Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Where's the Grief?

I don't get this grief thing. I don't think I do it right. As if I don't have enough on my mind, now I am worrying that I am not grieving for my son the way I should. Yep...still crazy over here.

I know I am grieving but I wonder if I am grieving the "right things". I mean, am I grieving Caleb dying or am I grieving not getting my baby? Sometimes I think if Caleb had been my first born, I would have felt his loss more and that I would grieve his death in an entirely different way. How lousy is that??? I know they(I know...who the eff are they anyway) always say by the time you have your third or fourth you don't have the time or energy to worry about the same things you did with your first, you don't have the luxery of time to fret over the little things, to micro manage every detail in their lives. But I never would have imagined that the same thing might apply to your third one dying. You would think that by virtue of the fact that he is my only child to die (knocking every piece of wood I can right now), I would have plenty of grief just for him. But it doesn't feel like that at all.

The grief feels all mixed up in trying to save myself, save my kids, save our family from this horror. The grief comes in making everything feel 'normal'. It comes in the forced smile when I tell the kids about their friends mom whose baby was just born, safely, and I see in thier eyes, I hear in their heads, "Why wasn't ours born safely?" and I try to pretend for them, that my happiness for our friend isn't covered in, well, grief. It comes when I notice my dughter has slowly started taking back the books that she "donated" to the new baby. When we were getting ready to change out her furniture, the nursery furniture, for her Big Girl furniture to make the room for the baby, she went through all of her books and chose ones that would go to the nursery. They had been sitting in bins in the hall and recently the books have found their way back to her room. If Caleb had been our first, the books would still be sitting unused, waiting for a child to explore them and I can imagine myself reaading them alone and throwing myself a huge pity party. But not here. Here they just migrated back to where they had once belonged. Slowly being reabsorbed into our world. As though Caleb never exisited, which for them, I suppose is true.

Even our feeble attempts at making another baby, feel deceptive. I wonder is it another baby I want? Is it Caleb I want? Is what I really want something that will make the loss feel even more distant, even less real? Am I trying to erase him? I guess that's it. I feel like I am trying to erase him. I know I can't. I know I will carry the sadness in me forever. Everyday I look at my dead baby jewelry before I put it on and I think, I don't want to wear this today. Today I just want to be the old me. And everyday I put it on anyway because I know the old me is gone and even if I don't wear it, I will still feel it's weight, around my neck and in my heart.

A while back one of you wrote, after going to your support group that your discussion leader had asked everyone to respond to the question, "If you could do this all over again knowing the result would be the same, would you?" Everyone who commented on that post said, Yes, that they would take those months again and again if it meant they would have more time with their baby. I said No. I would never sign up for it again. I was the only one, at least for as long as I checked back to the post, I was the only one who said I would not go back and do it again. What does that say about me? Does that mean I wish my baby had never been 'born' at all? Because, really, given the choice, I do sometimes wish I had never been pregnant at all. But I don't have the choice do I? After all, if life were a hypothetical, I would choose for my baby to be here, alive, healthy and screaming at me in the middle of the night, that's my choice. And I have to say, given the same hypothetical choice if something had happened to one of my other children, I would choose differently. Does that mean I love them more? Does it mean I love him less? No. I know I don't love him less. I just so wish that this had never happened.

Everyday I go through the motions, trying to make our lives as normal as possible. Most days, I think we do a pretty good job of it. But everday, when the kids are asleep, all of the lights are off , and the house is quiet I lay my head on the pillow and I wonder, "Where's my grief?" .


Jennifer said...

I would answer no too. And it's not because I wouldn't want to experience the's because I wouldn't want to have my baby die AGAIN.

As far as the feels like everyday I am being given a sanity test. Has she gone over the edge yet? No, then let's give her more!

Hang in there...I'm thinking of you.

c. said...

Hmmm. The grief is there, K. We all manage it differently though. And not wanting to experience this again doesn't make you a bad mother. Nor does it tell me that you don't love little Caleb. It's just a different perspective, realy. My wanting to do it all over again is actually quite selfish because I don't take into consideration if my C. suffered at all.

I think your grief plays out in different ways. Not better or worse. There are no comparisons. It's there though. In your fear of trying again. In your hurt for your live kids. In you heart. And in not wanting to relive what happened. Just because it is not an outward, vocal grief doesn't diminish it at all.

Thinking of you, hon. XO.

charmedgirl said...

the thing is, in my mind anyway, p@ige never lived. we never met her alive. whatever i have of her alive is somewhat a fragment of my imagination, you know? and i actually think it would be more difficult to grieve her if she was my first, because i would not have the 3y/o reminders of what she was to be, what she could have looked like, what i could have had with her.

you are grieving her by doing all the things you think are pushing grief away. you ARE doing it. and we ARE grieving not getting our babies! for me, i grieve for myself, my own selfish desire for a baby that's not here. she never lived outside me...can i really grieve HER outside of my own fantasy of what she could have had?

you are also grieving for your alive kids. what they missed, their new confusion about the whole baby thing. you probably grieve for your husband, too...imagining what he lost.

we are mothers. we may think we're not grieving the "right" way, or enough...but the fact is, like everything else, we do it for us, and everyone else in the family. it's like we are so filled with it in every moment, we no longer recognize it's there at all.

a- said...

Hey K!!!!
Yum gave me some advice that I found to be helpful -don't worry if you're doing grief right or not. Just go with it. I don't want to take up all the space here but I sooo have to email you on this post. Thanks again for checking on me chic. XO

Coggy said...

You stole the words right out of my mouth. I wonder if I'm grieving J right. I don't think I am for the opposite reasons as you. Because I don't have any living children I feel my grief for J isn't purely for him. It's also my grief for my lack of family and my grief for all my fears of not having children. That has nothing to do with Jacob and I feel many times that I am not grieving him in his own right, which in turn makes me feel bad.
There is no right or wrong way. There's just the way it is today, this hour, minute, second, or whatever. We are all individuals, we all try to make it in our own way.
Hang in there honey because this is one tough ride.

Amy said...

From what I am reading you are grieving. Like said by so many others we all grieve differently. It is a crappy rollercoaster ride and we can't get off of it!

Thinking of you.

G said...

Sometimes I yearn for the cultures where we can wear our grief on our arm. A mourning band, or full black for a year, or something. That way, on days when I don't feel the sobbing, wailing grief, I know that each moment of my life is filled with some grief that honors my son.

We all walk through these days with the grief affecting us, even if it's not crippling us at that moment.

Julia said...

Worrying about your living children is also a part of this experience. My daughter gets upset when she hears about other babies born safe, and we talked about it, and I told her it's ok. Yes, it's unfair, and yes, she can say it, and she has every right to that feeling. We talk about her feeling a little sad about everybody else getting a living sibling or another living sibling while we have to wait. In a large part, dealing with her emotions about this is one of the hardest parts of this experience for me.

As for the books. Do you think maybe she isn't taking them back for pure reabsorbtion but because this is all she has of her little brother? Maybe these are her mementos, and the tangible things she uses to think of him and remember him?

And yes, it's hard to grieve what we didn't get. But to me that is one of the biggest parts of this-- grieving not knowing so many things about him, from the color of his non-baby eyes to how he would've gotten along with his sister, to what kind of music he would be into, at 1, at 3, at 15. You know?

Hks said...

Having been in your shoes, there is no easy way to grieve or get through the process. It just takes time, patience, tears and then more of the same