Friday, December 28, 2012

Two Years With Her, Without Him

I can go awhile not posting here.  I'm not like some people who blog daily, weekly, or regularly.  I wonder how anyone can even follow my story or my grief journey.  This blog is hardly an accurate reflection of that, and the slowdown on my part in writing I think is mostly due to the fact that I have just been so.freaking.burned by people.  I said in a recent post that I wasn't going to let that hold me back anymore, and it really doesn't; I focus on the positive people in my life.  So much that I'm actually amazed at how easily I have cut ties with people who have judged me or criticized my grief, because the type of person I was before this unspeakable loss would have never been able to just let go without horrible (albeit irrational) guilt or feeling obligated to confront the person or whatever.  The new me says Good Riddance, as I have learned the fine art of self preservation (don't we all after a loss of such magnitude?), and it's one way that the quality of my life has improved.

On the other hand, I'm not so much for sharing anymore.  Those walls are still way up.  I'm more of an introvert that way, and I don't wear my grief on my sleeve, because not everyone needs to see that.  Not everyone should be privvy to that in my life.  Not everyone in my life should get to see the darkest corners of my heart. 

So aren't I a hypocrite to then share my grief on a "public" blog?  Even periodically?  Still trying to figure that one out. 

I sometimes wonder why I even keep a blog when I want to keep my heart, my soul, my grief so shielded now from the outside world.  I mean, what's the point?  But then.  But then, I go a while not writing, and suddenly a heaviness starts to creep on my shoulders, and it feels like a horrible weight that can only be lifted by paying a visit here and typing away, even though I don't draft or edit and am horrible at keeping up at commenting on other blogs that I visit. 
Even so. 
After hitting "publish", a weight is lifted.  Each time someone comments, I feel a little validated.  Each time no one comments, that's okay too, because that weight is still lifted, and what a blessing that is.  What a blessing this space is.  Even in its horribly neglected form. 

Sadly, I don't know what to say about two years out from the loss of our son.  In some ways this anniversary was easier, but in many ways it was harder.  It was easier in that the grief felt familiar.  I knew what to expect.  I knew that my emotions would be all over the map.  The harder part was the feeling of expectation from others that, two years out, I shouldn't be having a hard time anymore.  Two years out, I should solely celebrate my daughter and forget about remembering or honoring my son.  I could tell when I was honest with people when they'd ask how I was doing (making polite conversation apparently and expecting the canned response "fine, and you?").  I would say (not to strangers obviously but friends, family, etc.) "I'm having a really difficult time with things right now and am really not up for talking" and they would seem taken aback.  "Oh."  Like they forgot.  Like they didn't know what I was talking about, and it took a while to register.

I guess they expected a full update on the party preparations for our daughter, and they forgot that I have two children, not one.  I can't help that her birthday and his remembrance date are one in the same.  I try, I really try, to separate the two, to have his remembrance be the day before so that they can each have their own day, but like any other twins they end up inevitably sharing a day.  Even when I try to make it not so, that's just how it is. 
So I spent his remembrance day feeling like no one cared, and then the day of our daughter's birthday party being flooded with messages, texts, well wishes for the loss of our son.  All well meaning, all appreciated, but it makes it difficult for me to give her my focus and attention even when I try my hardest.  Compartmentalizing would help so much, but it's just impossible to do.  There seemed to be a cruel irony to it all. 

Losing one multiple is just so complicated, and as the months, YEARS?! go on, I am realizing that it doesn't really get "easier" but seems to get even more complicated.  I'm left wondering if it will ever "level out" or eventually we will find our way.  I remember therapist #3 telling me that every year my needs would change (grief-wise) on their birthday and to never set things in stone to do annually because they may not always be necessary.  Yet I can't ever see a birthday where I won't want to at least give a nod to my son through lighting a candle for him, incorporate a butterfly figurine onto our daughter's cake for him, and photograph gifts people have bought in remembrance of him.  Those are rituals that keep me feeling connected, that give me an opportunity to parent him, that bring me some small piece of comfort.

Two years with my daughter have been simply amazing, and every day she grows more of a personality and I grow even more attached to her beautiful self and soul.  She is my precious girl, and I love her so much it hurts.  Yet she brings me so much joy.  More than I ever imagined.  She brings out things in me I never knew were there.  What a gift she truly is.

I dread admitting this, but here it goes.  Two years without my son felt more like an anticlimax, honestly.  I don't think that any remembrance day will ever live up to the first one.  I'm sorry, but his first remembrance day was so amazing, that anything else just simply won't do.  Yet I can't complain, because I will always have that one anniversary to reflect on no matter how unfulfilling the others may seem at times. 

It's just never enough.  You know?  Nothing you do as a parent will ever be enough, because you just want all of your children here, whole and happy, to not have to let balloons go into the air for them or incorporate symbolism into celebrations for them or worry that people will forget about them.  Just to have them here.  And maybe it's as simple as that - anything else just falls so short of what should be.