Monday, November 26, 2007

Well, it's been a while since I wrote. We went to BC to see the new house. Tim hadn't seen it yet, and we took Evan. It was a mixed bag. We didn't plan very well, and ended up having to buy a few necessities to get us through the week. We stayed at the house, which has a few guests, it appears. Bugs. Whatever, apparently they're normal. Evan was as good as a bored 3 year old could be, really. And even then, we found our patience wearing thin and yelling too much. He spent some time with Colby and Tyler, but we neglected to arrange anything concrete. And here Tracy was planning to make Evan a birthday cake etc... And now this week is Evan's actual birthday, and I've fucked it all up again. A good friend of ours was waiting to hear from me about the birthday plans, and since I didn't get back to her, now we're having a mediocre party at the mall, not at all what I really wanted, but it's my fault anyway, so whatever. I hate how this is all going. I feel like people are trying so hard to do what I want, and accommodate me through this, but really, I wish people would just tell me what to do. Make the decisions for me. I can hardly decide what to make for dinner anymore, let alone plan a birthday party. It's an excuse for being a lazy correspondent, I know, but I really feel unequipped to deal with the responsibilities and obligations of being a good friend right now. I feel torn between trying to be the good friend and make plans for outings etc, and just saying fuck it all, and dropping out of everyone's lives, because at least then I can't let anyone down anymore. I think I'll just do what I usually do. Suck it up, let them be angry and disappointed in me, and move on. Tim wanted to talk vehicles last night, about his, specifically. The original plan was for us to get a small SUV for me and Evan, and a battered old pickup truck for him, as we'd be taking trips to the dump, bringing home home reno stuff, etc... and now he's thinking an old SUV would be better for him too, and what do I think about that? And he throws all these questions at me, and I just couldn't do it. They may seem like just 'ideas' to him, but to me, these are huge discussions, that rattle the already tenuous foundations of my existence, and I can't handle much change right now. I could feel the inside of my head bubbling over with ever question, until I was almost mute... I literally could not answer another question, and lost it. I had to explain how being inundated with all the questions affected me, and how unstable it made me feel, and how I am wracked with indecisiveness right now, and can't even handle being asked what colour car to get, nevermind what kind of car, truck or SUV. Fuck, I feel like everyone expects things to be back to normal now. Don't get me wrong, everyone has been really supportive, and wonderful, for the first 8 weeks or so, but now I find people feeling impatient and frustrated with me. I think it must be like this for them: I had a loss. A wicked, horrible, unfathomable loss. They grieved with me, it was torture for many of them too. After a few weeks, life carried on for them. As it does for me too, I mean, time doesn't stop for me either. But how I deal with life now is different than those who got to go back to their normal, relatively unchanged lives. My everyday existence is different than it was before, and it won't ever be what it was, no matter what. So as much as people want me to be who I was before (which, truth be told, wasn't great either, I've never been a great friend, really) I can't. I am not that person. Though it may puzzle and even frustrate people that I can't even get through a seemingly unrelated activity without somehow coming apart at the seams, I can't help it. And if I repress my need to somehow escape, to save the others the awkwardness and inconvenience of my grief outburst, then I fall into a black hole, and am moody and withdrawn for the rest of the activity. So what do I do? I don't want to be the killjoy, the one who dampens the mood or whatever, even for myself, I get angry at myself for falling into it over and over again, when all I even want is just to have some uninterrupted fun with my family and friends. I just can't. I can't do it, because it's a part of me. Isla's life and death is woven through my whole self. It will be a part of every single thing I think, say and do for the rest of my life. It'll affect my choices, my ability to cope with future crises, my willingness to take risks, and accept challenges. I think after an appropriate grieving time, most of my friends and family went back to their lives, but didn't realize how I can't do that. One blogger whom I completely respect and am in awe of, despite our religious differences, described it beautifully. She said she feels like she's sitting on the bottom of the ocean. Her grief is the deepest and darkest of all, and no one is there with her. There are friends and family on the surface of the ocean, looking down at her, maybe dipping a toe or a finger in. They cannot share in her experience, it's so different at the bottom. And she cannot share in theirs. They are above her, in a different place, with different realities and experiences in the world. They don't see the world from the same vantage point, and therefore, she can't live the same way as they do, or the same way she used to. That's how I feel too. Everyone's back to normal, and want me back to normal, but this IS my new normal, and it sucks for me too. Bigtime.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Well, it's been 8 weeks, plus a day. Today was an okay, no, pretty okay day. I hesitate to say 'good' because that would be misleading, in that people might actually assume I'm better. Anyway, I think today made up for Friday, which blew. It was my first night alone since I had Isla. Tim was on evenings, Evan went to bed around 8 and I had 4 hours of uninterrupted wallowing time. And wallow I did. Deeply. Grief is an interesting emotion, I'm discovering. It's always there with you, like a body part almost, yet in different strengths. In fact, I think I'll liken it to a toothache, since I have one of those too. Lucky me. So my grief, like my toothache, is omnipresent. It's constantly there, in my awareness, just existing. Sometimes, I feel a sense of pressure, not exactly pain, just an awareness that something feels different around that tooth, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Sometimes, I'll avoid chewing on that side altogether, to avoid any chance of a flare up. Sometimes, I tease it a little. I'll send a small bit of food over to that side and test the waters... does the tooth hurt when I push food into it? Does it feel okay? I feel like I do this with my grief a bit too. Sometimes I totally ignore it. I don't want to even entertain the possibility of a meltdown because I'm in public, or because I don't want to be a killjoy or because I'm just so god damned tired of crying. Sometimes, I deliberately bring it on... I'll listen to sad songs and look through her pictures and have it out. The toothache, when it hurts, HURTS. Sometimes all I can do to get through the pain is pop a few ibuprofens, close my eyes and rock until the pain subsides. It's white searing pain, and every time it flares up, I curse that I waited so long to book the root canal I can't get in for until December 7th. Grieving is like that for me too. Sometimes, the ache of missing Isla is so intense, so physically palpable, all I can do is hold her blanket, or myself, and just rock while I sob. And I do sob. Sometimes so loudly and fiercely that my fillings vibrate. That's never happened before, and sometimes, the power with which it comes out of me scares me a bit. What am I capable of? How is this stuff inside me? How can I manage to have a somewhat normal day and then collapse into a heap in the evening? It's bizarre to me.

