Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Internet stalker

At first I couldn't read them...the blogs about the women who either (1) grieved more gracefully; or (2) were long past the initial grief. I didn't want to know that there was any other way...or that it was all survivable. I wanted to wallow, I suppose. And I did...for a pretty long time.

I distinctly remember the night I stopped crying. I remember the sheets and pillowcase. I remember sobbing until I fell asleep. And that was the last time I cried about "it." It was like a switch was flipped to the "OFF" position and that was all there was to the story.

A few years ago I took the pencil sketches of Alex and Travis off the dining room wall because we were having a Xmas party and I didn't want to answer the questions that would inevitably come from the guests. I recently thought about hanging them up on the wall again, but couldn't find them. On Father's Day I was looking for a photo of Steve and his dad to post on facebook when I found the sketches. They're back hanging where they belong on the dining room wall after an awkward conversation with my now-five-year-old son about the babies who died.

That evening, I watched recorded episodes of Army Wives...where Claudia Joy dies...and I sobbed until my face was puffy and I couldn't breathe from all the snot.

Yesterday I drove past the cemetery. I didn't go in...just like every day for the last I-don't-know-how-long. The familiar old guilt crept in. And then a friend asked a question about dead babies and medical lawsuits and the original guilt came crashing in and suddenly I couldn't breathe.

For a while now, I have been reading other blogs...blogs of people going through horrible things...and feeling ashamed. Life is hard and my battle has been no worse than others. So why do I need to write about it? To be honest, I have had my finger on the "delete this blog" button more than one time. It's embarrassing to go back now and read. I cringe at the memories of sitting at my keyboard crying as I typed raw and unfiltered thoughts. I could have been an inspiration. I could have created scholarship funds or devoted my time to worthwhile projects in the names of my dead children. I could have been "strong" and "graceful."

But I wasn't.

I'm still not.


Beruriah said...

Catherine, you were an inspiration. You let me, and many others know, that we weren't alone. That anger is normal. That sadness is normal.

And that life keeps going. You inspire me because whatever you feel about it, you've still gone to work, and parented your boys. You still have a career, and you've pursued new things. Your photography is amazing.

As for graceful, well, I've never been that so I wasn't looking for inspiration there.

You know what's weird? I haven't checked your blog in months and months. And yet today I felt like I wanted to. And sure enough, you'd posted. You must send a signal out on Facebook. ;)

Rachel J said...

Hmmm. See, I don't see it that way.

I see that you were and are very, very brave. I was going through old baby blankets and came across the beuatiful blue blanket you gave Asher when you were fresh off another dead baby, hoping for a living one...and you took the time and love and thoughtfulness to make that blanket for my baby.

If that sort of shit isn't inspirational, I don't know what is. Starting a foundation? Great, I guess. But it's the reaching out to others when you really don't feel like it or when you're in your own state of sorrow that does it for me.

Don't look at your sitemeter. Since I don't see you on FB I may sort of stalk your blog.

You always tell me I'm hard on myself. I'd tell you the same thing.

I've lost friendships over the fact that I still talk about how hard it is to have a special needs daughter. I have actually heard, "You need to let Jesus come and heal your heart, and you're holding onto pain that isn't yours to hold onto."

While I kind of agree with that sentiment, I also kind of don't. The longer I live the more I am realizing that grieving out loud takes more balls than anything else...because not only are you broadcasting your grief in a way that makes you open to recieve all kinds of criticisms: "she wallows", "when is she going to let that go," "seriously, she is such a downer"...but you're also just letting everyone see that piece of your heart that was so broken...and again and again and again...

and you prove to me that I can rise above the ashes too. Sure, I might go back down and visit them, but going back down and visiting the ruins is just part of the journey. It isn't the destination.

OK. I've had too much wine.

JoyAndSorrow said...

For what it's worth, your blog was one of the ones I couldn't get enough of in my early raw grief days. You helped me process a LOT. You helped me realize I wasn't the only one with a sh*tty hand. May not seem worth much, but I think putting yourself out there is pretty incredible. My blog never got very far, because I wasn't as willing to "put my business out there" - it takes courage, surely. Like you, I've almost hit "delete" several times...Knowing when it's the right time to move on to something else or just close that "chapter" of your blog is a really tough decision. Hugs. ~Lindsay

Vannessa said...

I agree with the others. I found your blog after losing my daughter and it was hard to read and yet so compelling. I would keep saying, yes, that's how I feel, how does she always keep writing exactly how I am feeling. I don't know why it helps to read one's feelings on a blog but it does, even if they are someone else's words. You always seemed to be able to express these feelings so much better than I could. Please leave your blog up, I am sure there are plenty of mothers that can still read it and feel the same as I did.