Monday, 22 August 2011

Are You There New Normal? I'm Still Trying To Find You.

Come out come out where ever you are...... no seriously, stop hiding... ok this isn't funny anymore, just tell me where you are so I can find you already.

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.

30 comments:

  1. Just found you through the Monday Mingle...and I cried. Isn't it odd how even the smallest of things can set off memories for us women?

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  2. (hugs). I wouldn't be able to make chili either in that situation.

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  3. We had chilli for dinner the night before Florence was born, this year without realising, my dh suggested we have chilli for dinner the night before her birthday and I lost it too.
    Some times it's the seemingly little things that can just set off so much. x

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  4. I guess that's why we all call it the "new" normal. Because the "old" normal would mean making chili, holding a baby on your hip, and not crying hysterically. I am so sorry. Missing him with you.

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  5. It wasn't just about the chili....sending light and love.

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  6. No, it's definitely not JUST the chili. I imagine that certain things that happened around the time of your son's death will always be a trigger. In time you may make the chili while shedding a tear or two, and maybe even someday you will just be melancholy when you make it, but right now stepping away from the chili pot sounds like the sane thing to do :)

    Thinking of you, and wishing that you didn't have to make your way through life with a 'new' normal.

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  7. I totally hate how things so ordinary are now triggers and sadness. There are just so many of them. Friggin' sucks.

    But I agree with the other ladies... it's not just the chili.

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  8. I just found you through "For the Love of Blogs." Even though I've never lost a baby of my own, my pastor's wife lost hers. They named him Joseph Abel, & it inspired me to write these lyrics: I wish you were able to be here, able to cry & scream, able to laugh & sing. I wish you were able, able to crawl & walk, able to hug & talk. Though some may forget you, I never will 'cause I know that you are able still. And when it seems like I'm missing all you would achieve, I think of Heaven, & I believe you are able. There's another verse, but you get the picture. I could send you a copy of it if you'd like. Anyway, I know it's not really the same at all, but I experienced many of the same things since my parents' divorce...tear triggers, a "new normal." I love your openess & descriptions of your struggles. In some small way, it's helped me with my own. Thanks.

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  9. I understand.

    Daffodils are like poison to me. I hate those things.

    Fuck you, April.

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  10. I balled my eyes out today when the doctors office never called me back, the didn't call me back when I was having trouble the week I lost the twins. It triggered me and put me right back into that place when I felt helpless. I understand you.

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  11. I went to an appointment with Alexander - to the eye doctor - and had an anxiety attack. this was the first doctor to see us after we had the news. i told Ray on the way home... no more trips there for me.
    I'm posting on wednesday about this. If you have a minute... I could maybe use a few prayers of encouragement on that day...

    and... chili isn't "all that it's cracked up to be" anyway.
    xx Kristen @ www.alittlesomethingforme.com

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  12. Hey, you know what, this sound totally "normal" to me. That's what happens in post-traumatic stress. I have a dress in my closet I don't know whether to donate or burn or bury or save... It's the one I was wearing the day I found out she died. The one I still picture myself standing in the entrance to the hospital. So it's still there in my closet. There's a movie I can probably never see again. A restaurant I will not got to again. Etc. Sounds about normal to me...

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  13. SIgh. I'm glad you're not making the chili. Cry away, and let the trigger be just what it is. You don't have to change it or move past it. Just let it be and tell chili to fuck off.

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  14. Could not have written this better myself. Thinking of you and please let me know if your new normal lands in your lap at any point in time. I still owe you a picture, I haven't forgotten and will get it sent to you soon.

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  15. That you've been able to express your feelings about chili, dinner guests and the need for sunglasses in public tells me that you are definitely finding your new normal. You know yourself and your limits; you've found them. Take care.

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  16. This post breaks my heart. I'll be sending all my prayers and hugs your way from now on when I eat chili.

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  17. It's really not about the chilli I guess, but how normal things which ones brought some joy to us has changed now. How they all seem abnormal...

    I think you have the gift to live through what you write. When I read your post, I could actually visualize that huge pot of chilli in the fridge facing you when you returned home after the scan. I have many images like this, making appearances in my mind, of the day my baby was born..of the day he died..

    Am sure all blms have their own images. But I think I can never write them down like you did.

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  18. Yes, I get it. Grief has a strange way of giving huge significance to things that may only make sense to the person grieving. For me, it also seems to sneak up when least expected and blindside me. Pisses me off that I can feel so out of control over my feelings 10 months later.

    Just wanted to give you a big cyber hug today.

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  19. That is quite a trigger mamma... and I completely understand. Sending you a big hug tonight...

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  20. Oh I get that. I get it all.


    And I will be releasing the balloon too. There is a stupid thing that is happening...but still!

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  21. *hugs* mama... nothing can be normal after the loss of a child. I hope you can still take joy in each day though to find something to smile about.

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  22. makes total sense to me. i couldn't make the chili either. i don't know how to get back to normal or what that normal looks like. my heart aches for you. sending tear stained hugs your way.

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  23. My heart breaks for you. Forget chilli. There's many other dishes you can make. Sending a big hug...

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  24. Oh so sad. I know things have got better for you. AM going to check latest posts to see how you're travelling.

    Visiting via the REwind.

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  25. Grief is such an all-consuming thing. There will always be triggers and at least chilli can be avoided. x

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  26. I'm so sorry... You know what, this is your new normal. The ups, the downs, the tears over chilli. Hopefully, time will even the ups and the downs. Some of the triggers will probably be always be there. I'm still trying to come to terms with my new normal and it's been three years. Hang in there...

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  27. Oh dear, so sad, so sad. Hello from the rewind, off to see how you are travelling these days.

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  28. So sad... So many challenges...

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  29. wow, what an incredibly hard time you have been through. I hope you are closer to your 'new normal' now xxx

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  30. So sad. Horrible. There are certain songs and certain sweets I cannot ever eat that trigger grief for me - I can totally empathise, and my heart goes out to you. (I suffered a late loss in nearly exactly the same circumstances as you.)

    Thank you for linking up via the Weekend Rewind.

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