You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘loss’ tag.

i’ve been working on my resume and job-hunting a bit this week, as i contemplate my new role as mother and career woman (or so i am hoping).

in perusing my files i came across a short essay i wrote for a vocational and occupational class i took in 2008 as part of my graduate education.  it was to be my statement of intent—a declaration of my career goals and pursuits.  i wrote it just one week after the first day of my very first miscarriage, when i found it difficult to declare even what i’d wear that day, much less what i was going to do with my life.  my graduation was just a few months away and i didn’t care anymore…it reads as follows:

*******************************************

A mere eight weeks ago, my statement of intent may have read: when I graduate I plan to celebrate in a big way—months of celebration, culminating in a two week exotic vacation with my husband who consistently believes in my ability as a therapist even when I do not.  Along with celebrating, I also intend to begin the process of setting up my private practice by securing office space and designing my webpage.  I also intend to pursue possible agency work to gain experience and hours in a clinical setting.  I set goals for myself including securing fifteen clients by December 2008 and creating an office space that reflects warmth, tenderness and safety.  I felt like I would burst into the sky like a rocket ship from anticipation at the thought of embarking on fulfilling these goals and dreams.

Just four weeks ago, my statement of intent completely shifted when I discovered I was pregnant.  Fear and delight gripped me at the thought of rearranging my timeline, my vision of what life would look like in the coming months as I would need to make an enormous amount of space in my life for a tiny little bundle.  I had not previously known how deeply I desired to mother.  Then, my intention was to put my professional aspirations temporarily on hold, perhaps facilitating a group one night per week until I felt freer to pursue my goals.  I envisioned pushing back my “fifteen client” goal about two years from now.  I was beginning to wrap my mind around the possibility of being a mom and a therapist as a new “timeline” began to take shape in me.

In the wake of my miscarriage, I no longer have a clue what in the world I will be doing (or even feeling like doing) tomorrow, much less in three months.  At this moment in time the idea of making a declaration of my intentions, professing my hopes and dreams, feels unbearable.  I feel enraged.  I feel scared.  As it turns out, I was on the rocket ship Challenger, which exploded in mid-air.  In the wake of trauma and death, I am again so painfully aware of the fragility of life.  Making declarations such as these requires a level of bold courage and hope that I am currently not able to locate within myself.  However, I believe that tiny little pockets of hope are hidden among the ashes.  I will wait for them to bubble to the surface and I will honor my desire by continuing to hope for a future as a therapist and a mother, whatever shape that will take.  When I graduate, I intend to remain close to my heart, give myself as much space as possible to grieve and heal, and retain the tenderness and passion I have come to love about myself as a therapist.  Beyond that, I am unable to say at this point.  I will keep you posted.

*******************************************

may i say, i am SO relieved to be past those early, early days.  i do not know how i got through them…i do know that i felt clueless as to where i was headed or why.

and while the memories of my much desired pregnancies remain ever with me, i feel so different today.  i feel content in a new way that i’ve not previously known.  i feel inspired to pursue my career goals more freely and more fully than i have up to this point.  i feel empowered.

and i still don’t have a clue where i’m headed…but i know where i’ve been and i believe and trust that my biggest asset today is my ability to find my way through those painful, horrific seasons with some sort of dignity. 

what i know now that i didn’t know then is that i’d one day have a lil’ bear whose smile melts my heart to no end.

and she’s exactly 12 weeks old today!

i.am.so.grateful.

