Tuesday, 5 October 2010
I am so, so happy September is finally over. The last few months have been the darkest, saddest, most challenging period of my life, but September was particularly bad because it was my due month. I don’t really believe in due dates, but mine was September 12th. The whole month was rough because I was back at work when I shouldn’t have been, doing insignificant tasks when I should have been home basking in the wonderment of my baby. That hurt a lot. All I wanted was for September 2010 to finish so that I would never have to go through it again.
Over the last month, I did a lot of thinking, a lot of navel gazing. I looked within my heart, listened to myself, and grieved for our little girl. I’ve become better at hiding my true feelings at work, but wearing a mask all day is taxing. I’d cry on the train ride home, relieved that I didn’t have to pretend anymore, alone with my thoughts. But something toxic was gurgling within me and either in reaction to this or independent of it, Dave felt it too. And something toxic entered our marriage. We grew short with each other, cold with each other, wanting to turn away from each other when we had been so good at leaning on each other. All my mask-wearing in the day gave way to annoyance and anger at night. Sometimes, I could hardly stand the sight of my husband and he felt the same way about me. We separately wanted to be alone and away from each other. I’ve repeatedly heard that people divorce after the death of the child. I saw all too clearly why. We’re the only ones with such intimate knowledge of what happened leading up to, including and after Isla died, and that created a lot of pressure. I’m the only one Dave can really talk to about what happened. He’s the one I talk to most about what happened. That meant we were talking about it ALL THE TIME. And why wouldn’t we? It’s the defining thing in our lives RIGHT NOW, and maybe FOREVER. It was big, it IS big. It was consuming us as individuals and our life as family.
I didn’t want to go to the SANDS support meeting last Friday, but Dave gently pushed me to. The group is so good because it lets you be you and the old-timers (the ones who have had losses several years ago) are so helpful and knowledgeable. I felt comfortable asking them about what their relationship with their partner looked like after their loss and mentioned that Dave and I were having problems (yes, he was right beside me). We (including Dave) talked about our recent backbiting and he gave me a new nickname right there – “The Escalator”, meaning when we argue, I tend to step it up a notch, which is quite apt. I acknowledged that I did indeed do this, often in reaction to Dave’s grumpiness. I mentioned that Dave said we talk about what happened a whopping 98% of the time and Jenny, a befriender and a woman I have been spending a lot of time with lately, said the most profound thing:
“You talk about it so much and it has become the centre of your lives because there was supposed to be a person here who was to be the centre of your lives.”
I sat on this for a second, but I knew that it was so accurate, so right, that I immediately began to cry. A lot. And loudly. And I couldn’t stop. Because it was so, so true.
We left the room to go outside to get some fresh air, me crying every step of the way. Isla was supposed to be here but she isn’t and we talk about the trauma so much because we don’t have her. In the recent past, when Dave said he felt I focused on it too much, I would blow up and tell him that I have nothing else! Hardly no friends, no life, nothing to look forward to or distract myself with. This was all I had – a baby gone too soon and broken hopes and dreams! So when I started crying, I knew in my heart what Jenny said was true. And I cried for a solid 15 minutes and I felt like I was back at day one.
Eventually the tears became more gradual and then finally stopped and a peace settled, the kind you get from a breakthrough and a deep acknowledgement. As we drove home, Dave said “we didn’t have a baby, so our grief has become our child” and it’s too true. We’ve nurtured that sucker like there’s no tomorrow. And now it’s time to let go. I want to let go. He wants to let go. It’s time.
I know every person’s grief pattern and schedule is different and I’m not trying to come off like it was some miracle because it ain’t. It’s not over, but now I’m working towards when it will be, whenever that is.
I hope this makes sense. I feel a bit rusty in regards to writing right now, but I’ve been spilling all over my diary and feel ready to put it out there again.
So I’m ready to climb that mountain again, this time better prepared. I’m allowed to stop and rest, take in the view, go backwards and then march on. I muddle through the tricky bits, navigating my own path, noting that whatever route I take will be right for me. I don’t know what will be at the top, but I now feel better prepared to embark on that journey.