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.


  1. This resonates so much for me. I just asked my husband if we'd have a housewarming party when we buy a new house and he said yes and I thought, wow. It's been forever since we had people over. And by "forever," I mean two years and three months. We used to host parties all the time. I miss that, and that's a big deal because it wasn't something I missed before--it wasn't something I even wanted to think about doing. So I guess that's part of recovering from such a great loss? I like to think maybe the new house will be a fresh start for us in that way. Get some of our mojo back.

  2. This resonates with me as well. I just began hosting once more and it takes tremendous energy for me to do it. The last house party was her shower 2 days before Ava died. Horrific. It is very difficult and it is hard to be able to do again.

    I, much like Brooke, hope a new house may help us get our mojo back.

  3. I have to agree with comments above and say that I am much more of a home body and less social as I once was. Hopefully things will get better. For now I am happily enjoying my sweet rainbow that has filled aching arms.

  4. The old me...2 yrs and 3 months ago is the last time I remember that person. It is so very hard to embrace the new "me". I still struggle with it because sometimes I think we feel guilty of letting go of the "old" reality the "old" is when we were blissfully pregnant with so much to look forward to before it all came crashing down around us.

    I think a BBQ is a great idea...any way to try and recapture anything that can tie the "new" with the "old".

  5. It takes strength to recognize that we are changed and to want to take steps to get parts of our 'old' selves back. Good for you for reaching this point- a BBQ sounds fun!

  6. I haven't stopped and looked long enough at who I am now... I'm not quite sure how I've changed but I know I have... I think I'm me but just less. It's like me less 40percent, the dulled down version. Hopefully as time goes by I might get some of my sparkle back.

    BBQs, must be warming up on your side of the world :)

  7. I've just found your blog via Mummy's Little Monkey. I want to comment but I don't know what to say, I think it would be insensitive for me to just read a post and offer some comfort or advice or similar. I think you've already taken the first step of change and taking control - a BBQ sounds like a fab idea.

  8. I have just come across your blog. It is really wonderful how you are sharing your thoughts. I don't feel so alone now. We lost our first born son Jack shortly after he was born last April. I often think of the "me" before and wonder where she has gone. The new "me" is such a different person. I used to love having dinner parties, so going to take your lead and organise one again. One step to new mojo. Tks you are an inspiration.

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  10. Hello,

    I am new to your blog but it has really touched me. In November, I lost my daughter, Quinn, too early at 18 weeks. When you talk about your "fog" of grief it resonated with me- I feel like I am just coming out of it.

    It's interesting- I am about to go on a vacation to the same spot I went this time last year. I am kind of dreading it because the person who went on that vacation last year is the "old me." The new me, the one who lives with the hole in my heart, she doesn't know how to enjoy this vacation. I can no longer sit on the beach and relax- my mind will forever be returning to my place of grief- missing her and knowing the hole will never be filled until I have a baby in my arms.

    You are just so right when you say we are never the same. I cannot approach life the same way I once did. I hope that in time, I too will have a rainbow baby. Until then, I guess, just like you, I am finding a new normal. How to enjoy a vacation is my next challenge:/