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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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Monday, February 23, 2009

My Meltdown - Part Three

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 get the most of of this post you may want to read Part 1 - click here and Part 2 - here.

This is Part 3:

And Yet - I wasn't done. How could I be? I am never done trying to balance my two truths - life and death - as mine continues to tick away, day after day.

I expect nothing. I am open to everything.

This is how I strive to live. Not so long ago, it is how I lived.

“Last spring you were excited. You had purpose and motivation. You had energy and drive. I don’t see any of that from you lately" my husband said without judgement. He is right. "I mean, " he clarified, "you are doing more than ever - too much if you ask me - but your emotion seems to have evaporated."

The sad part is that I needed it pointed out to me.

Why is this happening? Is revisiting my past in the name of helping others bringing it back? Am I not capable of being in both places at the same time? Maybe not. I have more “free” time than ever, and yet I have written very little in the last three months. I have exercised less than I was when I was working full time. My daily meditations have fallen away so now I go inside myself - weekly, at best.

Throughout last Spring, summer and Fall I was so in touch with my soul! I was so “one” with my daily experience. I was just so damned happy, finally, dammit. I mean, I deserved that! I worked for it.

I hate that I have to use the past tense verb. It just sucks, but it is the truth. “It is all or nothing with you” he said, once again, stating the obvious. And once again- he is spot on. In my head the middle of the road seems not to exist. And so, when someone makes a surface suggestion it immediately morphs in my brain into a city sized idea.

Tell her story = Write a book and pour whole heart and soul into it, buy every literary publishing book possible, write a 100 page book proposal, find an agent, etc...

Start a Blog = Design the most complicated goal-orientated blog you can possibly create, and then - when that is done, design three more, each with it's own specific purpose. Oh - and maintain them all, obsessively.

Memorialize Emma = Start a government approved non-profit corporation that requires obsessive amounts of unpaid time, board of director meetings, and paperwork you never dreamed of.

“Yes! I know!” I yelled, self-depreciating my actions, “I put on my blinders and jump”. Calmly, with an impassive face as if he was stating a simplistic fact, he said, “So put them on and jump back in.”

And so that is exactly what I did. Positioning my blinders so I could see and feel nothing but my emotion, I poured it all into that computer. At the end of the purge I raised my head, shook it and took in my current state. It seems an impossible task to recapture my seasonal perspective by the end of the day.

And yet – that is exactly what I am trying to do. For at the end of this day I must go to work. I must put on crisp clean clothes and carry trays. I must smile genuinely and treat others with kindness. I must find a way to get there.

I have this sudden urge to go home and be with my husband. To show him just how much I appreciate his attempts to help me, to soothe me, and yet – be clear in that there is very little he can do beyond, just love me. And although love for me can be represented through a clean dishwasher and an unexpected load of washed laundry, love – for him, is clearly physical. And maybe – just maybe – that is what I need. Maybe I need to dive into our primal connection and recall just how much love Emma was conceived with.

Or, Maybe I need to fictionalize this whole bad dream of a life experience, remove myself from the equation just a bit, create the scenes I wish I had lived, can never live, will never live.

Or, Maybe I need to sit my kids down and allow them to ask as many questions about Emma as they want, and - more importantly – about my feelings of mingled sadness/celebration, and then – answer them honestly. Maybe that will clear my ego filled brain of all its rants and raving about what “should be”.

And -Maybe I need to let go of the fact that the book is for others and just accept that her story is for me. That it began as a work of love in Emma’s honor. That I could feel her sit with me as I wrote it and lately, I just feel alone.

And -Maybe, I need to banish that damned ego and make the time to go back and find myself. Yes – that is exactly what I have to do. And yet, when I think that thought, even as I write the words, I feel the tug – the itch to flip my blinders and dive.

