Thursday, January 04, 2007

What do I do?

It comes at you from all sides. The pressure to cope...to handle it...to move on...to grieve.

There is this misconception that you can DO something to get past it all...that you can follow ten easy steps and you'll be all better. There is also a misconception that you will follow your own individual steps and you'll be all better. You'll handle it however works for you. I have, in fact, even said those words to other people. You deal with it how you need to deal with it.

The problem I'm finding is that there is no "dealing with it." There is nothing to be done. No steps. Yes, there are ways to COPE. But that's not the same thing. You can function every day and you can live your life...but the grief is still there. It is a part of me that just lingers as a part of my very being. It is threaded through my body as much as my muscles or my blood vessels or my nerves. In asking me to get over it or move on, you are asking me to dissect a part of myself.

And there is the problem of what is the "right" way to cope. Delve into the pain. Pretend the pain isn't there. It all depends on your style...your belief system. But I cannot follow your path and be true to myself at the same time. Is it ok to feel? Or am I somehow betraying some higher power by feeling those emotions that are so human to us all? Pretending I am not feeling is dishonest...a lie...and it rejects the gift of those emotions.

I remember when Alex died and the pastor was sitting in my kitchen grasping for something to say to me as I sobbed and asked questions. He said...This is a long journey that many people will not understand. If you had broken your arm, there would be a visible cast and nobody would expect you not to feel the pain. But there is nothing visible about this. This hurt is on the inside and so people don't understand that you feel it. He was so right. Because I bear no visible outward reminder of the pain I'm feeling, people think it is easily handled. Just smile your way to a happy heart. Just look forward. Just have another baby. Just believe in God. Just move on...

And for those that tell me to find my own way of coping...I want to scream, "What if you have no idea what that is?!?!?" What if you are as lost today as the day you saw them point to the ultrasound screen and overheard them say, "See there...Lack of fetal cardiac activity?"

I have always been a woman of action. Someone to DO something anytime I am confronted with a challenge...a puzzle...a problem. But there is nothing to do about this. It just is.

I cope. I cope by simply existing. I know I joke about Faking It Till You Make It...or Just Showing Up... But there is something to it. I am here and I am doing "well." But there is THING that is a part of me now. There is no other way to describe it. No matter what I do, it is always there. I carry it with me everywhere. When people tell me to move on, feel better, etc, I get the feeling they are expecting me excise that thing from myself...to cut it out and replace it with the something of their choice.

If only it were that simple...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep

Eight years after my son died I still carry this with me. I keep thinking I can change something, somehow, and maybe the thing will leave.
But it's still there. It's gotten lighter over the years, changed shape and size. It's different but it hasn't left.

As for doing "well" or coping please know that there are some women who never do "well" again. They sink into deep and awful depressions, they attempt suicide. Their marriages break up, they lose their jobs. As far as I'm concerned sweetie, you are doing freakin' fantastic.

Please give yourself credit, for surviving with class, okay?

Anonymous said...

Everything you write is so very true.

I don't know who is telling you what but i wish they would just *shut up already*. I mean, jesus christ. I agree with aurelia, you are surviving with class, and it is amazing to see.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way. Greif is a part of me now.

Anonymous said...

Those people who are telling you to move on aren't really telling you to move on--they're telling you to shut up about it already because they're sick of listening to it. It's their own selfishness. Sure, you lost two children in two years, but could you take it easy on THEM and not make them talk about it?

You have had two major losses in two years. "Simply existing" is a major accomplishment. It's difficult, but try not to look too far down the road, because from here it looks so dark and dreary. Like Aurelia said, I too still hold grief for my daughter and I will carry it with me forever, but it is different now, a different shape--somehow, the THING is easier to carry.

Sometime, when you least expect it, you may find yourself doing more than simply existing, and each time that happens, you are taking one step toward really living again. Until then, trust that you will evolve on your own time, at your own speed, and that until then, simply existing is okay.

Angela said...

I second this post.