Sunday, February 9, 2014

Love and Loss

With Valentine's coming up, I can't help thinking about our marriage. Mr. Elliott and I.

Since the loss of the twins in 2011, we have had deep peaks and plunges in our relationship. More of the latter.

Grief is hard. A death of child tears away the core of your being and adds kerosene to issues you might have already been coping with in your marriage.

A few months after the miscarriage, our marriage took a very bad turn. One we had never had before. It was hard I think mostly, because I was still so broken and my husband who had not bonded with the twins didn't understand my loss.

Then there was the loss of my mom. My mom was so close to not only me but my husband. So a barely bandaged relationship was again ripped open by loss.

It was a very hard time financially as well. I wasn't working much, if any, because of the difficult pregnancy with Claudette.

They say money, sex, and death are the key factors for tearing relationships apart. Since we had little of the first two and our fair share of the last, our relationship was hanging. Grasping by a string really.

This is no way to bring a child into the world, and we were about to. Then we lost Claudette. Dustin and I went simultaneously into shock. Every time our eyes met, tears filled them and we were forced to look away. This went on for months and months. The first year of her passing we grasped onto each other like Jack and Rose during the sinking of the Titanic.  (Although I think I moved over more than Rose so "Jack" could actually get on the raft.)

It wasn't until her first birthday that our already fragile ship, sunk. It was ugly and loud and hateful.
I was leaving for the birthday memorial and I asked where the kids coats were. A simple fight over where they were turned into World War 3. Words were said that should never been said to people that live in the same planet, let alone ones that love each other.

It began a downward spiral. It was a lonely time for us. I was sad. Dustin was sad. We both acted wrongly on many accounts. I would lie if I said I didn't question divorce. I never was able to act on it. I would like to say it was because of my moral convictions or because of the covenant we made before God, but at times it was just because we were too lazy to fight anymore. Then a day came late last month, where all hell broke loose. I told Dustin I would NOT leave him, but he needed to know I was NOT happy and I felt I had already "lost" him.

Several hours later, in the wee hours of the morn as it often falls, Dustin came to me. He was teary-eyed. I was teary-eyed. We were depressed. We were stressed. We were overwhelmed. We held each other and promised something to each other to:

 that we would not make the death of our daughter, the death of us.

That is no small promise either. It is estimated upwards of 80-90% of marriages end in divorce after the lose of a child. Reality check! But it a promise we made to each other seven years ago too.
"In sickness and health. In good times and in bad."

Tonight my sweet friend and nurse who helped deliver Claudette sent us me this picture.
I had never realized it before, but she pointed out our hands make a heart.
So to my Valentine after 7 years of marriage and over 16 years of being in each others lives
thanks for making my heart whole!  
I choose you,
In sickness and health
For better or for worse
Til {our} death do us part.
photo cred: Maggie Bainbridge


Kelly Garrett said...

Thank you for this! The loss of a child has to be one of the most challenging things for a marriage. I'm so glad to hear that you committed to each other that it won't split you up. My husband and I made the same commitment after we lost our son.

It's far too easy for couples today to give up and blame it on life's circumstance that they get handed, but that's not the answer.

Thank you for your commitment to each other and for telling everyone about it! Prayers and hugs.

Alyvia Elliott said...

Thanks Kelly for your sweet words and vowing to stay strong in your marriage as well!

feedee said...

This is so brave of you. I sometimes joke that Facebook is the tech version of those Pollyanna, sugary, "all's right in the world and our family is the best" Christmas letters I used to receive...and to be honest, send myself. A child's death affecting a marriage? I have seen marriages close to destruction over ordering a pizza. Friends of ours lasted only 2 years after the birth of their Down's child. Marriage is the hardest job in the world, way harder than parenting or digging for underwater oil. If Mr. Elliott and you can work together without occasionally wanting to shoot each other, that's okay. If you DO shoot each other, that's not okay. It's understandable, but not okay! Prayers and thanks for being honest and brave and cutting through the "perfect" lives of Facebook and Blogs.

Judy Vance said...

Thank you for sharing this.

K-Dub said...

Thank you for sharing. My husband and I have recommitted several times since our losses. Though in four years together I never expected to have the fear, for the first time last fall I was in such a low place and I thought I might just lose him. But here we are. What doesn't completely destroy us really can make us stronger. We just have to believe in our relationships enough to ride out the storm, and most importantly to be honest with ourselves, and with each other.