Thursday, January 29, 2009


A friend recently asked me how I do it - how I manage to cope in a world where, as she put it, everyone is pregnant and babies are popping out all over the place.

My first response was, "I'm dead inside" (after which I laughed heartily at my self-deprecating witticism).

The serious answer was, "I don't know."

Because I don't, really. There's no magic in my ability to hold babies. To smile and coo at them. To listen with rapt attention to endless stories of breast feeding, colic, teething and foiled naps.

I just do it. Then I crawl home, regroup and carry on. It's just what I have to do. And, sometimes, what I actually want to do.

My Beloved and I were just saying today that the very best thing that could have happened to us, in terms of our healing, was the arrival of a new baby next door a little over a year after Thomas died.

It was immersion therapy for both of us. The baby was there. We were here. And soon our lives become intertwined and we fell in love.

And suddenly babies weren't so scary anymore.

She was the first baby I'd held since my own. And, I won't lie, it was agony. The weight of her. The life in her. But I did it. And I've done it a million times since. And now I've held her brand new sister too.

Because it's that or cloister myself away - separate myself from a world that I sometimes do have a hard time feeling a part of. And I don't want that. I've never wanted that. I've fought hard to make people not fear me and my sorrow. I've worked like a dog to prove I'm greater than the sum of those parts.

I figure if I'm going to talk the talk, I have to walk the walk.

So there's not an ounce of magic in it. It's just stubbornness - my inability to let my particular brand of motherhood keep me from being friends with women who haven't buried a child.

Magic would be easier though. There's no doubt about it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On the other side

Last Wednesday my Mom and Dad had to put their 15-year old cat to sleep after he suffered what they suspect was a stroke.

My Mom called in tears to give me the news, and my heart tore into a thousand pieces listening to her cry over the phone, her voice small and broken.

I went over the next day just to be with them - to make sure they were okay and to try to cheer them up and distract them as best I could. And for the first time since Thomas died I realized what a useless feeling it is not to be able to take away someone's pain.

I didn't know. Somehow I didn't realize.

I have appreciated every single gesture - every brave word, every card, every donation, every flower, every carefully chosen gift, every mention of his name. Not one single thing anyone has ever done for me - for us - since Thomas died has gone unappreciated. Ever.

But I didn't realize until I sat there helplessly watching my Mother cry over her lost Paddington Bear that those gestures were made out of both love and desperation. Because there's absolutely nothing you can do to take away the pain of someone's loss.

And you can't know that until you try. And fail.

I know I was able to comfort them a little with my presence, but I also know that my Mother probably cried herself to sleep thinking about how increasingly small and fragile their world is becoming; about the tragedies they've witnessed and the losses they've endured. And about the little cat she said goodbye to that day.

And it breaks my heart. Over and over and over again, it breaks my heart.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

So, today I decided to clean up the spare room (which, while it's sitting there being spare, has been doubling as my craft room - and by craft room I mean depository for all things vaguely craft related. And, sometimes, totally and completely unrelated).

Lately I've been having lovely visions of a pristine, freshly painted craft-themed oasis, complete with shelving for all my yarn. Especially shelving for my yarn. Shelving instead of plastic tubs that are surprisingly easy for balls of yarn to get buried in. Lost for months. Years, even.

A place for everything and everything in its place. This was my dream.

My Beloved and I went out hunting for cheap shelving today (I want order, but I'm desperately frugal about it) and were successful beyond my wildest dreams.

Plain, unfinished wood shoe racks. Just $3.97 each (50% off at Zellers, in case anyone is interested). Simple, light, cheap, stackable - and perfect for yarn. We bought eight of them. I wanted to have lots of room.

Uh, but...

I seriously had no idea there was this much yarn tucked away in tubs, bags and knitting baskets in that one, small room. No idea.

And now that I've put it all out there on display there's really no way to convince anyone that I need more. Even though, God help me, it feels like I do. Seeing it there all lined up neat and at the ready just makes me want more. Mooooooooore.

Yarny goodness. So. Much. Yarny. Goodness.

There's no 12-step program for this, is there?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Ugh, forget yesterday's post. My victory. My pride. All of it.

Today I remembered one last article of maternity wear hanging in another closet. I retrieved it...noticed it really doesn't look like a maternity sweater, tried it on, felt how soft it was, remembered that my Mom bought it for me.

And totally couldn't part with it.

It's so cozy! And it really only seems big around the hips, for the most part. It must not have fit me very well when I was pregnant. It can't have. Either that or I was really stretching it out. I mean yeah, it's too big - it's not the size I'd buy if I was buying a sweater NOW - but it's fuzzy, red, soft, and it'll be nice to cozy up in by the fire.

On days when I'm feeling particularly crazy, apparently.


Is this weird? Is it?

Why do I need constant reassurance? Why?

Yeah, answer that question too, please.

The end.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Strange goodbyes

A couple of years ago, I can't specifically remember when now, I gave away my maternity jeans. Donated them to charity along with a motley collection of unloved sweaters, shirts and assorted crap. It was a big deal.