Advertisements

i took a huge risk and invited my in-laws to come for a visit over father’s day weekend.  it would be their first time visiting us together (ever) and their first time meeting their newest grandbaby. 

as if that wasn’t risky enough, i invited them without my huz’s knowledge, as a surprise for him on his first father’s day weekend.  he had told me several weeks ago that he would be blown away if they just showed up at the doorstep to surprise us…even though he also acknowledged that it would be hard to have them here as well.  something felt good to him about the idea of them wanting to be a part of this experience…a part of him becoming a father for the first (and maybe only) time.

well, my father-in-law spent the weekend on the couch watching tv…i came very close to asking him if he doesn’t have a tv at home since he’s so enamored with ours, but i decided that would be a bad idea.

and it’s been okay with my mother-in-law…but i will say they haven’t taken one picture of our baby or of us with her.  they’ve each held her once.  they’ve asked us NO questions about her or us or what it’s been like to become parents.  they are simply not interested.

my mil did, however, exclaim that she needed to get the camera out when she saw the dessert i made the other night.  i guess some things are worth a picture.

i’ve shed more than a few tears this weekend over the realization–yet again–that my mom is really truly dead.  she’s never going to meet my little girl…how many times will i say this before it finally sinks in?  my mom was so ultra-opposite of my in-laws…to the point where all her questions would probably have become annoying to me.  all i know is that she would have wanted to hear all about everything in the first place and then would listen to it all over again, as long as we wanted to talk about the baby or our experiences, she would have listened.

and right now i’m really missing her million questions.

i can’t imagine what on earth possesses my in-laws to be so uninterested and un-loving.  if a baby can’t excite a person, nothing can, i guess.  except the tv, that is.

the good news: my huz is still glad they came…bad parts and all.  so, i would say that makes the weekend a success!

i’m just loving this new role of mothering our little bear…she’s soft and warm and lovely.  easy to soothe.  easy to love.  and so tenderly vulnerable and trusting.  sometimes i’m overwhelmed to look at her and see her vulnerable little body, so trusting, so full of need, so open to receiving our love.

and as much as i’m deeply in love with this little baby, i also at times feel anxious, crabby, craving sleep, agitated and personally, quite difficult to soothe.

today i found myself pondering how it is that i can possibly mother our little baby when the little baby inside of myself–the young, vulnerable, needy places within me–needs such tender mothering…this seems so connected to the intense grief i feel around the reality of my mom’s death.  i so long for her to mother me as i mother my own child.

thankfully, as my huz returned to working half days this week, i have a friend coming down to spend the days with us…mothering us, as it were…cooking meals for eating and freezing…folding laundry and holding our lil’ bear while we try to sleep.

i am truly grateful for friends who will stand in the space that’s so achingly void of my own mother’s physical presence.

and i miss her so.

i desperately wish i could see her face as she looks at our baby for the first time.

i wish she could have been there to see our birth…she would have been truly amazed.  i know it.  and so proud of me.

i wish.i wish.i wish.i wish.

mostly, now i find myself wishing and hoping that when our baby girl is bigger she will tell us tales of visits from her grandma…i am quite sure they have already met…in that mysterious, other worldly place and i can’t wait until she has the words to tell us all about it.

today marks two years since our first miscarriage. 

two years. 

two years ago i awoke to bright red blood.

today i awoke to a moving, stretching baby in my womb.

two years ago we went to the er (something i would never do again for a m/c, unless hemorrhaging) and sat for hours all the while being told that what was happening really wasn’t happening.

but i knew it was.

it did.

we found out that day (though the docs and nurses were no help in confirming this reality) our blueberry never grew to be more than a little round berry sized being.

this was one in many life changing days we’ve experienced in the past four years.  and while i’d never want to go back, i also never want to forget…our sweet little berry and all the naive excitement we felt in those short weeks.

first, a big thank you to all who read yesterday’s post and for your comments…i think that a nearly universal fear that comes with losing someone you love is that you’ll be the only one who remembers them or cares that they’re gone…this fear has been true for me with losing my mom and losing our babies and i’ve heard others express a similar concern.  over the years i’ve come to realize that there are always a handful of people who remember with me…who care…who are touched by my expressions of grief and who let me know i’m not remembering alone.  thank you.

also, i’d love to know who put a post on the lost and found and connections abound blog so i can thank you personally.  that was so thoughtful and honestly, i didn’t know the blog existed until i saw people had been referred from there to my blog……i’d love to say a personal thank you to the one who made that post.  but in case i never learn who you are………………thank you!

