Wishing you courage

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goals for 2010

Totally intend to do
1. Get divorced and change name. Paperwork for both will be filed in January (funds allowing).

2. Pay all bills on time FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR.

3. Replace all bathroom towels, kitchen towels, and cloth napkins.

4. Lose deadbaby weight.

5. Raise a bunch of money for the March of Dimes. Everyone I know is broke but I'm going to set my goal anyway and just do my best and won't get upset if I can't raise that much.

Will try to do
1. Establish regular meditation and yoga practice.

2. Repaint bedroom (need ideas!), replace blinds with curtains, sew new bedding (Sara, and other creative folks, do you know of any nice bedding patterns?).

My goals for the year are boring, serious ones but that's ok because I finally feel up to doing these things.

What are your goals? Any fun ones? I want to try a MckLinky thing (crossing fingers that I did this right), feel free to play along (please don't leave me with an empty MckLinky!)


Regarding the wish for password protected posting, I have set up a cleverly named (ha!) sister blog on wordpress to host relationship issues that I wouldn't want someone I know in real life to read if they stumbled across this blog. The first post is up now. I guess you will have to request a password, but I'll keep it the same so requests won't have to be made every time.

I have no idea how often that blog will be used or how long it will stay around. Don't feel like you have to read it, although some input would be nice since I don't seem to be particularly gifted when it comes to relationships. Just writing out my current concern has helped so much.

Wishing you all a very happy and healing New Year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'll be everything I'm not

It is very sad that our marriage couldn't help but be as it was. We were both so young and we both came from unpredictable/unsafe households. Neither of us had developed a healthy sense of self yet. Neither one of us could possibly be what each other needed.

Such a long friendship and long, so often unsatisfying, marriage ended so suddenly, irrecoverably, and SILENTLY.

Early in January the ex and I will meet so he can provide an explanation for why he left the relationship so suddenly, without giving an excuse beyond our "incompatibility". Finally some answers are on the horizon.

It's a little nerve-racking. I don't know what he is going to say. My therapist and I are going to prepare for the worst.

The worst case scenario is that this will be his opportunity to vent over a decades worth of frustration with me. And I kind of deserve it; there were countless times when I was a lousy wife - too emotional, too erratic, too depressed. I hate to think back on the "married me", I hate that she existed. My entire existence and personality were limited to reacting to being subtly neglected, demeaned, manipulated, and betrayed. That's all he knows of me.


You know, I'm not one to look for a fucking silver lining but Toren's death was a catalyst, which looks like such a stupid statement written here because how can anybody not crawl out of the hell that is losing a child without becoming a new being? What I mean is that our marriage was not strong enough to survive Toren's death and who knows how long that union would have limped along without that extreme stress. Who knows if it ever would have morphed into the type of relationship I craved had Toren lived.

I want Toren just as always, but I want my marriage less and less the further I get from it. Both losses are simultaneously intertwined and completely distinct. While I will yearn for Toren forever I don't want the circumstances he would've/could've/should've been born into.

It all feels so raw right now.


Chrysalis. In the 13 months since we stopped being a couple I have turned into someone different. Deadbaby, impending divorce, tons of therapy, psychiatric medications, making my own decisions, and thinking, thinking, thinking and I'm no longer "married me". Developing confidence and independent thinking co-exist with the vulnerability of knowing that a whole closet full of shoes can drop on you at any time.

He'll never know who I've turned into.


This song is helping me process what I feel about meeting the ex. I want to be ready to be forever misunderstood by him without becoming overwhelmed with regret, shame, and negative emotions.

Lightning Field by the Sneaker Pimps

Sweet video with a short portion of the song

Full version, live, with Chris Corner perfectly adorable and drool worthy

Strike me down
Give me everything you've got
Strike me down
I'll be everything I'm not
Count the questions on one hand
You don't ask me what I planned
Strike me down
Should have asked me what went wrong
Strike me down
Should have stayed away too long

Strike me down
Give it everything you've got
Chance me now
I'll be everything I'm not
Hope's the child of what luck brings
Points to faith in higher things
Ask me now
Fire at everything at once
Strike me down
Take it any way you want

Strike me down
Better left it all unknown
Strike me down
Should have left it all alone
Wash the questions off my hands
I'm the fate in no one's plans
Strike me down
Give it everything you've got
Strike me down
I'll be everything I'm not

Monday, December 28, 2009

Why can't things be gloriously calm and good for a significant amount of time?

