Thursday, March 20, 2008

So tonight is a bit melancholy. We're busy getting ready for Easter, my parents are coming to visit. Evan's totally excited about the Easter bunny, we're excited to see our family etc etc.. and it just amplifies what is missing so much. Isla should be here also getting ready. She should be wearing a frilly pink Easter dress, tights and little buckle shoes, like I always imagined my daughter would. It's so unfair, how this has actually happened. It's like I am a little girl, and I had a dream that I got the most amazing doll ever. One that I'd always hoped and dreamed for. Then I woke up, and I didn't actually get her at all. No pretty dresses, no barrettes, no buckle shoes. Not for me. I miss her so much these days. Tim and I have started writing to her in a little book we have with angels and roses on it (bought years ago, never used, eerily enough)...
No real point to tonight but to say hi to my girl out there, and tell her how much I wish I was holding her in my arms, instead of my heart. She is so incredibly missed.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wow, two posts in the same week, I'm on a roll. Actually, I'm up early so thought I'd take advantage of some quality me time. So, the six month mark came and went. I feel a sense of relief at having survived it. It was a reflective day. I felt a lot of things. Pain, of course. I relived the day as the hours passed, through her delivery, the hours beyond, and her death. I allowed myself to feel her, hold her near my heart. We put out her things, and cradled her ashes. We put the new lock on the urn. I relived some of the 'why me' feelings, and allowed them to come.

I've been reflecting a lot on the people in my life to whom I am so grateful for their friendship and love. I'm trying to thank them in an unscripted way for their tenacity, their willingness to stand by when I have defaulted on them time and time again, in some manner. In spite of my horrifically unlucky loss, I am a lucky person for the people I am blessed to have in my life. My parents are unconditionally supportive in my endeavours, never judging or berating my choices. My friends are unwavering in their loyalty. Though I *often* forget to return phone calls, chronically forget anniversaries, birthdays etc, I am forgiven without fail. I am lucky to have not one or two, but several very close friends who I know with certainty I could fall on and be sure of being caught. I have a lot of love in my life.

I think I am trying to find a way to blend Isla's terrible fate into my life in a meaningful way, without it feeling like I'm making light of her death, or diminishing her value as a person. Through Isla, I recognize that life is so very precious, and so finite. Isla had no chance, no life to build and develop. She had no opportunity to forge deep friendships and fall in love. I have these blessings all around me and it discomforts me to think of it all falling away, or atrophying because I did not care for it all.

When I fall deeply into grief, which I still do, it is hard to maintain that optimism. Yet I am trying. I am trying to connect. Trying to build meaning in the relationships I have with the people I love. I don't know if this is part of my healing, but I feel the need to reach out, and feel love from others again, feel connected to the living world, feel alive. I realize this could be the coffee talking, or the early morning which always brings a feeling of newness and vigour. But, whatever it is, I'll take it. I like feeling hopeful. I like feeling love for Isla, in my heart, and not being overwhelmed by pain and loss and loneliness all the time. It is a good feeling, being more in control. I hate floundering about, trying to get my footing, and leaning heavily on others for stability and reassurance. That part of grief is so chaotic and unpredictable. I like feeling powerful in my own right.

I guess what it comes down to, at least for today, is that I am grateful for the love in my life. I know there are many people who do not have it, and that saddens me. Most people also haven't had their child die in their arms either, but even some of those people are alone, and that devastates me. There is sun amidst the clouds for me and I am so grateful.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dear Isla...

So, it has been six months since you quickly came into, and exited our lives. I've been dreading today all week. It's been hanging there, like a cloud in the distance, getting bigger and blacker, filling with rain. I watched it, seeing it get bigger before me, knowing a storm was coming, and I simply embraced it. There is no running away from this. No shielding with an umbrella. You are real, you existed, you get all of me tonight. I honour you, my sweet daughter.

