Friday, March 31, 2006

Walking and talking and other things that used to be easy

This afternoon I went for a nice quiet walk down to the lake. Okay fine, it's really a large storm sewer reservoir, but it's big enough that you can pretend it's a lake - especially when there are ducks, geese and turtles regularly paddling about in it. And some days pretending a reservoir is a lake is a good thing, I've found.

Anyway, feeling the finally warm breeze on my face and hearing a chorus of bird chirps was very therapeutic. I hadn't realized how silent the winter skies were. I forget every year until the weather warms up and the birds make their way back to fill the air with their trills and chirps.

I made two passes around the reservoir before heading back home. It was actually getting hot, plus I kept passing a woman and her baby who were walking the same circuit as me, only in reverse. We passed each other three times before I decided that the heat coupled with the awkwardness of finding 3.6 seconds of witty banter to shoot back at her each time our paths crossed was impeding my ability to enjoy my outing to its fullest.

Sue me. Sometimes I'm antisocial. She seemed really nice (she was the one who made the first joke on our second pass) and I'll admit that a little part of me thought it might be interesting to strike up a real conversation with her just in case she might be interested in a regular afternoon walking buddy. But then I thought about how we'd inevitably start talking about kids, given that she had one in a stroller with her.

I just didn't feel like it. Sometimes talking about Thomas to strangers feels like re-cutting my C-section scar. Today I didn't have the energy for it.

So I headed home.

Sometimes it's a strange thing to have this secret sorrow. I'm always aware of Thomas when I meet someone new. I'm talking, but at the same time mentally calculating the necessity, desire or feasibility of working him into the conversation.

Does everyone need to know about him? I guess not. But it feels like they should. I feel like his earthly ambassador sometimes - his PR rep, as it were.

Women with strollers clearly have children. They don't need to advertise it. Short of pushing around an empty stroller with his picture in it, the only thing I can do is forcibly bring him up. Speak his name. Tell his story.

And watch faces go pale and eyes widen.

I hate that part. I hate that part a LOT.

It's quite amazing what goes on inside the brain of someone who has lost a child. I never knew. I never knew that their minds never rested for even one tiny second.

It looked like I was out for a happy afternoon stroll, but it was a whole different story on the inside. I was happy - I still am on some level. But the fact remains that I have a sorrowful secret I didn't share today.

It's a good thing you can't get fired when you have the kind of PR job I have.


I did, of course, eat the cake.

Not ALL of it, just a little piece which I enjoyed immensely. Food tastes so much better when you're careful about how much of it goes into your face. Who knew?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Control freak

I've been doing Weight Watchers since the beginning of January. For the record, I say "doing" Weight Watchers because saying "subjecting myself to the agony of deprivation", although accurate, is depressing. Weight Watchers - hell, any kind of diet - is torture to emotional eaters like myself. I'm sad, I eat. And I've been sad quite a lot lately (round about a year and two weeks, actually). But I'm not allowed to eat my way out of it anymore.

I sound like I'm complaining, but it's all good. It's actually very, very good.

Why? Well, curbing my tendency to use food as a salve aside, it's good because it's given me some control back. And noticeably thinner thighs as an added bonus.

I lost control of everything when Thomas died. I couldn't save him - we couldn't do a thing to keep him here with us. Something like that makes you feel as powerless as dandylion fluff in the wind, and that feeling has an awful way of sticking with you. I had nothing to hold on to - no way to take any power back from the world that stole it from me.

But I found a way in January. Weight Watchers.

Yes, I'm sorry to say I have yet to have a religious epiphany of any sort, but I think this one is pretty damn good in the meantime.

I have complete and utter control over this. I can gain or lose depending on what I do or don't do. It's up to ME. Seriously, it's all up to me. Me and my sometimes questionable willpower.

But we're hanging in. I've lost 18.4 pounds as of Monday, and I did it all by myself. Well yes, with Weight Watchers online guidance, but for the most part this is my victory and mine alone.

It's my superpower, if you will. I can shed pounds.

Just watch me.

But don't watch too closely because sometimes I cheat. For instance, 3/4 of the birthday cake I made on Thomas' birthday is in the freezer and it's been calling, calling, calling my name relentlessly for about a week.

And of course we all know there's only one way to shut cake up...

(Really, I SWEAR I have control over this!!)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Two lives

I feel like I've lived two complete, separate lives somehow. One before Thomas and one after.

This afternoon on my way to the car with a cart full of groceries, I watched a Mommy putting her little boy in the seat of her shopping cart. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and he was decked out in what I'm sure was new spring outfit, complete with a little white hat. I think he was probably about the same age Thomas would be right now.

Seeing that little boy on this beautiful spring day reminded me of something I'd completely forgotten. On one of our last shopping trips before Thomas was born, I picked up a cute little spring hat for him. In retrospect I now know it would likely have been too big for him to wear last spring, but it would be fitting him about now, I think.

I'd forgotten all about it.

I had all his little hats and socks and scratch mittens in the small top drawer of his change table/dresser, the drawer where I've now got all my craft stickers instead.

I can't remember what his little spring hat looked like anymore. I think it was blue - and maybe reversible - but I just can't quite remember. I guess that's because it belongs to my old life. It belongs to a time I can hardly even fathom existed.

It's a strange feeling when the two lives collide like they did this afternoon. It makes me feel sad, yes, but also unsettled and oddly confused. I'm not sure what this new life holds for me and it's like I'm wandering blindly through it without a map or a compass. I knew what to do in my old life and I knew where I was going. I was pregnant and I was going to be a mother. The end. But I don't quite know what to do in this post-Thomas life, and I have no idea where it's taking me.

