Thursday, August 27, 2009

Grief Chronicles, Volume 4

1. The nursery

Lots of people have asked what we were going to do about his room. The answer for right now is to just shut the door. The big baby things have been taken out – like the big toys we had around the house. His swing and exercauser for example. My friend Mary came to our house before we came home after having been gone after Noah passed away and took all that stuff out and brought it up to my parent’s house. My parents have a storage unit and took it from there up to be stored. I can’t take apart his room though. He hardly used it. We used the changing table, but otherwise he was in our room mostly when he was home. It still hurts though. His ashes are in there, and occasionally, it feels good to go in there and sit with him. I can’t do it very often. I look at his little urn and wonder where on earth this all went wrong. Logically, I know that this was not our fault. There was nothing to be done. I just miss him so much though, and can’t believe that all that is left is a jar of ashes.

2. Hard to be around babies.

I am sick with jealousy and loss looking at other people’s new babies. I miss that feeling of having a newborn to care for more than I can possibly tell you. I ache for that feeling - to hold them and anticipate and see to their needs. I am an incomplete person without Noah, and I always will be. I was robbed of that precious time, and my mind is stuck in that newborn phase with him. Seeing very small babies puts me back in that time. That will just take a while to overcome I suppose. No idea what to do about it or how to get comfortable with it.

3. Do what feels right in the moment.

I have been struggling with this balancing act. My friends and family has done a great job of keeping me busy the last several weeks since this happened. My first instinct when they call and ask me to do something that sounds fun is to say “yes, I am in.” But then several days will pass of me being busy and I wonder, am I taking time to grieve? I feel it most when I am on my own. So, am I grieving enough? Or not? I have decided after much thought and consultation with grief counselors is, do what feels right in the moment. If I need to cry, cry. If it feels good to be out with the people I love, do it. Whatever feels the best to me is what I should be doing. Everyone does this their own way. This is just what works for me.

The times when I am crying and horribly upset over it all, I feel like I should do something to change my environment. Distract myself or do something so that I stop wallowing. Then, the times when I get busy doing things, and it has been a while since I last cried and felt upset, I feel guilty for not being more destroyed over what has happened. What is the right thing? Am I grieving enough or not at all? Am I in what the books refer to as the shock and disbelief stage of grief? Or am I about to sink into the worst depression I have ever known?

4. Working out helps.

It has been so hard waiting to recover enough that I can get back on a bike. I need it worse than ever. I have a lot of energy and pent up feelings that I need to just go pedal out of me. I finally got fed up waiting and took some small bike rides around the neighborhood the last couple of days. I feel all right. If I have learned anything the last year of being pregnant, doing natural childbirth and what not, it is that how I feel trumps whatever anyone else says. I am in tune enough with my body, and I do take it slow when told, but I know better what I need than anyone else.

Today I took my first semi-real bike ride. I went out for 45 minutes and just did some easy spinning on the Greenways trail (relatively flat, paved trail that goes on for miles). I left my heart rate monitor behind, didn’t count calories burned, and didn’t shove myself up any big hills. That wasn’t the point. I just needed to go and go and go for a good long time without stopping, just spinning and burning up some energy. It felt great. I am horribly out of shape (cardiovascular shape I should say) so it didn’t technically feel that good, just good emotionally. I can bomb down hills like nobody’s business, carrying around 40 extra pounds. I had to watch that. When I took off, I could almost hear Noah’s little voice cheering me on, saying “Go, mommy, go!! Faster, faster, faster!!” It was a healthy thing to go do, and something positive for our family overall. When/If I get pregnant again, I want to go into it the way I did with Noah…very healthy, and at the top of my game. It made for a very healthy pregnancy. So, the healthier I am, the healthier our family is. It isn’t just for me. I have to keep telling myself this, because doing things for myself feels so empty and lame. I gave up on that a long time ago in favor of being a mother. Not having a child to do things for hurts. So, I have to tell myself that this isn’t for me. It is for our family. Either way, it felt good to be out today.


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