Sunday, April 06, 2003This has been the loneliest birthday I have ever had. Not for lack of effort on others' parts, but I just feel so sad and lonely. On Monday and Tuesday I started feeling a little better, and I thought that maybe since C. had her baby I would start to feel more normal again. But on Wednesday I started getting more weepy again. I found out a coworker had some pictures of the baby and when I was ready I could see them. The more the day went on, I wished I hadn't even known that. I realized that her baby had already been alive longer than Abigail was.
Tuesday, April 08, 2003We are planning a celebration at work for next Thursday for having a safe year, and C. is planning on coming and bringing the baby. Oh, no! That thought struck terror in me. Of course, everyone will be asking her about the baby and she will be showing pictures even if she doesn't bring him. And I'm afraid it will tear me up to see it. I don't want to try to hold it together through that, in front of the staff and the strangers. I would rather cry, but I don't know if I could do that in public, either. So I posted on my message boards asking what they recommend.
Wednesday, April 09, 2003The responses to my question were split between seeing her ahead of time and calling off sick. I decided to go ahead and call C. At first it was a little hard, and a couple of times I started to cry. But it felt so good when she asked how it was going and I said, "it sucks" and she laughed. And so I laughed. What a relief to be talking to her again! I told her I missed her, and she said she missed talking to me, too. It felt like back when I was in high school and I had a fight with my best friend and then we made up - so good to be talking again. I feel so much better now; it has lifted my spirits quite a bit. Maybe this was what I needed to release some of the burden.
Afterwards, M. looked at pictures of Abigail. She said her cousin had lost his daughter 10 years ago and had told her that no one talks about her; it's as if she never existed. She said she has realized from those experiences that she should ask to see pictures and talk about Abigail. Some people seem to pay attention and pick these things up and are able to comfortably talk about our babies. Is it their personality or just that they do pay attention? Are they all nervous about it, too? Probably, but the important thing is that some people have learned enough to go ahead and say it.
It felt so good to talk about Abigail. It's really the first time I have gotten out her pictures to show anyone at work since I have been back.
Friday, April 11, 2003The last 2 days I have felt a little better but then I felt the cloud returning. It is so frustrating. I was really thinking that not talking to C. was a big reason why I have been down and that maybe the good days I had would continue now that I've taken that step. I guess I need to quit trying to find a quick fix or even one thing to change my mood. There is not one event or thing that will make me feel better. My sadness and depression were caused by one event, but I can't change it, which is what would really make me feel better.
Saturday, April 12, 2003Ladies Day was today and it went pretty well. I had been doing somewhat better to begin with, and dedicating the poem to Abigail did what I intended: made me able to handle the whole day. A few people said something to me; most didn't, but at least Abigail wasn't the forbidden topic. Many people in the audience were crying when I did it; interestingly I wasn't. At one point I think my voice cracked a little, but I didn't start to cry. I am glad I wrote it out because I couldn't really remember it and needed to read it, but I had practiced it enough to not get all emotional. But after I sat down and we started singing the next song, I started to tear up and had to fight not to burst into tears. Maybe it was adrenaline while I was up there. But I was really happy with it. I got to honor Abigail and so I got to enjoy the day somewhat. So it was a real success. Here' what I said:
Monday, April 14, 2003It seems that I can get through each day ok if I have something planned that relates to Abigail. It may be lunch with R., getting an email from someone on the board, going to see my counselor, seeing K, journaling. If I don't have those, I feel at loose ends. I still just REALLY need to talk about Abigail or how her loss has changed my life, every single day. Going to work makes it hard because I have to focus on other things for a good part of the day and then I just long for Abigail time when I get home. How long until the emotions don't take up so much energy and I can spend some on other things?
Tuesday, April 15, 2003I was glad to see C. - and the baby was sleeping at first so we got to talk a while before I really had to deal with the baby. After awhile, the baby woke up and she let me hold him. I really looked him over and talked to him. The hardest part was when I gave him a bottle - Abigail couldn't eat - I held her for 5 days and never got to feed her - and so I cried the whole time I fed him. It was hard when he reached out and grabbed my little finger while I was holding the bottle. I cried a good while with him. Afterwards, C. asked if I thought it would be easier on Thursday. I said maybe easier, but not easy. Most of the way home I just felt drained. I was surprised I didn't cry more, but I think I was still tense because of Thursday.