Is it insane that I still haven't figured this out?

I mean, I'm sure that most people are uncertain about where life is taking them - and God knows you can plan right down to the tiniest detail and not have one single thing work out according to spec - but really, I'd have thought that by now I'd be feeling more sure of where I was headed.

I'm sure of some things - things like My Beloved. But I'm not really sure of much else.

I know I could look on this as an opportunity to embrace something new - to try new things, to see what really is out there beyond what I've always known and done.

It's just that it's easier said than done.

I suppose if I wasn't in baby-making limbo it would be a little easier. If I knew we were going to be unable to have another biological child I could make plans. We would, most certainly, adopt. But we don't know if another child of our own is in the cards for us or not. And so I'm kind of stuck in a bit of a rut. I can't move forward with my life because I don't know if or when I'll be carrying a second one with me. I can't make any plans. I'm waiting for them to make me.

I certainly don't mean that another child would be a burden - far, far from it. The problem is that I can't work up the motivation to dive headlong into something that I know is merely plan B. I'm still hanging on to the dream of plan A.

Which leaves me...where?

Planting seeds and planning my garden and doing Weight Watchers and being a wife. I guess that's where it leaves me. Which isn't so bad - I'm not complaining.

It's just not where I thought I'd be. And I just can't let go of that. My old life, while sometimes just a hazy memory, is the life that feels like it makes sense. It's the comfortable one - the safe and happy one. It's the one I planned on. You meet someone, you get married, you have a family. Period. That's the way it works, right?

This life is just confusing and scary and strange. I'm not used to it yet, even after a year. It's not bad, per say ( although there are definitely bad aspects - like being without Thomas) it's just not what I wanted. I didn't plan to be sad. I didn't plan to fight my way through every single day, ducking from sorrow as it ambushes me right, left and centre. I didn't plan on re-learning how to live as me.

I try really hard not to whine about my life (despite appearances to the contrary, like this long and whiny post) because this is what I've got. This is the hand I was dealt and I can't think of anything worse than spending the rest of my life as a professional pity-monger, wallowing in woe-is-me.

But on the days when my lives collide and I realize how much I resent having to work so hard at this new one, on those days I wallow. I admit it.

Just ignore me. The girl who is so proud of her little seedlings will return shortly. She's just taking a break.

Monday, March 27, 2006


One fat little Zinnia

A tiny tomato sprout and a hearty looking Morning Glory!

There's nothing more beautiful than life.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Oh John...

It never fails. The first beautiful spring day (a perfect day for a nice long walk) and My Beloved and I are struck with epic fatigue and unrelenting sinus headaches from the very change in the weather that made it so beautiful outside. It's quite amazing how heavy your legs can feel and how much effort walking can be when you're tired and headachy.

We went for a good long walk anyway but, well, it was kind of like dragging two anvils through cement. Only not as much fun.

Despite the lethargy and my aching head, it was still good to get out in the sunshine and warm-ish spring air with My Beloved though. I pretty much like going anywhere with him.

Hmmm. It would seem that misery really does love company.

We've dealt with Thomas' death differently, but there's such an easiness about being with someone who knows the depth of your loss in a way no one else on the planet can. There's nothing to explain, nothing to apologize for and a shared determination to make it through as best we can - together.

On achy, tired spring days it's good to know I have a partner. Particularly when the trails we walk are often littered with happy little families. It's a bit like running the gauntlet. It would be much easier if I could just look away, but I can't not look into the carriages and smile at the little faces looking back at me.

I'm a glutton for punishment, I suppose. My own worst enemy, and all that.

But the fact remains that I love babies. I love watching them and playing with them and holding them and smiling at them and coaxing a smile out of a wary and puzzled little face. I don't know if I do it more now that Thomas has come and gone or not, but for some reason it seems more important now. I don't know if I'm trying to find healing, trying to prove I'd have been a good mommy or just trying to desensitize myself, but whatever the case, I just can't look away.

Even on days when I know it's probably best for my heart if I do.

To quote John Lennon, nobody told me there'd be days like these.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The long and winding road

It's a cold, drizzly, uninspiring day today, so My Beloved and I decided to wander out and see if we could find some way to amuse ourselves. After picking up a prescription at the drug store, we decided to head over to a mall not far from my Mom and Dad's house to wander about for a bit.

There's always something to see at the mall. If it's not window shopping it's people watching - and both are pretty amusing on cold, drizzly spring days when you can't bear the sight of your own four walls anymore.

Anyway, we got chatting in the car about something or other, and missed the turn off. Not a tragedy since the next major intersection also takes us right past the mall.

The problem is, that street also takes us right past the hospital where Thomas was born.

As soon as we made the turn, I started to feel a little panic welling up in my chest. I hadn't driven up that road and past the hospital since the last time we made the trek there - the day before Thomas was born.

My heart started beating faster the closer we got...

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

I can vividly remember the countless trips to the hospital (my OB was in the office right next door) and all the happy chattering I did to My Beloved or my Dad on the way home once I knew all was well with my little Peanut. My Dad dropped me off and picked me up when My Beloved couldn't make it to the appointments to spare me the expense and agony of parking in the always jammed parking garage. In fact, my Dad was the second person to find out that Thomas was a boy. It was on one of those happy rides back to their house that I proudly exclaimed, "I saw testicles!!"

It's like it was yesterday.

Driving along that road and past the hospital today brought back so many memories, and with them so many awful feelings. As soon as I saw the big blue H I thought, "that's the place where Thomas died."

