Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Two years

Two years ago today they started the induction process with an application of gel.

I'm literally floored that so much and so little time has passed.

It was a whole other life back then. And I was a totally different person living it. The world was ordered differently and things made sense. There was logic. Plans could be made. Prayers worked. Doctors saved. Babies lived.

For God's sake, it's like I've been abducted by aliens and I'm living in some sort of parallel universe where things appear to be normal, but are clearly very, very different indeed.

I once read in a document (intended for physicians and therapists treating bereaved parents) that most parents who lose a child find it takes between 2 and 5 years to feel "normal" again.

And by normal I don't mean the same as before, because there's no going back to the person you were before your child came and went. You can't be the same after losing your heart - after losing a piece of yourself. An amputee is forever changed, and so are we. It's just harder to tell from the outside.

So it's been almost two years. Do I feel normal? Yes and no. I feel more connected than I did a year ago. I'm faking things a lot less and that fuzzy, out-of-body feeling that plagued me when I was out of my comfort zone (at parties, social events and family gatherings) has all but disappeared. I seek out my friends more than I used to and I look forward to their company in a way I wasn't able to before.

I'm not just enduring things the way I was that horrible first year. I don't have to force myself so much anymore.

But I'm not quite there yet. I don't feel comfortable in my own skin the way I used to. I'm still a little bit of a stranger and I startle myself every once in a while. The me I used to be reacted to things very differently than this person I am now does. And sometimes I'm caught off guard by her antics - and the depth of her sorrow and anger.

But she's not all bad. Yes, there's a good deal of road rage and a lot of ranting about things that are beyond my control (like President Bush, kids with cellphones, gas-guzzling SUVs and the fantabulous infertility midway ride from hell that I didn't pay for and can't seem to disembark), but there are also some good bits in there too.

For one thing, I'm a good mommy. And, more importantly, I feel like a mother in a way I didn't when I first lost Thomas. It's different than being a mother to a living child, sure, but I am a mother. Feeling the love I have for my child is something that moves me to tears. I had no idea it was possible to feel love like this, and to be inspired and challenged by it every day.

I like that bit of me very, very much. And I'm immeasurably proud of it too.

Now if I could only figure out a way to stop flipping off drivers who tailgate and honking at ones that refuse to signal lane changes I'd be even closer to my goal. But I've got three more years for that, right?

I'm doing okay.


stephanie said...

Sending you and Sandy so much love.

austins mom said...

I just wanted to send you ((hugs)) and prayers!!!

Catherine said...

I have watched you over the past year, carefully stepping foot back out into the land of the living (where you dare to seek hope again). I think you are doing much more than ok. I think you are a mom...a friend...a writer. Though I know you hate the reason, you are inspiring.

I hope that Thomas' second birthday brings you smiles as you remember the happiness that he brought to your life.

niobe said...

Your evocative post makes me wonder, as I examine my own heart, whether there is something very wrong with me.

Yes, the loss of my twins is wrenchingly painful. But I'm still the same as I was before. And the new life bears a remarkable resemblance to the old one.

JuliaKB said...

March 9th, tomorrow, is my son's due date. Instead, he died January 30th, and was stillborn the next day. Today we celebrate his sister's 5th birthday. This is how it's going to be for me from now on-- the 8th and the 9th.

The love, the love is overwhelming. It's huge, and, at least for now, it's painful. I realized a little bit ago that I love my children exactly the same, exactly the way a mother should-- the same. It's strange to love these two people the same-- one who I have watched grow for five years, and one I only got to hold after he was gone. It took me several weeks to realize that, and for now it hurts. It hurts because there is nothing I can do to show my son this love. I hope it gets better with time.

Rosepetal said...

So much of what you have written here resonates. I have often used the analogy with amputees to try to explain to people who are having trouble understanding. "Are you feeling better?" You wouldn't ask an amputee that question, you would say, "How are you learning to cope without your arm?" And you would try and put a bandaid on a bleeding stump in the way some people try and come up with blase, roll-off-the-tongue comments to "make it go away."

I am glad you can feel this deep love between Thomas and you (as I am sure it is both ways!)

I also feel that I am on a parallel time track, one where I am not supposed to be, because somehow an error was made.

Lots of hugs and love to you and your Beloved.