I tweeted this last night and it hit me that it would be a great opening for a blog post. Poetic in a way, and yet so very much how I'm feeling right now.
It's been a whole year now since my son died and was born. A whole year. I've been through a full year of milestones now, lived through all the "firsts." A whole year navigating my way through the fog that is grief. In a way it's an accomplishment, but I'm left asking myself where am I now?
The main reason I started writing this blog was to try and figure it all out. How could I possibly live without him? What would a life without my baby be like? How would I manage normal day to day things? How would this change my relationship with the hubby? So many questions to muddle through and no guidebook to help me figure it all out.
As I have said over and over again, I loved my old life. I was happy and healthy and babies didn't die. When I heard those terrible words (there's no heartbeat) from the doctor I knew life would never be the same.
- I knew I would have to grieve and that things would be different but I did NOT want my entire life to fall apart.
- I knew that I would be sad for a while but I did NOT want to be completely devastated all the time.
- I was absolutely determined to get my life back. And not just any kind of life,,,, but a life where I wasn't crying in public and falling apart at the slightest things.
So a year on how am I doing on my quest for a new normal? I've had lots of moments where I felt like my entire life had fallen apart. I've had lots of moments where I was completely devastated all the time. I've had lots of moments where I cried in public both with and without the shield of my sunglasses.
But I've also had happy moments. Moments when I felt hopeful. Moments when I had fun with my friends. Moments when I was so in love with the hubby I thought I would burst. Moments where for just a while I forgot that my son died and just allowed myself to experience joy.
Some days I think I'm doing pretty well. Other days it's like I'm right back at the beginning. Days when I am hit with a flashback out of nowhere. A day like yesterday.
Last night the hubby informed me that some of his employees will be in London for a meeting in a few weeks time. His team is scattered across several countries so they only get together a couple of times a year. For years we have invited them to our home on one of the nights for dinner. We try to impress them with some good old American food. Usually BBQ chicken and corn on the cob. I used to make my "famous" chili for them which was an absolute favorite all around.
I used to make chili for them. In fact I made chili for them the night before I found out that my son had no heartbeat. You see, we were supposed to host them all for dinner that night after my scan. I had bought a bunch of chicken and spent hours making the chili the day before because we all know that chili tastes better on day 2.
So immediately after we get the news that our lives have been shattered into a million pieces we have to call his team and tell them they can't come over for dinner that night. When we get home I'm faced with a HUGE pot of chili. What on earth am I going to do with all this chili now? Neither of us were hungry that night as I packed my bag in preparation for my C-section which was scheduled for the next day. So the pot sat uneaten in my fridge until my lovely friends came over to clean out the nursery and baby stuff. I told them they could eat it but I've always suspected they dumped it down the sink.
So last night when the hubby suggested having them over again I knew what was coming. "They really want some of your chili this year," he tells me. Apparently they love it so much that it's been specially requested. I'm not sure if it's the timing of this visit to the one last year, or the memory of making the chili itself,,, but I totally lost it.
Hysterical crying about chili! *Yes, about chili.*
"I can't make chili for them," I tell him. At first he doesn't realize why,,, because of course he had forgotten about the chili. But not me. Apparently chili is now a trigger for me. I realized that I haven't made chili since my son died. And I'm certainly not going to make it again, in August, for the same people as the night before my life fell apart.
So how's that new normal going??? I'm not sure just yet. I feel like I take 2 steps forward and then 1 step back. It's frustrating sometimes, but I try to be gentle with myself. After all, if I really want the life I love back then I have to start by loving myself,,, right?
**And apparently in my new normal I no longer make chili.