Wednesday, May 17, 2017

In the 'messy middle'


I need to say a few things... I am hopeful, I have security in my faith, I'm optimistic, I see beauty, I am strong, and I love life.

The truth is, that only less than 1% of the population can truly relate to what myself & family have been through.  Few my age have known a deep loss on the same scale.  It's isolating, it's f***ing lonely.  One author said it well "the loss of a baby is just the beginning of loss."  So true.  You learn who your friends are (the good ones are rare).

There isn't a day that I haven't gotten out of bed, I'm holding on to a 3.8 grade point average in grad school (just started the program after we lost Vivian), my marriage remains strong, my kids seem to be happy and sane, I care for others as a nurse, and I started a perinatal loss committee at the hospital I work at to make a difference in the lives of future families with a loss.  Life hasn't stopped and we've never been more aware that it doesn't.  We have instant perspective on the fragility of life, so we don't need to hear that it could be worse.  I think we're persevering, but we still need to talk about the path we're on with our grief.  It's so intertwined with our daily lives.  To bring it up in conversation is a need.  When I say this, I'm confident I'm not playing the 'woe is me card', I'm not wanting you to feel sorry for me and I'm not wanting to make you feel uncomfortable or guilty.  Tough love is far from helpful and minimizing what we think or are experiencing hurts.  Throw out something encouraging, anything.  Say you were reminded of Vivian somehow/somewhere.  Listen even for just a few minutes.

 Brene Brown (my best friend in print) says we can't skip the messy middle.  We're definitely smack in the middle.  We'll come out stronger and better and all that other great stuff.  We didn't have that 'academy award winning' recovery that our culture so loves and claps for, but we need to be in this place... the messy middle. For those who have listened and been in the arena with us (a Brene Brown phrase - if you haven't read one of her books, you really should), we are beyond grateful!



Monday, May 8, 2017

Navigating life after baby loss


Autonomic.
The thoughts come without warning. My stream of consciousness is like a river. Now and then there's snags that ensnare you. You break free but there's always another one coming... My boss shows us new pictures of her beautiful young granddaughters and points out their coordinating outfits that she bought referring to herself as "Mimi'. The tears flood my eyes instantly as to what would have been... the thought of my Mother showing off a picture of her granddaughter in an outfit she delighted in buying. A snag from the river. I suck back the tears and break free.

The cheering from a sweet, small voice just a few feet away..."Go Mason, go Mason, go!" A little sister rooting for her big brother at the track meet. Snagged. Vivian would have been hanging from the fence too, cheering on her big brother. Nolan would have LOVED it. I break free once again.

Watching my husband hold and feed a friend's baby - this is his first time he's held a baby since our loss of Vivian. I take notice like looking through a camera lens (the old kind, not on a digital screen), there's no joy on his face as there would have been had our baby girl been held by us all these months. Snagged. Loss just keeps showing up. We keep breaking free.