Monday, November 12, 2007

I Can't Sleep...

Sleep doesn't come easily these days. Tonight I lay awake, tossing and turning because:
A. My body can't rest. I can't seem to find a comfortable way to sleep with my shoulder. It always feels uncomfortable and painful when I try to sleep.
B. My mind can't rest. As much as I try to avoid it, at night my mind seems to wander to thoughts of the accident, and play over and over again the terrible moments of those days and weeks.
C. My heart can't find rest. It still feels like it's breaking every day.
Dozens of times a week people ask me how I'm doing, and to be honest I don't even know how to answer that. Even though the accident was almost 4 months ago, it still feels so fresh. Every night I still cry over what's happened. It's hard to see the world moving on and time passing, when I still feel like I'm stuck in the same place, in that one moment that changed everything. I usually love counting down to the Christmas season but this year, the ads on TV and decorations in the stores make me feel sick to my stomach. How can people be so happy at a time like this?
I told Doug tonight that I feel like I don't know who I am anymore. I feel like I'm the empty shell of the person I used to be. Actually, even the outside shell of me isn't the same anymore! It feels like there are so many different things to deal with right now. Every day I still can't help but feel like the world is so empty without Nate in it. One moment I was sitting right behind him, and the next thing I know, I'm waking up to find out that he's gone. I can't wrap my mind around that. It's especially hard to process this and grieve, when I feel like I didn't get the chance to say goodbye with everyone else. I was trapped in the hospital while everyone else had the opportunity to mourn together. Also, as much as Caleb is a positive distraction at a time like this, I feel sick when I think about the events of his birth and how I'm going to tell him the story of his birth one day. The other night I stood over his crib and wept as I thought about the weekend he was born-- it was the worst one of my life. Honestly, no one was excited about his arrival at that time. Doug wasn't. I wasn't. We were in too much shock and pain, along with everyone else. I actually don't even remember his birth. Several weeks after the accident, I had to get Doug to tell me the story of our son's birth because I had no idea what happened those days. And also, I'm still trying to figure out how to get through life with a very different body. I can't believe that I was so concerned about stretch marks before Caleb was born! How silly that sounds to me! Now, hundreds of times I can't help but think about how ugly my shoulder looks. I will probably never wear a sleeveless top again in public, ever. I'm scared that people would see it and be grossed out. I know that I am at times when I look in the mirror. I also feel sick at physio sometimes, because they aren't talking about how we're going to "fix" my shoulder anymore, instead they talk about how we're going to have to find new ways for me to do the things I once did. I don't want to settle for anything less than what it once was! I'm sorry, but learning how to throw a ball with your opposite hand (the one that is not dominant) is not exactly easy or natural!
This all sounds pretty negative, and I hate to complain, but I thought I should be honest about how things are right now. I sometimes struggle with what to post on this blog. It would be easy to paint a pretty picture, that everything is better. Unfortunately that's not reality. I know that one day the pain and trauma will dull, and I will feel like life can be "normal" (a different normal) again, but that feels like a distant dream.
Hopefully getting some of my thoughts and feelings out into the open will help me sleep tonight, because Caleb will be waking up in a few hours! Thanks for bearing with me as I vent a little bit about life.

28 comments:

Debbie said...

Elissa, we don't know each other. I've been following along on yours and Rosanna's blogs since Leanne posted about the accident on hers. I don't know you and your family at all. In my happy moments I sometimes think of all of you; I have so much hope for all of you - that you will have a happy future. It's a constant reminder for me about how short life is and how important it is not to take things for granted.

You write a lot about how what you're going through isn't the worst possible thing that could be happening and you worry about expressing your frustration and sadness during this difficult time. I hope you will check out this post that I found on another blog a while ago:

http://www.velveteenmind.com/velveteenmind/2007/10/hierarchy.html

It's called "The Hierarchy of Suffering".

I hope it helps. I hope that everyone who's looking to help you during this time takes a moment to read it. (I didn't write it... to be clear.:)

Debbie said...

Sorry the link didn't work, here it is again in two lines, you'll have to copy and paste each part.

http://www.velveteenmind.com/
velveteenmind/2007/10/hierarchy.html

Trev & Rebekah said...