Oh the thought of each and everyday filled with yoga, meditation, exercise, and healthy recipe experiments. It feels so good that it nearly brings a smile to my drooping face. It sounds so right to the exclusion of everything else. But I am not a 22 year old grad student who can choose to clear her schedule with a declaration of mono to her advisor and a click of the deadbolt on her apartment door. I am a mother with two kids who need transport, food and love. I am a wife who cannot continue to let her husband feel the burden and pick up the slack because I am going further into the past and neglecting my present.

To write this book I have to go back.
To be true to the blog I have to go back.
Dammit – to go forward I have to go back.

And yet – I don’t know how to do both. I truly am at a loss with this one.


Bluebird said...

Oh, sweet Cara. . . I don't have any answers, but I can relate. I relate to the jumping in and the blinders and everything else. And I understand the struggle between going forward and going backward.

At the same time, I really do believe that its possible to go forward without actually *going* backward. But I have to hang on to the idea. My husband stated it as walking forward while looking backward. Semantics? Perhaps. But I think it’s also a fine line. To fine a way to respect and acknowledge and honor the past without actually going to it. Is this the rambling of a naive newbie? Maybe. But I have to believe its possible.

I do know that we all have to find the right answer for ourselves. I knew when I started my blog that there might come a time where it was better for me to not write. That it would cause sadness more than it helps. But I'll deal with that if and when the time comes; for now, it helps. I don't know what will be the answer for you, but I really do hope that you find the peace you deserve.

Kristin said...

I wish I had some brilliant advice to give you. All I can say is I will be hear in any way you need me to be while you figure it out.


Dora said...

Keep talking, girl. We're listening. Hoping that our listening will help.

Barbara said...

That phrase from Bluebird's husband struck a cord with me, it's how I see my journey at this moment.

Maybe you need to do all those things. Or maybe, maybe you need to let yourself do nothing for a while.

If there's a balance to be found between forward and backward dear Cara I believe you can find it. Hard work maybe but I know you're more than capable.

With love.


Michelle said...

I so wish I had the answers for you but as you have read in my blog lately I definitely struggle with how to move forward right now. I hope that writing it all out here helps and you find the answers you are looking for. Do take time for yourself because you definitely deserve it after all the stuff you do for others. Be true to yourself!

Amy said...

Everytime I read your blog, I reach for the phone and then check the time! Urg, time difference is not good!

Hmm, interesting isn't that? Time change, not good...time...not...good! Yes, to do things, to help others you must go back but you also must learn to meld the two, you know past and present. I know you are capable of doing this. You are an incredibly graceful woman.

I had told the lady, I work with on our group here, that I thought on the website she should put her story. She said, "I don't think being 30 plus years out that people like you would connect with that." To which I replied, that's what makes it wonderful. We do connect, it's nice to know that NO MATTER how far out you are you NEVER forget. That was my biggest fear you see, forgetting.

Now, with my friend here and you, Cara, I know that will not happen.

I send you big hugs and much, much love.

nh said...

I want to offer words to help - but in that place there are no words to ease the passage. Each step forward brings with it reminders of what should be. But getting it down, getting it out there, that is the road to recovery (or at least my road).

I hope you find your peace.

Martha said...

Sweet Cara, I'm so sorry for your pain.
I don't know how you "go back". I feel you've carried Emma and your grief at her death with you.
Abiding with you, sending ((Hugs))
Oy vey, just Oy vey.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting your story out there, thank you for putting yourself out there for us to see.

Lani said...

I want to thank you for continuing to put yourself out there, for being that guide to us newbies stumbling around in this new world, to also taking a step back and realizing that you need to take care of you too. You always seem so together, so present and so supportive to EVERYONE. sometimes people who do that forget what they need for themselves.

i hope you continue to write and reflect and go back and go forward and stay present, whatever *you* need and whenever *you* need it.

you are truly an inspiration and a strength for all of us here in babyloss land.


Beautiful Mess said...

Oh sweetie I am so sorry you're struggling with the past and present right now. I think that writing it out and acknowledging it will help you. I'm thinking about you and sending you hugs of peace.

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Time Is Both My Best Ally and My Worst Enemy: My Meltdown 8 Years Later