Monday, January 22, 2007

So how are you doing now, really?

Does it get any easier, or do you just get better at hiding it?

My friend, M, asked me these very simple questions in an email the other day and I have no idea how to answer her. In fact, I have no idea what to write here either.

Giving away the baby stuff was the best thing. I KNOW that. But it has set off a downward spiral like I haven't felt in a long time. I've been crying (that cry that you would not recognize unless you have cried it yourself).

Another friend wrote, "It's just not being in the place where the pain is omnipresent." And that was true for a day. But it is all I think about and all I feel.

I have started making sick jokes at the office to lighten the mood...and there is at least one person who seems more comfortable with that way of addressing my sadness. For example, yesterday at lunch while discussing husbands and their strange/annoying habits, one lady said, "I think women just like to compare and see who has it worse." I raised my hand, waved, and said, "I think I've got that category sewn up." There were a couple stone faces, a couple quiet nervous laughs, and one real outward laugh. That one...the outward laugh...has bothered me since.

Because it's not really funny AT ALL.

Yesterday after work I went home, did some chores, and sat in the darkness of my barn while I waited for the farrier. I just sat there in the darkness, listening to the girls munch on hay and silently willing the dogs to stop barking so I could feel the pain without distraction. I think that is one of the hard parts of life moving on and dragging me with it. The world rushes by, filled with so much, in such a hurry to get to a better place. Don't be sad. Be happy. Feel better. Get over it. I know I'm supposed to be "getting better." I know I should learn to keep up with the pace.

But there are times when I just want to scream, "Wait ONE MINUTE world! I've got TWO DEAD BABIES! Just SLOW DOWN for ONE MINUTE!" The horror of it all just stops me dead in my tracks and I lose my breath and become dizzy with all the activity around me.

I know I can't get the rest of the world to slow down. So there is an odd sort of comfort in removing myself from the process of "healing" for just a few minutes and just letting the pain wash over me...deliberately slowing myself down so it all catches up to me and I can just FEEL it all without having to apologize or without having to be embarassed.

In those moments, I have to wonder how I am doing now, really. Am I just hiding what I feel?

I know I feel an enormous amount of guilt that I can't just let "it" go. That I can't "move on." What is wrong with me that I don't find true comfort in those places everyone thinks I should? I have failed in so many ways. I have disappointed so many people. I should be able to take their words and just feel better. I should have faith in God. I should take comfort in what I have. I should...I should...I should... And yet I just don't.

And it feels like nobody cares. It feels like people sit in judgment and think how I would "feel better" if I would just listen to them...if I would think like they think or feel like they feel. And once they are done making decisions about how my life "should" be, they stop thinking of me altogether unless it is in a laugh at my expense. Nobody will ever really see me...The me that cries (that cry) in the darkness of the cold barn.

So yeah...I guess I'm just better at hiding it. And it makes me feel so very alone.


Shinny said...

I do hope you know that I care and truly do not know how you have kept going after everything you have been through. I will come and kick the ass of anyone who has had the balls to tell you to "get over it". Have they been through it? How can anyone but you decide when the pain is going to lessen and the tears come less and less, if ever?
I don't want you crying in the cold, dark barn. I will be your shoulder to cry on and talk to and listen when you need to let it out. I so wish I was closer and we could get together. Please know that if you ever need me, just call. Email and I will give you my numbers.
Oh and your Christmas card that you sent me, got forwarded with my parent's mail to Mexico but arrived to me yesterday. ;) Well traveled card, maybe we need to make a trip too?

AJW5403 said...

This post pretty much sums up what I have been feeling. I have just been unable to put into words. I understand where you are coming from.

Anonymous said...

Oh catherine! I'm so distressed for you. I dont have any advice, I'm sorry. Time is the only thing that will help maybe? I know my grandmother lost a few babies too and time seemed to be the only thing that helped but she never forgot her babies, and I guess she still cried by herself too but time seem to heal the pain somewhat. Probably a crap comment so I'll just give you a cyber HUG to make you feel better?!

