Friday, February 27, 2009

We are the lake

I was telling my therapist today that the approach of Thomas' birthday gets easier each year. Because somehow, inexplicably, it does.

And yet still I find myself drifting back, pulled into another time - another life - by the warmer February breezes and the thawing snow. Remembering a time that seems like such a very long time ago, now.

I'll say it until the day I die; I still can't believe it. I can't believe he was here and gone. So fast. The more time passes, the more it feels like a hazy dream. The pregnancy, his birth, his death, our struggle to recover.

Our lives have slipped back into an easy routine, free from fertility treatments and panicked trips to the doctor for betas and ultrasounds.

It's very calm here. Safe and quiet.

It's nearly impossible for me to fathom what almost was in the midst of this gentle peace we've so carefully cultivated.

We went from parents to empty-nesters in just 20 hours. And now we walk together in this strange fringe world where we almost belong. Where people almost see us as parents. Where we almost, but don't quite, have experience raising a child.

I used to love to sit on the dock and watch the lake at my Grandparents' cottage when I was a child. It fascinated me to see it glide effortlessly, shimmering in the sunlight. It never occurred to me that the calm, placid surface was moving so gently because of the currents coursing beneath the surface. So much unseen. So much movement and darkness and pull and swirl and flow. Just the gentle, sun-touched beauty on the surface - that's all I saw.

We are the lake.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The other day I was rooting blindly through the back of my night table drawer (which needs a very thorough sort, as I've discovered) desperately looking for Chapstick, when my hand closed around a little pink notebook tucked beneath some papers.

I had a vague sense that I knew what it was when I pulled it out, but opened it anyway.

Inside were notes from our baby classes scrawled in My Beloved's handwriting. I guess I must have figured that since I was making the baby, taking notes in class was his responsibility.

The first few pages listed breathing exercises and labour tips. Then there were some doodles he drew while we were in L&D the week before Thomas was born, including one of a little baby saying "Hi Ma!" and waving. That was the day they told us they were too busy to admit me - even though my blood pressure had spiked high enough for my OB to send me there with the intent of having me induced - and sent us home.

The last page with writing on it simply listed numbers. Contraction intervals.

I closed the book, put it back and left the room; the wind knocked out of my wheezy sails.

It seems like a lifetime ago.

Huh. I guess it was. It was.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The story

A long time ago, maybe two years or so, I tried to write down Thomas' birth story. Partly because I'd never told it here in its entirety, partly because I didn't want to forget any of the details, and partly because that's what new mothers do and I didn't want to be left out.

I started and the words came easily enough, but they wouldn't stop. And each one tore at my heart because I knew how the story was going to end, and no matter how much I wrote, the end would never be the one I wanted to write. Forcing myself to relive, in exacting detail, the days and hours leading up to his birth just reminded me of how quickly things went wrong. How suddenly he was snatched from us. How little warning we had.

The last words I said to My Beloved before the earth gave way beneath our feet were, "Soon we're going to see our little boy."

We were that close. That close.

And suddenly it just somehow didn't seem to make sense to tell the story in great detail. Or, to tell it at all.

He was born and he died. Does it matter how?

God - I mean, of course it matters. Everything about him matters, but what purpose does it serve to write it all down? What good will it do me? Or you? Or My Beloved?

So I saved the unfinished draft, and it remains buried in the list of post titles, somewhere back there.

At the time, I was deeply disappointed with myself for not being able to finish the story. I added it to my list of failures and went to bed with a heavy heart that night.

But I think very differently about it now.

Now I'm not so sure it would be all that terrible to forget some of the awful detail I was struggling to capture on paper. Because I don't know what earthly good it does to remember it. It doesn't fix anything. It doesn't bring him back. And it certainly doesn't make me feel better.

People always say that you forget the agony of childbirth the moment you hold your brand new baby in your arms.

Should I be made to hold onto the agony of mine simply because my child isn't here any longer?

It's just another confusing thing to wrestle with when your child dies. The rules change for you. What others cherish and try to remember, you sometimes struggle to forget; torn because sometimes it's all you have of your child.

Things are different for us. It's the way it is. Trying to pretend otherwise will make you crazy.

In truth, I know will never forget giving birth to Thomas. Or the days before or the days after. But I know for a fact that what has helped me heal and what has kept me moving forward is focusing on the boy, not on the tragedy. Of course they're inextricably linked to each other, I realize that. But I can choose to what degree I make that link.

Granted, it's easier now with time and distance my constant companions in this epic journey, but it still sometimes takes effort to keep my love for Thomas and my grief over losing him in their separate corners when I need them to be.

But I make the effort, because that's when I most feel like he's my son and I'm his mother. It's when he's most real to me. It's when I can best feel his sweet spirit in my heart and in my life.

He is not my grief.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This, that and the other


Because I am vain, please look at this. Please?

I'm very proud.

And, yeah, vain.


My right inner ear has been twitching for daaaaaays. I'm slowly going mad. MAD, I tell you!! Twitch. Twitch.

I think I might be jaw-clenching at night, so I'm wondering if the two are related.

Riveting bit of information, I know.

It's been a slow news week.


I didn't mean to offend anyone with my last post, by the way. I absolutely know that those kinds of offhanded remarks aren't said to hurt me. I know they're simply meant as jokes and, sometimes, as tension cutters. And I know that parents have been offering to give away their children in jest for as long as humans have been breeding.

I totally know that.

I'm just sayin' that it's not always all that funny to me. That's all.

But then again, the world isn't here to amuse me. I know that too. Seriously, I really do, despite evidence to the contrary...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

If one more person...

...with living children says, "Oh, you can take him/her!" when I comment on the cuteness of their child, I'm gonna.

