Thursday, 28 March 2013

Not So Far Away After All

Lately I have been feeling like my son is very far away. I don't mean my grief. My grief is never far away, even after over 2 and a half years. I mean that I feel like he is far away. Slipping into the background. Slipping into the shadows. Like he's somehow getting lost in the hustle and bustle of normal life.

Far away from my everyday thoughts. Far away from my everyday life. I still think of him every day, but it's different now. Now that my everyday thoughts are filled with Frostina. My everyday life is full of taking care of her basic needs. Feeding her, changing her, washing her bottles, washing her clothes, taking her places,,,, it is all consuming.

Which often leaves little space for him. So he gets pushed back. Away from my everyday life. Until he feels so very far away.

But then something small happens, and he's back. Right there. Front and center. As if he never left the middle of my heart. As if there was never anything besides his loss in my life.

This time it was a simple comment made by someone who had no idea what she was saying. Something she probably says a million times a day without even thinking about it.

I take Frostina to Gymboree classes (which she loves by the way). The current term is about to end and they are running a special if you sign up early. You get a discount and four free classes. I was asking the lady if the four free classes are part of the normal term, or if they are four extra classes on top of what you normally get. The woman explained that they are above and beyond the normal term. Bonus classes she tells me.

"You can either use them for her, or if she has any siblings you can let them have the classes."

If she has any siblings.... if she has any siblings. That sentence echoed in my head. If she had any siblings, like let's say her older brother who died before he was born. If she had an older brother who she could play with instead of just hearing his name. An older  brother who could actually play with her instead of just being able to play with the teddy bear that was meant for him.

If she had a living brother, then he could use the extra four classes.

But she doesn't, so I guess she will just have to use the classes herself.

I was overwhelmed with sadness. Her far away brother, the one who I feel is fading away, will never be able to use her extra Gymboree classes. He can't play any active role in her life, because he isn't here. And I was reminded just how sad that makes me.

I'm sad that I will never know him. I'm sad that The Hubby will never know him. But I'm even more sad that Frostina will never know him.

The tears came and I did my best to fight them off. I mean seriously, who cries at Gymboree? It took a few minutes but I eventually won the battle with my tears. And I'm pretty sure no one noticed, or if they did they were too polite  to say anything. 

That's when I realized, maybe he's not so far away after all.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Listening To My Heart

So do you want to try for another baby? It's a question I've been pondering for quite some time now. Back in January I wrote in depth about all the different things racing through my head.

The key phrase there is "my head" as opposed to "my heart." That post was full of my logical brain trying to work out the best path forward. I usually make my major life decisions using my head. I don't know exactly why, it's just the way I'm wired. Mostly it has guided me well, but sometimes my head can get itself all confused and really run me in circles. 

So over the past few months I've stopped pondering. I decided to see if I could figure out what my heart wanted. The problem for me is that my head is so loud that it's hard to hear what my heart is trying to say. I get so lost in the logic that I can't hear anything else. In order to listen to my heart, I have to make a conscious decision to just stop thinking so hard.

It took a while for my head to just shut up already. I occupied myself with other things, other projects, and things that needed to be done. Finally convincing my head to think about something else.

And now, here in the silence I am hearing a tiny voice. My heart, which is mostly drowned out by my head has something to tell me. At the moment it's still just a feeling. My heart takes it's sweet time you know. But this feeling I'm getting is that my heart wants very much for us to try again.

Hearing this, my head kicked right back into high gear with a million questions. What about this? What about that? Aren't you scared? 

This time I'm not going to answer my head just yet. I'm going to take a bit more time so I can listen to my heart. I'm hoping the message will be clear to me soon enough.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The "Me" Before

She was telling a story. Remembering things from the past. Talking about how much fun I am. Talking about how I throw the best parties. Telling everyone that I'm such a good cook. Saying how she was so happy to be moving back to London because she and her husband really missed us. They missed us because we are such good friends and we are so much fun.

Who is she? She is a friend that I met when I first moved to London almost 8 years ago. She was friends with me before tragedy hit. She was friends with the old me, the "me" before. She moved away a month before my son died. In fact, she delayed her departure so she could attend my baby shower. That was the last time she saw me until a few weeks ago.

Who was she telling her stories to? She was sharing this information with some of my new friends. Friends who didn't know the "me" before. As she was walking down memory lane, sharing stories about fun times and crazy moments I could see looks of wonder on the faces of my newer friends. I could tell that they didn't recognize the "me" that was being described in the stories. In a way, neither did I. That person seems so far away now.

It's been just over 2 and a half years since my precious baby boy died. A lot has happened since then. I have come out of the fog of early grief and despair. I have gone on to have my rainbow baby and know the joy of parenting a living child. I have slowly and deliberately carved out a new life for myself, a new normal.

I am no longer frozen in time. I no longer count each day without him. I no longer cry for hours every day. I suppose it's fair to say that I have moved on with life. I have moved forward to a place where there is still some sadness, but there is also much joy.

But I am forever changed. You can't go through something as devastating and soul destroying as losing a child and come out the other side the same person. It's just not possible. Moments like this create permanent marks in our lives. There will never be a time when I go back to being that person. There will always be "The Me Before," and "The Me After."

I don't think too much about the person I was before my son died and was born. I guess that's because it's been such a tough road to get to the person I am today. I'm still in the trenches trying to find my way to a happier place. So I rarely look back anymore.

But this week I caught a glimpse of the "me" before when I listened to her stories. And I really missed the woman I used to be. They way she talked about me made me remember just how full of life I was. How idealistic  and positive I was, even in the midst of an almost 8 year battle with infertility. I had a joy for life that I haven't been able to recapture just yet.

It was quite an interesting evening. Sitting with a mix of old friends and new friends. Friends I knew on either side of the tragedy that was my son's death. Two very different sides of the same person. I could see that my new friends did not entirely recognize the woman she was describing. The "me" before threw a lot of parties and cooked up a storm, the "me" after has much fewer parties and hardly ever cooks for her friends. The old me would never turn down a chance to socialize while the new me sometimes does.

It got me a bit nostalgic about the past. I know I can't change anything. There will be no magical transformation back to that fun loving, much less complicated person. But maybe I could try and bring a bit of the fun back. Not just for them, but for me. There was a time when I loved having people over. There was a time when I loved cooking for friends. Perhaps I need to try and recapture that feeling.

Perhaps it's time for me to invite some friends over for a BBQ sometime soon.