The Cave

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”.

Emotionally 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.

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12 thoughts on “The Cave

  1. Hope it wasn’t my comment that upset you. I lost twins six months ago and I used to have this vision that if I did ever get pregnant again it might just help fill this gaping void. In england we have a charity called SANDS a support group that meet up monthly to help each other after loosing our babies, after talking to others I have been told u will carry it always which is a scary thought like being told you have been saddled with a yoke round your neck forever. Why do people talk endlessly about Christmas, do they forget you will find it hard?… No doubt someone will say something stupid and upset you. Mb living in a cave is a good plan can I join u? I can’t bear the idea of xmas without my twins:(

    • Not at all! All of that has been building up for awhile and I just had to get it all out before it threatened to change me into a person I don’t want to be. I’m so sorry for the loss of your precious twins. I’ll be holding you in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks for reading 🙂 See you in the cave! 😉

      • More likely, it was me. I have been nagging her about Christmas. I am so sorry. There will always be an empty seat at every holiday; I do understand that. I am sorry that I caused more grief. I just want you out of the cave because it is such a claustrophobic place, and I worry that you will stay in there.

      • Mama, no worries. This post was not prompted by Christmas conversations…I promise. That was truly just a side note and I probably should have just left it out. I’m not mad at you or anyone else…just the situation. I’m mostly just trying to explain how I feel about being pregnant after losing Callie and how it feels to interact with others right now. And I won’t be in the cave forever. Just truly trying to do what I said…focus on the good things in my own life. Trying to enjoy this new experience. Sorry I made you feel that way!

    • I crawled in my cave for about 8 months. It was what I needed. I’ve crawled back out and I kinda miss my cave. You take as much time in your cave as you need. If your hearts telling you that it’s safe there then that’ where you should be!

  2. You are an incredibly strong and thoughtful mother and woman. Even though we haven’t talked in awhile, I think about you often and appreciate how honest you are in dealing with your emotions.

  3. Wow, I love this post. How perfectly you described this reality. I am not yet pregnant with my rainbow but in the “trying” process I also realized what you are describing. Having a rainbow baby will NEVER make up for the loss. It will be joyous and wonderful but our lives will always be full of sadness for the babies we didn’t get to raise. Thank you for articulating this so well. I think it’s so important for others to realize this, especially those who haven’t experienced loss. I think my friends can’t wait for me to get pregnant because that will somehow make everything “alright.” It WON’T…ever. Thanks for crawling out of your cave long enough to share such vulnerable expressions.

    • Thanks so much Anna! It’s comforting that you understand how I feel, but of course I’m so sorry that you do and that you had to go through this pain as well. Best wishes to you during this time and a sprinkle of rainbow dust as well 🙂

  4. Very well said…or screamed (because I know very well the feelings behind the words). Everyday I think about the fact that I will ALWAYS be the “woman who lost a child,” even now after I have my healthy rainbow baby, and I HATE that. Like you said, this wasn’t my plan. I didn’t set out on my journey to have it lead HERE. I love my Julianna with all my heart and soul but my love for her will never fill the hole that losing her brother has left. If it’s possible, I believe I miss him more now. And you never know what will send you back to the bottom of the mountain…it could be ANYthing. And you never know when you will need your cave because it’s true…you don’t get over it…you just become better at finding ways to emerge from the cave and how to do so quicker and for longer periods of time. I am so glad you are able to express and share your feelings so openly and in such a raw manner. Your words help us all emerge from the cave. Thank you. 🙂

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