Well, mostly.

I actually hated them. They were never comfortable, always digging into my sides before sliding down and leaving me with a terrible case of saggy ass. But still, giving them away felt like a big step - a monumental shift in my thinking and healing.

The thing is, I'm not entirely sure it was, really.

I was thinking about this the other day, how we donated some of Thomas' things just a few weeks after he died and how it barely bothered me at all. For some reason I was able to very easily separate the sentimental from the disposable in those early, dark days. The diaper bag, boppy pillow, lotions, diapers, books, parenting magazines, and baby bathtub. They all went, and with very little difficulty.

And yet other things I still cling to with a ferocity that startles me. Tubs of clothes, toys, blankies. Little socks. A sunhat. Things. So many small, unused things.

There is no rhyme nor reason for the way I categorize his things; for what I decide can and can't go. I adored my diaper bag, but when I came home from the hospital I couldn't stand the sight of it. But the 9 billion receiving blankets, each a dime a dozen? I can't let them go.

It makes no sense.

I never liked the jeans. I wouldn't have worn them again even if I managed to get (and stay) pregnant long enough to need them. I tricked myself into thinking donating them was an achievement.

When really, it was just common sense.

And I may have done it again. The tricking bit. Because tonight, all the rest of my maternity stuff is packed away in a donation bag waiting for pick-up. All of it. A skirt, a pair of nursing jammies and several tops, including the striped one I loved and wore so much I'm surprised I didn't wear it right out.

I'm proud. I am. I've had that stuff sitting in a neat pile on a shelf in my closet for nearly four years. I couldn't see it very well and didn't look at it often, but I knew it was there. I needed to know it was still there.

But I'm smaller now than I was then. And it's not just the absence of a baby belly. All of me is smaller. I likely couldn't wear any of that stuff anyway even if I did magically find myself pregnant. It would be too big. In fact, it would have been too big if I'd tried to wear it two years ago.

But I couldn't let it go. Until today.

For absolutely no good reason, today was the day I was able to let it all go. Even though I know I never would have worn any of it again anyway.

So yeah, I know I'm kind of tricking myself again. Like the jeans.

But I'm not really sure that matters.

There's a clearer space in my brain just the same. Does it matter that the victory isn't as big as it might appear? Does it matter that I had no intention of wearing the clothes again anyway? Does it matter that the odds are stacked against me and my uterus, making the likelihood of me needing any maternity clothes pretty small?

I don't think so.

I'm crossing my arms, holding my head high, and calling it a victory.

Friday, January 16, 2009


So, I've returned to the hairdresser from whence I came. After spending the last 7 years trying to find one I liked closer to where we live now, I gave up this past summer and went back to my old haunt.

It's a long way to go for a haircut, but aside from being very satisfied with my stylist, the salon is right around the corner from the cemetery.

And so on my way home from getting a new 'do yesterday, I stopped in to retrieve Thomas' Christmas wreath.

I should have known better, really. We're in a deep freeze here - bone chillingly so. The snow, a mostly untouched blanket flecked with diamonds gleaming in the late afternoon sun, was probably close to two feet deep in the cemetery.

I parked, climbed over the snowbank and plodded my way to Thomas, putting my feet in the faint indents of the tracks left by the last person who trekked his way.

Of course, when I got there I couldn't move the wreath. Couldn't budge it at all. It's frozen solid deep in the earth where I placed it in November. So it'll be there for a while, I'm afraid. Snowmen, ribbons and all.

It was too cold to linger. I thought, briefly, about digging the snow off his plaque, but I couldn't bear the wet gloves and snow up my sleeves. Not yesterday. Not in that cold.

So instead, I kissed my gloved hand, like always, and pressed it into the snow above where he lies.

I pulled my hand away and looked at the print; the image of my hand marking the spot where my baby boy lies. And I smiled.

I know it's still there today. It was clear, bright and cold again today. Too cold for the snow to have melted my hand print, and too clear for more snow to have covered it.

It's still there, hovering above my boy.

And it makes me so happy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

When I listen

Saint Theresa's Prayer  

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

My cousin sent me this today, and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

I don't understand God, or the ways in which he works. But when I pay attention, every once in a while a message manages to slip through the cracks and find its way into my heart.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Heading back

What. A. Day.

I'm all done with being a grown-up. Someone get me a flux capacitor so I can hightail it back to 1977.



Thursday, January 08, 2009


Back in the fall My Beloved and I set an arbitrary sometime in January deadline for sitting down and talking about where this nearly 6-year journey of ours is heading.

The plan was for us both to come to the table, having had two months to mull it over quietly on our own, with some thoughts. Maybe even conclusions.

But, uh, I'm not sure I have any. Thoughts yes, conclusions, no.

Although lately I've had a vague sense that I'm moving into acceptance mode. That I'm recognizing and coming to terms with the fact that our time for having more children may have passed. Entirely. No biological babies, no adopted babies.

