It is time for this month's Under the Tree! If you don't know about this gathering, check out Carly's blog for more information. If this is your first time to join us, you are welcome here.
How long has it been since you lost your child/ren? Has your grief changed at all? Is your life becoming any easier or is it just harder as time passes?
It will be 7 months tomorrow since Raelyn went home. I can't believe it has been so long but in the same instant it feels like yesterday. Grief is a strange beast that comes out and threatens to strangle me at the weirdest times. I am still so numb most of the time. I sleep but I don't rest. I wake up more exhausted than when I went to bed. I get home after work and don't want to do anything but sit on the couch and watch something mindless on TV. I don't want to see my family because it seems like everything about Raelyn is old news--like they are patronizing me by even listening to me talk about her. Our closest friends (the ones whose baby was due a month after Raelyn) haven't spoken to us since the birth of their son in February. I realize that we represent any parent's greatest fear, but even after Raelyn was born, we tried to be a part of their lives and we hoped to be able to watch their son grow up and now we don't even get e-mail pictures of him. Things like that are hard for me to deal with and are a large part of my grief--people who I thought would be there for us who aren't. I don't grieve for Raelyn. I know where she is. I grieve for the things I have lost--the experiences I should be having now, the relationships that are now strained and awkward, the naive bliss of pregnancy. I don't know what 3-month olds look like or what milestones we would be approaching. Sometimes life even seems normal. I can laugh and smile genuinely but she is always in my heart and I am always wondering what I would be doing in this moment had things been different.
How do you feel when you see pregnant women when you are out and about?
Most often, I am genuinely happy for them. Sometimes, on bad days, the jealousy flares up. I want what they have. I want that joy. I even want all of the pregnancy discomforts. The ones that hurt the most are the girl who is busting out of her trendy jeans and trying to pull down the t-shirt with her high school mascot on it over her bump or the woman whose pre-teen daughter is holding her toddler sister so that her very pregnant mom can have both hands free to light a cigarette. I have no idea what their stories are. I don't know if they are going to keep the baby or give it up for adoption, if they tried to get pregnant or if "it was only one time" and that baby was an unwelcome surprise. I only know that it feels like they can't possibly want that baby as much as I would or appreciate it as much as I would. I know that is totally irrational but that is how grief works--making the irrational a part of daily life.
What's your therapy in the aftermath of losing your child/ren? Do you go to counseling? Do you do artwork or some kind of exercise or do you simply just let yourself be? What helps you?
I search out music that speaks to me and that I can use to worship God. I am trying to adapt to this new person who calls herself by my name because the old me is gone forever. This new person has her heart out on her sleeve and she feels more deeply than before. The most minor comments or omissions burn her heart and her love flows more freely. Historically, I have been pretty closed off when it comes to my feelings and I have been able to bury them, but this new me feels transparent and vulnerable. Writing here helps me to get out some of those feelings that I wouldn't feel comfortable saying out loud.