Monday, May 23, 2011
Indigo is his own; blue always knew this.
I don’t know if people outside of the loss community can quite understand how much is lost BEYOND the obvious. I was just talking to some fellow BLMs about this very topic and how friendships change so much. Some friendships survive our losses. Some grow on account of our losses. And others die along with our children. But that is a post for another day. Today I am full of another variety of sadness. I have always been the type of person to know myself, truly. Intrapersonal skills. Any personality inventory I took throughout school told me that was my strong point – knowing thyself. (I took a lot of these tests, actually, as I loaded up on psych courses in college.) I of course had other strong points but always scored so high in this area. Now? Who the hell am I? Who the hell knows? I know that my son wasn’t all of me. I know that my daughter isn’t all of me. I know that being a mother isn’t all of me; my pregnancy wasn’t all of me; this desire for parenthood isn’t all of me. I know that I have an identity outside of this. But what I don’t know is what has been changed about me on account of this loss. I feel so different, and I can’t sort any of this out. Sometimes I identify things that are different about myself, but I have no idea where they came from. I want to live life fully, but why? Because I am a mother to a baby I lost? Or because I am a mother to a baby I got to keep? These two things happened SIMULTANEOUSLY for me, so how am I supposed to untangle everything? I can’t figure out what changes have been made on account of my new parenthood any more than I can figure out what changes have been made on account of my loss. It all just sort of blurs together and leaves me feeling like such a stranger to myself. I have this intense need to understand myself and how I got to where I am. It just feels like such a betrayal now to sit and think wow, I have this greater appreciation for life, for example, but why? Does it come from losing my son? Does it come from mothering my daughter? I don’t know why it matters to me. It shouldn’t, should it? What is, just is. But for some reason this really bothers me. I want to be able to tell my story and say due to a, b, and c…x, y, and z occurred. I suddenly don’t fit into any semblance of such an equation. Cause and effect suddenly don’t have such a clear relationship. Then again, I should know this after everything I went through to bring my babies home safely. These are the things you don’t expect to grieve after the loss of a child. Why does identity matter in the face of a loss so enormous as your baby? So then those thoughts spiral and I wonder why I care about anything other than the fact that my son is gone. And I wonder how I can even begin to take an interest in my identity. So now this post has just brought more guilt. Which is ironic, because in my last post I said something about being kind to myself and flipping the universe the bird. I wish I could be kind. Mostly I am my own worst enemy. That much I do know about myself. The rest I guess will take a good long time to figure out. I am not comfortable walking around in this stranger’s body. It feels so foreign, like I’m intruding in somebody else’s space. Like I woke up out of a gentle dream into a living nightmare playing a character I never envisioned portraying. I remember feeling this way daily in the early weeks and even months after our loss. Those first few weeks…when you first open your eyes and for a split second forget your baby died. Those precious seconds. You may even reach down to touch your belly, forgetting it’s flat and empty and aching for life inside. And then the sheer agony of your reality washes over you, and you think, “Why even get out of bed? Why even bother? Why even LIVE?!” But you fumble around and put one foot in front of the other like a toddler learning to walk for the first time. Clumsy and inexperienced in this new body, this new life, this new perspective. Is it odd that I still feel like I’m walking around in a stranger’s body almost six months out from my loss? Does this mean I am still in shock or denial? I’m still thinking, “What?! Is this seriously my life now?!” I thought I was done with those feelings, and here there are sneaking up and smacking me upside the head so very unexpectedly. I suppose grief in its many guises will do that, won’t it? This has always been my favorite song by the lovely Tori Amos, "Your Cloud", but now it has taken on new meaning. I am reminded of this song by the post I just wrote, and I haven't listened to it in quite some time. It has to do with identity and not being able to go back to who you were before but retaining some of who you were. Just gorgeous. I love her. (Sorry but I can not figure out how to post a video. Here are the lyrics, and I encourage you to look up the song on youtube; it is just incredible.) Where the river cross, crosses the lake... Where the words jump off my pen, and into your pages... Do you think, just like that, You can divide This? You as yours, Me as mine, to before we were Us? If the rain has to separate from itself does it say, "Pick out your cloud"? Pick out your cloud. If there is a Horizontal Line that runs from the map off your body straight through the Land shooting up right through my heart, will this Horizontal Line, when asked, know how to find Where you end? Where I begin? "Pick out your cloud." Who we were isn't lost before we were Us. Indigo is his own; Blue always knew this.