It only took a few seconds to drive past. Just a few seconds. But the agony that I now associate with that building will stay with me for an entire lifetime. I don't know if I can ever look at it with anything but horror and anxiety again. My baby died there. How can it possibly be anything more than a giant morgue to me?

I hate this. I hate what this has done to me. I hate the sorrow and pain that I know I can never escape from. I hate that I'm different, I hate that I'm sad, I hate that My Beloved is sad, I hate that Thomas is gone and I hate that a street and a building can throw me into this much turmoil after more than a year.

I hate it all.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Even the tiniest sprout

It's amazing how important it is to have living things in your house - and not just two people and a cat, I mean living things that I've planted and nurtured and grown myself.

I'm not replacing Thomas with plants, I swear, but I have noticed that having plants around tends to be pretty therapeutic. I guess the need to nurture doesn't go away just because your child has.

Oh God, that's really sad.

Anyway, on the 15th I planted a bunch of Beefsteak tomato seeds and put them on the kitchen windowsill (where they were cheered on by a ripening avocado and grown-up tomato until we ate them in a salad).

The seed package didn't say how long it should take the seed to germinate, and I was really starting to worry about them because there was absolutely NO action at all going on inside the little tomato dome as of yesterday afternoon.

But this morning I spied the tiniest little roots poking from the seeds into the peat pellets.


I wonder if it's possible the appearance of a new tray of seeds is what gave them the motivation to sprout. This past Wednesday I planted an additional 34 pellets with Zinnias, Cosmos, Morning Glory, Thunbergia and bunching onions, and sat them alongside the tomato seeds (that I presumed were merely rotting away) on a table by the sliding door in the kitchen.

To my delight, I saw roots poking from the Yellow Canary Zinnias and the Cosmos this morning too!

I kid you not, seeing just the tiniest evidence of life that I helped to make possible is incredibly healing. They're just seeds - just flowers and vegetables - but right now they're also a little bit of a lifeline.

I hope they continue to stay strong and healthy. I need this garden so very much.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Another restful night...

Last night Satan and I fought an epic battle in the belfry of a beautiful little church-turned-apartment. Satan was always Satan, but sometimes I was me and sometimes I was Jennifer Anniston. Courtney Cox made brief appearances too. In the end, God and I won the war.

I tell you, these nightmares are wearing me right out.

I woke up in a panic, only mildly comforted by the fact that Lucy and I were somehow wound together in sleep. I say mildly comforted because it's quite amazing how satanic a cat can look when you've just spent the better part of your sleep locked in a vicious battle for your eternal soul.

She finally started purring, which reassured me that she wasn't one of Satan's minions.

I should have known really. She's not nearly smart enough to be anyone's minion, let alone the prince of darkness'.

The dream has hung with me all day. There was more to it - there was a pregnancy or a baby, or maybe even Thomas - but the worst part of it was the horrible fight at the end.

It was some extremely scary stuff. Although beautifully shot - I should be a cinematographer, I think.

The end of the dream was actually quite touching. A pure white dove flew up the spiral staircase, past me and into the rafters, which is how I knew we'd won, God and I. A very tiny little dove appeared nesting in my hands, and I carried him up the stairs and released him to the rafters and the larger dove waiting for him above.

Hmmm. Maybe the little dove was Thomas and the larger dove was God?

Or maybe they were both just pigeons. I don't know anymore. I just know I need some restful sleep pretty soon. The past week hasn't been too bad - but last night was a doozy.

Maybe I should stop eating caramel and chocolate chip rice cakes before bed...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The contestant

So I read this article in the Sunday paper about a woman who enters contests for a living. Instead of thinking, "what a nut job" I thought, "hey, I think I'll try that too!"

Because I'm not crazy enough, apparently.

There's no way I can possibly match her contesting (there's even a name for it, for God's sake) since she enters roughly 7000 contests per month, but I figure I can give it the old college try for a few weeks and see what, if anything, happens.

Once you reach full term, the odds of anything catastrophic happening to your baby are approximately 1%. That means you have a 99% chance of everything going just perfectly. We were the 1%. With a massive abruption like I had, there is an infant mortality rate of 15%. That means 85% of babies will survive a massive abruption. We were the 15%.

I seem able to beat some pretty extraordinary odds, so I think it's reasonable to assume that I shouldn't have a problem winning a few contests at all. In fact, I dare say the gods owe me. They may not think so (and they may well be preparing their biggest and brightest lightning bolts as we speak), but I'd say it's high time that something good came my way. I'd like to beat the odds and smile about it for a change.

And man, what a change that would be.

Monday, March 20, 2006

They shot old yeller, didn't they?

It was a pretty pathetic scene. Two adults, well on their way to middle age, bopping away to Madonna's latest disco hit in the car on the way to return a movie.

Madonna. Does anyone under 30 even know who she is anymore?

I had to smile though. My Beloved and I are two peas in a really dorky pod.

I'm not sure how this happened though. I mean, it's not like I was ever cool or anything, but now I'm so far away from cool I need the Hubble Space Telescope to see it. I fall asleep watching Saturday Night Live. I play ping pong - with ravenous enthusiasm. I crochet. I drink tea in the evenings. I tsk at teenagers. I flip off people in Hummers. I bring my own bags to Price Chopper. I stopped paying attention to bands when Duran Duran broke up. I'm not sure I know who Colin Farrell is. I sometimes can't tell the difference between a doorbell on TV and our own front doorbell.

I am officially old.

I can vividly remember making plans to meet friends at 9:00pm and my Mom, quite aghast, asking why we were getting together so late. I was probably 23, maybe 24. To a 23-year old 9:00pm is like four in the afternoon.

