Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Patience Is A Virtue

But, patience, I had little of today...

First of all, something I haven't written about is that I am once again, a student. I am back in school, not working on my nursing credentials, but adding the letters, RDMS to BSN. I am working on my Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonography license. I began taking classes in January, one week ago, and will be accelerated through the program to finish in August. I have to record several hours of actual "scanning" time in the perinatal lab before I will sit for the exam and hopefully pass. I am enjoying the opportunity to gain deeper knowledge about high risk pregnancies and really study this in depth. It amazes me, each day I am in school, that any of us do come out "normal", however, I am hoping I can use this knowledge I am gaining about all the things that can go wrong in pregnancy, to help someone, someday, have a more successful pregnancy/outcome. So, anyway, enough about that. I am in class 3 days a week, work 1, do clinical 1. I am busy...

But, today, my lack of patience had nothing to do with having to wait an absurd amount of time, or sit in a long line of traffic. It was much more personal than that. I approached my teacher to ask permission to miss a class, January 27th, Ryan's birthday. In the past week, what has been so difficult about being in class is that no one there knows anything about me, or what is really sloshing around in my heard and filling those crevices in my brain that aren't being jammed up with anatomy and physiology of pregnancy. There is a wide variety of ages in my class, but somehow, it just hasn't seemed like the right time to say "Hey, by the way, I'm a little sad today.... my son died a few months ago, and his birthday is coming up soon... could you be a little sensitive?" That is what I would like to say, but it just doesn't feel right. I can't even talk about him, something that usually brings me comfort. And some days, I despise that the only reason I am sitting there is because Ryan is not here anymore. I am pursuing this opportunity out of respect for him, but every day, I would much rather he be here.

Anyway, after I gave my teacher a quick explanation of why I would not be in class, stoically, I excused myself and headed straight for an empty bathroom stall to let the tears roll down my face. It was cold in there and as I stood there, my back leaning on the stall, I felt very alone. My life has turned so many corners and as happy as I am to have the opportunity to grow as a professional, it hurts too, a lot.

I returned to class (it was our lunch break), convinced that if I just didn't look up and busied myself with my work, no one would notice the glassy look in my eyes. And no one did.

Then, as the afternoon went on, a few students were complaining about random things, about the class work, what they didn't want to do that night, etc. I just couldn't take it, I wanted to shout at them. I had very little patience for anything that they were upset about, enveloped in my feeling of loneliness and longing to hold my son. I have noticed that I have little tolerance for anything positive that others have to say right now. It is not that I am not happy for them, I just hurt, and it is hard, especially, when others are so happy. I pray that I feel that again... As my day went on, other things triggered my feeling of disgust and impatience, but I held my tongue and managed to not lash out at them. They should not be punished for being happy... I just wasn't ready to join in today.

And then, I picked Charlotte up from school. When I arrived in her classroom, they were getting ready to go outside, since it is finally warm enough! Not wanting her to miss this opportunity, we stayed with the class to play outside a bit. It felt so good to be outside with the evening sun warmly lighting the sky. She made me laugh, made me giggle, put a smile on my face that had cried and cried. We loaded in the car and headed for home, and as we pulled into the garage and I turned the car off, she says to me, "Mommy, I love you." Powerful words from a 3 year old to her grieving mother. Sometimes, I think it is Ryan talking to me through her. He knew that I needed to hear that. As I got her out of the car, I hugged her as tight as I could. Tomorrow, I will try to be more patient...



Joni Sampel said...

Hi Jenn... I read your post, and tears welled in my eyes, because my heart hurts for you right now. Not only for your loss, but I know the feelings that you are going through. I know the lost feeling you feel everyday, and that sometimes it become so overwhelming. I know the feelings you are feeling towards others with their positive news ect. It's not that you want them to be unhappy it's just that you are afraid you won't ever be again. I know that too. I also know the words of a 3 year old that can make any day a better day. Abigail was born after I lost Piper and on many a day she out of the blue will say, Mommy I love you big bunches. It melts my heart everytime, because sometimes in a glimmer in her eye, I feel PIper with me. And then I have days where looking at her is so hard for me, but I thank God for every minute I have with her. It's only hard because I see what I have missed and will miss with Piper.

I also know the thoughts that you wanted to shout to your fellow students about the complaining. For me it was the pregnant women who would complain of pain, or wishing it was over with. I would have given anything to have carried her to term and to have held her and smelled her sweet breath as she slept. But I didn't get that, and I HATED them complaining. It was very hard the first year or two. Unfortunately tragedy struck my family more than once, my sister lost her son when she too was 6 months pregnant in an automobile accident in 07, it's been very hard for her, and she is still in the stage of grief. So we understand where you are coming from. If you would like to talk to either of us, we would love to listen. I'm going to give you our personal information. Please email or contact anytime. It's nice to not feel alone. And just talk to someone that understands, and doesn't just sympathize.

Joni Sampel ( or look me up on facebook
My sister's name is Denna Jones ( she is your age I think, maybe a year or two older.

I know you don't know us personally, which is kind of funny, because I know a lot of people who know you. Either they went to school with your, or my mother in law works with your mom. Small world right. Just wanted to let you know you aren't alone. I promise while it never goes away, and it never stops hurting, it does get a little easier with time.

Jen said...


I have followed your story for some time although we have never met. A few days after Christmas, we were making some returns and new purchases at Toys R Us when I looked up and saw Charlotte's smiling face in the cart in front of us. I was feeling a bit impatient at the crowds, the lines, my children's indecisiveness on another new toy and then I was suddenly faced with a family who doesn't know me from Adam and yet I know such intimate details of their lives and their pain. So what's a stranger to do to a nice family enjoying a trip out to the store - approach, hug, cry, say I'm sorry and I'm still praying for your family and even people that don't know you have been blessed by Ryan's too short but very significant life??? Instead, I just stood and stumbled through my thoughts as you all finished checking out and left. never know who is around you, who is watching, who is praying, who is encouraged by your story and your lives and reminded by your faces that we should all handle each other a bit more gently as you never know the road the person next to you may have travelled or still may be stumbling along.

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Rita said...

Hey Jenn...I hadn't noticed you posting over on Facebook so I came over to see if you had heard about the voting that was going on. I see someone beat me over there. I hope you can make it over to vote and ask your friends and family to vote. The $100,000 would mean a lot to SMA research.

I can relate to this post so much. It has been a year now since we lost Eli and it still isn't easy. Each day is a new test to get through. We went to the zoo today and I lasted about 1.5 hours before I was near a total breakdown. So many kids, so many families and there we were alone, without our beautiful son. :( I'm still an email away if you ever need a virtual shoulder to cry on. Big Hugs!