For some reason that notion seems to be sitting in my head, making a lot of sense.

It's desperately sad, yes. I think I would have made a good mother to a living child. I had a very good role model, and I had many quiet, happy daydreams about the ways I was going to mother our children. Making them feel cozy, safe and loved.

But we've had six years of loss, fear and sorrow. I'm not entirely sure I have the mental energy that the me of simpler days used to have. I hate to think that infertility and loss have beaten me. I hate to think that after all this time they have finally won.

But maybe they have.

Maybe I just can't put myself - or us - through this anymore. Maybe it's time for My Beloved and I now. Just us. Moving on and finding peace and happiness together; making the most of the life we have and the love we've always shared.

I'll be 39 in a few months, My Beloved 40. I know people will throw up their hands, stomp about and vehemently deny that we're too old to be parents. But the thing is, we're older than most people our age. We've seen a lot and we've lost a lot. Too much. Too much.

We're tired. I'm tired.

I want my life back. I wanted children. I wanted that life so much. But sometimes you have to accept the life you're given instead of spending all your time wishing for the one you weren't. Because that's no way to live at all.

We have tried so hard. I don't think anyone could accuse us of not giving it 100%.

We are a family of three that looks like a family of two. But we are still a family. We had a child. I was pregnant. I was pregnant four times.

And now, maybe, I'm done.

If I am alone when I'm old - if everyone I know has gone before me and I have no children and grandchildren to visit me - I'll just find comfort in new friends. I'll write. I'll read. I'll crochet. I'll try to pray. I'll keep searching for whatever makes me happy and brings me peace. One day at a time.

And eventually I'll see my babies again. And I'll wrap them in my arms, hold them close and then, then finally have a chance to be the mother I should have been here.

I'm not making the decision alone, of course. And as sure as I might sound at the moment, I'm just as liable to change my mind tomorrow.

But then again, maybe I won't.

The last line on one of those epic Christmas letters sent to my Mom from a cousin of hers was, "Hope Kris and her hubby will be successful one of these days. Must be heartbreaking."

I don't want people to see us that way. I don't want them to think we somehow weren't successful at life because our son died and because I miscarried our other four children. I don't want our losses to define us or our marriage.

The letter really make me stop and think about how long we've been running on the hamster wheel.

And about how I think it might be time to step off and just walk quietly and peacefully together instead.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

In the absence of a proper post...

I have a couple of posts sitting in my head, but lack the energy to make them exit my brain via my fingertips.

So instead, I'll just say a quick thank you to those who were sweet enough to follow me to blog v.2, and to those who have posted some very nice and encouraging comments there. I appreciate the indulgence.

I'm really enjoying my little project. And, what's even better, so far have no niggling feelings of regret for starting it in the first place. I know I'm only 7 days in and all, but it has yet to feel like a chore. Not even a little bit.

Miracle of miracles.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sound bite

The headline read, "Travolta breaks two day silence to talk about son's death". And my head came *this* close to exploding.

Breaks his silence
? Are you kidding me?! Does the media - does anyone - think that we're owed something from this family, so freshly introduced to the unfathomable depths of child-loss grief? Does anyone think we should be his top priority right now? Does anyone think we have the right to be miffed that it took him two whole days to speak?

I have criticized people in my own life who have kept their distance from us. But I have to wonder how much worse it would have been to have everyone feel that they had a right to know everything I was thinking and feeling - to continue to poke me until I bled the information they so desperately wanted. For their own entertainment.

My public statement two days after Thomas' death would have been unintelligible. Or, actually, probably really cold and formal. I was still in shock and operating in a strange parallel universe all my own. Looking back, the only outward evidence of my grief was the fact that I refused to leave my room. For 6 days the only time I left the safety of those four walls was to see Thomas the day he died, and to reluctantly walk the hall the day I was released, at My Beloved's urging.

I didn't cry in front of anyone, except My Beloved, and I was pleasant, friendly and calm. And totally, completely out of it.

I can't imagine what it would have been like to feel that way and have the entire entertainment industry breathing down my neck. Waiting for words they could print. To sell papers to gawkers.

A comment. On the death of your son. They should instead ask for a sound bite so that the grieving parents can demonstrate the pain that words simply cannot; with a guttural howl.

That just might get them the privacy and respect they deserve.

Friday, January 02, 2009

His name

On New Year's Eve, when the heat of one too many whiskey sours threatened to ignite me from the inside out, I slipped out onto the quiet winter cool of my sister's front porch.

I stood there, letting the chill of the frozen air seep into my clothes, and watched the snow falling softly to the ground through the glow of Christmas lights.

I wondered if I was so hot that I'd actually see steam rising from my body. But I didn't.

So instead, I whispered his name into the night and watched as the cloud of my breath whirled into tiny beads, sweeping the word away from me.


I said it again.

Then I went back inside and continued on.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

I'm not leaving this blog...

...I've just decided to start writing this one too.

Because apparently I just. can't. stop. talking.