Living in two zones

It’s been an interesting few months. I’ve been very quiet about some new developments because it’s something I once simultaneously seethed jealously over while feeling repulsed, and yearned for with every fibre of my being.

I’ve been expressing these confusing emotions on another blog, and that’s all I’ll say for now!

I’m living in grief for my beloved one who is gone, terror because of what I know could happen next, and happiness for what could be.

I still want to be quiet about it, which is why I’m only publishing this on WordPress and not my usual channels. But putting this out now feels right.

Thanks for reading!

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Keeping to myself

When my story was finally published yesterday in Exhale Literary Magazine, it made me realize that expressing my grief publicly has run its course, for now. I’m still heartbroken over the loss of Henry. A part of me will always be sad. But the purpose and urgency to blog that I had when I first lost him has changed.

I think that’s why I haven’t really been blogging lately. My grief has moved to an internal, private space.

I’m not normally too sentimental, but I’ve always appreciated and been very grateful for every comment and bit of support we’ve received. But yesterday, reading some of the reactions from my published article actually made me go “yeah, yeah.” Well meaning, lovely, thoughtful comments that would normally make me cry and feel loved and held.

It’s probably another stage of grief. Acceptance? Dealing with it? Needing space and time? Needing to not delve in to losing my child every time someone asks me how I’m doing? It’s part of who I am, just as much as my nose is part of my face. It’s always there, and I don’t always need to talk about it.

This isn’t’ a signoff. I’ve just been keeping to myself, and I’m comfortable this way, for now. Winter has turned to spring not only in the physical world, it seems. And writing about it has really helped a lot.

But there are milestones. Birthdays, original due dates, anniversaries. An endless list of firsts that Henry never got to surmount.  In fact, on the 28th of this month, it will be six months since I delivered Henry. Six months since this little person who never got to take a breath of air, cry, or look at him mother, lived and died. And changed my world forever.

 

 

 

 

Your baby’s pictures

It doesn’t hurt to look at my friends’ baby’s pictures anymore. Remember a while ago, I wrote about how much that sucked, yet I was compelled by some inner drive of torture to look at ALL of them on facebook. Grief has no bounds for the crazy things it makes you do.

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It got to the point where I no longer ‘followed’ even close friends so that I wouldn’t see their happy goddamn babies and their happy goddamn perfect lives, with all the alive babies who didn’t have a horrible fatal genetic disease that didn’t kill them. The well of bitterness ran deep. Now the acid seems to have been replaced with something less noxious, and I’m able to look now and then without sharp knives piercing my heart. Hooray!

Sheepish in the face of life

I’ve experienced deep, painful, traumatic things. Been thrown into deep emotional and physical trenches and clawed my way out. I see down the trench. I’ve grown, wizened up, and healed.

Why, then, am I so nervous for a simple skill-testing exercise that will help me find a job?

I imagined I would be beyond such worries, but I guess I’m still human, and shy, despite the events of the last year.

It’s not time to give up. I can do this. Hell yes, I can do well, even. But I’m scared.

Aftermath of a sh*t year

It may not have been an all-encompassing shitty year, but the events at the end of the ninth month have not only overshadowed any wondrous accomplishments (getting some pretty cool jobs, especially one at an organization that for an environmentalist, is like winning a rock star private concert with your own luxury jet… sorta), it has overshadowed my adulthood and my hopes for the future.

In 2012, I had my life’s most exhilarating and joyous, and my saddest, most heart-breaking events happen within minutes of each other. Seeing my beautiful son’s face, watching him squirm and wiggle, then hearing from the doctor that he didn’t measure normally was the most seriously mind-fucking experience. Of my life. Then learning of his fatal diagnosis less than a week later. Then walking out of the door of my home to forcefully evict him from my womb and say goodbye forever. Holy shit. I could have won the lottery, a mansion, a helicopter piloted by singing unicorns, have my sister’s Autism disappear and have my dad back from the dead and 2012 STILL would have been the worst year of my life.

But in the tatters of this mayhem, I have had beautiful, selfless, pure and unfiltered support and love doused upon my heart from friends and family. This isn’t the type of thing you experience, then get over and ‘just try again.’ No.fucking.way.

