It’s almost 1 am and I have so much on my mind. I can’t sleep and it’s probably been about 2 weeks since I last took a pill to force myself into dreamland. I just don’t want to…it’s way too hard when I have to work the next day. So, last night I got about 3 hours of sleep and tonight doesn’t look too promising.
I walked in the door at 8 pm tonight. People who know me would say something to the effect of, “so things are back to normal for you?” The answer to that question is “yes.” Well, and also a big “no.” I have been pushed back into a higher level role at work without so much as a conversation about it. I didn’t want that responsibility before my leave and don’t feel like I can handle it now. And, to make matters worse, I feel that as long as I stay there I have no choice but to do that job. Life can be so exhausting sometimes. Especially these days. As uncertain as I feel about who I am or who I want to be moving forward, I’m extremely clear about what other people want me to be for them.
At work they want me to be proactive, energetic, strategic, decisive, diligent, fast, creative, sharp, inspiring, passionate, insightful, strong-willed, a leader, and to wear a smile in the face of stress, among many other things. It even sounds tiring. What they don’t know, or don’t want to know, is that I’m not who they think I am or who they’d like me to be. These days being energetic is getting a shower and blow-drying my hair before going to work in the morning. I feel stressed thinking about what to have for dinner or what to do over the weekend. I don’t want to make decisions or think too hard. I’m tired. I’m so deeply sad. My mind is already full of so many thoughts and feelings that there isn’t room for much else. Many days I can’t bear the weight of our loss, much less the weight of daily responsibilities and spend my drive to and/or from work with tear-soaked cheeks. Why does it feel like caring people really don’t care? I feel like they look at me on the surface and tell themselves I’m okay because they need me to be okay. They need me to be a star. I may sound like some child throwing a tantrum but I don’t care–I don’t want to be a star. Why can’t I just do a good job for awhile? I am one of those people who works hard anyway, always to their full capacity. I still want to do a good job…just not kill myself in the process. Even as I sit here tonight I can’t stop thinking about all I have to do tomorrow–and how I don’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to finish my work…meet my deadlines…meet everyone else’s expectations. Why can’t I just meet my own expectations for once? Why can’t I give myself a pass and let someone else do the hard work–just for a little while? Sometimes you can’t be everything for everyone. Sometimes you can only work hard enough to just be. I want to put the little energy I have into healing myself. I want to concentrate on my family. Otherwise, I’m afraid we won’t survive.
Family, friends, and even acquaintances are tough. Even though they love and support us, I continue to have mixed feelings when I’m with them. I can quickly go from being comfortable and sharing laughs to wanting to be alone or moved to tears. Again, it’s so hard. They care for us and want to see us heal from all of this. Sooner than later, I think. Some want to do something to help us get there. I’m at a loss for what to tell them. The only thing that could truly make me feel better is having my son here in my arms. To be the mom I wanted to be for him. But no one can do that for me. For us. Sometimes I feel like people are disappointed when they ask how we’re doing and I give them a slightly honest answer. I’m not great. If heartache was a disease I’d be signing up for experimental studies to find a cure. At some moments it feels unbearable. People also try to help by sharing stories of loss–to relate in some way. I would probably do the same if roles were reversed. But, from this side of the fence this loss is like no other. Not like losing a grandparent, parent, or sibling–and certainly not a pet. This is like nothing I can really explain to those who haven’t lost a child. I feel like I can’t breathe sometimes. My spirit feels broken. I spent so many months wrapping all of my dreams and aspirations into being Rylan’s mom. In my heart it was my purpose. My pregnancy wasn’t a cake-walk and I kept telling myself it was all worth it for the end result…my beautiful son and a lifetime of love and memories. Don’t get me wrong, he was the best thing I ever created and he was amazing. I just wish he was alive and that my memories could have made it beyond my belly and the hospital delivery room.
I attended my nieces birthday party this past weekend. The initial part was tough. I walked into a backyard of parents and children of various ages. A beautiful, pregnant woman splashing around with her infant son in the pool. It hurt so much. Don’t get me wrong, she was very nice and so was her family. But watching them together instantly made me think about how I should be interacting with my son in a similar way. He would be much younger but I still dreamed about summer activities with him, with my family. But instead, there I sat in a rocking chair, with empty arms. And on top of it I felt that I had to suck it up, so to speak. I made small talk with people I didn’t know…people that I found out later had been clued in on our secret. I took a moment to walk out front, sit on the front porch, and cry. I thought I slipped away undetected but my sister apologized later for my discomfort and told me that someone thought they upset me and felt bad about it. And, do you want to know what bothers me about that? That on top of feeling sad I had to also take on the weight of feeling bad that my leaving caused someone else discomfort. It sucks because being sad is hard enough without feeling like I’m obligated to keep everyone else comfortable too. And in some ways I was angry that she pressured me to be there for the kid part of the day and that she didn’t warn me about the people that would be there. But, again, people just want me to be there for them–and to be okay. It’s not really anyone’s job to protect me, I know–but I wish they would at least try.