Still thankful that I'm no longer overcome by grief but I guess I felt like I was owed something wonderful - it's still a shock that there are annoying thorns on the roses, you know?

I'm thinking of moving to wordpress so I can set some posts as password protected, does anyone know how to move all of my previous posts over?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Easy as 1, 2, 3

The next series of check boxes started with the option "The Defendant and I do not have any minor children together." and while making a bold black "X" in that box the thought "Thank God!" zipped through my head. Followed by a twinge of guilt.

The absence of children simplifies a divorce but of course it isn't as simple as that. The myriad of feelings associated with Toren's death does not include thankfulness. But the feelings about divorce do include thankfulness that I will not be connected to the ex for the rest of my life through our children. I wonder if this is an emotionally complicated section of the paperwork for many couples.

If there was a minor child would this divorce be looming? I suspect not, but being able to view our marriage from a distance allows me to see all of the problems that were there all along. I miss the family that could have been while also being thankful to be in a healthier situation.

I'm including what I wrote for the blog cross-pollination here so that it will be included in my record of life post Toren and because I have a few other things to say about it. By the way, I loved participating in the cross-pollination and am honored to have swapped posts with Mrs. Spit and it's so fitting that she used gardening as a metaphor for grief since this is "A garden for butterflies".

My post

It’s true what some people say, that when you lay your eyes on your child for the first time you love them with your entire being. The first glimpse of my son was in the form of double pink lines on a home pregnancy test. Later I heard his amazing heartbeat and viewed his cute, little fetal self via ultrasound. When I held him for the first time a huge wave of calm and wonderment encompassed me; my heart burst open with warmth and pure love for him.

That was the first time I truly felt love. Relationships with parents, spouses, and friends can become so complicated; that short time resting in the hospital bed was an oasis of peace and love existing in a complicated story. During the next several hours he was held, named, and blessed.

After your baby’s body has been taken away to chill in the morgue those feelings of love get rather hard to reproduce, at least in my experience.


I am an expert on anger.

I am an expert on jealousy.

I am an expert on sleepless nights where the dead baby keeps me up.

I’m an expert on despising love because its absence leads to so many ugly emotions.

I know all about gender differences in grieving styles and how a dead baby can strain a marriage. Subsequently, I am an expert on dining alone, maintaining a house alone, and longing for the family that is no longer possible. Soon I will have first hand experience of divorce.

I now know more about the numerous ways that a embryo, fetus, or infant can die than I know about what items parents need to carry in baby bags.

I’m an expert on being stricken speechless in response to thoughtless remarks.

“You’re young, you can have another.”

“That baby just wasn’t meant to be.”

“You named it???!!!”

“I thought you would be over it by now.”

“If my child died I would die as well.”

“Was there really nothing medically that could be done to make him live?”


No one wants to become so familiar those feelings. Since he died two years ago I have been drowning in currents of loss. Having spent two years mastering negative emotions, what next?


I want to be an expert on love. Friend-love… parent-love… stranger-love… ex-spouse love… new lover love… kitty and puppy love… self-love.

I want to someday feel the all-consuming, uncomplicated love I felt while holding my son again. I will learn to miss my son, rage against the randomness of birth defects, sneer when mentioning the ex, tense up around pregnant women, WHILE loving.

Beginning today, everyday I will practice love.


What are you an expert of?

What would you like to be an expert of?


To practice/express love everyday was a vow and that is what I'm doing. Now this is only possible because negative feelings and positive emotions can COEXIST. Understanding that love and joy and peace can be present along with sorrow and anger was a huge breakthrough for me. While healing and reforming my life and self into something new the clash of conflicting emotions was very confusing. Sometimes I desperately miss my old, almost-was family (and I may ALWAYS miss that), but I just acknowledge those feelings and then soon the emotions naturally and easily morph into relief that the acute phase of grieving is in the past.

The present - how my life actually IS right now - is very happy.