next, i thought i’d give a little update on what my day was like yesterday, since i posted in the morning what i’d been thinking, feeling, and planning……..and days have a way of taking on a shape of their own sometimes.

i started my day with my favorite donut….bavarian cream/boston creme/whatever you want to call it….cream on the inside with chocolate frosting on the outside.  then i wrote and expressed what i was feeling…what it’s been like for me these years, what i feel about becoming a mom without my mom and all that i miss about her.  it was so good for me to get the thoughts and feelings out of my mind where they’d been circling for a while when i was considering what i’d like to write. 

then i did what i haven’t felt motivated to do in many, many weeks………..i styled my hair!  these days i usually just don’t want to take the time or energy to straighten it, so i just pull it back in a ponytail and call it good or wear it wavy…but not yesterday.  since i was taking time to tend to myself, i added straightening my hair to the list.  and i’m so glad i did.  i always feel good when i do that.

next i was off to get my pedicure.  it was nice and our little baby bear must have liked it too because she was bouncing around and kicking and being adorable.  she stretched her legs out so fast and so far that she actually tickled my side from the inside and surprised me!  you know the feeling when someone tickles your sides…that’s what it felt like on the inside.  what a fun moment.  that’s happened a couple of times and it makes me laugh every time.  (and of course it would make me laugh….it tickles!)  when i was searching for the polish i wanted to use, i was sad to realize i didn’t think of bringing my mom’s favorite color with me.  i looked for it on their shelves, but couldn’t find it so i went with a similar color.  i love it.  my toes look fabulous…too bad i can’t see them easily!  and i had a good laugh when the pedicurist was trying to help me put my flip-flops on as i was readying to leave….i couldn’t see the shoe or my foot very well so i had a heck of a time getting my foot in there.  another good laugh!

then i drove up to have lunch with my friends.  it was a sunny day, good music on the radio, and anticipation about being with dear friends.  we had a yummy lunch, shared many laughs, and even managed to get a walk in the sunshine in before we parted ways….and then i was off to sweetie pie maddie’s house.

what can i say about this little girl other than she’s the sweetest?!  when i was getting ready to leave and trying to say goodbye she said, “you can’t leave yet!  let’s go upstairs and snuggle together in my big bed and read!”  oh, melt my heart.  she recently transitioned from a toddler bed to a bunk bed where she sleeps on the bottom bunk which is a big double bed….and she’s so proud of it.  what a darling little girl.  i’m so glad i was with her and her family for a bit yesterday….a definite highlight.

and since i had such a hard time leaving, i got home later than planned for dinner with my huz.  he was in the throws of his nesting compulsions when i got home, so i was off the hook more or less.  my huz bought me a peace lily yesterday with tons of blooms and it’s beautiful and thoughtful and made me cry.  i love that guy.

finally, we were both ready to go and we decided to try a greek restaurant in the next city over…this is where things took a turn…we were driving along, finding out way to the restaurant when all of a sudden a fluffy white cat ran in front of our car and into the next lane where we both saw it get run over.  holy shit.

we wouldn’t have planned that, couldn’t have expected it and didn’t know what in the world to do.  since the other car stopped, we decided it would be okay to let them handle things and we would keep on going….only to find that the restaurant we were headed for was mysteriously closed and we didn’t know if we could even think of eating after that.  we both love cats….and my huz especially has a soft spot for all animals…my, were we both shaken.

somehow–and i’m not really sure how–we got it together, thought of another restaurant we’d like to try, and continued on our way.  we ended up eating at a bbq place (bbq was another fav of my mom’s) and while there i remembered that one time when my parents lived near kc (the bbq capital of the country, i think) my mom, huz and i headed over to have dinner together at a place that was highlighted for their bbq in sunset mag.  that was a fun memory i hadn’t thought of in ages.