You've been warned.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Picture Monday

Last week, late in the afternoon after a morning of more snow (ick), I peeked out the office window and found a great big angel on our driveway.

It was just the work of kids who'd made tracks in the fresh snow on their way home from school, but from where I was standing looking down on the footprints, it looked like a giant snow angel.

See? Look at her!

I shoveled her away later that night, but she was sweet while she lasted.

There are no words adequately beautiful enough describe this sunrise on January 18th, captured from our bedroom window...

Lucy likes our new office chairs. It's important that the cat approves.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

This 'n that

I feel badly that I rarely respond to comments. I read them all (it's very exciting to know I'm not just talking to myself), and I'm so touched by each and every word you so kindly choose to send my way. Truly, I am. They make me laugh, cry and everything in between, those words do.

But I always forget that you can't see that, what with you not having spy cameras and recording devices planted inside my house.

So thank you, so much, for the support, advice, smiles, commiseration, sympathy, compliments, hugs and kind words.

You rock. In the very best ways possible.

The other evening I was outside shoveling snow - a task that I normally loathe - and I found myself enjoying it.

The cold has finally gotten to me. I've lost my mind.


This morning I started thinking that maybe I'd like to get a kitten instead of a puppy. A kitten would be much easier to work into our little family dynamic. Easier on Lucy and easier on us (never having owned dogs before).

I just wish the Norfolk Terriers weren't so cute, and that I hadn't already started envisioning nightly walks and furry dog kisses...


On Tuesday I started a Facebook Group in an effort to promote good deed doing on Thomas' birthday, and I was floored to see that as of this morning, there were 190 members.

It has spiraled out from just people I know, to friends of friends of friends.

It's even gone overseas to Scotland, Spain and India.

And every time I think about it - about all the extra little kindnesses that will be done in Thomas' memory on his birthday all over the world - I smile.

I'm so proud. So unbelievably proud.


This morning I read about a craft co-op in Toronto - a space where locals drop in to, well, craft. The co-op rents out sewing machines, space and tools, and people come in to make handmade treasures and commune with other like-minded artisans. They sell fabric too, but mostly it's a space to create.

I drooled. Enviously.

I'm a lone crafter out here in the suburbs. I crochet on the couch, sometimes with Lucy and Sandy nearby, but usually by myself, because I don't know anyone in my real life who shares my passion for hooks and yarn.

The thought of a cozy, creative, community space right here in my neighbourhood where other knitheads and hookers might congregate is so appealing.

I wonder...

Sometimes I let myself think about what my life would be like if Thomas was still in it. I mean in the tangible, earthly sense.

With the passage of nearly four years, it's becoming harder and harder to imagine it. I had a sense of what the baby years might have been like. The house was littered with babyness and its accompanying paraphernalia prior to his birth - I could see that life. I know what it would have looked like, if not actually felt like.

But now? There's nothing about the house to suggest an almost four-year old could have lived here.

It's lost to me, that life.

The sadness that fact generates is no longer quite as desperate and agonizing as it used to be when I'd let myself wonder about my once-upon-a-time world. Now it's just sort of wistful. I sometimes even smile when I try to imagine a four-year old Thomas bounding up the stairs.

Maybe it's easier because there is no visible evidence to suggest a four-year old should be here.

Or maybe it's just that time has worn the jagged edges of my sorrow down so that it's smoother and easier to hold now.

I don't know.

The house is still too quiet. But I'm used to it. It's amazing what you can survive, isn't it? It's amazing what you can come to accept as normal.

I miss him.


And finally,

To the person who wanted a monkey (like the one I posted the other day, who now lives on My Beloved's desk at work), I do manage to sell the odd bit of crochet work every now and then (which helps me to justify the time I spend doing it...mostly). And here's where you can find it ----> Plumpkin Heads

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How much is that doggie in the window? Again.

Sigh. I want a puppy again.

It happens every single year around this time. During the weeks leading up to Thomas' birthday I crave puppies.

Which sounds kind of weird, I admit. For a number of reasons, but particularly since I'm such and ardent cat lover - and devoted owner of the world's greatest feline ever.

I get that it's because I want something little to snuggle and love. I get that I'm trying to fill the gap. Close the wound. Distract myself. That makes sense. In a twisted way (and, in case you're concerned, I'm well aware that you can't replace children with puppies).

But what I couldn't figure out until today was why it only happens now - why it doesn't seem to happen during the rest of the year. I mean, it's not like puppies are seasonal, after all.

What dawned on me today, is that along with wanting something new and little to snuggle and love, I crave a puppy because it was in the dying days of winter that we were waiting, with so much excitement and anticipation, for an addition to our family.

It's the anticipation. Or anticipation's ghost, if you will. I still have it, and have no reason for it anymore.

So apparently I've invented one.

It's the same reason I still get that "back to school" feeling in August, even though it's been years since I packed up a knapsack and headed to class. Habit.

Those weeks before Thomas was born were so exciting, and I have connected it with the season; with the small hints of spring in longer days and brief thaws, and the overwhelming joy of the coming new season.

Which, of course, brought sorrow unlike anything I'd ever known before. But right now, my brain is just remembering the anticipation. The good bits prior to the world imploding.

And with nary a baby in sight, and all this focus-less anticipation, it has also set its sights on a puppy.

This year, a Norfolk Terrier.


Monday, February 02, 2009

Monkeying around

I wish someone would pay me to sit around and write what I want to write and crochet what I want to crochet when I'm not writing what I want to write.

Why is there no job out there like that? Why? Why?


I suppose I'll just keep looking for other, less exciting paying gigs until my dream writing/crocheting job appears.

And blog and make monkeys with reckless abandon while I'm waiting.