Friday, February 29, 2008

The promise of spring... the buds on a branch of Thomas' tree.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's a good thing My Beloved moved his guitar books...

...because now we have someplace to keep the cat.

A dream

Last night I had a dream about Thomas, the first one I've had in years. In fact, it's probably only the third dream I've ever had about him.

My theory is that someone who is so much a part of your waking thoughts doesn't need to be in your sleeping ones too.

In my dream, which is hazy and a little confusing, I somehow found a picture of him that I didn't know existed. Someone was flipping through a stack of pictures and I caught sight of a baby wearing a mint green bonnet and sweater like the ones my Mom made for Thomas, the ones he's buried in.

I couldn't see the picture clearly at first, and I nearly missed it in the flipping, but when I took it and looked at it closely I realized it was my sweet little boy. I held it and looked at it and felt a heart-pounding rush of joy because it was a new picture. it wasn't one of the 40 we have, the 40 I've looked at over and over and over again. The only 40 we'll ever have.

It was new.

I could seem my little boy in a new picture for the first time in three years. A new glimpse of his face, his sandy brown hair, his pudgy little nose, and his eyes and chin that looked so much like My Beloved's.

It might as well have been a cheque for $10 million dollars.

The rush of love and joy somehow washed the dream away. And I woke up without a new picture. Without anything at all.

And I hate that.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

And again, SWEET!!

Humbugs, 4 pounds and $25 worth, from the 165-year old Bell Candy company are heading my way! It's like I'm buying a delicious little piece of Canadiana! These are totally the coolest humbugs EVER.

I know it's stupid to be this excited by candy, but I am.

And since you cared (and, in some cases offered to send me candy) I wanted you to know that my quest had a sweet ending.

In the interest of keeping the drama whoring to a minimum, I'm going to resist the temptation to add "for once" to the end of that last sentence so as not to spoil the sweetness of this triumphant confectionery victory.

The end.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ain't love grand?

It's not easy to get stuff done when someone loves you this much...

Friday, February 22, 2008


I've been thinking so much about my last post, specifically the last few lines.

Initially the whole idea of my children not needing me made me desperately sad. And then, as if the clouds parted and all the angels sang in a great massed choir as sunbeams poured down from the heavens, the idea freed me.

They don't need me to hold onto the sorrow. And doing so for their sakes helps no one - and hurts me.

I'm not saying I won't feel sorrow. I do. I always will. But knowing that all I have to feel is just my own simple sorrow - and that I'm not responsible for any additional obligatory, complicated grief - feels like I've been released from something I didn't even know I was ensnared in.

This probably doesn't make any sense. I just didn't realize that I was holding on to grief because I felt I needed to in some strange way. I think I felt that they needed me to. And of course, they don't.

All I need to feel is what I feel in my heart. My own sorrow is sorrow enough.

And realizing this has given me a kind of peace I haven't felt in years. Years.

I'm not done - I'm still a nut job, and I still need my therapist to help me find more clarity. But I think this was a huge breakthrough and I'm so grateful to her for helping me get to it.

The sunset tonight was beautiful. And I saw it. I really saw it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My heart

I regurgitated most of yesterday's blog in my therapist's office today.

I think I'm beginning to understand how they work, these head doctors. She validates my feelings, but doesn't necessarily give me any answers. Either because she doesn't have any or because she wants me to come to my own conclusions as part of my healing journey.

I get that. I do. But I wouldn't mind a few concrete yes's and no's every now and then. I'm starting to wonder if anyone actually has any. Or if maybe I already have more answers than she does and just don't know it.

The only thing she'll come right out and give me an answer to is the, "Am I crazy?" query. So far it's always been a resounding NO. That's good. That's what I want to hear.

I suppose the idea is to get me to work through everything, with her as my travel guide. And yeah, I guess it wouldn't do any good to sit there and have someone tell me what to think and how to feel, particularly if I'm not thinking or feeling what that person thinks I should.

