Project No More Flashbacks/Flashforwards

May Goals:

  1. Create a visually happy environment (Project Micro-Makeovers!)
  2. Eat right & exercise (Project Un-preggify!)
  3. Focus on the “here and now” (Project No More Flashbacks and No More Flashforwards!)
  4. Spring clean (Project Declutter!)
  5. Avoid “baby bombs” (Project Stay Happy!)
  6. Maintain the right attitude (Project Pooping Butterflies! ha, can’t wait to explain this one!!!)
  7. Accept the One who really has control (Project Let God Do His Thang!)

I have cried pretty much nonstop for two days.  Why?  Well, besides the obvious reason that I miss our baby, I am not really sure.  If I knew, I think I’d be able to change it.  Yesterday, was perfectly normal…woke up, got showered, checked email, went for a run…that is, everything was normal until I went to Home Depot and broke down crying at the mere sight of clear, plastic bins…the kind I’ve been meaning to buy to pack up Callie’s clothes.  I tried to push through, but the garden hoses I wanted to buy for Callie’s garden made me cry too.  The lady in the aisle near me probably thought I was nuts as I cried into the phone to John as he encouraged me to step away from the cart and go back to the parking lot.  I was a complete wreck for the remainder of the day until John got home.  The cart was still there later that night when we went back to Home Depot together, a reminder of my complete mental breakdown.  And, now, today…I woke up feeling resolved to have a good day.  I made a mental list of things to accomplish.  After a really great yoga class, I tried to go to the grocery store.  And by tried, I mean I drove there two times…one of the times I actually entered the store, but wound up crying next to the corn on the cob stand.  No particular reason.  Just overwhelmed with sadness.  I screamed “Why?” the whole way home.  Very dramatic.  I’m lucky I didn’t wreck.

I have been suffering from particularly bad flashbacks lately.  Sometimes they make sense, like being in the presence of another baby in a store and, all of a sudden it triggers the memory of holding Callie again during her last moments on this Earth.  Sometimes they are totally random attacks, like in the produce aisle in Wegmans.  I wish I could make them stop.  There are certain flashbacks I have repeatedly…staring into John’s eyes after Callie was born and I was lying on the operating table, being wheeled into the NICU to see Callie before she was transported, sitting in my stretcher willing my eyes to stay open while doctors caught me up to speed at Children’s, and the worst words I’ve ever heard in my life, “She’s gone.  Time of death:  1:55 p.m.”   These memories come flooding in at the most unwanted times and sometimes in the middle of perfectly normal conversations, causing me to pause and forget what I was saying.

Mixed in with the flashbacks have been “flashforwards”.  Also the name of a short-lived TV show John and I used to enjoy, flashforwards are what I like to call the little fantasies I have in my mind of a make-believe future with Callie.  I imagine her nursing, learning to walk, and calling me “Mommy”.  They might be more cruel than the flashbacks and I have them more than I’d care to admit.  This is not the kind of daydream that is good for me.

I’m pretty sure that the only thing that can help with this issue is time (gag me if I hear that one more time!!!  But I know it’s true.).  But my “in-the-meantime” plan is to focus on the “here and now”.  Live in the present…not the past and not the future.  In the midst of a nasty flashback (or forward!), I try and grab something nearby that can ground me to the moment and tell myself, “That was in the past.  You cannot change it,” or, “That is only a dream.  You will see Callie again one day.”  I try to acknowledge the thought and then release it and focus on my surroundings or on the person I am talking to.  I wasn’t very successful with that today, but I’m hoping I will be the next time.  It has worked in the past.

Living in the present is so hard sometimes.  I believe this is true for all of us really.  No matter what we are going through at the moment, we all have a tendency to dwell on the past or worry about the future.  But by doing so, we miss the “right now” stuff.  This moment, right now, is my life.  I’m not gonna lie…my life kind of stinks right now and sometimes I wish I could press the fast forward button.  But even with the sadness, there are things I wouldn’t want to miss.  Like my puppies sleeping at my feet right now, the gentle sound of rain this morning, and the way my husband laughs.  The small things, the sweet moments.  How fitting that our “Daily Om” in yoga class today was entitled “Enjoying Life:  Remembering the Moment”.  I will leave you with a quote of yoga-goodness:  “It is only in the present moment that we experience being alive.”  Live. it. up.

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3 thoughts on “Project No More Flashbacks/Flashforwards

  1. It’s really tough some days and as much as we want to be brave and strong I think we sometimes need to grieve out loud as well. I hope the last few days have been better for you. I have also found that having small projects and starting excercising again is helping a lot. One day at a time.

  2. Hi Kristen
    Reading your story touched me so much. I have a son with severe Marfans sydrome. Although we have been blessed and he is now 7, I still remember seeing him for the first time when he was born, the long fingers, the long toes and the upturned feet, and suspecting in my heart “that something wasn’t quite right with our little boy”. My husband and our pediatrician felt the same. It wasn’t until Matthew was four months old that I first heard the words “marfan syndrome” and at five months of age he was diagnosed with neonatal marfans sydrome. The work and support ofsome wonderful doctors and surgeons Matthew is doing really well and we hope will do so for some time to come. I am sorry you did not get to spend much time with your daughter. Callie is beautiful in every way. Just know that you are not alone, there is a big Marf family that you are very much a part of, and love and support is always close by.
    Jackie.

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