Anonymous said...

Ummmm....i don't think anyone else can tell you where to find comfort. That's something each individual has to discover for him/herself. People can tell try to tell you 'how' to feel better -- maybe they have found things that make them feel better when they were in pain. But just because it works for them doesn't mean it works for you. It is a very individual path, you need to find your own way. But we are here with you, trying to do what we can to support you.

And yeah, here i am nearly 4 years later (with only one dead baby so far, knock on wood) and i still can't tell you what 'move on' is supposed to mean. For all intents and purposes, i have 'moved on', at least in outward appearances. Then why am i still sitting blogging, why do i understand about the covering darkness of the cold barn?

Anonymous said...

The word "should" is one I use all the time, especially on myself...bad plan. "Should" always feels like a weight falling on my head.
Just a scenario: That person laughing out loud, that was another me, inappropriately laughing loudly, at the exact wrong time, but also laughing because I or my wife have had a dead baby or two, so I feel for you, but I don't have the guts to admit it out loud like you have.

Tendersoul said...

I often relate life to music. It really is an obsession, but it's how I cope. So, please forgive any reference to songs - it's just easier for me.

You know how that song goes, "I guess the world didn't stop for my broken heart?" I have always wondered why the world doesn't at least slow down for us when we need it to. However,I suppose if that happened, eventually the world WOULD stop.

I have never understood why grief is such an internal battle. As human beings, you would think we could all realize that just because "life goes on" with or without us doesn't mean we have to WANT to go with it. Sometimes, we need to sit still and embrace our heartache and ignore the world around us. And then, sometimes, we do have to get up and move - just so we don't lose ourselves completely. So, you just have to do it any way you can - even if it's sick humor.

I don't know that you'll ever "get over it" or that you've even "should." Just like one of my favorite songs says, "Some days I feel broke inside but I won't admit." Because, frankly, like you said, it's just easier to hide sometimes. But I hate that you feel alone in it.

I'm just a lurking heart who has never been in your shoes. but I hope you never hide here, because people are listening. And we care.

Jill said...

Do you think that person was laughing at you? I sounds like a moment when the discomfort of a bunch of insensitive twats caused someone to truly revel in the simple truth of what you said that made them shut the hell up.

As for the 'should'- Even the things that *you* think work for you can stop working in the face of such utter pain and loss. It seems the darkness and quiet might be the only place where it is possible to heal and if it is, then just do it. As if the burden of guilt is a necessary addition to the sadness and emptiness. You are allowed to be sad Catherine. In reality you cannot stay in the barn forever, but as long as the barn is there, use it. Until you are 97 years old and still missing your sons. ((((hugs))))

Runelady said...

Let me ask you this, if you lost an arm or a leg, would you get over it? Every day you would see that limb gone. So would everyone else. You've lost two children and the enormity of it all is like a punch in the gut. Tears keep the pain from tearing your heart and soul apart. Will the grief lessen? no, it will dull. Will the pain lessen? no, it will dull. Will your loss diminish with time? Calling the death of two children, handsome little boys who should be cherished in life, not mourned in death, your loss is even insensitive. No one should group them together under one heading "Your Loss". They had names, personalities, potential... and, heartbreakingly, they are no longer living. They will never be gone. They will never diminish. They will live forever in your heart, and the hearts of your family. We will always miss them. We will always hold the "what ifs" dear to our hearts. We will always regret. But we cannot change the harsh reality of what is. Cry, my sweet baby, and know you do not cry alone. You are in my heart, you are in my thoughts, and so are Travis and Alex. I love them and I love you. Mom

Anonymous said...

G I know ' that cry ' well!
It's the kind of cry that is hysterical, loud, makes you feel out of control, its ugly, full of snot. Gives you a huge headache and then makes you feel so drained you think you could sleep for a week!

