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This is a place for anyone who has felt the loss of a child. Treat this as a communication haven regardless of how or when you felt your loss. My definition of loss: miscarriage at any stage, still birth regardless of week gestation, infant death at any month, and loss of a child even if your child was all grown up. For me they all hold the same root of devestation. None are more profound or more "easily" dealt with than another.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Breakdown - Part 2

- Hello ILCWers! You stopping by "mid-series" so to speak. Here is the backstory so you know what you are reading. My name is Cara. Our first daughter, Emma Grace, was born still 8 years ago. My husband and I have gone through hell - and now have two more daughters who are 4 and 6. My breakdowns in grief happen a few times a year - but when they do it is ugly.

I am bearing all so others may know that raw, everyday grief morphs over time, but the emotions are ours for always. Invisible triggers still get me a few times a year.

To read Part 1 - click here

This is Part 2:

The basement of the library was perfect - quiet and just the right kind of dark to match my spinning mood. I opened the computer, struggling to see the screen through my tears. What do I write? Oh God - what could I possibly write. I can't even think!

And so I didn't think - I just felt. I allowed every emotion to come through my fingers, sense or nonsense, for I had to purge the emotional blender within before it shred me back to a place I refused to go.

I wrote, This is how I feel:

Angry – the kind of pure anger that I haven’t known in eight years. I am working hard to keep myself from picking up any random object and hurling it – in any direction, just to hear the crash, to receive that miniscule fuck-you when object meets wall, shattering and leaving a mark where it struck. It is a short lived affirmation, yet a sense of accomplishment just the same.

: -This, I know, is just my ego making me crazy. A goal not met. An expectation not realized. These things should not send me into a frenzy of tears and foundationless words. But they do, or – more to the point –feeling lack did. I haven’t written much lately. The book hasn’t sold yet. I still have so much to so for the set-up of Share Southern Vermont. And so forth, and a very un-reasonable I’m-beating-myself-up-for-no-reason, so on.

– I am crying without reason. Crying tears that sting as they fall, phantom tears without reason. I cannot tell you why I am crying. I should be used to my plight by now. I should have merged my two realities in such a way that nothing can send me down this dark, scary rabbit hole again. But I cannot stop myself from peeking over the edge and wishing the blackness would swallow me whole again.

– Should I eat a muffin or a bagel? Should I shower or just pull on the nearest pair of parts regardless of the date of their last wash. Should I just pull the covers back up over my head and pretend like the world doesn’t exist. I cannot make a choice, for there seems no reason to. Life has been permanently altered and no amount of normalcy or rote actions- coffee in filter, sandwich in lunch box, or deadline met – will bring her back.

– The guilt is nearly consuming me. I thought I had come so far, but there I go thinking again. The ugly and obvious truth is that I am the same woman who labored in a hospital bed eight years ago to bring a dead baby into the world, then bury her into the earth. I wear a very convincing mask by day, so convincing in fact – that I nearly bought the story myself. Headline: Woman goes through hell and returns to tell the tale. But then, I pick up the newspaper next to me dated December, 2009 and see the four words that send me back there, We Still Live It. I cannot say that he really does, but I do. I see my smiling face as I hold up the memory box. I look so together. I thought I was living it in such a way that I honored her memory - without tearing my heart into infinitesimal pieces daily. This year –eight years- there was something about this year. It felt right, bolstered by an almost miraculous measure of acceptance. This is my path. This was my assigned job. I am here to make sense of it. I am here to pass on compassion and support to others.

But I do I have other jobs you know. I have a husband who deserves a wife that greets him with a smile. I have two living kids who deserve a mother who can look at them, laugh with them, play with them, and cry with them – without infusing their pain, twisting it and allowing it to send her back to a dark place of which they know nothing.

My path to motherhood was linear, in that sense at least. The first round was a no-go, but rounds two and three quite productive. So why not just let go of the first time, accepting the mulligan as the entered score? Why not let each road be unique, parallel to each other and remove the burden from her siblings? Because, I simply cannot. Emma Grace is so much more than an invisible angel in the sky we visit at the cemetery a few times a year. She is with me in every part of my day, just as they are.

They are at school, I sit here clicking the keyboard, creating. - They are with me.
They are at Grandma’s house. I do laundry and prep dinner, and still - They are with me.
We dance around the living room, holding hands and laughing as we skip to the beat of the music.- Emma is with us.
We cuddle, all four of us on the couch, each connected, touching another’s limbs in some way and watch a movie. - She is with us.

She is always with us, and so, we must forever keep her alive in our hearts. We must always recognize her, the first born – our angel child.

So, why now? Why did this magical hole appear today after so many years of walking right over it to get to the laundry or check the oven? Is this a cruel joke to remind me of God’s awesome powers? To make it clear that no matter how much work I’ve done, I’ll never get there? "Sorry" the voice booms, "This is not a reachable goal. There is no finish line to this job. Parenting after and with loss is a job that forces you to go places you never knew existed." Yeah - I get it. Thanks.

Meloncholy – I am consumed with sadness. It sits in my gut like a lead weight. I try to ignore it, but it is the elephant in the room and each time I steal a glance - it pounces, not like an elephant, but suddenly - like a puma who has been ready and waiting to strike. In mere moments it comsumes me. I must radiate the sadness, maybe only picked up on a meter – like radioactive material, for it is all-encompassing. My eyes are tired, my body is weak. I have no motivation to attempt anything. I have no plan of action. Nothing will make this better it seems.

So I will just keep pouring the words into these keys. Loyal computer - you will hold my troubles. Store them for a time until I am ready to return and read them again. Thank you my consistent companion. I am weary. I am tired. I'm done.


Barbara said...

*sigh* Cara you inspire me, you really do, to just feel and not judge myself for any of it. To accept all that grief throws at me and not fight it.

Love and hugs


Martha@A Sense of Humor is Essential said...

Grief has its' own timetable, and the heart never forgets.
I think you are doing the best you can, however you are feeling.
((Hugs)) and prayers sent your way.

Kristin said...


ezra'smommy said...

Love and hugs

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for sharing your pain. You are human and can only do so much and so do not be hard on yourself for feeling that grief. You have every reason and every right to feel anyway that you do. You are a beautiful person and I am glad that I know even if it is only here in blogland!

Amy said...

Hugs, big, huge hugs!

Anonymous said...

"Emma Grace is so much more than an invisible angel in the sky we visit at the cemetery a few times a year. She is with me in every part of my day, just as they are."

That is beautiful.

caitsmom said...

I love the way you've taken these emotions and studied them. It seems to make them manageable when we do this, but I emphasize "seems." I've been thinking that we all had these emotions before the death of our children, but death seems to push us to seek greater understanding. (((hugs)))

MrsSpock said...


Around the spiral staircase, and right back to the center...

Elana Kahn said...

I'm so glad you have a place to share your grief. The healing process can be very, very long and difficult. *hugs* ICLW

Dora said...

Cara, my dear, you do such a service with posts like this. I know so many find inspiration in your strength, but there's inspiration to be found in your breakdown as well. I can imagine a woman reading these posts and finding so much comfort in knowing that no matter how far you've come, it can still hit you like a ton of bricks, and feeling that it's okay for her to be exactly where she is with her grief at any given time.

Dalene said...

I'm here, abiding with you.

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