Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ask Me How I'm Grieving

People ask me how I'm doing and I'm genuinely unsure of how to answer them. Do you want the real answer, or the cocktail party answer? The real answer is: I'm alone in a deep sea of grief. Numb. It's your worst nightmare, a physical and emotional trauma with a beginning that replays relentlessly but no end in sight.

When I start opening up with those who don't need me to censor, I start to get the feeling they're sorry they asked. It's nothing they say, it's not that they're not supportive. But what is there to say? It's sort of like asking a lonely old person how they are, and wanting to flee as soon as they start rattling off their laundry list of ailments. I know as soon as I stop talking or texting with them, they'll go back to whatever they were doing, grateful for the relative monotony of their day, of folding towels, writing an email, cooking stew.

It's my nightmare, mine alone. I'm surrounded in every way, physically and virtually, by people who love me. But I'm the one in the thick, the only one who can wade to the other shore.

I'm afraid of who I may become. I feel like Miss Havisham, some Dickensian specter lurking in cobwebbed shadows, avoiding sunlight. I ventured out yesterday and couldn't outrun it: I cried at the smoothie shop, overcome in an instant with a crushing grief by one of the thousand thoughts of loss that lurk like mental divots.

When I'm not consumed by deep mourning, I'm filled with a blind rage. I mean, seriously, what the fuck. That maternity dress, the one I was going to live in this summer, bump out, adorable. Was it too much to ask? All the people expecting within months of me. I guess I dared to dream too much, that I could have the simple joy of sharing those moments with them. Someone asked me today if H. is my only. For me, at this moment, a lethal question. To most of the population, benign, innocent. Why wouldn't you assume I could just have more if I want them?

But here and there, a break. Pockets of joy. Just like I remember with the other losses, much harder work this time, but popping up. This morning I woke up to plans of an Easter egg hunt. It was so tempting to roll over and fall back into the alternative reality of dreams, where existence may or may not include intrauterine fetal demise. But no. I need to be a mommy, I thought. And somehow I summoned the will to get in the shower.

At the event, a dixie band played "On the Sunny Side of the Street," and it felt like encouragement in spite of all the families flocking around me with two, three, four kids, making it look so easy. "Grab your coat and get your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep; just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street...."

I'm trying.

So if you're wondering how I'm doing, there it is.


Amelia said...

I remember feeling very certain I'd be fine with doing some grocery shopping apparently too soon after one of my losses. I made it to the cheese isle and lost my shit for no particular reason. Just sobbing. In the middle of the store. I probably should have gone home, but we needed food, we live far from the grocery store and gas is expensive yo. So I ordered deli meat with tears streaming down my face. Checked out snorting back the snot and tears. I cry just remembering it.

We just recently had an 11 week loss. I want to punch Easter in the face. I was supposed to be adorable and smug, knowing if it was a boy or girl. Ugh. Instead I'll be having conversations about whether or not I should get my tubes tied.

I am so so sorry this is happening to you. I'm sending light and love your way at all times.

Holly said...

I 100% can relate to this. Losing my twins randomly made me so angry for so many different reasons. One of those reasons that I all the sudden became the "awkard" person in the room because people feel obligated to say something profound-or avoid me altogether. I too had the cutest grey lace dress I had picked out for my shower. It KILLED me that although my closest friends/and family cared, I was alone in the pain because it didn't happen to them, in them, they felt sorrow for me but could laugh, live life normal, without it always on your mind/heart. I know your pain and your words send shutters through my body because I have just experienced something so similar. It's been 5 months and I can say that time helps although never fully erases. The snot bawling your eyes outs goes from moment to moment, to once a day, to every other day. Then the deep sadness sets in. The realization of life's unjustice. The hate of baby bumps and infants, and "normal" fertile people. But 5 months out, I can honestly say if I was rock bottom, I am at least able to sit up. All my love to you.

Brianna said...

How you're feeling, and grieving, is completely normal. If there is a support group near you, I highly suggest going. It is a huge relief to be surrounded by others who understand what you're going through, who you can talk openly with and be supported by. Almost 5 years our from our first loss, I still wonder who I'm going to become as a result of my kids dying. It will get harder, it will get easier, grief is not linear, you will have moments of joy and moments of reliving the tragedy. I will always listen.

Holly said...

One more thing I forgot to mention is I would get so MAD with the stupid "How are you doing?" it put me in such an awkward spot, as you mention to say "okay/fine,etc" or to be honest. I wrote a similar post to this and ended it the same way-this is how Im doing. Hang in there. All my love.

Anonymous said...

I can so relate to the "what is there to say" part. For a while, I just answered "surviving", or, later, "normal". I just didn't have the energy to describe any of the details, and I'm impressed you do.
And I'm glad you are finding pockets of joy. Hang in there. I hope that, over time, there may be more joy and less deep grief and blind rage. Although both are very understandable and necessary. (For some reason I missed the blind rage stage, and I still wonder if that's healthy...)
Sending much love.

Unknown said...

I will always listen too.

This is so hard, so complicated.

My last loss was a year ago. One of the things I feel the most sad about when I think of it is how I didn't feel that I could fully share my grief with anyone except my hubby. I think this was because of my own personal issues, but also because I felt like everyone had their own shit to deal with. I wish now that I was able to share more with my closest friends and family. I wished they asked me in a way that I felt safe enough to share.

Don't be afraid to lean on us, we are not afraid.

Turia said...

I am really not managing at all to keep up with blogs right now (crunch time for the dissertation). But I think about you all the time. My loss was different because so few people knew, but the alternating between grief and rage was exactly the same.

I still don't really talk about it with anyone. I've been avoiding socializing with people who don't know, because I don't want to have to pretend to be normal. But I also don't want to hang out with people who do know because I don't want to have to process it with others who don't understand how I feel. Not even Q. really gets it.

I think about you often. I found my blog to be the best possible outlet when I was first raging. Maybe yours would be an outlet too?


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