I am so glad you were able to be honest and real with your emotions. It's not healthy to keep those feelings inside. It's good to know how to pray for you too. I hope that you can find journaling your feelings and the journey you are on will bring some healing in your life.
What a great reminder of things are are concerened about that don't really matter. Here I was today complaining about never fitting some of my jeans again after having Isaiah. I think I will think twice before I comment about that again to Trev. I know you feel like your shoulder is ugly but I can guarantee that Doug still finds your attractive and his thoughts are all that matter. Well God's thoughts about your are even greater than Doug's and He sees your heart and Who he made you to be now what you look like.
Is Caleb still a good baby for you? I can only imagine how hard it will be to tell him about his birth story one day. I know God will give you the words and strength when that day comes.
I pray that you will feel God near you this Christmas season.

Luke and Lindy said...

Oh hun ... i often think of you and wonder how you are really doing ... how you are really coping with everything that has happened in your life in the past months. i appreciate your honesty ... allows me to pray for you appropriotly (i'm the worst speller!).
as i am not sleeping so well anymore either, i will remember you in my prayers in my sleepless nights. i will pray that your mind & body will calm down and rest comfortably.
i wish there was something very practical that i could do for you ... i'm such a hands on person and not so good with words, that it's been hard for me not to just come hug you and help you in the tangible ways that you need.
i love you, Elissa. sleep tight, my friend ...

Tim and Kelsie-Lynn said...

Elissa I am so glad you shared. I feel like Lindy's comment took the words out of my mouth. I wish I could make this better even in the smallest way. I know many miles seperate us but you're often in my thoughts and prayers.

I thought about you having to tell Caleb his birth story. I wish it could be different and I know it won't be easy but I truly believe that yours and Doug's love for Caleb is going to matter more to him. No matter how he came into this world he was wanted, loved and anticipated. That is an AMAZING gift. Caleb is going to have a full and blessed life.

I too am finding sleep is evading me these days and I will be praying for you especially during the long hours of the night. Take care friend, you're in my heart.

christy said...

Hi Elissa, you dont' know me, i know Roseanna through MEI. I have no idea what you are going through as i have not experienced what you have. I was in an accident about 4 years ago. It wasnt' a major accident like yours but it flipped my world upside downa dn my injuries are still here today. I found it really hard to move on wiht life and i in someways understand how you are feeling. I encourage you to seek help like a councillor or something, someone you can talk to to help you sort yoru feelings out to help you carrying on. I know that the memories you have of that day will never dissapear but maybe you wuill learn how to cope with it. I am sad to hear about the birth of your son and that you dont' remember it at all. WE had oru little girl a year and half ago and that is such an amazing experiecne and you were robbed of it. I pray that you will find comfort in God and that each day will get a little better. You are a beautiful person just from the pics i have seen and I hope you will learn to love this new body of yours. May God bless you and be withy ou and your family during the christmas season as it will probably be one of the hardest christmas's at it is "the first" without Nate. T ake Care and hang inthere

Yvonne&Eric said...

Elissa - my heart breaks for you. Thank-you for being so honest - hopefully you know there is no judgement on anything you say. I've often prayed over Caleb's birth, asking that somehow, someway that moment would be a good memory to look back on. Maybe that's too much to ask for, I don't know. I know Christmas is not going to be a festive time for you and I'm sorry for that. We don't know each other very well but I wish so much that I could take some of this pain from you. I am praying for you - I know some days that probably doesn't help anything but I am. If there's anything tangible I can do, don't hesitate to ask.

Karen said...

We now know to pray specifically for REST for you - mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Thank you for being honest and letting us bear some of your burdens through prayer.

Anonymous said...

Hi! You don't know me but I have found your blog through similar means as some of the other folks here. I just wanted to say that I too was in a major car accident earlier on this year and for the last many months I have been suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But I didn't know I had it at all until some other people, including a psychologist, picked up on that. I noticed that you said that every night you are playing the scene over and over. Perhaps you know this already but that is one of the major characteristics of PTSD. I had the same thing every night in bed. You may already be seeing someone about all this so forgive me but in case you are not I just felt like I should encourage you to see a psychologist about this as they may really be able to help you. I am and I beleive it is working to some degree. Forgive me if you feel like I have no business saying this since Ii don't even know you but I just think your thoughts sounded SO similar to mine and I didn't even realise I had PTSD. Praying for you.

