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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

One, two, buckle my shoe


The Steadfast Warrior has started a project called The Friday Photo Challenge. The first topic is "Strength".

Work has been all consuming for the last few weeks but I was really looking forward to finding and taking of picture of something that made me think of strength, so I'm a day late but I'd still like to give some thought to "Strength".

Yep, that's a photo of me and a pair of shoes. Honestly I'm not sure if I can find words to explain how this makes any sense but here goes nothing...


In my second post ever I talked about how I didn't like being called strong.

"Friends have called me "strong"; my psychiatrist called me "resilient". Instead of feeling complimented, I feel offended. I don't feel strong, I am not exhibiting behaviors of a strong person. By saying "strong" and "resilient" it feels like people are telling me "you're doing great, keep up the good work"."

During the first year after Toren died I barely made it through many days. During the first 9 months or so I cried everywhere. At work I cried at my desk and spent hours on the forum for A Heartbreaking Choice instead of doing actual work. Nighttime's were spent drinking, smoking, and numbing. It wasn't like living, if that makes any sense. I didn't make any tangible progress in "normal" life.

That year culminated with my husband deserting me and my being involuntarily admitted to a mental hospital after a suicide attempt. Yeah, real strong.

The first 9 months of year 2 were spent in relative isolation. I went to work and went home and rarely saw any friends. Things thankfully improved last summer.

But the point is that I felt so weak and felt like this level of dysfunction and depression meant that I was just one huge fuck up. However, in hindsight the "strength" part makes sense... but maybe not exactly in the way that people throwing around the term "strong", just because they see you dressed and out of the house, had in mind.

What does it mean to be strong after your baby dies? Is it getting out of bed everyday, going to work, paying some bills, buying groceries, smiling when it's socially appropriate, saying that you are "fine" or "good" instead of saying that you don't know if you can make it through another night alone in your empty house? Those saying I was "strong" didn't know that I bought dinosaur pajamas for Toren months after he died and they didn't know that I would drape the jammies along my left forearm, in the place they would have been so that Toren's head would have rested on my left bicep as it did when I rocked his body in the hospital, and that I rocked the pajamas to sleep. It's like you are called strong for keeping the trips to the cemetery, the memory box, the MEMORIES, the ruined hopes and plans to yourself.

Sitting here now, two years, two months, three weeks, and on day later I think I have been strong. Facing your grief head on is being strong. Struggling, crying, screaming through every day while your soul learns how to live without your child is strength. Not believing those who insist that you did not suffer a real loss since you never even "got to know" your child - loving your child who was very sick or suffered a fatal accident before or at birth or just died for unknown reasons - cherishing those too malformed to survive is courageous.


I've always wanted to be taller.

I used to wear platforms and heals almost exclusively - so much so that other people would be taken aback when I wore flat shoes, making me 3 inches shorter then I normally appeared. I used to dance; defying gravity was never a concern. Even while I was pregnant I wore tall shoes, but thought as my center of balance altered with a growing belly some flat shoes would be a good idea. Toren never got big enough for flat shoes. It wasn't until after Toren died that I lost my balance.

For over 2 years I have primarily worn Merrell's or Dansko's. Comfortable, sensible, close to the ground, day after day.

I'm scared of heals. Ease of movement has been replaced by wobbles and clumps. Pretty, healed shoes are showy and don't fit well with being invisible. All of these thoughts made me realize, I mean really realize, that I'm not friends with my body. This body grew a "bad" baby and I'm not sure that can ever be forgiven.


So this week strength is seeing beautiful shoes and beginning to practice living beyond barely surviving.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Things that aren't really real

I had this dream two nights ago that I miscarried - I'm not pregnant! - and I was so sad and woke up dwelling on gravida 3 para 0. Which isn't true. I'm still G2P0

This morning I woke up thinking about Toren's birth. Over two years after that day and the memories of that time are still so near. I remember him all curled up and wet. I wish I could touch him again. I wish I could hold his little, still body again.

How is it possible to want him so much even after all this time?