In case you're wondering, 9:00pm is like midnight to someone knocking on the door of 36.

And, as if on cue, My Beloved just came in, bleary-eyed and yawning, to tell me it's bedtime.

It's 10:34pm.

Okay seriously, how did this happen?!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A lazy post

I'm too tired to write, so instead here's a wee slide show of relevant images from recent blogs...

Thomas' tree, November 2005; Lucy and her doorman, April 2005; Spring bulbs, 2004

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Mother earth

We returned Thomas' first tree today - the one that we planted in May and watched slowly die over the long hot summer.

Oh what uplifting fun that was.

I haven't been out to check tree number two for buds yet, but it stayed strong and healthy through the late summer and fall, so I'm assuming it'll be sprouting life-affirming bright green buds in a month or so.

In the meantime I have a $206 nursery credit for the dead tree and a little memory garden to plan.

I'm a terrible garden planner though. I'm one of those people who really, really wants to plan the perfect garden - ensuring full season blooming cycles, correct placement, colour coordination, etc. - but I generally end up getting dazzled by all the pretty colours and smells at the nursery and make awful garden choices. I load my cart with things that end up doing poorly or completely take over, providing ample coverage for our resident vole, Freddie.

But this year I'm going to try to turn over a new leaf. I swear. I want to create a beautiful, healing garden as a tribute to Thomas. I want it to be a place where I can remember him, as well as his heavenly buddies Ryan and Mekhi and all little lost souls, my other two babies included.

Digging in the dirt has always been very therapeutic. On the day I should have given birth to our first child (May 17, 2004), I went to the garden centre and chose as many beautiful things as I could pack into the car. I spent the afternoon with my hands in the earth, trying to coax life into growing there instead. It was incredibly peaceful and exactly where I belonged, even though I once again created a rather higgledy-piggledy effort.

I want to recreate the peace I found that day in a garden along the back fence. I'll be able to see it from every window in the back of the house, and so it will be a constant reminder of the beautiful little people who graced our lives for much too short a time. It will remind me of the beauty in them that still lives on.

My hope is that by the time Thomas' tree turns fiery red the little angel garden will be well on its way.

Which means I'd better get a lot better at garden planning...and fast.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Sending (((HUGS)))

Thinking of another little Thomas today, and hoping that his Mommy and Daddy find moments of peace.

Big ((HUGS)) Anam

Anam's blog

Thursday, March 16, 2006

It's a dirty job

Anyone who has spent more than five minutes trying to conceive has probably heard of fertility software like Fertility Friend. FF, as those of us in the trenches call it, is online charting software that lets you track your cycles - in incredibly intimate detail - in order to determine when your best chances to conceive are.

If you choose to make all the gory bits "public" (and therefore accessible to anyone who knows the link to your chart) your chart stalkers can see everything from what type and quality of fluids are coming out of you on any given day, to the number of days in a month you consider yourself gassy.

Nothing is sacred.

The other day I found myself feeling a little bound up, and so made sure to click the "constipated" button when entering that day's stats on my trusty chart. But as soon as I did I felt weird - kind of like I'd imagine you'd feel if you wore pajamas and bed-head to work - and didn't brush your teeth before leaving the house. I admitted something embarrassingly personal (about my bum, no less) and knew that the 180 or so ladies on my chat board would, if they happened to chart stalk me, know that I didn't get enough fiber the day before.

The thing is, I don't give a rat's ass about clicking that I'm urinating more often, breaking out, irritable, headachy, nauseated, crampy or basking in the glow of post-coital bliss, but for some reason I'm always loathe to admit when the old plumbing is backed up.

So why do it? Why admit the poop-shoot is running slow? I dunno.

Nothing makes much sense to me anymore. Logic would dictate that if you're embarrassed to admit something publicly you should avoid doing so, but all the rules changed when Thomas died. Normal logic no longer applies in all areas of my life.

So if FF asks, I tell. And anyone with the link can find out too. 'Cause I'm sure the highlight of most everyone's day would be to know if I crapped or not.

Oy. I need to get pregnant soon.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The farting cat

Well, the cat stopped farting, but she did decide to dance on my head in the middle of the night.

Okay fine, it's wasn't a dance as much as a frantic raking and pawing at my head to try to get me to roll over into a more comfortable position for her. Because really, what's more important than the cat being comfortable in the middle of the night?

I resisted as long as I could, but when the poking became more insistent and moved down my back, I waved the white flag, rolled over and let her burrow in beside me. I was wide awake by then anyway.

See, it's not enough that she's in the bed with us, I have to be facing her and, if possible, cuddling her not unlike a child cuddles a stuffed toy.

It sounds cute, but it's surprisingly un-cute at 4:00am when you've been wakened up by yet another bad dream.

I'm such an enabler. When I was single and Lucy was the only living being who crawled into bed with me at night, I relished the company. She even had her own pillow, right beside mine. It was a cozy arrangement for both of us, and it suited us just fine. Because she had her own designated spot she vary rarely woke me up to make things more comfortable and we were both happy and rested every morning.

When I got married and introduced a 6'3" husband to the mix, things changed. My Beloved wasn't keen on the idea of a threesome, and Lucy was uncertain of the flailing, roaring giant that had usurped her position as my bedtime companion.

They enjoyed each other during the day, Lucy and My Beloved, but when night fell they merely eyed each other warily, knowing that soon the battle of the sheets was going to be waged yet again.

It was cool to be fought over in bed. Very cool indeed.

Although not especially bright, Lucy is patient and stubborn. She simply bided her time, pretending to prefer the couch, the closet or a basket of clean laundry over the big, cozy warm bed she was used to. Before long she was once again an almost regular fixture under the covers - but always on my side. Lucky me.