The other thing about grief I've been thinking about is how it reminds me of a wave. Like I'm in the ocean, and far out I see a big wave coming in. I see that it's building in strength and intensity, and I speed up to get to shore before it reaches me. In reality, I could escape a water wave, and get safely on the shore and continue merrily on my way. But I can't escape this. There is no safe shore to run towards. The wave just keeps building, and I keep running, faster and checking over my back to see if it's still there. By running from it, and refusing to allow it to wash over me, it somehow seems stronger and more powerful, and might consume me. But, inevitably, since I know I cannot outrun this wave, I acquiesce. I turn into it, face it full on and let it crash down on me. This is my grief. No matter how much I try not to think about Isla, keep her door closed, read books on trying again, try to run from the suffocating grief or whatever, it does not work, and this wave smothers me. So I let it, eventually. What choice do I have? And yet, once I am soaked in it, once I've screamed, sobbed, wailed and somehow squeezed every bit of emotion out of me, the wave ebbs. It's power is gone, it skulks back out to sea, until the next time. I am left battered and wrung out, physically exhausted and spent. Yet, in some odd way, it's kind of empowering. I'm no longer running from this wave; it's relented, for now. I've beat it once again, and come out alive.

I think the anticipation of a heavy grieving experience is worse than the actual experience itself. The dread of coming face to face with the anguish and despair is awful, but somehow, during my sobs, looking at her pictures, listening to sad songs, it isn't as bad as anticipating it. Somehow, this is my way of 'being with Isla' if that makes any sense. It's an intimate time, between her and me, and I actually kind of treasure it. That must sound so odd in light of what I wrote Friday, but whatever, I'm not above contradicting myself, if that's what it seems I'm doing here. In some weird way, these times where I grieve Isla so intensely, while they hurt like nothing I've ever experienced, connect me to her in a very intimate, maternal way. It feels worse to spend the day dreading the impending blowout than actually enduring the blowout itself. I probably won't feel that way next time I have one, or hell, even 5 minutes from now, but if I have to live with this grief the rest of my life, which I do, then I have to find some way to reconcile it into my every day existence. William Faulkner once said "given a choice between grief and nothing, I'd choose grief." I thought this was preposterous the first time I heard it, but I think I understand: While not a pleasant emotion, grief is a connection to something, a feeling that represents a certain depth of love, in pain. So for me, if the choice is to be connected to my daughter in pain, or not be connected to her at all, I choose pain. As awful as it is, I will take it. Sweet dreams baby girl, mommy's missing you tonight.