and then we started talking about how odd life can be.  here we were headed to dinner at a greek restaurant, saw something horrible and sad and awful, re-routed ourselves and wound up in a place we’d not have thought of otherwise, but ended up enjoying thoroughly…and yet, this is not to negate our original plan…it was a good one and would have been lovely had it turned out.  but it didn’t.  and in this case, something else lovely did happen.

but then there’s the reality that life doesn’t always go that way…and it certainly didn’t go that way for the person who accidentally hit the cat or the family who lost their pet or the many, many, many people who went without hope or money or a place to sleep or a family or…or…or last night.

and while i don’t get it, i’m so grateful for the day i had yesterday…….remembering my mom and feeling the sun on my face, the hugs of friends, and snuggles from my huz mingled with tears and grief and loss.

four years ago today, i was just over halfway through my grad program.  just the day before i’d been planning my internship, sorting through the options, getting really excited about the future. 

four years ago today, my huz was in california for one month on business….he’d been gone for ten-ish days or so by now.  and i’d gone to see him once already, with plans to see him in cali every weekend he would be away—a real luxury for us, actually!

four years ago today, i’d stayed up way too late the night before finishing a paper, so i’d planned to sleep in as long as possible and give myself a rest before heading off to class much later in the day.  but since my huz was away, i made sure to sleep with my phone nearby on vibrate…just in case he happened to call before his work day began.

four years ago today, i wasn’t the least bit surprised when my phone started to vibrate at just past 6a.  my huz was calling to say good morning!  except it wasn’t my huz.

four years ago today, my dad called at 6:01a to tell me that my mom died.  just died.  gone.  no warning.

four years ago today, my king size bed never felt more empty with me in it…my heart never squeezed so hard.  i wailed and wailed.  i called my huz and wailed.  i called my friend and wailed.  and wailed and wailed.  how could she be dead.

four years ago today, i stumbled out into my living room to witness one of the most beautiful sunrises ever…which was especially sacredly ironic as i live in an area where we don’t expect to see the sun in february at all…much less a beautiful sunrise over the snowy mountains.  and i wailed.

four years ago today, my life took an unexpected and excruciating turn that has affected every day…every experience…since.

four years later, i still cry nearly every day to one extent or another.  not b/c my mom was perfect…she wasn’t.  not b/c our relationship was always wonderful and un-complicated…it wasn’t.  mainly, i cry b/c i just miss her.  i miss fighting with her.  i miss laughing with her.  i miss the way she always thought i was everything good…even if she was often in denial about all my complications…our complications.  i miss the way she cared about whether i’d made it somewhere safely when traveling.  i miss the way she drove me crazy by asking a million questions about things i didn’t always want to talk about.  i miss the way she’d talk to me on the phone even when i was vacuuming.  i just miss her.

i cry b/c she’ll never hold my baby.  i cry b/c i’m becoming a mother and i don’t have one with me anymore.  i cry b/c no one is as excited and into and willing to listen to every minute detail about this pregnancy as she would have been.  i cry b/c we’ll never hug again.  never have a pedicure together again.  never eat a meal together again.  never share a laugh together again. never argue with each other again.

never.

never.

never.

never is a very long time.

today i will remember my mom with a pedicure, lunch with friends, a visit with my sweet and precious maddie, and dinner with my huz.  today i will live with the confusion of grief and excitement…death and life…converging…today i will tend to myself, to our baby, to life, while i tend to my grief, anxiety, pain, as well.

four years ago today…

today marks one year since our blueberry’s due date.  that little being would have been one year old sometime around now…maybe in a couple days since they say your first usually goes late. 

 

i remember last year feeling quite sad right about now…having racked up another miscarriage by that point and not knowing if i’d ever be able to sustain a pregnancy…somehow i thought that if i was at least pregnant by our blueberry’s due date, that would help.  then when that didn’t happen, i thought that as long as i was pregnant by our beanie’s due date, i’d be fine.  that didn’t happen either.

