Sunday, October 04, 2009

Grief Chronicles, Volume 8

1. I hardly feel like a mother.

I only got to do it, in practice, for 4 days. My life has changed because of what I have been through, but nothing in my day to day life is really that different from before I got pregnant. So, I really don’t feel like a mom. Want to get me crying? Validate that I was a mother in some way. Say “how are you feeling, mom?” I am desperate to be a mother. I went through all of this because I wanted to be somebody’s mother. I technically am one. I successfully got pregnant, and carried him to term. I went through childbirth (like a champ, I might add), and I did care for an infant, but here I stand empty handed. So what am I? I don’t feel like a mother. I get a full night’s sleep. I don’t have spit up on my clothes. I do whatever I want to do when I want to do it. My husband and I can go out together and we don’t need babysitters. So, again, what am I? A woman with a broken heart, that had a precious gift ripped away. I was robbed of the experience.

2. I am exhausted.

It is interesting, the physical effects of grief. I am exhausted just about all the time. The thing is that it takes me 8 times as much energy to do basic things in my life now. I am extremely inefficient. My brain doesn’t want to focus on anything, and it takes a lot of energy to MAKE myself focus on any one particular task. Cooking. Doing laundry. Making it through a project or two at work each day. In terms of feeding myself, I am eternally grateful for Dream Dinners, a really cool place where you can make a bunch of dinners in the span of an hour, and then take them home and freeze them for later use. I have gone off and on over the last few years. I am now a regular, because it makes dinnertime a lot easier for someone who is only functioning at about half capacity. Also, since being back at work, by the time I make it through a regular day, I am pooped. The evenings have been really hard for me in terms of controlling my grief (can you really do that anyways?!). I am sad and tired, and struggling pretty hard because I am completely out of gas, and don’t have the wherewithal to use any of the tools I have learned through counseling and support groups to help me feel better. All I want to do is come home, and have some time of doing nothing. Turn off my brain for a while. I don’t always have that luxury because I do have a pretty busy life, but I take it when I can get it. I am in grief/therapeutic groups on Mondays and Wednesdays. My husband usually likes to hang out with me during some of my free time (imagine that!), plus there are the usual household chores that need attention. My free time evaporates quickly. I always have a sense of feeling behind on something, which keeps me feeling somewhat down, and has an impact on my ability to relax, and everything takes me a lot longer to do, so overall, I am just kind of a mess.

3. I am learning to face the “holy ground” places.

Noah was home for two days before he passed away. The evening he died was extremely traumatic, as you can imagine. We were home when he lost consciousness. During that whole chain of events, we were in a few different places in the house. These places have haunted us ever since. Chris’s grief counselor referred to these places as “holy ground.” Some of them we have faced since coming home. Some we have been avoiding for these last three months since it happened. I think it is not all that uncommon for families that have this issue to move because the reminder of this is just too painful to live around every day. For us, we just moved here about 8 months ago. This house is our dream house. We want to live here. So, what do we do?

Some of the ladies at my church casually suggested an activity called smudging. They didn’t know that we had this issue with our house. They meant it merely as a healing sort of activity that I might find interesting. Smudging is an old American Indian ritual where you burn certain herbs and blow or wave the smoke over your house in all its nooks and crannies. The smoke is supposed to grab onto the negative energy, and as it dissipates, it takes the bad energy out with it. What is left behind is good energy. It basically sets a new intention for the house.

I went home and told Chris about this, and his response was “oh brother…” So, I called my two best friends who came over last night to do this with me. I wrote up a prayer, telling God our intentions for doing this, and for his blessing as we start a new chapter in this house. We then lit our smudging sticks (which you can get at your local natural foods stores) and went about pushing the smoke in every corner of the house. It was amazing to me as we did it that I found some new places in the house that hurt me to focus on that I didn’t even realize. I had been subconsciously avoiding them. Whenever I found one of these places, I called my friends over, and would tell them what was coming up for me. We would then spend an extra minute or two smudging the spot. Doing Noah’s room was particularly hard. I think we all cried. The whole time we smudged the house, we thought of the good things that we wanted to see in each room. It was an incredibly healing exercise.

This morning I woke up and I felt a new peace in the house that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I was a lot less scared of my house. Again, I didn’t realize the fear I felt about this place. It did fell “cleansed” in a way. It was very comforting. I had faced all of the hard places for me, and had done an act of cleaning out the bad energy associated with it. I am grateful for my friends for doing this with me, because I couldn’t have done it alone. They were good sports, and infused many of their own blessings over my house. Thank you Mary and Jenny!


Blogger B.J. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:03 PM  
Blogger B.J. said...

You are a mother, Sarah. There is no cutoff day. If you were not a mother in your heart, then you would not be going through all this. Whether Noah lived 1 day or 7 days or 3 years or 75, you are a mother. How you choose to explain this to people who don't know you or your history is up to you, but your family and friends certainly know that you are a mother... and a great one at that.

Noah's spirit is going to live on in the hearts of all who know you. And if you choose to have or adopt other children, then you can pass along his spirit to them as well.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Alyce said...

I am the mother of Elizabeth, who died July 21, 1982. I'd like to see the s.o.b. who could take my motherhood away. I am the mother of Emily, who is far away and not here where I can hug and hold her either. I've also been a mother to children to whom I didn't give birth. And, I'm the mother of a son who is now a father. When I go to the vet, I am Gabby's "Mom." I'm not sure I can define motherhood, Sarah... but I've known I am a mother and know that you are one too. Forever.

I love the idea of smudging--I am so very happy you found a step to take to create the change you needed in your environment.

You are tired because it is hard work healing...........but it is also a good thing to engage in the spiritual practice of "putting one foot in front of the other on the earth." Big hugs-Alyce

9:28 PM  
Blogger Morgan said...

This is my prayer for you, that you will find God with you at all times. You are a mother.

"Christ with me sleeping,
Christ with me waking,
Every day and night,
Each day and night.

God with me protecting,
The Lord with me directing,
The Spirit with me strengthening,
For ever and for evermore,
Ever and evermore, Amen.
Chief of chiefs, Amen." [Gaelic prayer]

8:31 AM  
Blogger jilli said...

you have AMAZING friends and it is because you are so amazing yourself. even the comments here have brought me tears.

you smudged! I laughed at chris's take of "oh brother"...I think I would have gotten the same from my husband.

11:27 PM  

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