I can't count the number of nights I've been awaked as though in a vice, squished between My Beloved and an equally space-demanding feline.

But you know, as long as they're comfortable.

Some nights I could swear we have 50 cats. Lucy gets hot all burrowed down under the covers, so she needs to get out every so often. But then she gets cold and has to get back in. If she didn't have to poke at me to get me to lift the covers it wouldn't be so bad, but as her doorman I need to be awake to escort her back into her burrow. And thus the poking, raking and pawing at whatever part of me she feels will best get my attention.

It doesn't always make for a great night's sleep (especially when you throw bad dreams into the mix) but I have to admit that I'm pretty grateful I have two souls who want so badly to curl up with me every night.

It's been lonely this past year knowing that there's no Thomas to cuddle with in the wee hours of the morning, and while a cat and a husband aren't quite the same thing as a precious newborn baby, they're pretty good substitutes.

Even with the cold feet and tuna breath.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

To sleep, perchance to dream

Now that my waking head seems to be in a somewhat better place (I think), my sleeping head is taking up the slack by maintaining a healthy level of nocturnal turmoil and sorrow.

Dreams. All manner of bad, sad, scary and depressing ones, all night long. And it's been going on for about a week. I wake up so tired, what with having no respite from my sorrow. I've become very used to being able to escape the pain by closing my eyes at night - I've had a year's worth of protection from reality which has been much needed and immensely therapeutic. I had a bout of nightmares a few months ago, but they disappeared after a few days.

I'm hoping that's what will happen this time too.

The dreams aren't Halloween II style gory, but they're much more disturbing to me because they're so real. I wake up wanting and expecting relief and I find that I'm still living a nightmare - only one that makes slightly more sense.

Last night's was about a charity golf tournament being held for Thomas by my Dad's high school alumni association. I thought it was very sweet of them, but I was confused. The funds were going towards the search effort - but I knew Thomas wasn't lost, just gone. Dead.

I didn't quite know how to tell them, however, because they were so Earnest. And then, of course, I started getting confused and forgetting that he wasn't dead. I'd think there was hope, and then remember and be devastated all over again.

See? Waking up after something like that is pretty fucking depressing.

The other thing that's depressing? My Beloved repeatedly coming in to show me pictures of me when I was fatter. He's a good heart - I know the poor boy thinks he's helping.

And really, it's my fault. I said that I don't see a huge difference yet and he's desperately trying to prove me wrong, evidently by hunting down the fattest me he can find.


Okay, I think the cat just farted. It's very clearly time for bed.

Sweet dreams. I hope...

Monday, March 13, 2006


Today I cleaned out my closet because it needed it very, very badly. I've been purging as much crap as I can from the house lately. I suspect it’s because I think that if I keep on throwing out, at some point the sorrow and ache in my heart will accidentally get tossed in one of the “donate” bags and I’ll finally see the end of it.

Wouldn’t it be great if life worked that way? I’d bid this sadness a happy adieu in a heartbeat if I could. Well, if I could without somehow losing the memory of Thomas in the process.

I’ve also pictured uncorking an imaginary hole in the side of my head and letting all the darkness and pain ooze out of my brain before corking it back up and sealing it for good.

Alas, there’s no cork hole in the side of my head, and I know that the only stuff in the bags I’m readying for the Canadian Diabetes Association are clothes I’m now, mercifully, too small to wear (thanks to Weight Watchers I’m now 16.4 pounds lighter and one size smaller than I was on January 2nd).

To be honest, there’s some just plain ugly stuff in my donation bags along with the now-too-big pants. Seriously, there are a lot of “what the hell was I thinking” items in there. A wool, three-shades-of-fuschia sweater comes to mind.

Loud? Shriekingly so. But maybe it’ll tickle someone else’s fancy – and take up space in their closet instead. It was itchy, but it served me well…at least until I realized how loud it was.

You know, I think the other reason I’m purging these days is because Thomas has made me realize that the things I hang onto are just that – things. I’ve absorbed that lesson in a way I never really could before he came and went.

It’s easier to part with things when you were forced to part with a piece of your heart.

Anyway, I did an almost thorough job of the closet today. My half, anyway. I didn’t spend much time on the shelves, but I’ll get to that. And I’ll have to soon – the piles of t-shirts, sweaters, sweats and jeans threaten to avalanche down on me every time I step into the closet.

I don’t particularly want to die that way.

I actually sometimes worry about dying in a stupid way because I’d just hate for my loved ones to have to actually speak the words, “she was trying to dislodge the vanilla with a pasta fork while balancing on two phone books perched on top a chair when suddenly the baking soda tipped, rained powder down on her face, temporarily blinded her and caused her to lose her footing. She cracked her head on the refrigerator as she fell off the chair and died with her face in the cat bowl.”

How would they ever tell it with a straight face? Nope, can’t die that way. Won’t do it.

Geez, I’m all over the map tonight. I’m once again giddy with relief that we survived last week and that I’m finished with the “this time last year” exercise forever.

Thank God. And thank God for smaller pants, fuschia sweaters that someone else will love and a clean closet too.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Climb every mountain - even the annoying ones

My Beloved just coaxed me into taking a short walk. We'd talked about going for a walk after we got home from my Mom and Dad's, but I hadn't planned on how full and non-walkish I'd be feeling after one of my Mom's prime rib dinners with all the trimmings.

I just wanted to lay about wallowing in my gluttony, a satisfied smile on my face.

But My Beloved convinced me that we should walk (and he's right - I've been stalled at two tenths of a pound of weight lost in the last two weeks) so off we went.

