Friday, September 25, 2015

What does grief look like?

For me,


I do not want to do anything "normal".  I do not want talk to anyone, I do not want to wear the same clothes or fix my hair the same, I do not want to cook or clean house, I do not want to talk about the weather or plan for the future, I do not want to take care of the animals or teach my kids.  I do not want to live in a world where the unimportant matters. 

My life is not over, I know that.  As I move forward, though, Caroline is left behind in September of 2015 and I am not ready to be out of her moment yet.  I know, "she will always be with me", but it is still her time and I am not ready to go back to business as usual.  How can I anyway?  I am not the same person I was a month ago.  As much as it changes you to become a mom, for the first or twentieth time, it changes you all the same when the baby doesn't come home.   

A month ago I did not know what pPROM is or what it can do to a perfectly healthy baby.  I did not know the pain of losing and burying a child.  I did not know I can not protect my children from death.  I did not know what it is like to plan a funeral.  I did not know what it is like to drive away from a hospital without the baby you just gave birth to.  I did not know what it is like to give birth without a C-section.  I did not know the name Caroline could bring so much joy and sadness at the same time.  I did not know so many things. 

I feel completely foreign in my body.  It is not my own, nor is it Caroline's anymore; I cannot fit into any of my clothes yet, nor do I want to.  My breasts are still swollen and sore from producing milk that will never be used.  The baby bump that was growing, and loved, is all but gone and yet it still takes six weeks for it all to be a normal size.  My hands and feet are still swollen from pregnancy, delivery, and medications.  My right leg is causing much pain (epidural).  The bleeding from delivery will continue for some time, and I am angry at my body for rejecting my daughter.  I feel betrayed by it.  It is both full of life and full of death.   

I do not recognize my face; it does not smile much or see makeup often, its eyes are swollen from tears and heartache, it is pimple-ridden from the change in hormones, and its lines and creases seem so much deeper.

My home is not my own.  It is full of funeral flowers, funeral ribbons, and baby stuff.  It is full of children with glazed-over eyes from too much Netflix.  It is full of half empty water bottles, dirty clothes, and toys on the floor.  It is full of people that I love who are as sad as I am but who show it in much different ways.  It is full of homeschooling books that aren't being touched.  Its yard is full of animals, whom I love, but that I have not seen or taken care of, myself, in weeks.  It, too, is full of life...and death.

Rod goes back to work tonight, the kids have to be taught starting up again on Monday, we cannot keep eating grilled cheese and ham sandwiches, and Sissy is too young to run a house indefinitely, but it's like I have forgotten how, like I'm a ghost.  It isn't fair to them, but is it fair to me?  It's only been ten days!

So this is what grief looks like for me:  PJs and hair buns, grilled cheese sandwiches and Netflix, unanswered text messages, FB messages, and phone calls, responsibilities that go unfulfilled, clinging to my husband, a spot on the sofa or my side in bed, a once an hour breakdown, an occasional anger fit, a short temper, a brain that will not function, and a soul that is crushed...and I'll live in this moment with Caroline as long as I need and then I'll start to find a new normal, one that encompasses both who I was and who I am, one that celebrates that I am the mother of four and grieves that one of those children is not here with me, one that will take much time to find.

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