As a social worker and in my work I do a lot of grief counseling. So I know the five stages of grief and I work clients on getting through grief. With that said it is much easier to be giving the counsel then it is to be the one going through the grief process. Our grief started when we first found out at 20 weeks that our Sweet Elizabeth had a cleft lip and proceeded from there with the diagnosis of Trisomy 18. We began the process of grieving the loss of our daughter. We knew the stats and the likely hood of her survival was rare. I also think we knew Heavenly Father's plan. This is what got us through the whole process. From the time we found out about the possibility of Trisomy 18 we Knew that our daughter was not meant to be with us long. So from the time we found out we decided to embrace His Plan for her and to make the best of the situation. We enjoyed the pregnancy and made sure we included her in everything we did. I know it sounds weird because of course she was with us due to the fact I was pregnant and she was inside me but we made sure to get pictures of my belly as we did things. It wasn't easy to know that I didn't get much time with my daughter. It was the hardest thing ever to go through and the hardest part was not knowing when or if she would pass away. As Jake and I would talk throughout the pregnancy we always felt that we would get to meet her alive but not for very long. So as we were handed our baby girl for the first time and told there was nothing they could do we felt it was wrong. We were supposed to meet her alive, and for those five minutes it felt like an eternity and we were so confused at why we felt like we were supposed to meet her alive. So when she started breathing we knew even more that Elizabeth had an incredible will power and that our Heavenly Father did have a plan.
Those days in the hospital were so incredible because you could just feel Elizabeth's strong spirit and it was so peaceful and spiritual. After her passing and we left the hospital and went home that spirit stayed with us. Our home was filled with peace and the spirit. Elizabeth's strong spirit got us through those next few days of planning the funeral. I don't know how I had the strength physically, emotionally, and mentally to do everything we needed to but I did because I had her strength with me and wanted the best for her. Elizabeth deserved to have a beautiful service and we wanted to share her beautiful spirit with our loved ones who helped us get through this. After the service we were exhausted more than we have ever been. As we began the next week it was hard. We didn't want to lose her spirit but knew she was needed else where and we were being comforted by the Holy Ghost. Now I feel like her coming into this world was a dream, this has been the hardest part.
The days in the hospital were so wonderful and the funeral was beautiful but we then got home and needed to start back to our routine. Michael was still in school and Addison still wanted to play. So we started back to our routine so our other children could have some consistency again. I started to heal more each day physically and emotionally. As Jake and I have talked about our loss we feel guilty even mourning the loss of our daughter because she was so strong and she came and blessed us with her presence for three days before she returned home. We knew this was His plan the whole time so for us the grief has been different. We aren't laying in bed all day mourning her, even though at times we want to be we know for us that is not what we are supposed to be doing. We are supposed to begin healing and moving forward with the knowledge that we have. This is why she feels like a dream to us our life is somewhat back to what is was previously except this giant hole in our hearts for her and for the moments we didn't get to share with her, but sadly the feel of her is already starting to fade for us.
I am just so grateful for His plan that we get to be with her forever , I will one day get the opportunity to raise her. This knowledge helps but doesn't always erase the pain we do feel. As I rock Addison to sleep at night (yes, I still rock my 3yr old) I end up just crying because I never got to bring my sweet Elizabeth home to rock. I find that nights are the hardest for me because my arms ache more than normal for her and her warmth and cuddles. I mourn the loss of what I didn't get to share with her. We have had so many family and friends continual prayers and thoughts through this that it has helped us make it.