Friday, March 30, 2007

The Empty Rocking Chair: A Grandmother's Story About Healing Grief

Rocking Chair

Rocking chair…how empty you are
I should be here
Holding my baby girl…
Watching your sweet little mouth
As you nurse…

Tiny fingers…curled around mine
Stretching out your
Little feet…
Yawning as you
Drift off to sleep

And as I sit here
Rocking chair…so empty
Without you baby girl
Rocking alone..
I feel A tear…

Jordan baby…you are
Being held by
Our heavenly Father
Safe and warm
Loved by Him
Missed by all your family
Peace for all

By Michele Adams
Date: 03/15/2007

“Rocking chair, how empty you are,” was the words I read of a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) grandmother’s poem this week. My mind reeled back to those moments of my own grief when I too felt deprived of the rocking chair experience when our infant grandson, Brennen died of SIDS. Grief and healing effects everyone differently, yet some things are so much a like. Michele has found writing to be an important healing part of her grief journey.

I chatted with Grandma Michele the other day and this is what she had to say about her writing in relation to her grief journey now.

Jewel: “Hi Michele, I am so glad you agreed to chat with me about your experiences as a grandmother. Let’s start with when did you first become a grandmother?”

Michele: “I became a grandma on April 23rd,1999 with the birth of my daughter's son, Jahvon. It was a wonderful experience from the beginning. He was such a happy baby! My daughter, Ariana, is a good Mom and Jahvon is soon to be 8 years old. Ariana is blessed with two little girls, Kaya,soon to be 7, and Zion, 18 months. They keep her busy and she loves being a Mom.”

Jewel: “When did you start writing poems?”

Michele: “I am not sure I have ever written poetry. I read my daughter's poems and think, "I can't write poetry." But, I suppose I can. Funny what you can do when you stop thinking you can't and just do it! I don't remember writing any poems in the past, although I have always known I can write. The poems, "For Jordan" and "Rocking Chair" were written from the sadness of losing the grandchild I never got to hold. From my "crushed heart," came the inspiration to write these poems.”

Jewel: “Writing about our grief can be inspiring to others; do you write other things too?”

Michele: “Yes, I do write other things. I remember the first story I wrote, in 4th grade; it was an assignment. All the kids around me kept chewing on their pencils and asking the teacher what to write. I just picked up my pencil and decided to write about the sky. So I titled it “Why the Sky is Blue." It took me about 30 minutes to finish it, and then I had to fix my grammar and punctuation and delete some words. I turned in my story and was pleased to get an "A" on it. The teacher even put it on the Office Wall where all the parents could see it. The next day a little girl who sat next to me copied my story and put her name on it and the teacher taught us about "intellectual property." I simply told the little girl that was my story.”

Jewel: “It sounds like a well learned lesson. Tell me what inspires you today?”

Michele: “Children inspire me. I remember writing a story for my daughter's 9th birthday. I could not afford to get her anything and so I gave her a piece of "me" by writing a story with her in it. She loved it and I believe still has it. Children really are the best people!

Helping people inspires me. There is so much pain in the world. If we can help just one person a day to feel better about themselves; it is a wonderful feeling. And all that we give is first given to ourselves. I believe we are all interconnected and part of each other. The circle of life says that we are our brother's keepers. Imagine the possibilities if we all helped each other!”

Jewel: “Yes, I believe we are here on the planet to help each other. Sometimes our help is for a reason, sometimes only a season, or even for a lifetime. Sudden infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is affecting your family. Would you like to tell us about how SIDS has affected you as a grandmother?”

Michele: “How has SIDS affected me as a grandmother? I am different now. Things that used to matter no longer do. Time is more precious to me as I realize how short our time with our loved ones is. The loss of Jordan has helped put life into perspective for me. For example, I work two jobs. After getting off my day job I go to my night job. Well, after I returned home from Philadelphia where my daughter lives, it was all I could do to make it through the day job. For two weeks, I came home and fell into bed. I was in a fog and my boss at the night job had said “take as long as you need." You see, two weeks after Jordan passed away, my son-in-law's sister also died. I was just overwrought and needed to take care of me. When I called in one Saturday to my second job, I was told my supervisor had died of a heart attack. Then the (not so nice) girl who had been after his job all along told me that the owner of the business didn't think I was "doing enough to get into work" and she would have to explain why I wasn't there that night. I said, “Well, you do what you have to. And you know what in the overall big picture, this is nothing. So if he decides to let me go, you just call and let me know. I am not going to worry about it." Yes, I think Jordan put things in perspective. So many things are not worth worrying about. I have found my faith is multiplying.”

Jewel: “You say you have found your faith multiplying. Do you have a favorite place to write or meditate?”

Michele: “I have always loved quiet places and the ocean. I live in a beach city and like to spend many hours meditating and writing there. My writing helps to express my pain and the things I would have done with my angel Jordan. And it helps me to move forward; the only way out is through.”

Jewel: “Writing is helping you get through your painful grief. I sense that keeping a family connection intact is also helping you through the rough times of the day. Would you like to share anything about your family?

Michele: “I have a son, Jason and a daughter, Ariana. My son has two boys and my daughter has two girls and a boy. I come from a big family. I have five brothers and I am the only girl in my family. I am also the middle child and often feel like "the forgotten child". Then, middle children are more mature and don't expect things to be handed to them. We know we must earn everything in life. And I love my brothers!”

Jewel: “What is the best part about being a grandma?”

Michele: “I write stories for my grandchildren. It is such fun to see the delight on their faces!! The best part of being a grandma is those loving hugs and kisses we get from our little ones! May God bless and keep them.”

Jewel: “Indeed Michele may God bless and keep our little ones. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed Michele.”

In contemplating my interview with Michele, I am reminded that our writings, daily meditations, and places to find tranquility are the gold nuggets of life to help us through the tough, sometimes stone hard places in life. Positive connections with family are the greatest gold nuggets of all.

I hope Michele’s inspiring words have helped you, the reader today. Please feel free to leave a comment for Michele. May God bless you today and give you peace.

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