Friday, November 9, 2007

So, I'm sitting here watching Scrubs. They're performing cpr on a man and I am a mess. All I hear is the hospital staff counting as they did cpr on Isla. It's been a weird day. I had coffee with a friend this morning, it went okay. I think people are desperate to see some sign that things are better. I see it in people's faces when I laugh or make a joke or something. It's like their faces light up at the thought that I'm not in pain anymore. I feel kind of abandoned when I see their faces. Like they don't actually want to share in my grief anymore, they're ready to move on and be happy again. I feel alone, more than I did right after it happened. I almost feel guilty if I want to talk about it, or if I turn the conversation to Isla, I think I see (not sure, but I think I do) a look wash over their face like "oh here we go again..." and I feel really self conscious about it, and so alone. All I want to do is go into her room and smell her things and squeeze the shit out of her sleeper or blanket, to somehow absorb her into me, to hold her so near me that I don't feel the pain so hard. I just want her back and I am so miserable without her here. The things I do to console myself, or get by each day seem so hollow when I'm feeling low. Baking cookies with Evan is such a joke because he's into everything and I get so frustrated I distract him with some other activity, and end up finishing it myself, and what's the point in that? God I am so tired of the sadness, the missing her, the physical lack of my baby with me. I am so, so heartbroken. I am sobbing as I write this and I cannot believe the depth of the pain I'm feeling. I say I don't want the hurt to go away entirely because it'll mean she never made an impact, which I suppose is true to some extent, but this misery is nearly unbearable to me. I have less desire to be here than not. I know that's an incredibly selfish thing to say and probably seems even moreso to those who've not lost a child, but it is what it is. I am broken all the way through, and though I thought the hope of others who've walked before me was helping, I don't know that it is, and I feel hopeless still. All I want, ALL I WANT is my baby girl. God how unfair this all is. How can she not be here? Her tiny soft smooth little body, her brand new hair and fingers, not to ever feel me, or her dad? Never to hear eachother's voices? Not to ever nurse? Not to ever go to kindergarten or graduate from high school? To never get married, or bear children of her own? It's all too much for me, I feel so unable to deal with the magnitude of it all. Sometimes I can push it away for a while, and feel like I'm doing well. Doing well isn't really that at all. It's just pushing it away until I can't anymore. I am alone tonight, and I think that's why it's so damn hard now. There are no distractions. I had Evan up until 8. He stressed me out so badly I YELLED at him, full bore, and didn't even try to stop myself, though I knew I was acting horribly to him. He covered his ears, and I didn't care, I yelled on. I am a horrible wicked parent to him, and I don't deserve him at all. Now that he's gone to bed, which I needed so badly, I'm at a loss of what to do. I feel antsy and scared to be alone with my thoughts. I want to go sit in Isla's room and hold her, and hear her breathing and see her smile. She'd have been 8 weeks tomorrow. 2 months. God please let tomorrow be better. I am so very unhappy. I want desperately to feel genuine happiness, I know I'm not being very patient, and Isla deserves all these tears, and of course, I grieve for her with all of my soul but I am not strong enough to endure this pain for much longer. I am so tired. So tired, the things that mattered enough to keep me going this long are starting to not matter, and all I want is my baby girl. God Isla, I miss you so much.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I've learned that places of grief and mourning are never ones you really want to be welcomed into, but I do anyway. Because you may be a bereaved parent yourself, or maybe you know one, and my hope is that maybe you will find the comfort that I have in blogs like mine: that knowing you are not alone on this heartbreaking journey makes the burden of it less powerful, less consuming. If you are a bereaved parent, my heart goes out to you. I wish you peace and eventually, some ease of your pain. Welcome.

The name of my blog, Mi Isla Sola, is Spanish for My Lonely Island. A few other translations came up for that as well, but this one suited my headspace the most. I feel like I am on an island in a way. Alone. There's the rest of the world on the mainland, and they're looking toward something. From my island, I am looking toward the same thing, but we see it very differently from our separate vantage points. Though I am near the people on the mainland, and can hear them, see them, and them me, I am not "with" them. I am removed in an almost physical sense, from the rest of the world. I can participate in the mundane every day realities of life, but I don't really 'feel' part of it all. I don't know how I feel about it really. On one hand, I appreciate this new way of looking at the world, like I have bullshit glasses now; in that I can spot all the bullshit in the world, quickly, and not bother myself with it. I've gained a sense of what's important to me in life, and it's not stuff and things of material worth, but love of family and friends, and precious times with them. But it's a lonely place, feeling isolated from the rest of the world; a place in which everyone seems to have some place to go, some people to see, something funny to laugh at and enjoy. I get angry that I don't have the
naïveté I once did, with nothing but the weather to complain about, nothing but a few bills to worry about. It's all so trivial now, and I find that I compare everything in life to the loss of Isla. It's not very productive, or conducive to healing, I'm sure, yet I do it anyway. For example, when someone I know recently complained about her broken arm, and the hassle it presented to her, I was enraged that she could be so shallow and unappreciative of her life. How dare she complain about such a minor inconvenience. I'm trying not to compare everything to my loss, because really, if I do that, I will win every time. There is truly nothing worse than enduring the death of your child, I'm convinced. Yet I must realize that everyone's experience is their own, with value and worth in themselves. I, like many others in the world are coping with a bum deal, and I should embrace, not reproach them for their experiences. I want to become a better person, not a bitter one. Eventually.

I started journaling a couple of weeks ago, and I'm going to copy and paste those entries here, retroactively, so the dates will be wei
rd for a bit.