As she said, I'm grieving the way that's right for me, so how can that be wrong?

This just feels like such a long, daunting process. And I don't know where it ends.

She seems to want me to consider separating the love I have for my babies with the sorrow I feel at their loss.

It's a fabulous idea, but I might as well sit down and figure out the formula for cold fusion while I'm at it. I haven't got a clue where to begin.

It's easier to separate sorrow from love when you had time with the person you're mourning; when you have memories to comfort you. When all you know of someone is what they looked like on a home pregnancy test and how they felt kicking you from the inside out, it's a little harder to find that blessed comfort.

So much of my babies is sorrow. It just is. And yes, love too. Immeasurable love. But I just don't see how the two can ever be untangled. I don't see them as separate entities.

Therapist lady has her work cut out for her.

She asked me where I hold my sorrow. I said I carry it in my heart and wear it like a cloak. When she asked what would happen if I took it out of my heart, presumably to store it elsewhere, I felt a protective rush of panic and told her no, it had to stay there.

We both looked a little startled.

She asked why it needed to stay there, and I told her it's because it's mine. I held my hands over my actual heart and told her, "It's mine. It needs to stay here."

As though I was protecting my children. As though they physically need me to hold the sorrow of their loss that closely to me. As though their lives somehow depend upon it.

Maybe I'm just hanging on because the truth is they don't need me.

As a mother, there's nothing more heartbreaking than that.

Except knowing it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The what ifs, would haves and should haves are relentless in their torment.

It dawned on me Friday that I'd have been 37 weeks pregnant with our twins by that date. I would likely have had a c-section one day this week since the plan is never to let me labor again.

What a different life I'm living than the one I should be.

Some might argue that this IS the life I'm meant to be living because I made my bed, as it were. I chose to try to have children, and try and try again after each loss. But it seems wrong to me. No life should have this much death in it. This much torment and struggle seems cruel and unusual to me, and I can't fathom that this is the way it should be.

I'm also very tormented by the fact that I know that the sorrow is draining me of energy and making it hard to truly see the joy that is in my life at the moment. I live in fear that I'm going to regret my single-minded focus one day, having, in hindsight, recognized what joys and loves I've allowed to let quietly slip away while I was busy grieving.

The thing is I don't know how to not be grieving. I don't know how you shut it off and ignore it. I don't know how to forget it.

I am almost always aware of my sorrow.

I don't enjoy the moments when I realize how pregnant I should be or how old one of my five dead babies would be. But the moments come to me just the same and I don't know how to stop them. I don't dwell on them either, but the fact that they come is torment enough.

My therapist says that all these moments of struggle are an opportunity to process more of my grief. I will be forever grateful to her for giving me permission to feel what I'm feeling and, more importantly, for telling me that it is my mind's way of healing.

Thomas' birthday is three weeks away. The twins should be here by now.

The house is silent.

It's just so much to process.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


For those who may be wondering, the cheese factory did get back to me and they're going to put me in touch with the man who makes the Humbugs. He is, apparently, very happy to do business with me, which kind of makes me all cozy inside. It's a small, family owned business (I'm picturing a big farm kitchen with Humbug scented air) and those are my favourite kind. The fact that they make one of my favourite candies is icing on the proverbial cake.

And now, about Valentine's Day...

I want to wish everyone a happy, warm-hearted, love-filled day.

I know it's supposed to be all about lovers, but that makes me uncomfortable. I have two very close friends who have both recently separated from their husbands, a sister that I adore who hasn't found her own beloved yet, and a blog friend who is still searching for her prince.

My Valentine's Day is big enough for all of them. For all of us.

I remember lonely Valentine's Days very well. Until I met My Beloved, I spent all of them alone - every single one. I hated all the gooey sweetness of a day everyone said was meant for people in love. It made me feel like I was somehow unworthy of the love that seemed to magically bloom all around me each February 14th.