I'm still productive at work. Still spending time with the snuggle bunny. Still being kind to people and helpful. Still looking forward to a finalized divorce. Still wondering if my attention span and memory capacity prior to dead Toren will ever return. And Toren is still, still. He is still utterly, physically, absent. He is still thought of with love every day.


Dreams and memories make the longing for a baby so prevalent. But what's real is that it's too soon to bring up the baby making topic with the snuggle bunny. What's real is that I'm getting by financially, but just barely. What's real is I still drive a sports car with no back seat for a baby car seat. There is no room for a baby.

I'm getting good at living in the present and accepting that I may never birth a live baby. It's good to be happy again. But I miss having realistic hope that I'll have a child; the dreams and memories are harsh reminders of what I want but am in no position to try for.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How the meeting with the guy I'm divorcing went in rank order of how badly the statements hurt.

1. When he talked about when he decided to leave - It was a premeditated decision about our marriage that he made without consulting me. I think the date was November 9, 2008 when during a conversation he was in someone said that, in a relationship, if the bad times outnumber the good times the relationship should end. On the 16th he told me we were "incompatible" and that was the beginning of the end. I actually thought he was planning this for much longer than a week so some of the pain has faded. He never mentioned that he was had decided to divorce; he never gave the option for discussing it.

2. His decision to leave wasn't because of anything I did - So the separation sucker punch wasn't because he was so angry at me that he meant to deliver extra hurt; he just didn't consider me important enough to let me in on his plans of completely changing his life. Like I didn't exist. Like I was merely an outworn accessory to his life - an annoying aspect of himself that he was ready to cut away.

That's what it feels like on my end anyway.

His explanation was that he needed to be happy and apparently "happy" had to be sought elsewhere. It had been an amazingly difficult year with Toren dying and the ex being laid off several months later. It was hell.

He needed to be happy.


I needed to be happy too. He got happier, I got unhappier. He escaped hell by pushing me deeper in. But who cares as long as he got what he wanted when he wanted it.

I didn't do anything wrong... except "be".

3. He said he still wants a family - ow ow ow ow


It was a collision of emotions.
eager anticipation of soul soothing answers
relief that he's doing well
caring for him (yes I gave him $)
But mostly the sense of rejection that quietly, constantly courses through my veins was brought to the surface. Choking rejection.


All of these emotions linger for a marriage and someone I don't want anymore. I don't want to be back with him, but I don't want to be the invisible person who is so easy to leave. I don't want to always remember that I mattered so little to someone who claimed to love me.

Overall, the meeting went really well and although it stirred up bad memories and did not provide a sense of completion I know that closure is coming - it's just something I will work towards alone.

Also, I finally can imagine the sense of freedom that a completed divorce will provide.

Also, as you all know, I'm not in hell anymore. I recovered.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thought # 1 while driving from the meeting with the guy I'm divorcing.

"He's mine"

The ex is just now starting to deal with Toren's death - he even referred to the baby by his name repeatedly, "Toren". At the time the ex left he did not mention the baby, he didn't want to hear about it, and he certainly didn't say his name.

As requested, I gave him directions to the cemetery and the plot and the place where I keep Toren's things in the communal grave for the ashes of babies. And I told him that I still have the memory box and CD of photos that he can see if he wants to.

Now I'm uncomfortable with the ex visiting Toren's grave. The ex "abandoned" us, he ignored the memory of his son. I feel like he is just MY BABY by now. I don't want to share Toren with his father, even though Toren is only a soul, memory, and ashes.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's just a house

I think I'm the last person still at work on this floor.

Sometimes it's wonderful to be able to stay late to get more work done and I do enjoy being able to stay with the snuggle bunny as often as I want. Maybe I'm just too tired tonight, maybe it was last nights dream where I was pregnant with a son, but I am so sad not to have a reason to go home.

The baby died, the husband left, and the home turned into a house.

Tonight I'm sad. Toren died over two years ago and sometimes, like tonight, I ache to go home to him. I wish he needed me to parent him.