My grief right now:
On Wednesday I mentioned how hard this week had been. The word hard doesn’t seem to give justice to the magnitude of emotions I have felt. If hard means feeling back to rock bottom, heartbreaking pain, teary days, lonely in crowds, isolated in life and late night sobbing again…then yes hard is okay to use but it just seems so – meh of a word to use!
I have spent probably a good week now feeling emotional but emotional is probably also an understatement too for the pain that flooded into me Sunday and Monday. Although before I lost her I was warned of what grief would feel like it still always catches me off guard when I’ve been doing well at keeping my head above water as its such a disabling pain and one that this time took me further and further down.
I felt suffocated, lost, alone, rejected, unsure of everything.
I wanted to hide away from everything but at the same time just talk to someone about it all. I felt like someone had ripped from me the plaster and with it came the new skin I had so carefully grown over the wound for the last few months and then it all came out again and here I was with it, left back at square one with an open wound in need of healing and pain relief. Back to figuring out how to put it all back in there!
I wish some days I could reflect on the loss of my daughter and say I feel blessed in some way from it all. I don’t.
I wish I could say I understand why and accept it. I don’t.
I wish I felt more supported and less alone in this battle. I don’t.
I wish ‘stuff’ filled gaps where a baby should be. They don’t.
I wish I could speak out and ask for more help. I can’t (and find many are often busy or have their own lives) and I hate the rejection and vulnerability it gives me.
I wish there was someone who got it, who we could hang out and say it all. There isn’t – people try (which I appreciate) but how can they ever know when they’ve not been here.
So instead I am free falling through life with so many unanswered questions and emotions whizzing around my brain and constantly being suppressed to live a relatively normal life for myself and my children and to an extent for others too. There are days when I think “that’s it, here is rock bottom and now I can find the pieces and start putting life back together” but then I realise I was just stuck on a tree hovering somewhere above the chasm of grief and there’s more pain and un-surety to feel and come, there’s more fear to face and more lack of control awaiting me. More days where I paint on my smile and tell everyone i’m okay because I know its what they want to hear.
No Time Frame:
As humans we need to survive by having goals (at least I do), we need a time frame in which to complete things and know where we are headed and how long it will take us to get there and some way of measuring our progress so we can evaluate..we see it in every aspect of society; school, work, hobbies, sport, parenting…its all how well am I doing? and when will I be at this stage or that one? I realise now though that the measure of time cannot even be present on this journey – “it takes as long as it takes” and for some that maybe 6 months or for others it could be 9 or for some its years. But who are we to judge how long it takes someone to deal with the loss of a baby or loved one? or how they deal with it as being acceptable in your eyes? You never no how you would react until you find yourself here. It brings you emotions you’ve never known and to places where you no longer know yourself.
Do you realise how hard it is to wrap your mind around not having a time frame to reach a destination of being okay? going to bed and waking up thinking of it. Waking up and briefly feeling normal again but then remembering, and getting up with a determination of surviving each day as oppose to enjoying each day. Not ever knowing how many more of these exist in the future. How many more weeks of trying to protect your wound so it has time to heal…properly? How many more days of painting on a smile? How many more days of trying to protect others because you have learn’t that death and babies is awkward for most? More days of wanting to feel normal? More days of wanting to feel “fixed” instead of broken and wanting to just fit back into normal life.
Do you know how much that hurts? Do you realise no amount of faith, other children or positive thinking can make that pain any less intense?
Have you ever felt darkness so thick that it consumes you?
Have you ever been in a crowd of people but felt so lonely as everyone is enjoying life, moving forward, accomplishing things and you are just stuck? Helpless? Desiring for someone to recognise your pain and listen?
Have you ever gone through life hoping to meet someone that will understand because no one around you seems to?
Have you ever hurt so much you cannot understand how you are still breathing and here feeling it?
Have you cried so hard you didn’t know it was physically possible?
Have you felt the fire of anger burn inside and you cannot do anything but scream it out whilst you cry harder than physically possible? how about that and then that combination makes you physically sick and feel like you have the flu?
Have you ever stood at the bathroom sink at 12.30am til almost 2am weeping into it, crumpled over, not even recognising yourself hoping it will symbolically wash away this pain you feel? crying, sobbing, shouting, disconnected and spouting out endless unanswered questions, wondering why it is that you got the short straw and no one else understands? Wondering if you can even walk again to get back to bed? but in fear of sleep because you will have to face another day of this pain that no one around you gets, let alone will talk to you about!