So we opened your memory box tonight, a Huggies box, no less. We brought out your ashes and cradled them. We placed the new lock on it, and each kept a key. We looked at your picture, and I cried for you. Pain I haven't allowed myself to wade into lately, I plunged headfirst into. I sobbed for you, and the life you should have had. Six months. You might have been sitting up. You might have had a bottle by now... I don't know. I do know you'd be in the cutest, frilliest bathing suit at the pool. You'd have had bows, ribbons, barrettes and curls to hold it all in.

We opened your mementos, and read the sympathy cards from loved ones. Now that a few months have passed, I can read the cards with the sympathy and kindness intended, rather than the anger at the lack of any real emotion in them. I mean, how empty "my thoughts are with you" and "keeping you in my prayers" seem after you've heard them a thousand times. I had thought that no one realized just how devastating and tragic this is, because the words all ring so hollow. I know now that in fact, they do know, or at least, can imagine it, and that's why their words are emtpy. They know how unbelievable the loss is. They have no idea what to say. What can you say? I don't even know what to say.

We lit the candles from the memorial. Evan's candle of hope too, it made me smile. The smell of your tea rose candle brought back memories from the memorial service, and that was difficult. I remember crying on dad's shoulder, just drowning in crippling grief. Unfathomable grief. I find I still say to him "can you even believe this happened? How does this even happen?"

My sweet girl, we miss you so much. I wonder if people who've not suffered a loss like this read blogs like mine and wonder how we can dwell... figure that they've recovered from the loss of loved ones, and why can't we mothers do the same? I might have asked the same question 6 months ago. But not now. I realize all too clearly just how much you have impacted my life, and how your short but powerful presence has changed me forever. I will never 'get over you' dearest Isla. I will always yearn for you, wish for you, grieve and mourn you. I will always know that life would have been far better with than without you. I walk with a limp now that is damage to my heart, irreparable damage that I must carry with me to my own grave. I walk on, like everyone else, but with a slight defect, some may not notice it at first, but there it is, just below the surface. I am vulnerable, yet strong for having had and lost you. I think my resilience must have increased, because I'm not dead... and you know how the saying goes....

So on your six month birthday my sweet angel, I wish you were here, I wish we were celebrating over a tender cuddle and a lullably, not through tears, an urn and words on a computer screen. But it's what we have. For some reason, I am meant to carry on, and in that existence, I honour you. I miss you terribly, I hope we are reunited one day. I love you my sweet beautiful daughter. Know how very much your dad and I wish you were here.


Monday, February 25, 2008

I've been reading some of the comments people have been leaving on the blog, and it is truly one of the only things that makes this awful place livable. I feel fortunate (?) to know people, if only via the internet, who are also on this hell-path. It calms me. I think I often get a little panicky that I'm suffering alone here, that there's no one to really talk to about it, to bare my soul to, without qualifying it all first. Or trying to describe everything I'm going through to people who want to be helpful by listening (bless them), but can't understand. I always feel I have to end my sadness on a happy, hopeful note with them because I know they're sitting there feeling so worried, or so hopeless for me, and I can't stand that. I can't stand the pity. When people ask 'how are you doing', what they really want to hear is "fine" or "getting better". Not "well, today has been absolute shit, and I wish the ground would open up and swallow me" or "it's actually horrible, and I can barely open my mouth to speak the words to tell you about it". Nobody wants to hear that. I don't even like saying it. I hate the reactions. I mean, I understand, people are trying to be sympathetic, compassionate and everything, but if I really told them how I was doing, I get the feeling people might secretly be thinking "oh fuck, get over it already.. it's been x months.." I feel like Eeyore when people ask, and I'm honest about it, realizing I rarely say I'm doing "well". I'm often doing okay, which is a good day. Sometimes I'm doing pretty okay, but most often, I'm downright miserable, sad, angry, resentful, jealous and lonely. Not a lonely that is cured with company, but a kind of empty aloneness that permeates to the bone, and feels like I'm the saddest person in the world. It sucks.