Leanne said...

Oh, Elissa. My heart feels so heavy for you. I remember clearly the nightmares (I still get them), the punch in the stomach every time I would see an ambulance. Dealing with trauma, especially one of the magnitude you are dealing with, is heart wrenching, is exhausting, is confusing. Talking with someone, a professional, would help - helped me.
You are different. You are forever changed. And as you are writing this new chapter, searching for who you are now, I am praying. As others have said, I too am struggling with sleeplessness, my heart is so burdened for you and the rest of your family. Perhaps you can take small comfort in knowing that there are many who are upholding you, even in the wee hours of the night.
I think that Caleb will always know how loved and cherished he is, that he was a diamond in the roughest of times. Our culture puts a lot of emphasis on 'the birth story,' but what really matters is the life that follows. The night Lucas was born was the scariest of my life (thus far), we didn't 'bond' by looking lovingly into each other's eyes, I couldn't let him 'climb the natural path to the breast' or whatever hooie the books are saying now. All I remember is feeling intense pain, fear and then throwing up. But that doesn't change the wonderful relationship we have now, the gift he is to us.
I hope that I haven't said too much or stepped over boundaries...

May God's grace cover you.

Bonnie said...

Such beautiful honesty Elissa. Thank you for sharing your heart, even when its so hard to. You are touching lives in huge ways. Praying that our loving Father will continue to touch yours and bring peace amidst the storm. May tonight bring a wonderfully restful sleep for you. Thinking of you every day.

nelda said...

Hi Lady, I've been following your blog for a bit and know a little about unhappy birth stories, with time and healing thay become 'special' by the time you are able to tell them.
I will pray that your faith holds out as you are transformed.

Anonymous said...

I cried through your blog as I read it to Ger & Tim, and then we prayed together for you. "God, carry this precious young family in your strong arms."
We love you. A.Shirley

Ej said...

Thanks you for your honesty Elissa. I regularly pray for you, and will continue to lift you up in prayer.

When we envision the birth of our children no one pictures less than ideal circumstances but the truth is many births aren't perfect or easy but it does not take away from the delight we feel in having our babies. Caleb will know when he grows up and talks with you about his birth that yours and Doug's love for him is what counts.

Blessings

Charlotte said...

The path of grief is so very lonely. Even when it runs parallel or beside others who have had similar experiences, it's not the same as anyone else's path. Praying for you as you make your own "batch of tear soup". Wishing we were still neighbors.

"Come to me all you who are wearried and burdened and I will give you REST."
Jesus, please fulfill your promise and bless Elissa with your rest.

Anonymous said...

Hi Elissa,
I too have only met you a few times through Rosanna and I have recently started reading your blog. With every new entry you write a new stream of tears flow down my cheeks. I can't even begin to image your pain, loss, and frustration as you go on in this new life and new body of yours. I too have a one and half year old daughter and she keeps me busy and running most of the day and I feel so tired at the end of the day. I often feel myself praying for bedtime in the late afternoon. So, I give you praises for doing all that you are doing with Caleb while only using the strength of one arm. I do pray that Jesus will comfort you at night as you awake and alone. I am not sure exactly what to say as I don't know you that well and I have never experienced anything like this before. But I do encourage you to keep writing your true feelings and letting us know how your journey is going.You are amazing and you have a beautiful family.
Shauna

Anonymous said...

Like a lot of people on here you don't know me. But I wanted to put my two cents in, too.

What you are feeling is perfectly natural. Heart breaking, but natural. 4 months is hardly enough time to get through what has happened in your life.

But like others on here, I feel that you might need a professional to help you get through this. You're grieving differently than your husband, friend, sister, etc. No one will be able to understand what you are feeling and to the degree you are feeling it - except a professional who has studied it and knows the means behind such feelings. You probably have already considered this, and I hope you do yourself a favor and seek help.