We were halfway through our walk when I realized he'd tricked me into taking the route that ends with a long, slow incline. Yes, it was a shorter walk than the ones we've become accustomed to lately, but that hardly counts when you have an annoying hill to climb.

So of course, I grumbled and moaned. Climbing up a hill is the complete opposite of wallowing in your gluttony, just so you know.

As we approached the hilly street, for some reason it suddenly dawned on me that I shouldn't complain about walking up a hill, I should instead be grateful that I have legs that will carry me safely to the top. I paid attention to what it felt like to take my strides - I felt my feet hit the pavement and my joints swinging and bending effortlessly and realized what a marvel it is that I can walk at all - that anyone can.

I tried to memorize the feeling so that when one day I can no longer walk up hills I can look back on this evening and remember a time when I could do it without giving it much more than a passing thought. Well, a passing thought and maybe a grumble or two.

We were at the top of the hill before I knew it, and with startlingly little effort.

And then it dawned on me - maybe I can use this Jedi mind trick to help me deal with other things in my life that I've become accustomed to grumbling and moaning about. Yes, yes, it's just another mind game, but tonight it worked like a charm.

I'll have to tuck this one away for future use, that's for sure. I know it won't work every time or in every situation, but it sure worked tonight.

And I have many hills to climb - we all do. I figure whatever trick gets you to the top is definitely worth trying again.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

On angel's wings

Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for us and our Thomas, sent flowers, made donations, had Masses said, lit candles, released balloons, added Thomas' memorial tag to blogs and online signatures, sent cards, sent e-mails, sent e-cards, called, did good deeds in his memory, listened, cared and offered every bit of support you can imagine.

Every single act, no matter how small, helped give us the strength we needed to face the last few days.

To know that Thomas meant so much to so many - and that you made such a huge collective effort to let us know - means more to us than we can ever express.

We couldn't be prouder of our little boy, or more thankful to everyone who has kept him alive in their hearts.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Yesterday I woke up in the grips of overwhelming sorrow, pretty much as I'd expected I would. I'd had trouble going to sleep the night before because I knew what was coming, and a frantic "He can't die again, he can't die again, he can't die again" mantra was what eventually lulled me to sleep.

I woke up to the sound of pouring rain and, with a heavy heart, kept my eyes fixed on my watch all day long as I relived Thomas' birth day, one year later.

There are still holes in my memory (I can't quite figure out how the four and a half hours between My Beloved calling my parents to let them know I was progressing well and the start of the pushing stage seems like just 15 minutes) but I remember all the most important parts.

I remember waiting for them to hoist his tiny, indignant face over the blue curtain and knowing that something was wrong for the very first time when they didn't. I remember that like it was yesterday.

But it's been a year. An entire year since he silently slipped into our lives and just as quietly left us. The only sound I ever heard him make was one tiny gasp while I held him as we waited for him to die.

I've heard that precious little sound a million times during this past year. Sometimes I try to make it myself, just to hear it again.

I know, I know, crazy lady stuff. But you cling to whatever you need to, I've learned. And that sweet little sound, even though I well know that in reality it was one of his last gasps, is a sound memory I cherish.

I was rather surprised by the mental reenactment of yesterday. I had no idea what to expect, but reliving it hour by hour wasn't really what I thought would happen. Thank goodness we busied ourselves with a good deed we thought Thomas would approve of, lunch together and a quick visit with my parents. There was time to check my watch, but no time to wallow.

By the end of the day I was almost giddy with relief that I'd survived it - that we'd both survived an entire year with the pain of such an enormous loss.

I still have no idea how.

This morning felt a lot different. Thomas' death was traumatic of course, but we pretty much knew he was going to die right after he was born, so today, the anniversary of his death, isn't nearly as difficult a day as yesterday was. Yesterday was the anniversary of his birth and the anniversary of the day our lives crumbled right out from under our feet. It was the day we knew we'd had and would lose our beautiful baby boy.

Today felt, I don't know, empty. Not good, not bad, just empty. And lonely. The giddiness of last night has worn off and, like last year, I know that yes, we survived - but we're alone, the two of us.

And it's so lonely.

So I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I can't even begin to speculate. But I can say that when the clock tick tocks its way past midnight in about 45 minutes I will be happy that these two horrible days are finished.

It's awful to know that the day your first child was born is a day that will forever cause you unbearable pain. That's a terrible thing to live with - a terrible thing to know that you're going to know for the rest of your life.

Oh Thomas...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Happy Birthday Thomas

I love you more than anything in heaven or on earth, and I'll continue to miss you with every single part of my being until the day I die. Happy Birthday my sweet little Peanut.

Love and kisses to heaven,

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The last day

A year ago today I went into labour. After my second application of prostaglandin gel on the morning of March 8, 2005, I started having regular, mild contractions around one in the afternoon. I lay on the couch as we excitedly timed each one. They fell into a mostly regular rhythm, coming every four minutes or so.

My Mother in law was frantic. "Why aren't you at the hospital?" she nervously asked My Beloved when he called her with an update.

But we weren't worried. I don't know why.

I napped for a few precious minutes and then lay on the couch watching The Barefoot Contessa (and hours of other things I can't remember) until, as instructed, we called the hospital when the contractions had been regular for as long as the doctor said they should be. They told us to come in at around 7:30pm.

We did. It was 7:30pm on Thomas' last full day alive when, nervous and by now pretty scared, we walked into the hospital. He would be born the next day at 5:29pm with no vital signs. He would die 20 hours later.

Five days after that we would walk back out of the hospital without him - numb, exhausted and desolate.