I have cried ' that cry' many times. And your right, unless you have cried ' that cry' you just don't understand.

As for those ' funny' comments you talk about making. I know those as well. They are the comments that get you through the day. Get you through times where you have to be with people who just ' don't get it'.
I think its our way of making those around us more comfortable by letting them think we still have a sense of humor. When clearly we have nothing to joke (or even smile) about.

Yes we have our partners, out health, our friends ('IF' they are still around) and family. But we are missing our babies. And none of those other things makes up for that beautiful baby you should have had in your arms.

I truly feel for you. I feel sick for you. But most of all I think I understand you.

Hugs Brenda

Anonymous said...

I have this poem on my fridge. Many have read it and I'm sure they think before they say something stupid.
Thought you might like a copy.
Hugs Brenda


PLEASE - don't ask me if I'm over it yet. I'll never be "over it."

PLEASE - don't tell me they are in a better place. They are not here.

PLEASE - don't say "at least they are not suffering". I haven't come to terms with why they had to suffer at all.

PLEASE - don't say "well, you're lucky... they would have been born with a lot of problems." Would you love your own child any less if they had been born with problems?

PLEASE - don't tell me you know how I feel unless you have lost a child.

PLEASE - don't tell me to get on with my life. I'm still here, you'll notice.

PLEASE - don't ask me if I feel better. Bereavement isn't a condition that "clears up."

PLEASE - don't tell me that "God never makes a mistake" or it was God's will." You mean he did this on purpose?

PLEASE - don't tell me "at least you know you can get pregnant. "What year would you choose for your children to die?

PLEASE - don't tell me God never gives you more than you can bear. Who decides how much another person can bear?

PLEASE - Just say you are sorry.

PLEASE - Just say you remember them and our excitement if you do.

PLEASE - Just let me talk if I want to.

PLEA PLEASE - Just let me say their name without turning away or changing the subject.

PLEASE - let me cry when I must.

deadbabymama said...

Do what you gotta do, hon, go at your own pace, in your own way, screw what other people think.

msfitzita said...

This is just my two cents, but I get so angry when I hear people suggest that "letting it go" and "moving on" are the right ways to cope with tragedy like this. Maybe for some people it is, and more power to them, I suppose, But if I let go and move on, I leave my boy behind me. The sorrow is all I have left of him, and it's very hard to relinquish that.

And even if I wanted to, I just can't. Not right now.

The sorrow is different than it was, but it's still there and it always will be. How can it not?

There's no way not to be sad about the death of two beautiful boys. There's no way for that not to impact your life in ways people who haven't been there will never ever understand. And there's no reason on God's green earth why you should have to heal or cope the way someone else thinks is the right way to do it. There's nothing wrong with not finding comfort where someone else does - or where they think you should. We're all different and we all cope and grieve and heal differently.

You're doing what's right for you and you are moving forward. Everyone who reads your blog can see it. And those of us who have been touched by this kind of loss also understand the need to sit in a dark barn and let the agony wash over you every now and then.

Feeling is good.

Anonymous said...

This post is very relevant to me, with many of the things I have been feeling/dealing with right now.

Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! Exactly.


I hate the part that to be okay on the outside you have to feel so alone on the inside. I hate it.

Athena said...

Take as long as you want sweetie! i know where you're coming from. its not ok for everyone to say it's gonna be ok, because it will be a long hellava time before you are, and just when you think you are it starts all over again! Have the faith to believe God will take care of you, thats it. yell at Him, do whatever you'd like, He'll still be there to listen! I do all the time. Yelling mostly. I made this picture slide show of Alex and i started to cry and scream and yell, i was here all by myself but you know what, it made me feel better! so go ahead SCREAM! say its BULLSH*T, and what ever else you want to!!!(It may not always feel like it but God is ALWAys there!) Anyway that's what helps me, i listen to my music and pray and yell and pray and yell sommore