Got Caught Smiling

Friday, September 23, 2011

Here are some updates about previous postings and life in general.  My mom's arm seems to be healing and she is mostly now just in a sling, without her brace.  It seems like she probably has an issue with her shoulder as well though and so after the arm heals, they will need to concentrate on that.  We are relieved that things seem to be moving along.  I have stopped seeing the therapist who worked in an office across the street from the ER where Maxie was taken after his "incident".  Not only was being so close to St. Joe's more than I could really handle but she seemed like she was just responding to my sadness with generic platitudes and she also had a really annoying habit of pulling out her palm pilot and then tapping away on the screen with the stylus (so 1998) while I was speaking.  Thanks but no thanks.  In the meantime, I called "Our House" which at least 20 people told me was going to be my grief group salvation and they very kindly informed me that they do not have groups for people with babies who have passed away (Again, I am not really ready for a group setting but figured I would call for information anyway).  They did, however, put me in touch with a wonderful Social Worker who does hospice care for Kaiser and comes to our house once a week in the evening to meet with us.  We love her.  She is kind of a hippy and she has a sweet voice and she says wise things and has interesting theories on death and dying and she affirms our feelings and even tells me that I am very functional, despite the fact I hardly leave the house or get out of bed.  She reminds us that in the grand scheme of things, "it has only been 9 seconds" since Max died and asks us to be kind to ourselves.

I went to my Board Meeting on Wednesday and somebody must have told the receptionist (thank you) that Max died because she gave me a very somber look as I walked in and just said, "It is very nice to see you".  Then I walked into the conference room and some of the board members approached me with hugs or pats on the back to say they were glad to see me as well.  I did NOT hold it together well at first and shook like a leaf and cried but I managed to find my breath and then calmed down.  I even found some of the discussion interesting.  Of course, I was really thinking how sad it is that Max is gone through the whole meeting but other topics seeped into my brain as well....(like how important it is for JNF leadership to attend our National Conference each year because how can they represent an organization without understanding its essence?  Everyone who comes back has an amazing time, so why would you not go?  Very nice pitch Alyse. It still astounds me that anyone would need to "pitch" this to anyone.)  Ted sent me a text half way through the meeting that said, "Halfway done!  You are so brave!"  Have I mentioned how much I love my husband?  I am brave?  He has been back at work full time since the week after Max's funeral.  He is the brave one.  The grief therapist also called me after the meeting to ask how it went.  I told her about Ted's text, to which she responded in a her very breathy voice, "Oooohhhhh!  That gave me a chill up my spine".  He is so special.  After the meeting, my colleague Carly called me to ask if I wanted her company because she could see how shook up I was at the beginning of the meeting.  She also told me that her mother has been reading my blog and actually was at Mt. Sinai earlier in the week, left some stones on Maxie's grave and was told that we CAN put up to 2 pinwheels on Max's grave.  That was so nice of her to ask and I am going to search for the perfect pinwheels and hopefully, they won't be confiscated by the mean lady behind the front desk or any of her pinwheel confiscating soldiers.  In the meantime,  my friend Kate brought a succulent plant called a pinwheel over here the other day when she came over to roast the most DELICIOUS chicken dinner.  I plan on bringing that up to Max too.

I am seeing the acupuncturist that Suzy brought me to all of those weeks ago.  She is helping me with anxiety and fertility.  I don't have any reason to think that I have an issue with fertility, by the way, but I figure that a little extra help is a good thing.  Plus, she still gives me messages from Max, like, "I am tasting yams.  Max's favorite food?  You should go home and make Max some yams and then eat them".  I read somewhere that yams may increase ones chances for twins so it sounded like a good way to kill two birds with one stone.  I also like to go there because I can cry and she holds my hand and looks deep into my eyes and says, "This is so unfair.  No mother should have to go through this.  I am so sorry."  Speaking of which, it was so nice to hear from so many people a couple of days ago, who used Bianca's words and very heartfeltly told me that Max was a wonderful baby and that it is so unfair that I have to live on this earth without him.  Thank you.