In so many ways it feels like it was yesterday. And yet, it also feels like a lifetime ago.

The last day.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Kristin needs...

While wandering aimlessly through blogland last night I found a very interesting time-waster. And I figured, well who am I to turn my back on a perfectly good opportunity to waste time? Time has done some terrible things to me (like racing at breakneck speed towards Thomas' birthday, for example) so I think turnaround is fair play.

So I wasted a good 10 minutes. And it felt gooooood.

Anyway, here's what you do: type (your name) needs (inserting your actual name, of course) into Google and see what comes up.

What you do with the results is up to you. I chose to giggle and post a few of the better ones here. Some of them make no sense, but some are startlingly appropriate, under the circumstances. It's like somehow Google really does know what I need.

Anyway, without further ado:

Kristin needs to move, and check other corners
Kristin needs to be everywhere
Kristin needs monthly prayer and financial support
Kristin needs to add chlorine to the water
Kristin needs to wash her socks
Kristin needs a shirt that says "drama queen"
Kristin needs prayers please
Kristin needs her family now more than ever
Kristin needs to get a life
Kristin needs to be found
Kristin needs a hug
Kristin needs sleep

and, because I just couldn't resist this one...

Kristin needs to tone down her cuteness

Yes, because there's nothing cuter than a woman in mourning...

Monday, March 06, 2006

If we fall

A very good friend made this tribute to Thomas so that she and my other online friends could remember him in a special way this week. They've added it to their chat board signatures.

It's funny, today started out like any other - and felt pretty much like an ordinary day too. I know Thomas' birthday is just three days away, but for some reason the pain is just the same as it always is, for the most part. I'm thinking of different things, yes, and wishing more fervently that I could turn back the clock and change what happened a year ago.

But my pain remains the same. So far, anyway.

The difference is that there are a whole lot of people rallying behind My Beloved and I this week- sending us kind messages, praying for us and letting us know, in so many ways, that they're out there and that they care.

I wasn't prepared for that. You get used to having a certain level of support, and to have it stepped up so dramatically (particularly when you thought what you already had was more than you could ever ask for) is startling.

I feel like now there's a huge net under the tight rope My Beloved and I have been walking since March 9, 2005. It's so comforting to know that there are so many hands waiting to catch us if the burden of our sorrow trips us up this week.

I hope it won't. I hope the two days My Beloved and I have planned to spend together remembering Thomas will be enough comfort for both of us. But I'm glad to know that there are caring souls at the ready just the same. Because I have no idea what to expect on the morning of the 9th or the afternoon of the 10th - the day of his birth and the time of his death.

I don't have a clue how I'll feel - how either of us will feel. But at least we'll know we're not alone.

A thousand and one sincere thanks to every single one of you.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Let the games begin

I think I've realized why I'm suddenly unable to beg God for another baby (something I was exceedingly good at not so long ago). It dawned on me at church this morning while I was mumbling a confused and scattered prayer before Mass started.

If I don't ask for something, I can't be disappointed when I don't get it. And if I don't get something, I can't lose it.

It makes perfect sense. I would love to have another baby - I would love to know what it feels like to bring a baby home from the hospital and be a parent to a child who lives and grows - but I'm afraid for so many reasons. Not the least of which is that I don't know how much more unanswered begging I can deal with or if my heart can take any more sorrow.

So if I don't ask for or expect anything, I'm safe. Safer, anyway.

It can't be healthy to be playing mind games with yourself, can it? And yet I've just started what appears to be a pretty damn big tournament.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

What should have been

I woke up about 30 minutes ago and, because it was stupidly early, lay in bed thinking instead of getting right up. My eyes eventually drifted towards the picture of Thomas on the wall beside our bed, and as soon as I saw his perfect little face I realized that today would have been the day we'd have had his first birthday party.

It would have been today.

Would have.

So completely, fucking, mind-blowingly insane. Would have.

I indulged for a few moments, and thought about what might have been - the cake, the cousins, the proud Grandmas and Grandpas, Auntie K and the truckload of things I know she'd have excitedly dragged into the house for Thomas...

And then I had to stop. Because really, what's the point? It's never going to happen. There's no party here today - there's just me, My Beloved and a hungry, disgruntled cat who's sitting four inches from my right arm waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting for me to go get her breakfast.

It's such a pretty morning. I think it would have been a nice day for Thomas' first birthday party.

Damn. Damn and every other expletive you can possibly think of.

Friday, March 03, 2006

And then there were none

Cadbury's is recalling their Easter Cream eggs because a tiny piece of one of the moulds the chocolates are formed in chipped off, ended up in one of the eggs, and cut the inside of a consumer's mouth.

The chocolate I crave most in the entire world is leaving the shelves. I would normally consider this a tragedy of epic proportion (well, epic in the world of chocolate cravings, I mean) but this year I'm actually grateful to see those chocolatey orbs of gooey goodness returning from whence they came.

I haven't checked the Weight Watchers points tracker to see how many of my precious 28 daily points I'd blow by indulging in an Easter Cream egg (or two...or three) because somehow I've managed to keep temptation at bay and avoid succumbing to their quiet, eggy whispers in the grocery store.

"Buy me", they taunt. "You know you want me. Go on - no one's looking..."

I hate them and I love them. Sometimes I touch them, ever so gently, on my way past the 5-foot display stands in the middle of the grocery store. Such exquisite torment.

However, I'm not ashamed to admit that even though I've been successfully avoiding temptation for weeks, I was starting to weaken.

