Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The way things are

Today is 5 months since Aidan died.

Recently I was thinking back to those first few days after Wednesday, April 21st 2010. My husband and I went to visit the high-risk pregnancy psychiatrist in the week immediately following. I had already seen this woman once during my pregnancy after we found out things were likely not going to be okay. She was nice, she listened...but I haven't been back to see her since. This blog has been better therapy than anything I could say in 45 minutes or less in an office appointment once or twice a month, and I honestly haven't really felt the need.

But, one thing the psychiatrist said at that appointment has been rattling around in my brain the last few days. As I sat in her office, next to my husband, holding the box of tissues on my lap and cried about how hard things were going to be over the next while, she responded with "well, it might not always be that way. The way things are now is not how things may be next year". At the time, this statement really helped me. I've felt pain and loss and grief before (though perhaps not to the same extent), and I know from those experiences that she was right. The pain of loss does lessen over time. I did smile again after those losses. New and wonderful things did happen. Life went on...and I was okay.

I clung to that statement in the first few days and weeks after Aidan's death. Life will get better. It will. It will not always be this way. Good things will happen. They always do. You just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep going. Deep breaths.

Now that I am 5 months out, I realize that she was only half right.

Things will move on. Things will change. Life can be good again.

But he will always be dead.

She didn't, of course, mean that statement in a literal sense. Of course she meant that our lives wouldn't always be so broken. We both knew Aidan wasn't coming back. But I clung to her statement because it promised hope. Not for Aidan, of course, but for the future. I was reaching for anything at the time that would keep me focused, keep me from drowning. Her statement soothed me.

I did not yet understand the reality of having to cope with his death. Every. Day. Forever. I did not yet understand that while yes, things do get 'easier' and life does 'move on', I still have figure out how to live without him. Always. I did not yet know what it would be like to get up each day and live, surrounded by his 'not coming back-ness'. Did not understand how his death would seep into everything I do. That it would become just one more fact about me, about my marriage, about my family. Did not yet realize that every day would be just one more day since the last time I held him. One more day without him. That life can, and will, go on, and he will still be dead. Elizabeth McCracken said it best when she wrote "death goes on too".

Even when I laugh. Work out. Watch movies. Eat. Pee. Take out the garbage. Stand in line. Work. Make love. Stare at the sky.

I Live.

He does not.

How long did it take for you to wrap your head around the 'not coming back-ness'? Are you still working on it?


  1. I swear we are the same person. I wrote a post about this almost a month to the day after Caleb died. I was taking a walk and was suddenly struck with the realization that this was FOREVER and that I'd always be the mother to a dead baby. Always. Always always always. It killed me. (If you want to read it, it's here: http://ourbabyh.blogspot.com/2010/05/never-same.html, but I don't mean this as pimping my blog.)

  2. I think it's only been recently that I've started to wrap my mind around the concept. When Charlotte first died I had bad day after bad day, then I had really good days or really bad days. Now that it's four months I am in a place of so-so days. Not horrible, but not good either. I've just started to accept the fact that she is gone, and there is no bringing her back, so I need to learn to live with the emptiness and loss, even though it seems impossible.

  3. i am most definitely still wrapping my head around it, almost 5 months later. and yes, i have thought many times about the fact that this is forever. we may find a way to make this loss a part of ourselves, but it is a permanent part that we will always be aware of.

    there is a quote that i always found touching before we lost kenny, on stationery used by my headmaster and his wife, since losing their 7-yr-old daughter 8 yrs ago: "The presence of her absence is everywhere."

  4. Wow, your post has really hit home. While I was in labour with Jacob, I kept saying to my husband that we have to plan something to look forward to. I talked about going to a favorite restaurant, of going on a little trip...anything that would give me something to live for. Of course, after he was born, I couldn't care less about doing anything. Getting dressed was a huge hurdle everyday. Everything seemd so petty and meaningless.

    No matter what I'm doing, no matter how 'normal' I'm looking, I always feel like I'm dying inside a little.

    My OB asked if I was in counselling and I told her that I've met other baby loss Mom's and that is helping enough, I can't imagine what would really help more. I feel the say way you do about counselling. I haven't really felt the need and just seeing someone once or twice a month for 45 minutes doesn't seem like enough.

    It is true that things won't always be this way. Just look at where we were a few months ago. Last week even. I couldn't imagine being alive at this point right after losing Jacob. I didn't think about dying specifically (except for a few times) but I couldn't imagine still being on this earth 3.5 months after he died.

    I haven't wrapped my head around his 'not coming back-ness' yet. It seems impossible to at this stage. It crops up and slaps in the face sometimes though.

  5. Soon will be 6 months without Liam and in some ways it is harder now than it was in the beginning. Exactly because of what you wrote, the grasping of his "not coming back-ness" and, as everyone else wrote, the pain hits me always. Always always always. Initially I was so raw that everyone could tell how much pain I was in. But now that I look relatively normal and act relatively normal, it almost hurts me more. I wish I still had a huge bandage over me, over my heart, just so my pain was proclaimed still and it didn't require me to talk about it, about him, to make everyone aware of how much I love him, how much I miss him. I know that people who matter know but somehow I want more.

    The reality of my life without my baby seems unbearable at times. I try to find solace in the short time spent with him, relish the brief time of holding him and memorizing his features but I'm always wanting more. Sadly, the only real comfort is my husband's and my hope to continue on and try for another baby but that comes with a bag of mixed emotions as well...fear, anxiety, broken-heartedness for Liam.

    Thank you for sharing your struggles.

  6. It never changes and that feeling doesn't go away, there will always be something missing. For me as a Christian it was not a goodbye, it was a see you later. But even that sucks. I want my son here with me. I don't want to wait 40 years to see him. I don't think I'll ever get to the point where I'm okay with that. I hope you had some peace on your 5 month anniversary. I know how hard dates are and it brings all of the emotions back.

  7. 5 months was so hard for me - the grief was still raw, but it was also settled enough that the reality of living the rest of my life without my baby really hit hard. I'm still working on it, but it's eased quite a bit with time and with the birth of T's sister.

    I'm thinking about you and Aidan and sending love.

  8. I've been thinking about these things quite a bit lately. Even though I am expecting a new baby - I can't help but wonder and grieve and miss the others I lost.

    So yes, things are better right now then they were months ago. But my first babies are dead. And being pregnant again doesn't make that magically go away. And it doesn't make me feel ok about losing them.

    5 months - and I know you miss Aidan like crazy. Sending you big hugs!

  9. At least a year. And there are still plenty of times when it hits afresh, even though it's nearly two years now.

  10. Thinking of you and Aidan... Please visit my blog, I honored "Aidan, Baby of Mine" with an award!!!! Much love.

  11. This is a great post, I am still trying to wrap my head around this reality. I know she isn't coming back. I know this, I really do but it is so hard to accept. Forever is just that, forever and it is so hard to fathom living the rest of my life without Harper. Everyday is a struggle as I think about how things should have been. Thinking of you and Aidan.