I have felt and feel all of this and things that I cannot even put into words. There are days I understand phrases like “living hell” because I’ve been there. That’s no exaggeration or dramatisation, I don’t use it lightly. it is the only phrase that rightly explains to you the pain I feel some days. It is such a weary life to lead, exhausting and days when its all too much. I am constantly battling for survival, battling to go forward and be “normal”. Days of it just being me and Nath feeling alone in our lives because people don’t get it, don’t talk about it, don’t want to remember.
If your next suggestion to me is “oh you really need to see someone about that” I’d like to tell you that I met with my grief councillor and there is no answer to my questions or how I go about rebuilding life because it is all normal – that’s the kick in the stomach right there, we have to feel all of this to heal from it, we have to walk this path to make sense of the journey. There’s no instructions and no ‘how to get through this’ manual. So I really have to just keep having hope and doing my best to get through which will lead to it feeling better and less of these emotional breakdowns or I give up and surrender to it which will do me no good. I still have 1st anniversaries to face and a lifetime without her and so these emotions are bound to continue raising their monstrous head but as I’ve chosen hope from the start all I can do is continue this pattern and hope that it will in some ways get easier to live with and more time will be present between them.
The Need for Acceptance:
There was one thing that did come to light, something that did cover and answer to a lot of what I feel all the time and its simply that I just want to be accepted…The battle of acceptance is such a childish stage, you’d think a grown women, wife and mother was confident and didn’t think of others opinions. I don’t (usually), but it would seem that I am back to figuring out who I am, and what I have figured out is that part of me is now a bereaved mother and a person plagued by grief and its something I can’t just switch off. I am Mary a wife to Nathan and also I am the mother of 3 and when I talk of number 3 it is because I want to, just as when I talk of 1 and 2! I want her to be a part of life and our story, our journey and what you do not realise is that your lack of acknowledgement towards my daughter my grief and my loss is a constant rejection of who I really am now. Avoiding “death” talks, “grief” talks, “Stillbirth” talks or anything in between because it depresses YOU, or is awkward FOR YOU? is not helpful to US – this is a huge part of our life, we talk because it helps, we yearn for it to be accepted and for our baby to be remembered and every time its overlooked, rejected, turned around to be looked in any other way than what we feel, disregarded, not acknowledged, accused of being selfish or depressive it pushes us further away from normality, It makes me and my loss and my baby feel rejected by you. We sit at home together often asking why no one spoke of it today? why its like she never existed or why anyone could assume our lives are fine after I birthed a sleeping baby and he buried her…you don’t just bounce back from trauma like that in 9months!
So yes of course I want to be accepted, I want relationships to be how they used to be (but I don’t know if they ever will?) I want more love, more acceptance towards my situation and to how I behave because of it or how I choose to respond from it, I want for people to be available when I cant take any more and not judge, I want them to come over instead of always saying “today’s not good” because its today when I need them the most. I want more true friendship, more consideration from people in my life and i’m sorry if that means its one sided but there’s very little left in me to give that i’m not already giving to our little family. I wish I could be fun loving, interested more in others lives, more approachable, more ambitious, less miserable, more excited for your accomplishments and blessings and more of a friend like others can offer and I once was…but I am not and find it hard some days to be a friend because I don’t know who I really am any more – what once made me happy pains me and it makes me feel so lost, so confused, so broken and so very much trying to make sense of everything. It hurts so much some days, my arms feel so empty and my life hollow that all I can think of is me and my broken heart.
I want to talk freely and that be okay with the listener. I want to be considered from time to time that I might not be “OKAY” and I want to feel at ease to drop the happy persona when grief hits. I want it to stop being the elephant in the room, I want to stop feeling lonely or isolated in a group, I want to stop being told how I should behave or what I should feel. I want to be accepted for me and that now means accepting my life is hard STILL, my pain very much present and I feel lost and am trying to figure out and rebuild my life. It means accepting that I am grieving and it is unpredictable, it means I will talk of death and life after it, of anniversaries, of graves and headstones, of pain, of anything at all related. Its how I work to make sense of it and being shot down or disregarded..not accepted or never asked makes it harder to share in the future and leads to feeling rejected. I wish I had more direction right now but I don’t know what im supposed to be doing and finally I wish wish I could fully accept that my baby died and what has happened and then maybe I will be more fully accepted myself and maybe then I will feel less disconnected, less isolated, less true to my inner feelings, less of a loner whilst everyone enjoys life around us and all their mates, all their plans, all their “living the dreams”! You can go home and shut the door on it, even forget it until you see either one of us again, but for us its always there – it is our life and its changed us!