Just the other day while I was out picking up milk and bread I very seriously considered buying one egg to eat in the car on the way home. If no one sees you eat an Easter Cream egg, it probably doesn't count, after all. But somehow I resisted just the same.

I would like to think that the gods decided to end my torment and found a way to get the chocolate off the shelves. I would like to think that because maybe, just maybe it might signal the end of other torments in my life. Like my inability to get pregnant and my worries that we'll never have another child of our own.

But I know all it means is that a piece of the candy mould broke off and the PR wizards at Cadbury's know the right thing to do to save the reputation of the beloved sweets is to recall them until the memory of the tainted egg fades from our minds.

Damn. No eggs. No baby. No signs from the gods.

I'll just have to move on. I've got my eye on a Reese Peanut Butter Cup anyway...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Angels among us part II

When I was pregnant with Thomas I was on a pregnancy chat board where I met many wonderful women who were all experiencing the same miracle that I was. We chatted about anything and everything, and offered each other support and encouragement as we all faced the journey to motherhood.

It was a magical place and a magical time.

As the women had their babies, they'd move on to the "Grad Board" where the topics changed from morning sickness and cravings to poopy diapers and breast feeding.

I couldn't wait to join that board and start sharing the wonder of motherhood with all the women with whom I'd shared my pregnancy - the women I'd come to consider friends.

The interesting thing is, when I had and lost Thomas, I was still welcomed with open arms on the Grad Board. I had countless women post and tell me that I was every bit as much a mother as they were, and that they wanted me to stay.

I felt like I didn't belong, but their warmth and sincerity kept me there just the same. For almost a full year these amazing women have been there for me in ways I'm sure they don't even realize. A kind word on a sad day, mentioning Thomas' name out of the blue, including me in their lives - they have no idea what that has meant to me. Or what a lifeline it has been.

I haven't been on the board all that much in recent weeks because, I suppose, as Thomas' birthday draws near it becomes a little more difficult to be in a situation that is so mother and child focused. But I do still pop in and check on my girls and see what's going on every now and then. I like to see whose little one is walking, who has decided to try for #2, who has a funny story or a new picture to share - that kind of thing. I like keeping tabs even when I'm keeping a low profile.

Yesterday I popped on and found a post for Thomas. One of those sweet and supportive mothers decided that March should be dedicated to doing good things in memory of my little boy. She asked everyone to consider doing a good deed or two in his honour, and posting it so My Beloved and I would know what wonderful things are being done for others - simply because our son graced this earth for just 20 short hours.

There were donations made to charities, food banks and women's shelters, there were favours done for friends and neighbours and there were promises to think of very special ways to honour Thomas' life by doing good for others. And it's only March 2nd...

I was sobbing after about four posts.

I live in fear that Thomas will be forgotten because he was only here for such a short time, but these women have proven that he will be remembered, at least by them. In showing me how much Thomas' life has impacted theirs, they are giving me the best possible gift I could get - they're giving me a piece my son back. They're making him a living force in their lives and in the lives of the people they touch in his name, and knowing that brings me more comfort and healing energy than I think they could ever dream possible.

I tried to thank them in a post I wrote yesterday, but my words are wholly inadequate. I can never, ever begin to thank them enough for giving me that precious and utterly priceless gift.

And imagine, it comes with their friendship too.

I'm truly the richest woman alive.

Thank you Denise

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Can you really go to hell for eating a muffin?

It's Ash Wednesday - a day of fasting and abstinence. It's harder than one might imagine when you're doing Weight Watchers and already feeling somewhat deprived. It's also hard when you have the overwhelming urge to scream obscenities at the heavens for the injustice done to your little family. It seems like God is asking a lot of me today.

But maybe I'm just being a drama queen.

Anyway, on our way back from the funeral parlor My Beloved and I were discussing my tummy and its desire for a muffin. The thing is, you're only supposed to have three meals and no snacks on Ash Wednesday. I knew that - I knew I couldn't have a snack, but I really wanted the muffin. I had the weight watchers points left, I'd just spent the better part of an hour at a funeral parlor where the almost inconsolable widow clung to me and sobbed low, guttural moans in my ear while I whispered "I'm so sorry" over and over - and I wanted the damn muffin.

It was even low fat. It was all good, except that God, apparently, would send me to hell for eating it.

My Beloved, ever the voice of non-organized-religion reason, gently suggested that maybe it was okay for me to have the muffin. It wasn't, after all, like I was killing anyone. He doubted very much that I'd go to hell for snacking on Ash Wednesday. He even did a little skit about it. This is how it went:

Two damned souls meet and begin chatting while languishing in the depths of hell...

Hitler: So, yeah, I killed six million Jews. What are you in for?
Me: Me? Um, well....uh.....I ate a muffin.

My Beloved has a way of putting things into perspective like no one else I know. But did his short, one-man play convince me to break cannon law (or whatever law it is) and have the snack I wanted so badly?

Well, I'm now sitting here at 11:52pm with a lightly buttered (margarined?) low fat honey bran muffin on a little plate beside me. In 8 minutes I'll eat it. It'll be tomorrow by then - a regular old Thursday.

I know it's stupid. All logic and good sense tells me that I won't go to hell for eating a muffin on Ash Wednesday, but since things haven't particularly gone all that well for me in the not so distant past, I'm not all that interested in tempting fate or angering the gods. I can wait eight more minutes for my snack.

I hope someone up there is making note of this. Seriously, when I die and me and Saint Peter are flipping through my files, I'd better see that someone noted my decision not to eat a muffin on Ash Wednesday, 2006.

Anyway, much as I'd like to stay and chat more about my eternal soul, it's now just after midnight and I have a muffin to devour.

So there.