The slight, barely detectable, incremental changes in my grief

My grief is changing – ever so slightly – but there are changes. I don't wake up every morning having the wind kicked out of my lungs at the realization that Max is gone. I wake up knowing that there is no Max, thereby escaping the initial pain and horror that I used to experience each and every day. There is something more intensely agonizing about this knowledge but somehow less “painful” (I use that word cautiously. I still feel the same amount of emotional pain, but I do feel less physical pain).

I don't feel as angry at the people who have hurt me, the ones who have ignored that this happened, those who are too selfish to acknowledge our loss. Instead of anger, I actually feel sorry for them. I am more embarrassed for them than angry at them. I used to feel trauma thinking about the way some people behaved after Max's funeral, at his shiva, and in their interactions with me through Facebook and email. Now I just feel detachment to those people and it is much better than the active anger that was eating me alive. I used to imagine confronting them. Now I know that they are no longer important enough for me to confront.

I used to feel like my soul was trying to escape my own body to go and be with Max. That is how it literally felt. It was a six month (plus) out-of-body experience. Thoughts of death and dying: Max's, mine, Ted's. I wanted to die. I was scared other people might die. I dreaded the knowledge that I had the rest of my life to live before I could be with Max again. My soul feels more grounded now though I still imagine my reunion with Max every day. Instead of worrying about Ted and my family constantly, I have surrendered to a certain extent, knowing that there is nothing I can do. Where I have not been able to surrender is where Baby M is involved. I am vigilant about his kicks, his post natal care, his diagnosis. I know that he will sleep on his back, in his co-sleeper, in our room, with a pacifier, with a fan on, with nothing else in the crib, with a snuza monitor attached to his diaper. He will have several tests done at his birth, he will be checked by a hepatologist. My whole family is taking infant CPR together at our home next week. If I lose him, I lose everything.

I don't cry every single day, though I still cry most. Max is still in every thought I have. Every. Thought. I. Have. But the crying hurts more than the sadness alone and I am exhausted from the physical exertion of ten months of crying with my whole soul. It is just too impossible to keep it while I am so pregnant. Still, holding in the crying hurts too – but it only hurts my heart, which is already so broken. Crying hurts every part of my whole body – my head, my back, my eyes, my heart, my lungs, my face...everything. I still do cry with every part of my body – only, less often. A few times a week, rather than every single day.

I am better at “faking it”. I am still not good, but I am better. I am at my best with Ted, the one person who knows better than anyone that it is all an act. It feels like a necessary way to preserve our marriage, his sanity, our hopes for our expected baby.  I need him to feel hopeful even when I don't. I worry about his happiness more than I worry about my own.  I try harder with him because I want him to have moments of relief from this unrelenting storm of grief.  That is more important than anything I am experiencing.  Sometimes I fail, and when I do, I fail miserably.  I fail the kind of fail where I am found by him on the bathroom floor, in a pool of my own tears and spit up, crying so hard I think (and hope) it might kill me.  I am still only human.  I am still a mother who lost her most precious beloved baby.  

All I am saying is that I think I am getting a little better at integrating this pain into my life.  I used to refuse to believe that this was my life.  I honestly just could not believe that this was how my life had turned out.  The life I worked so hard for.  The happy, happy life with everything I could possibly need.  It wasn't rich, it wasn't glamorous but it was full of love.  I am slowly accepting this life of more pain imaginable.  I recognize now, after all of these months that this is actually my reality and it isn't going anywhere....and that is somehow what comforts me now.  Hoping for anything more is in the past.  


Lindsay Stricke Bressman said...

Abby, not a day goes by that I don't think of you. Your pain and grief are forever in my heart and I try to provide comfort from a distance by holding your sorrow with me. I cannot imagine what you go through each and every day and how much you desperately miss Maxie and being Maxie's Mommy. I commend you for being brave enough to share your journey with all of us. Sending all the love in the world to you and Ted. said...

Its comforting to know that there is another phase. I still cry everyday. And after 4 months I dont wake up anymore looking for my baby just to find out he is gone over and over. Im taking CPR with my sisters as well. It is brave Im barely able to write a comment. The pain still very intense.