Forgot to share this on the blog. We’re at 14.5 weeks and counting now…
I decided that my ‘go live in a cave‘ idea is actually quite reasonable. I grabbed the brass ring, pencil-jumped into the deep end, and now I’m drowning. After the initial rush of positive energy from announcing our pregnancy, reality made its ugly appearance once again. For the most part, receiving congratulatory messages and calls was pleasant. It touched my heart to feel the love and support of so many friends and family. But amongst those messages, were the things I knew would come. The words that would pick at the scab, the questions that would pry open my grief, the judgements that would leave me feeling exposed. I actually started to type them all out, but the list was too long. Reminders, every one of them, that if this pregnancy was a Facebook status update, it would be “It’s complicated”.
Too complicated to define.
I wrote a while back about my journey up and down “Grief Mountain“. Well, now I am on the other side of the mountain in the land of New Normal. Right now, I hate it. This land sucks. I really miss my home, where I came from. It was a happy place, a happy time. I had so much hope that when I got to the other side of Grief Mountain, that I would feel different, but pretty much the same. A happy ending. Well, I’m here to tell you that I’ve realized there is no happy ending to this story.
Please do not misunderstand me. I did not give up or decide that life sucks. I am also not telling you that I believe that I am doomed to unhappiness for the rest of my life. Like the saying goes, “Happiness is journey, not a destination.” I think when I set off on this journey, I misguidely believed that I could set my GPS for happiness like it had coordinates on a map. So untrue. There is no happy ending to Callie’s story or ours. It is not a destination.
Having a healthy baby in April will NOT be a happy ending. I need everyone to understand that.
Of course having a healthy baby will be happy. Hell, it will be momentously joyous (times infinity to the infinity power!)!! But it won’t be a happy ending.
Our lives are made up of lots of stories. Some are happy. Some are funny. Some are sad. And a few, are life-changing. My point is, that I am still on this journey through the many stories of my life. My car won’t stop until my heart makes its last beat. And I’ve realized that the happy ending for Callie’s story is never coming. Never. There is nothing that will ever happen in my life that will erase the pain and sorrow of losing her. NOTHING. I realized that this place that I now live in, my ‘new normal’, is very different than my ‘old normal’ and there will be moments of sadness in it…forever. A shade of pain that makes everything look just a bit foreign. I didn’t think it would be like that. I thought the pain would lessen and eventually it would barely be there… a distant memory. But, I’ve come to know that this isn’t true. A mother I know who lost her child 22 years ago told me that just recently, she met a young woman who was the same age that her daughter would have been if she were still here today and it took her right back to that painful place….just like that.
Realizing that I have to be in this new land forever has hit me hard and it makes me really, really sad. And then I start feeling sad about feeling sad. That’s like three layers of sad. Oh, yeah and ANGRY. Because I didn’t want this journey. I had a really nice trip planned. 5 star resort, white sand beaches. This wasn’t what I had in mind.
So what can I do about it?
Well, right now I’ve decided to go live in a cave. I’m a hibernating mother bear. Protecting my heart from unwanted questions, expectations, and judgements. I’m also taking a time-out in the cave because I realized that I am spending WAYYYYY too much time comparing my life to others’. You see, I come home from work to a quiet house. I get lots of sleep. I am free to do whatever I want. And I hate it. I want it to be noisy. I want to get zero sleep because my baby is teething or whatever. I wish I had to leave work promptly so I could get to daycare on time. The lack of change in our daily lives is a source of great pain. And in the beautiful world that we live in today, I get to see everyone else’s daily joys and little miracles in the blink of an eye via social media. Lately, it has been too much for me. I pine after what others have rather than recognizing all the good things I have in my own life. And when you lose that balance, it’s not a happy place to be.
Plus, if I see one more baby in a pumpkin patch, I think I will take a baseball bat to the first jack-o-lantern I see. Who knew pumpkins would make me so sad? Or Halloween? Or my 30th birthday looming on the horizon? Or Thanksgiving? Or Christmas???????????????????? COULD EVERYONE STOP REMINDING ME THAT CHRISTMAS IS COMING! Especially you, you evil money-hungry cash-driven stores putting up Christmas decorations in October??????
Ok, sorry. That was a side-note. Glad I got that out.
All I can do is take things on one at a time. And try to put my blinders on. I have to find a way to focus on the good things in MY life. It’s the only one I get to live. In this new land I never wanted to go to. Because I’m here. And there is no turning back, no matter how much I wish I could. In the words of my doctor, there’s no getting over it. I just have to get used to it.
Maybe I’ll come out of the cave tomorrow. Or maybe next spring. After all, that’s when momma bears wake up from the long, cold winter and show their beautiful cubs off to the world. Sounds like a good plan to me.