 

now, here i am a year later, almost 18wks pregnant……and guess what?

 

it doesn’t help.  yes, i feel distracted b/c this baby and my changing body consume most of my energy and time….but when i tune in to my feelings, beyond my baby-euphoria, it still hurts.  not knowing our blueberry, all the pain that i felt at the shock and horror of suddenly miscarrying, all the questions and fears about my body and my fears of not being able to sustain life—fears about what that might mean about me….that’s all still real…pregnancy or no pregnancy…i still feel those feelings, remember the acute pain and rage and confusion.  i feel the fears and the sleepless nights.  it’s all still with me. 

 

just as my little blueberry remains with me.  no matter where i am in my fertility hunt, you always remain, little one.

for those of you who’ve been reading since the beginning (so that’s two of you probably—my life long friend and my sister!), you know that i planted flowers last spring in a pot on my front porch as a memorial to our three little lost ones.

i planted three yellow ranunculus (spelling?) amidst a sea of creamy pansies.  well, the yellow flowers died somewhere along the summer and while i knew this, i wasn’t yet ready to feel the symbolism or at least i wasn’t ready to yank the dead plants out of the pot.

so i let them be.

my neighbor with whom we share the front porch/deck, however, did not let them be.  i noticed a few weeks ago that the dead plants were missing from our pot.  i thought…oh meanie pants must have pulled the plants out!  (we call her mp for short—she was mean at first; now she’s just controlling and overbearing, but the nickname stuck.)  i was a little surprised, but not really.

today, i am surprised.  i opened our front door, which we don’t do very often because we don’t like the possibility of people looking in (huz esp doesn’t like this), and what did i see? 

not my sea of creamy pansies.  no.

i saw a completely different design in our pot (the pot we chose specifically for our baby memorial)!  our neighbor planted tall grass in the middle of new, fresh pansies to match what she planted in the pot that’s on her side of the porch.  in addition she put two chairs on our side to match the chairs she has on her side!

now, let me say in all fairness….the arrangement is beautiful and the chairs are inviting.  actually, i’d thought at various times that maybe they would have some extra chairs or a bench or something that we could put on our side of the porch….but i thought maybe we’d at least talk about it first?

oh my.  what is there to say really?  how do i even begin to explain what my meager, dying pansies meant to me even if they looked bedraggled?  and do i even want to explain it?  no, i really don’t.

i’m just going to say thank you and let it be, i think.  maybe i’ll ask her to take over our balcony in the back of our place, too….come to think of it, i won’t need to ask her—i’m sure it’s on her to do list already!

well, today marks a first and a last.

 

the first?

 

i barfed in the parking lot at the grocery store.  right next to my car.  three times.  never even saw it coming until my mouth was bombarded with pre-throw-up spit…i know—tmi.  sorry.

 

i was freaking out because i HATE to puke.  i hate it.  i thought, “oh shit.  what should i do?  what should i do?!”

 

pull your hair back and lean over!  this vomit is coming out whether you like it or not.

 

as i was finishing up, a van pulled into the spot directly across from where i was heaving.  the driver flung open her door and shouted, “do you need help?!”

 

“i’m sorry you had to see that.  no, i’m okay.  i think it’s morning sickness.”

 

yep, morning sickness to go right along with evening migraines.  peachy.

 

but i’ll go through anything…public barfing included…if it means a baby.

 

that was a first for me.  and what was today’s last?

 

today i opened the last jar of my mom’s applesauce.  i was trying to think of what i could eat and i remembered my sister teaching me brat—bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.  perfect, i thought!  that’s just what i need on a day like today…my mom’s homemade applesauce.

 

i cried as i opened the dusty final jar.  my mom made this applesauce the fall just before she died.  at the time, i was having a craving for it, so i asked her if she’d be willing to make some and send it to me.  there’s nothing like mom’s homemade applesauce.  plus, my huz hadn’t tasted it before.  boy, was he in for a treat.  after he took his first bite he said dreamily, “yummmm, that’s the best applesauce i’ve ever tasted.”