So anger. Is this the time when the anger phase is supposed to begin? At 5 months? Because I've been angry like never before. I think I blogged about this last time, but I can't be bothered to go check. Besides, it's what's on my mind, so here it is. I can't seem to get through the day without being pissed off about something. And I'm not talking about being angry about hitting red lights all the way home. I'm talking about seething red anger, and feeling rage towards my husband for killing an ant with my notepad (though this was pretty stupid on his part). Totally irrational anger. I know anger is one of the grief phases, but I don't know if it applies strictly to the loss, or runs over into anger in daily life. Hopefully the latter; then I'm still somewhat normal.
I don't like myself much these days. I'm angry so often. Angry at my son, who is so damn argumentative and antagonistic lately. I seriously think he's somehow irreparably traumatized by it all. It's not an outward display of grief, or mourning though (or maybe it is. I have no idea what's going on in his 4 year old head). It's more like a reaction to our behaviour. He is aggressive, uncooperative, disrespectful and stubborn SO much of the time, it drains me mentally and emotionally by the end of the day. Completely. Sometimes, I just want to crawl into the bed, pull the covers over and leave it all behind. I really do. That sounds so amazing. But then, I'd be totally alone, and that's worse. Even when he's being an asshole (sorry, I really do love the kid) at least he's there, and I can reach out and touch him. He's real. Yeah, I'm a total head case, you're all thinking it, I'm sure. :)

So... for those of you who are reading this who've had infant loss, did you reach a point where you thought you just weren't coping? Where more of your day was bad than was good? What did you do? Did you talk to someone? Or is this just my new life, and I am yet to discover it? How long does this anger phase last? I am so sick of being me, I just want to be someone else for a while. Someone whose most difficult part of the day is a burnt casserole... or being stuck in traffic.
I am so beaten down from feeling sad. From grieving my little girl. From being on the verge of tears while everyone around me goes on with life, thinking I am too, when I am truly not. I am in a glass box, watching it all, in it all, yet so incredibly alone. I hate this.

Sorry this is so melancholic. I am trying to think of positive, hopeful things to say to stop those who read this from freaking out thinking I'm about to jump off a bridge. But it is what it is. Some days there is just no point in pointing out the positives. They just don't matter sometimes. I'm not just having a bad day. I still can't believe this happened sometimes. What a god damned rip off.

