Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Kids the same age

In the beginning, I was totally freaked out being around anyone else the same age that my daughter would have been. I mean it was impossible for me to do it. They were all babies - and babies were the last thing on earth that I could handle. I gave myself permission to distance myself from them for a while. I needed that distance to try and find my stable mental health again. Not everyone understood. And looking back, I can see why there were some hurt feelings. At one point, one of my sisters said to me "Sooner or later, you are going to have to face this." She was referring to one of my nephew's birthday parties. She was right and wrong. Yes, I'd have to face it but it was not up to her to dictate the time and place when that was going to happen. No one can do that for you. You do it when you are ready and if you have to start off with five minutes at a time, then so be it. You have to take care of YOU. The babies, baptisms, and showers will still be there. Yes, you might miss someone's first birthday - but chances are that by the time the 5th one rolls around, you'll be mentally up for the challenge.

Does that awkwardness ever go away? Well, for me it comes and goes. I can be around kids the same age as my deceased daughter - and I'm fine. I don't even realize that they'd be the same age. But you know when it hits milestones. Someone will say, "Oh my daughter is starting middle school, today." Or - "My daughter has a crush on so and so." And thats when it hits me......MY daughter could be doing these things too....but she never will. Sometimes it causes a simple wince...and other times it just completely takes my breath away.

Even 13 years into the journey, life can still be a roller-coaster.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Random Thoughts...

Do you ever do this in your head? Do you ever play "Who has suffered as much as me?" or "Who has the worst life?." I admit it....I do it A LOT. It's part of my self centered personality that I've had for a LONG time. When my daughter died, it consumed me. I was mad at EVERYONE. I was mad at my pregnant friends, I was mad at my sisters with kids, I was mad at everyone in the grocery store with a baby or toddler. And then I'd do comparisons....and no one had a dead baby except me. So I won. I had the worst life. What's the prize, I wondered.

I kept doing it. Less than a year after my daughter died, I miscarried. Then, I lost both my parents in the same year. I thought....dead babies.....dead parents....I'm an orphan. I have the worst life. I win again.

As I get older, I guess I still play from time to time. The playing field gets leveled as you get older. I mean your friends lose their parents....and then they understand the orphan thing. Not too many people, thank God, lose their babies and children. I don't need that playing field leveled. In fact, if I had my way, everyone would just keep on living.

We saw old friends over the weekend. The woman is battling incurable breast cancer at 40. I play the game in my head and think to myself....there's NOTHING worse than that.....realizing that you probably will not be around to see your two babies grow up. I take my loss and compare it to hers. It doesn't compare. It doesn't. I went on to have more children. I have my health. I can talk about a future with some certainty. My husband and I can laugh when we imagine our kids' weddings and becoming grandparents someday. And if I die tomorrow.....there's the promise that I'll be reunited with my sweet baby girl in Heaven. So, I lost the game this round. I so desperately want my friend to lose the next one.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

My Baby...

I'm amazed that when I look back to 13 years ago.....the dominant feeling that I get is anger. I feel cheated. I feel like no one else that I know had to endure this....why me? And then I feel bad. I mean "Why NOT me?" Her death has given me an appreciation for my living children that I don't think I ever could have had without her death. Then again, I'd give up this special "appreciation" to have my daughter here in a heartbeat. I also feel kind of "marked" and different. I feel like sometimes people look at me differently (if they even know about her) because of what I went through. Although if anyone else remembers but me, my husband and kids...they're not talking about it.

There's just this feeling everyday that something is missing. It doesn't hit when I first wake up - or before I go to bed. It's in the little things of everyday. Meeting someone new who poses the question to you of "How many kids do you have?" That one was SO hard inthe beginning. Now it's easy to answer 3....because I have three living children. I used to hem and ham and want to say something like "One on earth and one in heaven (when I just had one living child)".....but then you get those stares and sympathy looks and blank expressions.....and it's just easier to say "Three." No explanation needed. So am I denying her? No, I tell new people that I meet sometimes.....if I get to know them well and it comes up. But you know what? I still encounter that awkward silence....and then I end up feeling bad for bringing them down. Death is SO strange.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Beginning

13 years ago my daughter was stillborn. I think, to some people reading this, they might think "13 YEARS and you're not over this yet? What's WRONG with you?" Well, anyone who's been in my shoes knows that you never "get over it."

I was searching for a place to put my feelings specifically about my daughter. I found the pregnancy loss blog link....and felt like "Finally there's a place where I belong." Maybe no one will judge me there when I confess that I think about my daughter every single day. It's not the hysterical crying that took place 13 years's not the grieving fog that I lived in for a few's just me....the different me that emerged 13 years ago. You know how you are never the same after this. You are completely least I am. Heck, maybe it's just me that's different. I don't know.

I never went to a support group. I never went into therapy. I did join a group online for people who had suffered pregnancy loss. The people that I met were my lifeline for that first year....and beyond.'s l3 years later and I've lost touch with all of them. It's kind of odd that I've really only met, face to face, one other person who suffered a stillbirth, like mine. When I met her, her loss was already about seven years before mine.....and she was SO helpful.....but in a different place than I was back then.

My daughter's death strenthened some of my relationships.....and showed me weaknesses in others. You would have thought it would have taught me such compassion....and it did in certain situations. But you know what? I'm the biggest wimp when it comes to offering condolences. I get all tongue tied and panic that I'm going to be the one who says the wrong thing.

You know how you can remember, like yesterday, the terrible things that were said to you when your child died? Want a list? I'll just give a few highlights:

- "My mother and I were thinking that maybe your daughter was suffocating all it's better that she died before she was born."

- "It wasn't REALLY a human because she never took a breath outside of your womb."

I could rant and rave all over the place....but I'll save some stuff for next time.

Mostly I wonder about Heaven. Is she there? You know the Pope just took back the Catholic church's doctine about babies going to limbo. I never believed that. But after my daughter died, my parish priest (at the time) refused to come to where I was because I was twenty minutes away. Looking back, I guess my daughter wasn't worth the time for him. You know that all they could do was bless her because baptism is a sacrament for the living. Looking back, I wish I had baptized her myself. It might not have counted but I would have felt better.

I wonder if she's with the rest of my family who has passed on. That comforts me when i think she is. But when I think of her in the cold can haunt me.

I don't go to the cemetary often. A therapist "friend" told me that i wasn't coping well if I still fell apart at the cemetary and avoided going. I told this "friend" to talk to me after her child died and then I'd listen to her critique of my life. I avoid the cemetary because I feel like it's just her bones there. Her soul is in Heavan. And honestly, it does make me fall apart to be there. I went on her birthday. I didn't last more than two minutes. Bad mother? I don't think so. I don't need to be at the cemetary to talk to her and think about her.

Want to know another secret? My MIL drove me nuts over my pregnancy with her. She because totally obsessed with the pregnancy/baby. I'm talking stalker like not grandparent like. After she died, my MIL generously offered to buy the burial plot. She bought enough room for herself and my FIL and my baby. I was so young and naive. I never thought about wanting to be buried with my daughter. So now, even in death, she ends up with my daughter. As you can tell, we have a "strained" relationship.