Sunday, August 02, 2009

Grief Chronicles, Volume 1

I have been writing this for the last few weeks and have been debating on posting it. This is my experience with the grief process. Some of it is too personal for me to share just yet. I have written 10-11 pages or so worth of it so far offline. As I come across another thought or feeling, I write it up and get it out of me. It makes me feel better about it, and I am most comfortable doing so in how I talk to you all through my blog. I will post more of it as I feel comfortable. These are a few I don’t mind sharing at the moment.

1. Realization that the worst really can happen.

We are spending a lot of time keeping very inwardly focused, and trying to prevent any major (i.e. bad) things from happening. I don’t think there is anything worse than losing a child. Any additional bad thing that could happen to us now would just destroy us. So, we could make a career in accident prevention. Except I wish it were that simple. For example, the other day, I had a hair appointment at my favorite salon up in Woodland Park, and I had my dog Maggie in the car with me. She goes with me everywhere. Her feelings get hurt if we leave her at home. She would rather nap in the car than be left at home. In the summer, we have to break with our usual tradition of taking her with us everywhere when it gets to be too hot. My brain is not functioning at full capacity, and I can’t believe I brought her with me. I spend an hour and a half usually at the salon, and I didn’t even think as I left the house that that is a long time in the car. I was sick with worry the whole time. She was fine, it was in the 70’s in Woodland Park – so not worth worrying over. But I did worry. HATE that.

2. Grief groups and books freak me out.

As you can see by my years worth of blog posts, I am pretty much an open book and I like to share with others. Therefore, it seems like grief groups would be a good fit for me. Maybe someday they will be, but for now, it is a lot to swallow. Hearing other people’s stories of loss of their babies is really hard to hear. I can so relate to them having just been through it, but I somehow take on their grief as well. I think it plays into the whole “the worst can really happen” thing. Every time I realize again and again that the worst can and did happen, it threatens our sense of security in the world and makes it worse.

3. My brain is mush.

I am doing the goofiest things these days because my brain is compromised. I am pretty much on systems overload on all levels. I was out shopping the other day, and I got into my car after I had finished up and was pulling out of my parking spot. I thought the car was in drive, but it was actually in reverse. No one was behind me thank God. Also, the other day I was making Chris a sandwich for lunch. He was at home, but for whatever dumb reason, I put his sandwich in a zip lock bag like I was packing his lunch. I had it all in there and zipped up before I realized. I had the plate in front of me to put it on and everything. I also drop everything. I have been freaking Chris out. He thinks I have had an accident or something (see note above about accident prevention.)

I am also the ADD queen right now. I start off the day with a list of things I would like to do. I don’t quite know where my day goes or what I did with it, but suddenly it is gone, and I got nothing done that I wanted to. I know that now is not the time for to do lists, but there are basic things that should be taken care of. Stupidly simple things like return overdue library books or return things people have brought over like casserole dishes and stuff. Crap. I just realized for example that I just got back from the grocery store and haven’t put anything away. I have ice cream melting on my kitchen floor, but I got distracted with this. Going to go take care of that.

4. My body grosses me out.

I am done being pregnant and taking care of a newborn, but my body doesn’t know it yet. For the first couple of weeks I still looked pregnant and have had to deal with people excitedly asking me “when is the baby due?” That really hurt. REALLY hurt. And, they didn’t get why that made me upset, and I don’t feel like telling perfect strangers my sad story. I also don’t want to make everyone around me pay for my tragedy, stranger or not. I did get to the point when I figured that seriously, how freaking rude are you to ask me that?! I mean, when I was close to having Noah, I was enormous. Sure, ask me that then. But I am now in the range of “is she, or isn’t she pregnant?” Let this be a note to you all dear friends, unless it is VERY obvious, don’t ask women that!

I am still about 40 pounds overweight. I had put on about 70 pounds total with my pregnancy, so it is coming off, but I can’t work out until I hit the 6 week mark postpartum, and because of the grief stuff, I keep forgetting to eat (I am working on that. Need to try to get on a schedule.) I will feel better when I can take this out on my bike rather than just sit here like a bump on a log. I can walk like I did when I was pregnant, but I am dying for some big cardio workouts.

I also have the WORST stretch marks leftover from having PUPPPs. I am doing the cocoa butter/vitamin E thing. Pray that works, because seriously…gross. I won’t even go into the rest of it. Pregnancy tears your body up! When I had Noah those four days, looking at him, loving and caring for him made me so not care about what I looked like or what bringing him into the world did to my body. Being with him and being his mother was just the best thing ever. It so didn’t matter. I remember thinking at the time about how this is how moms get to be frumpy. Love is blind, and this kind of love blinds us to vain things like our appearance. Not having him here, and being busy with his needs has given me time to look at myself in the mirror every day and see what this has done. Oh boy, do I have work to do!

5. Having to get comfortable with new emotions by the minute no matter where I am.

I am a pretty tough girl as a whole. As I have gotten older, I have gotten better and better at being modest and in control of myself (wasn’t so great at that as a teenager, but who is at that age?!) I fear being out in public and having an emotional episode. I have had to let go of that, and it sucks, but I really have no choice. I went to my usual weekly allergy appointment for the first time since Noah died last week. The ladies that work there have been so excited for me and have enjoyed watching my pregnancy progress. Chris called and let them know ahead of time before I went so I wouldn’t have to explain in person when I got there (he is awesome, and I am so lucky to have him). I went at a weird time. I usually go at lunchtime because of work, but because I am off, I went in the morning. Guess who goes in the mornings on that particular day…the postpartum nurse that took care of us for two days in the hospital. She lit up like a Christmas tree when she saw me and excitedly asked how I was doing and how the baby was doing. I told her that he died and the situation. She started crying, then I started crying, and the two of us hugging and crying was quite a sight in the middle of the doctor’s office. Then I saw the allergy nurses. More hugging and crying all the way around. It just is what it is. I don’t wear that much makeup any more because I know that I am just going to cry it off. What’s the point? I dread the moments when I see people for the first time since this happened because I worry about this. It always ends up ok, so I don’t know what my problem is. I have to get comfortable with not always being tough girl.


Blogger B.J. said...

Sarah, I really enjoy reading your writing... even though I sometimes end up crying at work. I hope it is helpful for you to get some of this out as well.

People do sometimes say really inappropriate things. I think they are usually just trying to make conversation... or they just don't know what to say. I've had it heppen to me a few times (although I haven't gone through anything like what you have). At first it made me really, really angry. But later, once I had a little perspective, I forgave them in my heart and just tried to use the knowledge so that I never did it to anyone else.

I hope I get to see you at the spa tomorrow! - B.J.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It is perfectly normal, this part of the grieving process. It may hit you at inopportune times, but learn to roll with it as best you can. I know this sounds impossible, but as time goes by, you will be less afraid of the public at large. Surround yourself with your family and friends.

Laura Bagot

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah, I truly have never known anyone so adept at articulating the most difficult circumstances. Your honesty is so so refreshing. You are helping others with your words. I am sure that is unintentional right now but may that help circle back to you a trillion-fold.
Ruthann Fisher

10:52 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

love you

11:12 AM  

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