stay last night and spent the day with me. We had a good day. So I guess I'm thankful for the good days.

God, thank you for loving me, even when I'm unlovable. Thank you for taking care of me when I don't even know how to take care of myself. Thank you for grace for each day. I pray that You will continue to hold me and my family in Your hands, and comfort us as You have been.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Empty Arms...

Well, it's Sunday. Normally, we would be headed to church this morning. I just haven't had the heart to go back to church since Caroline left us. It's not that I don't want to, not that I don't want to worship God. It's really more that I'm scared to break down, scared to be that "scary grieving woman." I'm scared someone will say something. I'm scared no one will say anything. I'm just that: Scared.

I decided to watch a service on TV, so at least I could have at least some sort of church-type experience this morning. Lo and behold, the service I chose to watch was having a baby dedication. I didn't take this as a slap in the face, but it did knock the wind out of me. What I wanted so badly was to be able to dedicate Caroline's life to God. Which, I guess I have been able to do that, but not in the way I had planned. I had to cry, and I even had to tell God that I still don't understand. I don't expect to ever "understand." And some days are easier than others, today is kind of a rough one. Today my arms are empty. Today I feel like she was just ripped from me. Today I'm struggling. Today I'm tired. Today I hate that I don't have her. Today I see signs everywhere that what seems like EVERYONE else is having babies or has just had a healthy beautiful baby or is about to. Today my heart hurts.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


There’s a song called Held, it’s by Natalie Grant. It’s pretty amazing. It has a really great message.

Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling

Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, its unfair

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

If hope is born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior

This is a song that I liked very much before all of this happened to our family. I never knew how much I would be able to identify with the lyrics. I wanted to share this in the hopes that maybe someone else might be able to get something out of it.

After all of this, and through this, we have been held. We have absolutely been held by our Lord and Savior. This is and has been the hardest thing we’ve ever been through. But God has not stopped holding us. I thought that He may have there for a little bit, I felt like He was far away. I felt like He had kind of forgotten about me down here. I felt like He ripped Caroline away from me and then left me to fend for myself. Now though, I can truly see how He held us in His hands during this difficult time. I see ways that He helped us, ways He didn’t leave us alone, ways He used many of you to encourage, to grieve with us, to just be there. I feel the prayers and support coming from everyone. I know that I am not alone. I know that Caroline has touched many lives already, and I hope that we are able to help others with her story.

We’ve still got a long road ahead of us to healing. And I’ll never stop missing my sweet daughter.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Strength for Today...

It’s officially been 2 weeks since the funeral now. Those words sound so strange to write or say…2 weeks since the FUNERAL. FUNERAL. It just doesn’t even sound like a word with real meaning anymore. Kind of like that scene in Black Sheep where the car is leaking Nitrous Oxide and they talk about how weird of a word ‘road’ is. RO-AD, ROOOOOAD. That’s how I feel with funeral, well, minus the Nitrous Oxide.

It’s now been more than 2 weeks since I gave birth to, held and loved, then gave my baby back. My arms ache for her. My soul misses her. What I wouldn’t give to hear her cry…or even to change a stinky diaper! I’m beginning to really come to terms with the fact that I won’t ever hear her cry, or hold her in my arms again. My daughter did not get to have an earthly life outside my womb. It sounds so final. So. Done.

I’m also dealing with the fact that I was pregnant (Boy was I!), and I gave birth, yet I have no child to care for. Does that mean that I’m not a mother? I feel some “motherly” instincts, but in some ways, children scare me. I mean, I wasn’t scared of Caroline. I wasn’t afraid of being her Mommy. But now, the thought of being around children brings some anxiety. I wonder if this is normal? I wonder if I am normal?

I’ve also had my feelings hurt at God for allowing this to happen to me and my family. I won’t say that I’ve been angry, because that isn’t really the feeling. He hurt my feelings by allowing me to love her so much, and then not allowing her to live her life here with us, her earthly family. It hurt my feelings that He felt cold in those days and nights that followed her death. It hurt my feelings that I truly couldn’t feel Him holding me during the darkest of dark times I’ve ever seen. And then I realized, He is holding me. He is comforting me. He is giving me grace for each day. He is giving me peace. Once again, it just didn’t line up with my plans. Oh, how I love to make plans for God. I love to tell God how things need to be. (I’m sure He laughs at me all the time…if not, he should)

In trying to simply “make it through” this deepest of valleys, I’ve been reading any book on the death of a child and grieving that I can get my hands on (not to mention the hundreds of blogs of women and families who have lost a child to a UCA like us). I’ve been desperately trying to find ANYTHING to offer me that comfort I felt God had for me. In reading “Safe in the Arms of God,” the author gives 8 reasons that God allows His people to go through difficult times. One of those reasons opened my eyes, made me see something that I hadn’t seen or thought at all. God had a purpose for Caroline’s life. I had prayed that His will would be done in her life, and I believed that was what I wanted. But what I truly wanted was MY PLAN mixed with God’s for her life. God simply had HIS PERFECT plan for her, and that trumped my earthy, selfish plan for her. Now, does that make me miss her any less? NOT AT ALL. But does it offer me a quiet peace? Yes.

So, for today, I am going to hold on to that little bit of peace. I’m going to keep missing my girl, and will forever, but at least I have a little peace.

BTW, happy Friday to all of those still going about “normal” lives!