I’ve been reading through my past journals for my own book project and also for a piece of journal excerpts that my husband Tim has asked me to put together for a book project that he is working on. Following are some pieces from years ’85 to ’99. Temma was born 9.27.85. She stopped breathing and had a cardiac arrest 9.28.85.
10.3.85 I want to hold her in my arms, have her look at me, and tell her that I love her. I don’t understand God, I don’t understand. Help me to hang on God, to fight for life, even though sometimes I feel like telling her to just let go and leave, die quickly, life is too hard, painful for such a little one. Do you love her God? No, the question more likely is, “Do you love me?” Do you love me? Do you love me? I will lead you where you do not want to go.” (Jesus to Peter)
10.15.85 I wake up in the morning and there it is. Regrets for the way I did things – for not breast feeding Temma whenever she cried that day she was home. I did not admit at the hospital my fear of bringing her home. I did not know what to do with her. She was too small. She is so weak, vulnerable.
11.15.85 How to sort out my feelings? I wish I could go back and start over again with you Temma. Start out nursing, no…even farther…start out by feeding you with the bottle. So, even here begins the confusion…and we bungle along.
2.11.86 Temma makes a book with an EEG. A book that I can’t read, except very, very slowly. Continuous seizures are probably doing more damage to her brain. I fight to accept, with passion. How can these both be?
12.31.86 Death no longer looks so frightful. Is this an answer to my prayers? This is a change happened in the past year. Never in a way I would have imagined. Temma does not allow me to think of God in a mere sentimental way.
1.6.87 I do not pay enough attention to Temma, to really stop and look at her, for there is God whom I can love.
8.23.91 I hardly ever can stop and say “You are good.” I want to say over and over to Temma “I’m sorry,” “I’m sorry,” “I’m sorry.” Then I hear the nurse in the hospital room with Temma saying to me,”She doesn’t need to hear you say ‘I’m sorry.’ She just needs to hear you say ‘I love you” to fight with her, to go on.”
4.8.92 I have a sense now of “choosing” Temma rather than the victim of someone else’s choice forced upon me. Temma is part of my calling, my vocation.
12.12.92 …raising to full stature, becoming strong and patient. Temma has been a conduit, a stream in the desert for me with this strength. I had to let go of a lot in order to receive it, and still need to do that.
2.14.93. Temma and I have forgiven each other, this week.
3.14.95 Perhaps this is my Lenten wilderness, to keep putting myself out without much return…to keep loving and caring for Temma…a faithfulness and discipline about it all.
To struggle with my fears, with my inability to pray, to “embrace” the child promised to me but maybe I didn’t want. It’s maybe not what she wanted but it has been given life and she now must embrace it.
Rage is the deprived infant in me but there is also a compassionate mother in me and she will come back with her healing powers in time. In fact, if I have learned anything in this year of recovering, that is what I have learned. (May Sarton, “Recovering”)
One dream I had last night was very joy-filled. I woke up thinking this was an answer to my prayer last night. I remember only that it had something to do with a baby walking. It could have been Temma.