Saturday, February 7, 2009

The space between

It's been raining babies here in db land. I'd like to say that all have had the happy endings but as we all know, that isn't always the case. A new member of our club joined up, I read about her over at Aunt Becky's place, her name is Cynthiaa and you can support her here. Striking to me about her was that she was already blogging before it happened. Her blog was full of the shiny happy pregnancy story. In fact, the post before it happened she had written about her last baby shower and shared pictures of the new crib and other gifts she had received in anticipation of her baby boy due in two weeks. And then the shit storm descended. We all know that storm, the shock, the disbelief, the unbelievable agony. I wondered tho as I read her blog, which has a pretty substantial following, what the impact will be on the unsuspecting readers.
Most of us here came here specifically to write about our loss. Our blogs were born out of the death of our babies. Our followers, for the most part, are other dead baby moms. For her, she had the ordinary life, the ordinary pregnancy and was expecting the ordinary baby all along. So were her readers. Now they all have witnessed the shattering of the illusion of ordinary. They have all seen that stillbirth does just happen out of nowhere. There are no warnings, no indicators, no "Oh yeah, I saw that coming." predictions. It just drops in and steals ordinary away from you, along with your stability and belief in the rightness of the world. And they all were there to see it happen to her. I know the outpouring of support has been enormous so that is one thing that she will have that so many of us didn't. So many people to reach out and talk to without having to explain any of it. They already know. And of course there's us. I know some of you have already left her messages and invited her over here, to the dark side. She'll find plenty of good company here, I know that.
I hope that for the people who were just following along, just reading her words and expecting the mundane happy ending they thought was a sure thing, that the idea of stillbirth happening only in quiet corners of the world to people who deserve it or to babies who must have been sick or to mothers who must have done something to cause changed forever. While I know none of them have the first idea of what she is going through, I know they all know now how quickly the mundane can turn tragic. And I hope she finds her way to us so we can wrap ourselves around her and show her how we learned to live with that tragedy.

For me, as the days take me farther away from my "that day", I find myself grieving more selfishly. By which I mean I am grieving more for me now and it is exhausting. I think alot about how changed I am, about the sadness that is always lingering just on the outskirts of my consciousness. It's a dull fog resting on the horizon that I can always see, even when I am standing in the brilliant sunlight. I know it is there, waiting to creep it's way in, to slowly envelop me and cover me like a cool blanket, blocking the light and chilling me to the core. When I lived in San I used to love to stand at my window and look out to the ocean where the fog came into the bay under the Gol.den Gate It would sit out at the beach and then as the wind blew it would slowly cover the avenues, street by street, making its way up and over Gol.den Gate Park and then crawl up to where I was in my window and I would watch it blow past the antique street lamp on the corner, the mist of water reflected in the yellow cone of light that shone across my street, and marvel at its beauty. It had a calming effect on me, it was mesmerizing and beautiful. Not anymore.
These days it feels suffocating. Not so much the feelings as the reality that the feelings will never go away. That this grief is now a part of who I am. It won't ever become something that I am used to. It isn't like a bad break up where in a few years time you can remember the good times and smile at how devastated you were and see how far you've come. It isn't like when you lose a grandparent and it's awful and sad and you cry and you miss them but in time you come to terms with the natural order of things and you make peace with it.
There will never be a time when it feels ok. I still can be driving in my car listening to my kids laugh or sing or talk or argue, or cooking dinner, or holding Cason, or walking down the street, or breathing and I'll be fine but then something will trigger a memory of that day and the tears come, the tightening in my throat, the tensing of my muscles, the darkness. I've gotten better at hiding it, I've gotten better at riding it out and not letting it take me all the way down on a slow spiral out of control, instead I just leap, hit bottom and start the crawl back out. Because I know I have to and I know I can. But I hate it. I hate that it will last forever, that I will always have this crushing sadness that lurks around every moment in my future. And that is what feels so selfish. Because in those moments it isn't Caleb that is making me melancholy, it is the knowledge that I have to live with this, always, that does it. It's separate from the sadness over Caleb, it just feels all about me. About my life being different, about my happiness being dulled, about my joy being limited, not limitless, because there will always be this to fence it in.
I have my grief for Caleb and now I have my grief for me. They exist on opposite sides of my world. One feels sadly appropriate, the other, indulgent and greedy as though it minimizes his death and instead says look what you did to me, see how I have to live now because of this. But it isn't anger I feel, it's resignation. It's the exhaling and sighing and acknowledgment that this is who I am now and will be forever.
But I want to hope that even if I don't get to live in the sunlight anymore now that that fog is lingering there, that eventually, maybe, I will get to spend more time living somewhere in the space between.


Hope's Mama said...

just like to say yes, yes and YES.

Tash said...

I'm always just gutted by people who are blogging already when this happens. You can mark the place in the story where life changes. I'm incredibly impressed by those who blog -- either continuing or newly so -- days or weeks after the death of their children. It took me six months to be able to read other's stories (believe me, I tried) and write anything coherent.

There are days I'd like to scratch the whole memory from conception forward from my brain.

CLC said...

Great post K@lakly. You hit the nail on the head on both points. I was looking at Cynthiaa's blog the other day and it was so sad reading the shiny happy pregnancy stuff. I too wondered what her readers are now thinking.

And yes about the selfish part. I am so guilty of that as well, but it is so overwhelming to think that this feeling is forever. Sometimes I just want to act batshit crazy in front of whoever is watching and yell, "look at me, I am not over this, I am broken!". Weird fantasy to have, huh?

charmedgirl said...

that's how i feel about trying to have another baby. it feels very selfish, very much for me. and does it matter? why do we have to explain any of it? our dead babies are all for us. no one else wants them. in my case, because it's so difficult, i feel obligated to explain and have a good enough reason...but you know what? there really aren't any. the same way there's no good enough reason our babies are dead and we have to deal with it forever and ever. why do people have to pretend any of this reproduction shit is justifiable? our problem is, you're right- there's just way too much time and space in-between to fucking ponder it...over and over, forever.

janis said...

((hugs)) I know what you mean.
But I do not think it's selfish. It's necessarily. Maybe necessarily selfish, but necessary all the same.
We will evolve. xoxo

Aunt Becky said...

Well said, friend. I'm so glad that you reached out to her.


Steph said...

this resonates incredibly with me. The foreverness of it.. the permanence of sadness lurking in the shadows of every moment. Your post is so very exact in describing this grief.

CLC said...

I tagged you for an award. See my blog.

G$ said...

Beautifully said K. I dislike when new people join this community. Not because of them, but because of what it means.


Michele said...

It hurts so much when someone else "joins the club". You dont want them here... You dont want any of us here. If only things could be different...

Cara said...

Another gorgeous and honest post from you nailing exactly what we live everyday.

I'll head over and offer whatever I have to Cynthia. I hate that she had to join us.

Coggy said...

This broke my heart. I don't know what to say to her. The fact that on the day I gave birth to Em she lost her little boy is too sad. I know that this happens, shit we all know this happens, but the sliding doors feeling is difficult to shake. I still don't understand why any of this happens.

The sticking plaster over my grief has been ripped off of late. I stare at Em and just can not understand how she made it and Jacob didn't. It just blows me away the lack of answers or reason. I know how blessed I am to have a
Em but this journey is bitter sweet. I too am selfishly grieving the journey I have missed last time and this time. The end of my innocence while others carry on oblivious.