Being my friend now means you have to understand that I may have days where I’m right back in the deep, dark pit of grief that I’m always only millimetres from. I’ll likely cancel plans on you. And if I go, I probably won’t stay long. You may have only spoken with me on the phone for a few minutes before I say that I have to go. It may now have been months since you last saw me, and I bet it will be months more until we meet again. But it’s important for me to know that you’re there. That our friendship isn’t governed or valued with a tally of frequency of time engaged together.

I’m writing now to thank all of you – even friends I haven’t met in person (Hi Tersia!) for being there for me when I need it. For not insisting. For not really pushing me. For sending me loving and encouraging words. For not going all flaky “it’s the way of the universe/God’s will” on me. For not judging me or giving me advice or comparing your experiences to mine. For not gazing at me with expectant puppy-dog eyes oozing pity. For leaving me alone to move at my own pace and let the healing waves of time wash over me and carry me to a different place, whether I go kicking and screaming, or I let myself be carried there.

I made an active decision to share my greif with you and the world of the Internet. I am humbled and honoured that my words actually get read. I’ve never been much for sharing publicly – especially something so raw and still bleeding as losing a child. But I want this issue out in the open. In the sun, we heal faster and we feel less alone.

For anyone who lost a child, who is losing a child, or live in fear of not having the ability to carry a child, I say this as many times as we need to hear – you’re not alone. In this shit year, my nightmare feels easier to carry knowing there are others screaming and crying into the wind with that same eternal question: WHY? My pillow has been deafened and soaked by this word. And if I am ever blessed with another child, I’ll be wondering that same question. Why couldn’t Henry stay? Why why why. Why not them? Why me? Why now?

Whatever you are living, wherever you are, I thank you with the equal bellowing force that has swept through my life. I am intensely grateful to you, and I wish you peace, rejuvenation, happiness and the winds of good luck and light.

With love,

Mel

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The pain is part of me

Not to sound melodramatic, or like I should write 90’s goth songs, but, yeah, this pain is now a part of me. Like shoving an octagon into a small, square box. It bulges at the sides. It’s a silent pendant. It’s a presence lurking about shoulder-level. Some days, it’s more omnipresent than others.

The reality of this shadow hit me over the week while I was vacationing in Cuba with my mom (a sweet gift she gave me to get away from my dreary life). I didn’t tell a soul that that’s why I was on holiday. I didn’t do anything more than participate in inane chit chat with the strangers at the resort. I’m sure everyone had their reasons for needing a break.

The pain is never going to go away. I’m simply living with it – though there is nothing simple about it. Being away from home really let it sink it. It’s part of my personality. It’s part of my face when I smile and laugh. I am the sad clown. I’m in the background, front and centre. I don’t need to talk. I don’t need to participate. I also don’t need to announce my passenger or cease to experience and live life because of it. It’s just always there. I don’t need to wear it as a badge and centre a room around my pain. No. It’s just part of who I am. I don’t need to draw attention to it any more than I need to discuss my eye colour, or the clothes I wear. But if you look closely, the pain is my most prominent feature.

Two months ago

Two months ago, I gave birth. Part of me will always be in that delivery room on the fourth floor of Sainte Justine Hospital, across from the nursing station, in one of the newly renovated rooms for mothers like me. A picture of a kite blowing in the breeze posted to the door lets nurses and staff know that the woman inside is experiencing one of life’s greatest tragedies.

Two months later, and only because plans for tonight were put in motion in early spring, I’m going to see Leonard Cohen at the Bell Centre. He is sometimes called the High Priest of Pain, so I will be in good company.

Tomorrow, I take to the skies on a weeklong trip with my mom for some rest and recuperation with sand, beach, booze and sun. And I get to bring Henry with me thanks to my pretty little locket :-).

Two months later, life is nearly unrecognizable, but I’m surrounded by the same people, sitting on the same furniture, wearing the same glasses, but with a gigantic Henry-shaped hole in my heart, and an empty womb. I wonder what my beautiful son would have looked like had he lived to seven months in utero?