Everywhere I go I feel so isolated from the world around me. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s really lonely to feel like nobody in your daily life “gets it” or “gets you” (with the exception of your mate). It’s like your constantly a fly on the wall, just observing the world around you. To some extent I use to feel a part of that world. The world where mothers give birth to live babies is a much simpler world. It’s a world where people complain about their kids cries keeping them up at night or the annoyance of them bickering with their siblings. I would do anything to have that. My world is silent, beyond my own cries in the night. My son lives almost entirely in my heart and mind–I rarely get the opportunity to tell anyone about him–not the way I’d like to, which is one of the most hurtful things for me. I don’t know if people are afraid to talk to me about him or if they just feel too uncomfortable. But, either way, it sucks. It makes me feel awful and leads me to feel like the past year has been fake. A dream. A nightmare. I want it to be real, I want him to be real–to other people as much as to me. I want to have his picture beside me on my desk at work, like other parents. I want to say his name out loud sometimes. I don’t want to have to watch everyone else have children around me. It makes me feel so many things. Like a failure. Sad. Angry. Jealous. Heartbroken.
My husband and I went to a counseling session last night. It had been 3 weeks since our last appointment. On the way over we talked about how we weren’t sure what we were going to say this time. That our feelings weren’t too different. We felt somewhat okay. Once we were there we ran over the allotted time for our chat. Kind of funny. You know those feelings are there all of the time, inside–but sometimes I think we repress them and don’t even realize how much until we get talking. I’ve never really been in therapy before now. I can’t recommend it enough to people who are in similar shoes. I think it’s important to find someone that you have a connection with–or at least someone who you feel comfortable with–and go even when you think you don’t need to or want to. I think it’s so helpful just being able to express our feelings to someone who is outside of the people we know. My husband and I go together which is nice. And, although we talk to each other regularly, our sessions continue to bring out feelings that we may not have shared with each other otherwise–even if it’s not on purpose. The office we go to is called “The Center for Loss and Bereavement” in Skippack, PA. It has been so helpful to go to a place that specializes in loss. It’s a non-profit and is not covered by our insurance but has been worth every penny. If you’re in the area and experiencing the loss of a loved one, I strongly recommend it.
The past few weeks have been busy. We celebrated my husbands birthday which turned out to be enjoyable and easier than expected. The road to get there was tough–it was a milestone birthday and I wanted to do something special without overwhelming him if it happened to be a rough day. The planning was a bit stressful and took some energy on my part but was all worth it when I saw him smile. We also have our anniversary to celebrate this weekend. We are scheduled to get memorial tattoos in the city for Ry. I’m excited and very nervous. Not my first tattoo but it’s an important one and I feel a lot of pressure that it must be perfect for him. We also got lucky with a deal on a vacation rental and will be going to Outerbanks in the fall. We’ve never been there so it should be fun. So, I’m glad that we have some things to look forward to…I think it’s good to have things to keep you going. I’m still worried about winter and the holidays but I guess we’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it. I told Chris that I’m going on a sabbatical until spring (lol).
A few more noteworthy topics:
1. A warning: I recently read an article about a family who had created a web site for their stillborn baby and years later his photos had been taken and used by company web sites and by individuals claiming it was their son. This article made my stomach turn. I can’t believe that people have the ability to do something so horrible. I wanted to share it because I know that so many people memorialize their children by creating blogs and enjoy sharing photos of their precious babies. I am one of those people who is very leery of social media and making personal information and images public. Please take a look at this article if you can:
2. Congratulations: to another blogger (and his family) who just welcomed their baby girl, Zoe, into the world. I’m so happy that you can all let out a deep breath now that she’s healthy and full of life. Thank you for sharing your daughters with us and for giving others hope for the future.
Well, on that super positive note I’m going to try to go to bed. It’s now 3 am and I still have two days of work ahead. As always, I thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and follow our story. Good night and hang in there. Tomorrow is a new day.