On December 2, 2008 I wrote "So this blog is not about rebuilding a marriage and successfully having a child after a deadbaby anymore. If anything, it will be about finding something to do in life once the life you carefully planned is no longer a possibility."

Letting go of a plan/dream is hard and I thought old dreams could only be replaced by new dreams but my old dreams have been followed by no long term life plans at all! Living in the present - enjoying the company of my housemates, and time spent with the snuggle bunny and friends - and not getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future all seems so obvious, but it sure took a long time to integrate.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guest blogger, brought to you by the Great Blog Cross Pollination

Grief , it strikes me, is a lot like buying a house in the winter, never seeing the back yard.

You don’t chose what’s there when you arrive, but you get to make all the choices after that. I stood in my present back yard 5 years ago, looking at 2 feet of dog crap, the world’s ugliest deck and an overgrown lilac(?) tree and threw up my hands. This was going to be an oasis? Not on your life, not without a firebomb to help me start over.

At first we walk out into this back yard that we have inherited, and it is a strange and foreign place. The placement of the shrubs, the ugly old iris clumps? They make us angry. We are frustrated, kicking the crappy looking grass, thinking “What stupid kind of idiot would put that there?”.

Usually, even in the most overgrown, ugly, unmanageable back yard, there’s something to catch your eye. An old-fashioned rose, a sunny daffodil, a tiny little johnny jump up. Something to make you feel the slightest bit, well nurturing. And the nurturing is a problem, after all ,that way hurting lies. That way leads to a hole filled with unrequited dreams. You pause, wondering if you want to put the time in at all, fighting against an almost primeval urge to create. Creation is the start of death, and you’ve had enough of that.

But, sighing, almost angrily, you dig around prune back and uncover. You sit back on your haunches, and stretch out your back, lifting your hands to the sky. Muscles seldom used protest, and you look at your hands covered in dirt and a few scratches from the brambles, and you don’t recognize them. You look around at the rest of the garden, and you chuck the hoe at the garage and stump back into the kitchen, returning to familiar piles of mess. At least that’s your mess.

The next morning you wake up, stiff and sore, and even though you swear that you are done with fostering this stupid business of growing life, the next plant in the jungle beckons you, and you go at that. Slowly, very slowly, you find that the living business of a garden has snuck up on you, and you feel responsible. You weed and water, and research. If you get very lucky, someone more practiced at this business of restoration shows up one Saturday with their gardening tools, and they help you go at it, providing succour and sustenance.

And then, something dies, in spite of all your efforts, when you bought the book and read on the internet, and you talked to the experts. You back away for a bit. You find yourself hopeless for a while, what would ever make you think you were any good at this life giving business anyway? For a few weeks, you ignore July’s heat and the lack of rain and you, well, you pout. You are, after all entitled to the pouting, no one could call you unreasonable for expecting something you had put all this damn effort and time into, to live.

The garden keeps calling, and you rush back in, and you find a few more things dead, but many more things still living, and that’s about the time you taste the first peas on the vine, smell the lilies coming up. Sucked in a bit deeper.

You make bigger plans, you dig up dirt, you re-seed the grass, hell, you go all out and you buy furniture, and you spend a breath-taking amount on a plant that will survive the cold season. You carefully dig the hole, you sprinkle in bone meal and rhizomes and you water very well, sending hopes and dreams into the ground.

There always comes a time in the middle of August, when it seems as if the summer will last forever, these long days will never end, and every night you have your coffee and a cigarette on the new furniture, the smell of garden heavy in your hair. You begin to think that you will always be in this place.

One morning you wake up, and the garden smells different. The smells are sharper, snappier, crisp and clear. You realize you do not know how to prepare the garden for this new season, and so you cut everything down, not realizing you should leave some stalks up so that you can see them heavy with snow. You don’t know to always leave a little something behind for the next season.

Fall slips past and then the snow flies, and you are not sure how to navigate this, it seems like another loss. As surely as you didn’t ask for the garden in the first place, you aren’t ok with it being taken away from you either.

This, this is the secret of gardening, that nothing stays the same. One thing becomes another, and then something else after that. Nothing is still except in our memory.

This guest blogger lives and gardens in Alberta, Canada, where her garden is under several feet of snow. Can you guess who it is? Her identity and my cross pollination post can be found here.

See all cross pollination participants here