I'm wiped out, exhausted...had another night of insomnia. Everyone got out late this a.m.
This time it's stress. Funny thing about grief and the things we don't want to talk about. It comes out anyway. Maybe not as tears, or public renting of clothes, but it comes out. After 8 1/2 years of this you'd think I'd know it when it sneaks up on me. But I never do....
I've wasted time in therapy and in blogging not talking about the stuff that really hurts down deep. I'm so stuck, so unable to write, to say things out loud, to even make the damn video that I have shot footage for (yes, literally I had everything ready weeks ago, but I just can't do the final bit, *sigh*), that instead I have insomnia, I have fights with my husband, I'm afraid to go back to my own clinic and really try to have another baby.
Because to me, TTC=failure, and pregnancy=dead babies, not live ones. I had another huge session with my therapist last Monday and I discovered that I can only talk about my daughters and my infertility in a very professional public voice, devoid of true emotion, devoid of any real self-examination. This helps when I'm making speeches or talking to professionals about medical care for the bereaved. But it's really really unhelpful to me as a person trying to heal.
That brings me to my last bunch of blogposts. I have seen some wonderful kind things in the last 8 1/2 years since my son died, and some truly horrible ones. Some people who have healed well, and some who haven't, at all. Some parents, who in fact, have never ever been okay again. There seems to be a lot of confusion out here in blogland about the helpful and unhelpful ways to handle grief, but really there isn't any confusion among grief counsellors, among long time grieving mothers, among hospice and bereavement workers.
And that is not the same as telling someone how they "should" feel, or judging the quality of their grief, neither of which I would ever do, really....It's more like that West Wing quote I love so much, (indulge me here, I feel a need to type it out again)
"This guy’s walking down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by, and he shouts up, “Hey you, can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on.
Then a priest comes along, and the guy shouts up, “Father, I’m down in a hole, can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole, and moves on.
Then a friend walks by, “Hey Joe it’s me, can you help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.”
The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.”– Leo to Josh on The West Wing about sharing his problems at AA.
In AA as in many support groups they tell you to you need to really self-examine your life and all the incidents that led up to the problems in your life. Well, grief is no different. Grief is about looking at the reality, not the imaginary fantasy, but the raw, unvarnished truth. We can't rewrite it "nicer" or "easier" at least not until we've seen the ugly parts first. And we can't deny it.
Oh, I know...that's telling someone how to grieve...except it's not...it's me saying that there and helpful and unhelpful ways of grieving. And I will be here for you, my friends, while you struggle with both kinds. But, make no mistake, I will be sad for you, I will try to suggest ways you can deal with you grief that might make you feel better. You don't have to listen to me, or read me, you can delete my comments, ignore my emails, IT'S OKAY. I'll still be here caring about you all....
The unhelpful stuff---the head of my support group, a bereaved mother herself, has some pretty horrific stories of what has happened to parents who don't face the reality of their loss. In her 20+ years she has seen divorces, suicides, debilitating depression, alcoholism, drugs, both legal and illegal, job losses, women literally walking down the halls of hospitals trying to find their babies---one was convinced the hospital had stolen her child, because she had never seen him after he was stillborn, and thank god the damn hospital had kept some pictures to show her, to prove he had died, otherwise, it would have even been worse. The women you hear about who have severe extreme PPD, they quite often have suffered previous losses, unacknowledged grief, that wells up years later after their new living child is born. They've found parents wandering through graveyards, unable to leave, parents who ended up in the psych ward of local hospitals.
Or the sadder less dramatic alternative, bereaved parents leading lives of silent depression. Never truly enjoying their living children or their marriages.
Facing reality can take many many forms, and we've talked about them here and on other blogs, like getting kind and decent treatment during a loss, from the medical system and friends and family, getting to see your child and hold them, getting pictures and mementoes, getting to say goodbye in some meaningful way. Saying a name out loud, having other people use your child's name. Finding out a reason why, a real reason. Being able to talk about it all with people you love, in a natural normal way.
Many people can't do this right away, but sooner or later they need to do some parts of it, somehow. The part I'm stuck on, isn't Matthew, and it isn't even the miscarriages of my daughters, so much as it is the nightmare of my daughter's remains being delivered to my home two years ago.
I saw her body, but it wasn't nice. It was awful, the worst possible way. I completely froze and lost it....I couldn't tell a soul. I told my support group, my husband, my therapist, and you my blogreaders. I've told policy people and others, pretending it was an unnamed client it happened to....but never under my own name. If I had delivered her in the hospital and seen here there, in one piece, all clean and wrapped up in a blanket, it would've been so different. It would've been healing.
Make no mistake....I know this has been an unhelpful way for me to grieve and deal with it. It's the recent cause of my headaches, my insomnia, and other issues over the last two years. I'm trying to undo the nightmare with some EMDR work, and some writing. I must succeed. I will not be okay until I deal with the trauma of this.
I will still be down in the hole.