When I was a kid, I was the biggest weenie there is. Huge chicken. Giant scaredy-cat.
Let me give you a ridiculous example. Once, after watching a particularly dramatic episode of Rescue 911, I became convinced that my bedroom was the perfect target for a ‘cat burglar’ to strike. From then on, I did my very best to sleep with my eyes open facing the window next to the tree that the supposed cat burglar might supposedly try and climb two stories to enter through my window, watch me sleep, and then steal away my most precious naked Barbies. Even seeing the time 9:11 on the clock would cause me to freeze in terror.
I think it goes without saying that I needed a nightlight and teddy bear to be able to sleep…ok, and yes, I still sleep with the bear. Yes, I am almost 30. Leave me alone.
Roller blading downhill? No thanks! Play chicken on my bike? I’ll pass.
My sister on the other hand, was fearless, spontaneous, dare-devilish. I always wanted to be able to be more like her. Less chicken, more brave.
The deep end of the swimming pool was another one of those things that was so incredibly scary to me. Why could every one else dive in head-first without a thought of what might happen to them? My thoughts paralyzed me into skipping deep-end games like “Shark & Minnows”, pretending like I thought it was stupid. The fear of “What if?” gripped me and prevented me from ever joining in.
Time has passed and thankfully, somewhere along the road, I stopped being so scared all the time. Well, that is, until Callie died. And it got worse after finding out I was pregnant. Truthfully, after the initial euphoria of the positive pregnancy test wore off, I sank into a deep, dark, and scary place. I was terrified. Terrified of the “What if?” Desperately trying to think of every scenario that could possibly happen, everything that anyone could say that might miff me…I tried to plan out how I would handle each and every one of these situations. Sat up late thinking about it. Got furiously mad for a few weeks for ever being put in the place of having these fears. Let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty.
And then a few weeks ago, it happened. I had just finished telling my therapist all of my strategies (one of which included hiding in a cave and emerging in April on the other side of childbirth) when she asked me, “What are you scared of?” I looked at her like she was the most ignorant woman in the world. Um, duh! Isn’t it obvious!! How much does she get paid for this??
I opened my mouth to tell her how Callie’s passing made me scared to death to have another baby. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t say a word. And then, like a ton of bricks I realized that maybe it wasn’t so obvious. That wasn’t exactly it. Am I scared something bad will happen? YES. But, I’ve always been a little scared something bad will happen. Even before Callie was born. What I really am scared of is getting hurt. I had spent weeks trying to protect my already broken heart. I strategized and plotted, but the bottom line is… you can’t.
You can’t protect your heart. Not if you plan on living, that is.
So, with that. I decided to take the plunge. I’ve been given an opportunity. I can live in fear. I can try and think of everything. But the ugly truth is that it’s not possible. And not desirable either. If I came out of my cave in April with the worst possible outcome, another loss, what would I have to show for the months I held this child in my womb? Fearful fretting? Or living in the moment, savoring the small things, optimism in spite of it all?
I would choose the latter. No matter how many times something terrible happens to me. I would rather allow myself to be happy than to be miserable.
Does that mean I won’t be fearful? Baaaaahhahahahahahahah. Of course! But, will I let it control me? Give it power? NOPE. Not this girl. Not anymore at least.
A friend of ours recently sent us a congratulatory card, having no idea that this blog post has been brewing in my mind. She described a time that her brother had dared her to “grab the brass ring” that dangled just out of reach of their hometown merry-go-round. Well, she did it. She reached out and grabbed the ring while spinning perilously on the merry-go-round. She wrote, “I feel like that is what you both are doing as you wait for your Rainbow Baby to make a safe arrival…some of the greatest joys in life require risks that scare and delight us at the same time”. Enclosed, was the small brass ring.
I couldn’t have said it better.
So here I am. I’m diving into the deep end. Ok, maybe not diving… more like a ‘pencil’ jump, with goggles and nose plugs…but I’m in the deep end. I’m here.
Thanks for all your warm congratulations, support, and prayers. xoxo.
In nature, a rainbow appears after a dark, violent storm only because the sun is shining brightly on the world below. In the Bible, a rainbow is a covenant from God. A promise to love and protect us. To parents who have lost a child, a rainbow is both of these things. To us, a rainbow is a baby who comes after a tragic loss. A bright shot of sunshine after the storm. A promise from God, a reminder of His love.
Enjoy this little clip. Remember, if you are listening very carefully and if your eyes, mind, and heart are open, God can speak to you in amazing ways.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/50654964″>medium</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user13859819″>Kristin Cornely</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>