Prayers continue ...

oilers116611 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Elissa, thanks for sharing your heart. It's good to know how to pray for you specifically. We love you and the entire Toews family very much.
Melanie O

Kirsten said...

Thanks Elissa. I ache for this path you are walking, but I am thankful for the truthful words you wrote.

Reading this I was reminded of the C.S. Lewis quote.
"Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief."

You, Doug and Caleb are continually in my mind and in my prayers. I pray that you will feel God's touch exactly as YOU need it. That you may grieve the way you need to, and feel secure and sheltered in this time.

Love Kirsten

Rick & Sandy said...

May the arms of our Loving Heavenly Father embrace you. May His peace fill you thru & thru each moment of every day and sleepless night. May He give you the strength to put one foot in front of the other, one baby step at a time...

Anonymous said...

Elissa,
I can't begin to say that I know what you are going through. What I do want to share is to encourage you to find your hope in Jesus and His Word. As I scan the other comments I see many suggesting a professional counsellor, but in the Bible Jesus says, "My grace is sufficient" and "Cast your all cares on the Lord for he cares for you" and "Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest" The Lord is your strength and your hope, trust in him - for he made you and knows your every need - even the thoughts and fears that are unspoken. So I encourage you to read the Bible, or have others read with you. Christ is your hope in life eternal - and life now.

Sarah said...

Elissa, I will continue to uphold you and your family in prayer. Thank you for sharing so honestly as it gives us very specific things to pray for.

Janelle said...

Elissa, i've been thinking about you ever since i read this post last week. every single day i've thought of you, because i wanted to write something comforting, or something that might make everything "better". but i just don't have the words. because what you have gone through - as much as i think about it and imagine what it would be like to experience it - i have NO idea...my thoughts don't even come close to the reality you have had to face. i'm praying for you Elissa...that God would be FAITHFUL to you in ways that you can SEE, HEAR and FEEL. you just need peace so badly...and i won't stop praying that over you.
I really want His mercies to be NEW for you EVERY SINGLE morning...and that you'll be able to wake up & smile, and realize his Faithfulness because you had a great nite sleep - without the memories...only great dreams of what is still to come...the amazing years you will have with Caleb, and all of the joys he is going to bring you. you may not have felt that joy on his first day - or the weeks after - but i trust in Him who is able to make the future brighter for you, and able to cover the bad memories of that one day with incredible new beautiful ones of your baby boys future. so, since i don't have the words i wanted to say to you - just please know that i pray for you & won't stop. i know that the beautiful spirit I used to see in you is still there - and it will break through more and more while His PEACE consumes you.
"Great is Thy Faithfulness. Morning by morning NEW MERCIES I see. All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me."
love & hugs...

Roxy Roller said...

Hi Elissa- I just wanted you to know that I think of you often, and am praying for God's spirit to fill your home and for protection from the evil one. You are thought about a lot back in the Heim, and you should know how special you are.
~Roxanne Daku

Leanne Marie said...

Elissa, you may not remember me. Back when we went to Bible College I was known as "Red". I just wanted to say thanks for being honest and vulnerable with your blogs. You and your family have gone through a nightmare and it is okay to feel the way you do. The only way to find healing is to live and experience the pain. You, Doug, Caleb and the rest of the Toews family are in my prayers as well as my husbands prayers.

Blessings, Leanne (Red)

Mac & Melissa Davis said...

Hi Elissa,
I'm sorry its taken so long for me to respond to your post. I wanted to say more than "I'm praying for you," though its true and realistically while i wish there was "more" i could "do," prayer is really the only thing I CAN do. But I wanted to give you a word of encouragement as well.

Elissa, your transparency on this blog has been something that I cherish very much. I am thankful that you are inviting others into your journey, so that we can be supporting you with listening ears, prayers and words. You're words have been reminding me of Naomi of late. She asked that people change her name to Mara, because there was no hope for her. While you haven't taken that step, you reminded me of her because as you share your journey with us, I see the same depth of character, strength and faith that was in Naomi -- even though I'm sure there are many days when you probably do not feel that those words apply to you.

My prayers continue to be with you and your family as you continue on this journey of lament, grief and healing.

Melissa

Anonymous said...

Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

- Daniel