I hated it the way I now hate all the things that make me feel like I'm on the outside of a great big nursery looking in at all the babies that don't belong to me.

Mother's Day is the Valentine's Day of the childless and bereaved.

I know feeling excluded is unavoidable and there are times when it's impossible to be included, but not today.

Today I'm wishing everyone who has ever loved anyone (romantically, platonically and everything in between) and everyone I love a very happy Valentine's Day.

No off with you - go eat some chocolate.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I've just e-mailed a tiny little cheese factory in Odessa Ontario (just outside of Kingston) to see if they'll ship me a couple of tubs of Humbugs.

You know it's bad when you're pleading with strangers to send you candy.

When My Beloved and I were coming home from our anniversary getaway in Montreal, we stopped at the Wilton Cheese Factory to browse for cheese (a mutual passion - both the browsing for and eating of). I don't have any idea what Humbugs were doing in a cheese store, but there they were; little amber and cream striped pillows of hard peppermint delight.

I haven't tasted Humbugs like these since I was a kid.

My Grandfather, who passed his frugality and his love of hard candy on to me, always had Humbugs in his pocket. As a kid I remember hugging him and smelling a mixture of wood smoke (from the ever-present fires he liked to burn, regardless of the season), Old Spice (when it was a Sunday, Christmas or Easter), and Humbugs. The three scents combined to form a unique and completely unmistakable "Grandpa Cologne" that, if I concentrate hard enough, I can almost conjure up in my mind's eye. Or my nose's eye, as it were.

Smoke and Old Spice are easy to find, but not so the humble Humbug. Until that day in the cheese factory they were lost to me.

Having found them, I refuse to let them go. I need my Humbugs now. I NEED them.

My Grandfather and I had a difficult relationship. I didn't understand him in many ways, and I struggled with his inability to show true love, affection and kindness to the people I thought he had to have loved the most.

I didn't think I liked him all that much until he died. And now I miss him, and his smokey, Humbug-y, Old Spice scent.

I miss the connection he was to my past. To my childhood. To my Grandmother, who I adored. I miss his stories, most of which I've heard a hundred times and could tell myself. I miss his hands, twisted and gnarled by arthritis but defiantly strong. I miss his whistling, which was the last sound I ever heard him make.

I'm sorry I didn't always feel the love I'm sure he had for me. I'm sorry he never told me. I'm sorry I never told him.

It's a mistake I'm determined I will never repeat.

The Humbugs make me think of him, and the simpler, happy times we spent together when I was a child and didn't know enough to think our relationship was anything other than perfect.

Long walks to the dam, bonfires on the beach, rowboat rides, porridge in the morning, stew at night, and a mayonnaise commercial that made him laugh so hard he'd almost cry.

I hope they'll ship me my Humbugs. It's a long drive to memory lane.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

We're not so different

I can't believe Thomas' third birthday is coming up so fast. More than that, I can't believe he'd be three. Three already.

It was so easy to keep track of what exactly I was mourning when he'd just died because I knew what I was missing in a very tangible sense. I'd just seen him. Held him. Kissed him.

But now? Now I'm mourning for a three-year old I've never seen as well as my little baby. And I've already mourned for the one-year old and two-year old he would have been.

I didn't realize, in those dark, early days, how the mourning would change. I was so fixated on losing that beautiful little baby boy with his Daddy's chin that it didn't occur to me, at least right away, that I'd be mourning so much more than that, on and on and on for the rest of my life.

It's a fact I'm now acutely aware of, particularly as each birthday approaches.

I watch other children his age and see what I'm missing. I see the ghost of my child in them.

I sometimes wonder if it's healthy to think this way - to think so much about what Thomas would be like now and to feel the loss of that boy as well as the baby I did know.

But since this is the only way I know how to mourn a dead child (and as far as I know there's no manual for dealing with maternal grief), I'm just going to run with it. To do otherwise feels like I'd somehow be leaving him behind - and denying the mourning process that feels right and natural to me.

