Wednesday, May 17, 2006

We are those people

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We were the people normal people didn't want to talk to for fear our bad luck would rub off on them.

Now we are those people even we didn't want to talk to for fear their bad luck would rub off on us.

An interesting twist to the story of us.
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Was it the lunchmeat I ate?
Was it God's way of punishing me?
Was it another undetected infection?
Was it that I stopped taking prenatals?
Was it that I didn't sleep on my left side?
Was it the cup of coffe I drank each morning?
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They say lightening doesn't strike twice...and maybe they're right.
Maybe Sam was my lightening strike and it's not going to happen again.
Maybe THIS is what is "normal" for me.
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Was it that I just couldn't love him like he needed?
Was it because I was sick the day after conceiving him?
Was it because I twisted funny in my chair on Thursday afternoon?
Was it because I couldn't let go of the anger over his brother's death?
Was it because I joked that we were "ahead of the game because he was alive?"
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Why was I so stupid? Why didn't I just wait to talk to Sam about the Beast? One more week and I could have spared him the heartache...the confusion...the sadness. One more week and Travis could have tiptoed in and out of our family without unnecessarily disrupting Sam's world.

But nooooo...I had to be cute and take him to the ultrasound. We had to call the baby "the Beast" and talk about names. I had to encourage Sam to talk about sharing his toys...about dressing the Beast in red...about playing together...only to disappoint him again. I am an IDIOT. I am the worst kind of mother.

I don't learn...and therefore doom my innocent kid to live through painful repeats of my mistakes.
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msfitzita writes today about how we are more than our sorrow...how we have something other than our tragedy to offer the world...how we are not just "...pitiful, hopeless, helpless thing. Broken, damaged and useless."

She's right, of course. But I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't a point where a person loses that...where a mother does become defined only by her tragedy.

I know mothers who are defined solely by their children. They have no hopes or dreams or aspirations other than to be good mothers to their children...to have their children grow up to be good people.

And if that is so, then it must be so that there COULD be women who are defined by their dead children...by the tragedy of losing those children. It doesn't seem so unbelievable that such people exist.

And if they exist, the question becomes...how did they come into existence? Were they just not strong enough? Was the tragedy that much stronger than their strength...their will to remain amidst the living? Did they resolve to fight...and lost anyhow? Or did they just resign themselves to the way things are...and not even attempt to fight the battle?

I ask these things because I need to prepare. I could imagine how easy it would be to give in...when I had one dead son. Now that there are two of my flesh and blood sharing a plot in the cemetery, I hear it calling me. Insanity. Desperation. Abandon. I no longer have to imagine it. I can hear it...feel it...taste it...all around me. Is it worth the effort to fight it? I look at Sam and obviously answer yes.

But I wonder if I'm fighting a losing battle. Will I be defeated anyway...no matter how valiantly I fight? And what am I really fighting for? What is left of me, outside of this hell, that is worthy of saving? Tell me the joy will return. I will believe you because I've been there too. But I know that the return of my joy can so easily be followed by a sucker punch to the gut.

You think you're happy now? I'm not through with you. And I'm not talking about job satisfaction...or whether you like your house or your car. No...I'm going to toy with the lives of those you love. What are you gonna do about it? NOTHING!

Maybe that is what drives some women so mad that they seek solace in the pain. For within the pain there is comfort in the expectation. There are no surprises. You know not to plan for the happiness, but to accept the welcome familiarity of the sadness.
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He didn't leave...he was lurking...and I fear that he lurks for me as well.
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Now that we have become the people we didn't want to talk to we know the judgments. Somehow defective. Somehow cursed. Sad. So sad. What happened to them was just so sad. What were they thinking?
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9 comments:

Julie said...

I wish I had some words of wisdom, or words that would make it all better, but you and I both know that there is just no such thing. I don't know what to say Cathy. I wish I did, but I just don't. I looked for a card for you today, just to let you know that I was thinking of you, and found nothing. It was all about how "God is with you in your time of loss" etc etc, and honestly, they made me want to puke, so I left them there. You are constantly in my thoughts. I'm sending you hugs, and wishing I could do so much more.

R said...

Catherine,
You are so filled with fear. I don't want it to be this way for you.

Should you fight? I don't think you have a choice. And I know you know that, too.

Pam said...

Catherine,
What's happened to you and your family is unspeakable and yet you are able to speak about it eloquently in ways that are heartwrenching and hopefully healing.

No platitudes can ease the pain but what else do we have...

I'm so sorry. It's not fair. We're all thinking of you. You're stronger then you realize, you've already shown that. Please take care of yourself.

Sarah said...

I don't think you can avoid defining yourself by your children who died right now. And it will always be a significant part in who you are. But i really do think (believe?) that it won't be the only way you define yourself forever. I don't think you will always feel the rawness and pain you do now.

Or at least i really really hope you won't.

hugs

vixanne wigg said...

Catherine,
I'm really scared to try and offer you any advice, because I don't feel I have a right to. But please know that you are NOT to blame for the death of either of your boys. It did not happen because you are a bad person or a good person or because you deserved it in some way. I think, I hope you know that deep down...but I DO understand the need for some reason, for some answers...even if it means blaming yourself.

I really do hope that you find some answer about what happened to Travis. I was thinking about the ultrasound when you said that he had a problem with his bowel. Is it possible that it was more serious than the doctor thought?

It seems like you would think there was a connection, but it could also be that there really wasn't...horrible as it all is.

It's just cruel and unfair, but I've said that before. Just so sad for you.

msfitzita said...

I can't explain how I survived losing my boy - how any of us have survived burying our children - but we have. We're much stronger than we think we are, even when we don't feel strong at all.

As you yourself said, there's no greater love - or strength - than someone who is willing to risk having her heart broken into a million pieces. You love that much and you are that strong.

And you are a good mother. Don't ever doubt that for a second. It pours out of you in such an easy way that maybe you don't see it, but you are. Oh Catherine, you ARE.

lauralu said...

i'd like to add: sam lost a brother, for the second time. sam deserved to experience the joy of knowing about his brother, and anticipating him - just as travis deserved to be anticipated. and sam deserves the opportunity to mourn his brother, to think about him, to know him in what little way he can. to deny him these processes would be to cheat him. of course, these things are hard for him, but the alternative - the repression, the confusion, the unanswered questions - would ultimately be far harder for him, i believe. being open with him is a gift to him, and you are brave to be a big enough person to give it to him.

love to you all.

Shinny said...

Catherine,
I have nothing to say that could possibly help you through this awful time. I just wanted you to know that I am here for you though and thinking of you often. I know that doesn't help at all with what you are going through and if there was something I could do to help, know that I would in a second.

You are so strong and are an inspiration to me to keep going. I know that may sound silly.

I hope that the pain lessens and just know that you are loved by many all over the world. We can never bring back your boys but would if we could.

Big hug from Wisconsin and know you are loved.

kate said...

I do believe that Lauralu is right about Sam and Travis....in the end it is probably 'better' this way, though it is a hard thing to see your living child mourn. You are all in thoughts...

Yes, there *are* women who are forever defined by the tragedy of losing their children. I could not tell you why it is different for some people than for others. I agree with what Sarah said, though -- i don't think this will define you forever. And i don't think you are fighting a losing battle. I think you will make it through....for Sam, you will do it.