Monday, February 18, 2008

it feels really good to write again, and I'm sorry I stayed away so long. I don't know why I've avoided it. Maybe I thought it would all go away if I stopped thinking about it.
Silly girl. I should know better.
So, it's been a while since I wrote, and I can feel that I'm running a bit from it all. We've moved provinces, which has been an experience and continues to be, daily. We haven't unpacked Isla's things onto her cabinet yet, I'm not sure why. I think I'm 'waiting' for something, I don't know what.. for the house to be 'ready', or something... Either way, I'm feeling fidgety, angry, anxious, depressed, angry, sad, hopeful, lost and did I mention angry? It's been difficult. Evan's been a nightmare. I feel horrible saying that, beacause I should be grateful etc etc.. but he's been just awful. Disagreeable, antagonistic, argumentative, all of it. Almost all of the time. I think it's a combination of boredom, adjustment issues, possibly grief, though I don't really think so, except in a possible reaction to our grief. I feel wiped, spent and just Done. Capital D. I want very much to be grateful, for this opportunity to start our new life here in the Kootenays, which holds so many amazing memories for me, and feels like home no matter how long I've been away. I want to feel hopeful, that our future holds many good things, in spite of the awful blow we've been dealt. I believe these things are possible, yet every time I feel like I've progressed on this stupid grief journey, and that I'm healing, I seem to fall 2 steps back. I know this is the jagged reality of grief, and on paper and in studies, it makes perfect sense, but to be the actual person on the roller coaster, experiencing it, without knowing what's around each bend is so emotionally draining. It makes it so hard to enjoy a good day when it comes, because you just *know* that something awful could be lurking beyond... I realize this is all very pessimistic, and I don't care. It is what it is. I *am* in fact very grateful for what I do have. I touch Evan often, cuddle him constantly, and enjoy most of our time together. But it doesn't ease the pain I feel for Isla's loss. And it's been a wretched week there. We've just passed the 5 month mark on the 15th. We don't have our support group anymore to help us through these difficult milestones. Five months. Starting solids. Maybe having a bottle now and then.... hair bows and barrettes in what I'm sure would have been wavy brown hair. Cute Easter dresses, tights, and little shoes. How long will I go on recognizing these missed moments? Will it be forever that I think of Isla, and what she'd be doing? How old she'd be? What her voice would sound like? Probably. I'm supposed to believe that this is the way that I remember, and keep her memory alive; by imagining these things, etc.. and in fact, I think I even stated that myself once. But, really, what it really does is remind me of the enormity of my loss. The fact that an entire life of joy, love and potential has been washed away. We are left to forever wonder what 'would have been'. And that's awful. That's where the dreadful loneliness sets in. Where everyone has acknowledged what a tremendous loss we've endured, appreciated what they have, and moved on to ponder what to make for dinner, we are stuck. We don't get to just shake our heads and say the profoundly ignorant things people say, like "you're so strong, I couldn't handle it" and just go on our merry way. We must endure it daily, for the rest of our lives. And that's another thing that really pisses me off. When people say things like we're strong, and they couldn't handle it I just want to shake them. Do you think I thought I could handle it either asshole? Or wanted to? I sure didn't ask for this. And what would you do exactly? Jump off a bridge? Leave everyone else behind? It's such a slap in the face to say something like this, as though it's a fate I've chosen. I'm not strong enough either, but somehow, I have no fucking choice. So stop telling me how strong I am. Nobody whose been through something like this appreciates a comment like that. Maybe after I've run a marathon, but not after I've experienced the death of my child. Strength has nothing to do with it.
I miss you sweet Isla. I know you'd have been the most beautiful 5 month old out there, and you'd have fulfilled us completely. We miss you so very much, every day, all the time. You were such a special baby girl, and we just wish so much you were here in our arms. How we ache for you my sweetheart.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I found the Baby Loss Blog Directory, and I'm flabbergasted. I cannot believe the number of baby loss blogs. If we assume probably about 5% of people who lose a baby blog (and I think that's probably a generous estimate), then the number of actual losses becomes astounding. It's not a new figure, but suddenly, when there are pictures, faces, families and lives put to each individual statistic, the volume of losses is staggering. I have been perusing several baby loss blogs, some I've found at my new favourite baby loss site,, and some who've surfed their way over to mine, and left comments. I can't believe how often I find myself concurring, and nodding over and over in agreement with their comments, perceptions, new realities and such. It is a mixed bag really, because I am part of an exclusive club no one wants to join. It is pretty much the shittiest thing on earth, yet here are these women. They are amazing writers, insightfully narrating their own journeys, and trudging their way through grief, lending a shoulder to cry on and crying on mine, and I think "wow, how lucky am I to have all of this within my grasp?" I mean, I would trade it all in for another minute with Isla in a heartbeat, but what a strange thing has happened in having had her at all. I have been exposed to this new underground of suffering people, like me, willing to share my pain, while I share theirs. In the most raw and vulnerable of human states, we expose ourselves and are at the mercy of virtual strangers. And we embrace each other unconditionally, with compassion and empathy. It's a level of humanity that is sadly not often experienced in 'real life'. I have visited a few 'every day' blogs, where the bloggers write about a new recipe they've found, or some anecdote their husband told them. Sure, it's cute, but it seems awfully meaningless to me. There is no richness, no meat, so to speak. Again, I'd give it up in a second and have my own 'fluff blog' if I could, but I guess if I have to endure this, I am grateful for the company of some insightful, thought provoking, empathetic souls with whom to share the journey, in all its ups and downs.

Note: This was a really shitty week, PMS, the 4 month mark, full moon and all that...
This post feels really optimistic, so I'm sure I'll crash tomorrow. Ah, the joys of grief.