I don't dwell on it, the boy he'd be now, but it crosses my mind. How can it not? How can I see a child Thomas' age and not think about what he'd be like? How can it not make me miss him more? Or, at the very least, wonder about what might have been?

I can't help it. Maybe it's a mother thing. Maybe you are always this connected to your children, living or dead.

I find it interesting that no one blinks an eye when mothers of living children are consumed by thoughts of their children - of their daily doings, their accomplishments, their achievements, their triumphs and failures - but people furrow their brows and worry when the mother of a dead baby admits she thinks about her lost child.

I have yet to meet a mother - any mother - who can "let go" of her children.

We're not so different. We're not.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

An Ash Wednesday prayer

Dear God,

I wasn't snacking while I was making dinner. I was pre-eating.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Our song

Soon after My Beloved got his guitar last Christmas, he started teaching himself Wish You Were Here, a Pink Floyd song I'd never heard before.

He played it over and over and over, listening to a recording of it when he wasn't practicing it himself to get all the nuances and timing just right.

Finally I asked, "Why, why, WHY are you playing that so much? I don't like that song!" (Because of course by then I felt I knew it very well).

"I don't know," he said, "but doesn't it kind of remind you of us; two lost souls swimming around and around in endless circles?"

Oh. Oh yeah.

Nice way to finally find "our song".

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skys from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

And did they get you to trade
Your heros for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Oh, she's gooooood

Although the inner guilt machine churns out an endless, "you should be ashamed for having to spend your money on this" loop in my head, I have to admit that my therapist is earning her money. Totally.

For the record, I don't think therapy of any kind is a waste of money. It's just that for some reason I have trouble reconciling spending this much money doing something I'm still really pissed I couldn't do on my own, which is sort out the layers of grief in my poor addled brain. I'm angry with myself for needing help when I thought I was doing so well for so long.

But, I'm told, trauma is cumulative. Losing the twins was just enough additional sorrow, confusion and anger to make all the grief of the past 5 years suddenly no longer manageable. At least by me alone, anyway.

Sometimes I find all the blathering I do while I'm sitting on my therpist's cracked blue leather couch (clearly I'm not the only person who sits there on a regular basis) kind of useless, but I think the fact that I'm talking virtually non-stop for 50 minutes every. time. I. go. probably means that it's not as useless as I think it is.

Someone with THIS much to say obviously needs to be heard.

But when she really earns her money is when she takes something I've said, turns is around and shows it to me in a completely different way.

I told her I'm completely overwhelmed by the reality that we might never had a child, biological or adopted. No doors have closed, but the possibility of a childless life for us is certainly increasingly more probable. Or possible, let's say.

I said I'm paralyzed by this. I don't know what to do - don't know who I am if I'm not a mother to a living child. I don't know where to go from that jumping off point.

She looked at me, thought for a second and said, "Well no wonder you're overwhelmed. You've spent the last 5 years with tunnel vision - on a single-minded mission to conceive. You've spent all that time and energy trying to get pregnant, being pregnant or dealing with loss, and now there's a real possibility that that door might close."

"And if it does," she went on, "a whole bunch of new doors will open - ones you've had shut for a long time while you've dealt with the business of trying to have a child, or ones you've never even considered opening. Suddenly there are a myriad choices for you to make, and you're just not used to it, as focused as you've been on that one, single, solitary goal. Of course you're overwhelmed."


And I think that's exactly what I said, while I was busy sighing one of those blissful sighs of incredible, shoulder tension easing relief.

I know that I'm overwhelmed, but having someone explain why - and validate the way I've been feeling in the process - is invaluable.

So while I still feel guilty for having to fork over our hard earned dough, I know she's earning every single penny for every single knot in my head, heart and shoulders that her words manage to loosen.

Worth every penny indeed.