The other night I went for a walk with a good friend. It would be a bit hyperbolic to say that the tremendous thunderstorm we found ourselves caught in is my life in metaphor, but it sure felt that way. This friend is no stranger to grief and has recently been through her own personal hell. As we started our walk we passed a woman running. My friend said, conspiratorially and with a laugh, "You know, since this all happened to me, I really hate people."
This is a friend who is just about the most kind and charitable person I know. She's funny and nice and wouldn't hurt a fly. It was funny, because I know what she meant. Random people can inspire feelings of pure rage in me, just for existing, just for breathing air in my general vicinity. There are some days, when I'm tired or undernourished or over-caffienated where I can barely stand to go outside: EVERYONE drives me to the brink of despair.
The pain, anxiety, fear and grief overfilling my heart makes it a herculean effort to simply be kind, be human, or be, well, a functioning member of society. I am not articulate enough to crystalize exactly how this feels, except that it's debilitating. And not who I really am. I used to pride myself on being able to have fun in a paper bag, or talk to anyone about anything. Where did those traits disappear to? Somedays the thought of human interaction makes me want to dive under the bed and hide.
I read articles like this one and think, "Oh fuck off." Believe me when I tell you I know how challenging colic can be. But really? I'll take colic over a dead baby any day. Your baby will get over colic. He won't come back from the dead. I am not trying to get into a pissing contest of who's got it worse, but my perspective has seriously shifted. Who knows? Maybe, should this little one happen to make it out alive, he'll be colicky and fussy as any baby on the planet has ever been. And I'm sure I'll be tired and grumpy and irritated. But at least he'll be alive.
I find myself getting irrationally angry over the stupidest things. Proj.ect Runw.ay antics send me into hysterics. Traffic snafus, dealings with bureaucratic nonsense from insurance companies and the city put me into a tizzy. Don't even get me started on these assclowns. I'm not judging, but I am hating.
This rage, though, really extends only to strangers. I have developed a new, fierce love for my son and husband I never knew I could have. My patience with people I know has gotten deeper, and my gratefulness for my friends helps buoy me in the raging waters of fear and grief. Even now, as my 2 year old is fighting a nap he desperately needs (after 3 mornings in a row of pre-5:30 am wakeups), I miss his presence in the room with me. (Although, I desperately need that nap, too, and every sound from the monitor makes me want to bang my head against the wall.)
8 months today. 8 months ago I was living a hell I'd wish on no one. I was 8 months pregnant, giving birth to my dead daughter. So today marks the break-even point. The point at which her life's duration and her time gone are equal. Now what? I remember when E turned 9 months old, thinking from that point forward I'd be a mother for longer than I was pregnant. A new chapter. But what of it now? I will forever be a mother grieving, with nothing but an urn and some pictures and some hats and things to show for it. I have a tremendously wonderful friend who remembers; who, every month on the 9th, sends me a little hello as a reminder. For which I am so grateful, because she is the only one. I don't expect everyone to notice, to think about it, to keep picking the scab off the wound. But at the same time I'm afraid no one will ever remember, no one will ever ask, and no one will think I remember, either.
It really sucks having a dead baby. It's scary and lonely and sad and just plain fucked up. And yet it is real, and forever, and now my life.