I have to mention a few people who have appeared in my life from out of the blue who have been of great comfort.  A woman I went to high school with, who I really never knew in high school AT ALL, has written me two of the kindest emails that I have ever received.  She is reading this blog and knows how much we love Costa Rica and asked if she could have a friend visit the Cartago Basilica to place coins representing Maxie and my hearts into the pool there...not in a religious way but as a symbol of our two hearts being forever connected in a beautiful place that is so special to so many people in a country that we love.  I think it is beautiful and the basilica is basically the first place I ever visited in Costa Rica on my very first trip there.  Another friend who I studied abroad with in Israel but who I didn't really keep in good touch with has become my fertility advisor and trusted confidant.  I think she has been comfortable confiding in me too, which I appreciate.  So, two things about this fabulous woman.  She never says, "I can't imagine how you feel...", which I believe (and my grief counselor has confirmed) is a way to say I refuse to imagine...because it is too hard and I want to keep you at arm's length and these kind of things happen to YOU but would never happen to ME.  She always says to me, "I can only imagine" or "I would imagine...".  Seems like semantics, but makes a great deal of a difference to someone like me, on the receiving end of those words.  "I can only imagine how much agony you must be in" goes a lot further than "I can't imagine what you must be feeling".  She also spent like 2 hours hiding pictures of her and her baby on Facebook, just in case I might look at her page.  I told her that was incredibly unnecessary (because, of COURSE it is completely unnecessary....especially considering how much I am not looking at people's postings and pages) BUT, come on!  It is so incredibly sensitive that it has brought tears to my eyes over and over just thinking about it.

I have an appointment with a psychic on October 5th and I am recording the session.  She has lots of good reviews.  I am DESPERATE to connect with my child.  In the meantime, Marla has a good friend who befriended a well known psychic while making a reality television show about  her work.  Natalie (Marla's friend) contacted her friend the psychic and told her my story and she is giving me a free reading.  Amazing!  I know what some of you are thinking (this chick has LOST IT! Coo-Coo!) but I also know what others of you are thinking because so many of you wrote me to recommend psychics you've seen!  Don't worry, I won't "out" you.

I had coffee again on Monday morning with the mommy down the street who lost her daughter to SIDS.  She is amazing for sharing with me so openly and for rebuilding her life and for being such a good mommy to her subsequent children and for honoring her first born with such love and honesty.  She also GAVE ME HER JOURNAL to read.  Can you believe that?  It is the most trusting, loving, supportive thing I could ever imagine.  I came home and read the whole thing in one sitting.  It is as if she wrote my thoughts, three and a half years before me.  So much love for her daughter, so much agony in missing her, such anger at being so misunderstood.  I just love her for trusting me with her most personal thoughts.  Talk about affirming!

My sister in law, Beth, is in town visiting us until Sunday.  She is hard at work training and fundraising for Team Maxie (support.jnf.org/goto/teammaxie).  If you can afford $18 for one tree or if you want to give more, please go to the link and make a donation.  I promise that you will feel good about supporting Beth's hard work.  She is even Twittering, something that neither of us know anything about.  She's like, "Maybe we should follow some synagogues?" and I am like, "Why are we following them?  Don't we want them to follow us?" and she is like, "I think that they follow us when we follow them?"  We don't know.  One really awesome thing about Beth being here is that she is also sad like us about Maxie.  She and I can talk about what it feels like when people just don't say anything or how awesome it can feel when people say the absolute right thing.  We can even talk about other stuff and it doesn't feel like someone desperately trying to distract me because we both know that just under the surface of our conversation is the deep, penetrating sadness that Max is gone.  I dropped Beth off in downtown La Crescenta yesterday while I visited the acupuncturist.  She got a soy latte while I had needles stuck in my head, hands, ankles, and face.  I picked her up after the appointment and we went to Whole Foods to buy lunch and pick up food for dinner.  There are millions of babies at Whole Foods.  A couple looked like they came straight to Whole Foods from the delivery room.  Regardless, I was walking and talking to Beth as we approached the salad bar area and I ran into the acupuncturist's sister, who works as the receptionist.  I had literally left their office 15 minutes previous.  I don't think I have EVER smiled in their office.  I very rarely smile these days.  But, Beth was telling me something that was making me smile, maybe even chuckle when I came face to face with the sister.  She looked at me with the most surprised expression, like she was looking at a ghost.  I know it was because she had never seen me smile.  I got caught!  I nearly wanted to explain to her that I am still so desperately sad and that my smile should in NO WAY be seen as a sign that I am recovering.  Instead, I just introduced her to Beth and moved quickly to the deli counter.

Anyway, I KNOW there are some of you who are going to write me to tell me how "upbeat" I sound.  PLEASE don't.  Really.  It's not that I don't want my occasional upbeatness to go unnoticed but it will just confirm my sad thought that so many people really only want to have anything to do with me when I am upbeat.  It drives me crazy.  You can recognize it and then put it away because please make no mistake, I cried at least 20 times throughout the day and I woke up at 3:30 am after a BAD dream and haven't been able to go back to sleep.  Still, I recognize that there have been many beautiful people supporting me lately and that has felt like an enormous blessing.  So, thank you.

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