 

my mom sent me three big jars of sauce wrapped in microfiber kitchen towels…she was so excited about that new technology, she wanted to share it.  i still have the towels and until this morning, i had one more jar of her sauce.

 

this is the last food i will taste that she made.  with her own pretty little hands.  this is it.  there won’t be anymore.  that makes me so, so sad. 

 

even when i try to replicate her recipes, they never turn out right.  oh well, “just keep trying, honey.  you’ll get it.”  that’s what she used to tell me when i’d complain about my most recent recipe flop…just keep trying, honey.

 

and that’s just what i’m doing, mom.  thanks for the applesauce.

this saturday, august 1st, marks one year since we lost our beanie…my second of three miscarriages to date.  the irony is that the first weekend of august is my favorite weekend of the year here in my city.  for the past five years i’ve looked forward to this weekend and i continue to do so because of some special events that take place each year.

 

and yet, this year i’m also remembering what we were going through this time last year…first the week of waiting to bleed from when we found out through the ultrasound at 6w2d that the pregnancy was not viable until the miscarriage process began.  i remember that week pretty clearly…that’s when i first got into tori and dean.  and the real housewives, although i didn’t see my favorite housewives until this winter (new jersey, of course!).  that’s when i spent almost an entire week in my bed watching tv.  i didn’t want to see anyone and i didn’t really want to go anywhere and i didn’t work for maybe a month or five weeks after we first got the news. (thank you, huz, for carrying the financial load, yet again…)

 

i distinctly remember august first.  the bleeding began and i knew it was only a matter of time before the tissue passed.  i wasn’t prepared for the level of pain i would feel because my first miscarriage was virtually pain-free—-at least, physically pain-free.  i wanted to stay “active” that day to assist my body in passing the tissue and one way i did that was by helping my huz put together our grill out on our deck…until the pain got too severe, that is.  and by the way, i wasn’t really helping…it was more like i was bossing him around, agitating both of us and encouraging him to toss the directions and just put it together any old way.  i’m sure he was more than relieved when i needed to go inside.

 

i remember choosing not to take any pain meds because i wanted to know what was happening in my body.  i wanted to be present and alert and i felt strongly that it might be the closest i’d ever get to experiencing the natural birth i’d been wanting.

 

i remember my huz shutting down and getting rather short tempered once he came inside.  i told him to snap out of it and go get me some ice cream—a lot of ice cream—please.  he brought back a big serving of my favorite flavor.

 

i remember feeling sad, lonely and angry when he went to bed while i couldn’t sleep.  i stayed in the living room and watched tv…wrote an email…and breathed through the pain.  i remember the pain reaching all the way down to the tops of my feet…throbbing, aching pain.

 

i remember getting up to use the bathroom around 6:30a (roughly 12 hours from the first sight of blood)…i passed the first large-ish piece of tissue and felt immense relief, physically and emotionally.

 

the waiting was over.  i really did miscarry.  it wasn’t some freak ultrasound tech mistake.  i could stop torturing myself with irrational hopes and move on to torturing myself with what-if’s.

 

i remember getting some sleep after that…but not much.  i never sleep well during seasons of grief…it seems the first comfort to leave me.  i remember that for some reason my huz was gone that day…i can’t remember why, but i remember being simulataneously relieved and angry that he was gone…grief is so complex.

 

i remember attempting to drive to class that morning (i was finishing my master’s and it was to be my last day of class, an intensive).  i stopped in a mall parking lot to call the ta on my way, bawling and letting her know i didn’t think i could do it.  she was very gracious as she herself is fertility challenged.   i remember my dear friend coming over and bringing my favorite donuts with him.  i remember going to the annual festivities the next day, the events that i look forward to each year.  and i’m glad i did.

 

so many memories and yet there are countless ones that are lost to us, lost right along with our little beanie…memories we will never know.  and yet so much remains.