Sunday, April 20, 2003Easter. Yesterday we had our egg hunt party at our house and I actually enjoyed myself. Today I had a hard day because I hadn't had my alone time to recover and I had to go back to church right away. I have realized that Saturday social events wreak havoc on Sundays. And Sundays are really tough anyway - Steve is under pressure, so it is not a good day for me to be falling apart. And this week I had told Steve I wanted to go by the cemetery on the way to church, so he said, let's leave by 8:30, which is about 1/2 hour early. So this morning, it became evident that there's no way he's going to be ready to leave by 8:30. Since he had told me we would leave early, it just really angered and hurt me. And so I took the kids and we went.
So I started the day with an attitude and it just got worse. All the families planning family things. My friends' pregnant daughter and infant granddaughter visiting and sitting right in front of us. I ended up crying through the entire service, but I didn't leave early. But the minute it was over I escaped since I had my car. Why do I have to suffer in silence? Why is it not socially acceptable to have a hard time like I did? Why do I have to feel like I have to get out of there, or that if I sit and cry that I don't want people to see? That is why it is so much easier to just stay away from everyone and not be with anyone at all.
I just had a really bad afternoon and then Steve and I had a angry blow-up as he was leaving for church in the evening (I was staying home - I couldn't face any more people). So I was miserable. But once again, being forced was good, since we did some long-overdue talking that night. It's so easy to get so involved with the day-to-day details of life that we don't make time for each other until last. So we decided to change that. We know that; why do we let it slide so easily?
Monday, April 21, 2003I just had a strange, sort of sad conversation. I am covering for my friend C. here at work, and I had to call a supplier to arrange payment for a service. The woman on the phone was very friendly and told me C. had told her I would be covering for her. Then she asked if I had heard from her, how was she doing, etc. And today I am doing pretty well, feeling kind of chatty, so I said, "yes, I saw her and the baby last week," and we talked about his name, how she's doing, etc. Then she made some comment about how I now have extra work to do - counting the days until she comes back. And I said, "Yeah, and...", intending to say that C. also had to cover for me last fall while I was on maternity leave. But as soon as I started saying it I realized that if I did, it would lead to THE QUESTION. And I did NOT want to go there, so I kind of just said, "Yeah" again, and then proceeded with the business at hand.
Tuesday, April 22, 2003I am struggling a little. I have been working on the newsletter, another fill-in thing for C. I am putting in the pictures from the celebration and am including pictures of C. and the baby. Why am I putting myself through this? Why am I doing the newsletter when it is so painful? Am I embracing the pain like I should or am I making it worse? These things seem so logical for me to do because of my interest in scrapbooking, photography, etc. so I just assume I should. And then when it is hard, I hesitate to complain because people will think, "then why are you doing that?" So I don't really know what to do.
Friday, April 25, 2003I haven't written in here for a few days. It seems like the cloud has started to lift this week. And when I am feeling better, I don't feel the need to write in here as much. The time spent with Steve, holding each other, has had an incredible effect on both of us. Our patience level with each other and with the kids is so much higher. It is like a drug; almost magic in its power. I can tell we both feel how nice it is. How could we have drifted so far from it?
Monday, April 28, 2003Yesterday was a better day. I went to the Hospice Memorial service with Steve's mom. When I was pregnant, I used to play a song by Mark Schultz: "Remember Me" in the car on the way to work and sing with it. And Abigail would ALWAYS start to kick when I sang that song. I don't know if she liked it or if she was trying to tell me to shut up! But I so wish I had played it and sang it to her after she was born. At the time I thought about it briefly but I didn't think it was that big a deal. I didn't know it would bother me this much. So at the service, the soloist sang that song, and I cried the whole time. But it was a good service.
Tuesday, April 29, 2003What is going on? A few months ago I thought the down times seemed to be getting a little shorter and a little less frequent, but now it seems like the good times are much shorter and much less frequent. I feel like I'm going backwards. I used to feel so much joy when I remembered the time we got to spend with Abigail; what a blessing to have that time. And I am still so glad to have had the time, but now all I feel is sadness. I'm just so sad and tired all the time. Why am I going backwards? I am functioning; I go to work, to church, shopping, play with the kids, but I might as well be a robot. Either I am miserable or just "not there". I really want to be alone most of the time, but I feel so lonely.
Wednesday, April 30, 2003Last night I went to a grief support group. The others have lost spouses and are in different stages of grief. But I was amazed at some things, like how similar the grief is in so many ways. You can see the intensity of early grief and so I find myself thinking that others' losses must be harder than mine. But I don't really think they are, though. Some are just fresher. I remember the intensity of the pain at that earlier point. And it woke me up to the fact that even though I have been going through a rough time lately, I really HAVE come a long way from that point. So it is encouraging.