Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stuck in a moment at 4 am

Sometimes grief is a weird thing. It is like running around in a dark room that you are completely familiar with, except that this time someone moved a wall. And you run right into that wall, unexpectedly and painfully and find yourself gasping for breath in your bed at 4 am, when you have to go to work in a few hours, crying uncontrollably and wondering what the hell just happened to you.

After I looked at the clock, I realized it was 4 am, which was the time when Shannon was born. So, was the time significant? I don't think so, the grief I felt was not about her birth, it was about what happened next. It was about the time we spent with her after she was born. The end of the time we spent with her. Knowing that we would never see her again, when is it the right time to let go, to give your baby (your dead baby) to someone who is going to walk away with her and take her somewhere where you will not see her again until you pick up the urn at the funeral home. The person who is going to take your daughter somewhere (where?) into parts of the hospital that regular people don't get to go.

When do you, when can you, let go? How do you decide that it's time? How do you get to the point where you'd rather leave the hospital than stay there with the body of your child, to get away from the hushed voices and the people who walk past your door with the butterfly on it and the doctor who keeps coming in to say he's sorry. How long is too long to stay? When it is better to leave your dead child to return to your living child? The one who doesn't know that his sister is dead, the one who only knows that mommy didn't come home the night before.

Barry Manilow says, "letting go is just another way to say I'll always love you so..." Kate Winslet, in the sappy end to the sappy Titanic, tells her doomed love "I'll never let go." It's all crap.

You never let go, it all keeps coming back. No matter whether you are a day or a week or a year away from that terrible day. Even if you wanted to let go, you can't. And I don't know if I want to. Because I think it is always supposed to hurt on some level.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

11 months, and counting

Shannon was born 11 months and 9 days ago. That seems like a ridiculously long period of time to me right now. In just a few weeks, she'll have been gone a year. And I don't know what to say about that. My husband is about to leave the country for two weeks, and he gets back on Shannon's birthday. I wish I could go back to a time when February didn't fill me with dread and deep, deep sadness, but I lost two pregnancies, one year apart, within one day of each other. That really does make February suck, big time.

I feel like I've made good progess on healing this year. I will always miss my daughter, I will never get to see if she would have turned out to be some super awesome kid, (I suspect that she would have, despite her mom), but I am a stronger person now. I am a more compassionate person now. I understand the unspeakable now. I care a lot less about the unimportant things in life. On the good side that isn't so good, I have a lot less patience for stupidity and shallowness now. Why is that bad, well, only because there is so much of it around me - in the misplaced priorities of others, in the people who'd rather complain about the fact that they got a *X* when they wanted a *Y* (when all they should want is a living baby), in the people who poop on others just to get what they want first, in the list of others who I deal with regularly who just don't have a clue. I'm a lot more tired than I have ever been. And I still wonder if I will get my happy ending at the end of all this loss drama.

This past week, I had my yearly review at work. It was fine, but they mentioned that I had some "health issues" last year. Yes, Shannon is apparently a "health issue" when you work in a law firm and you are being reviewed by a room full of men. I don't even know if they knew what they were saying or what they had been told about my loss, or if they were just told that I was in the hospital or something. I suspect that they were told that I had a loss, but beyond that, who knows. And they said they were sorry and that they hoped everything was ok now. I wonder what "ok now" means, but I am not going to try to go there with a room full of men, so I dug my nails into my hand, said yes and thank you... Some discussions just aren't worth having.

And, on some level, I guess I am "ok now," if only I really knew what ok means...