70 days after

“Yes, it can.”

Talking about my marriage.

“Don’t tell me it’s for the best,
because the best would be my healthy daughter alive with me.

Don’t tell me I am strong,
because I have no choice.

Don’t tell me I can have another,
because I want this one.
And because you don’t know if I can.

Don’t tell me time heals all pain,
because time has no meaning.
And you’ve never felt this pain.”

I don’t know if I wrote this or found this somewhere. But it still sums up how I feel. Shallow words of condolence always come from a place of good intentions, but they can only come from someone who hasn’t experienced true loss. Because anyone who has would never say any of the above statements. All I ever wanted was for people to acknowledge Malou – that she lived, even if she died. 

(later)

“I miss you so much, baby. I love you so much. I think about you all the time. I can’t bear to think of my future without you. All I can do is get through one day. I can’t look forward because you’re not there. I just want to look back.”

Much later, I read something that comforted me and gave me the courage to look forward. And it was imagining that once I die, I will see Malou again. So in that way, I can look forward to the future – because only by living (and eventually dying in the future), will I be reunited with her. I realize this thinking doesn’t work for someone who doesn’t believe in the afterlife, and I also realize that it can sound very disturbing to someone who has never lost someone so much that they wanted to die to be with them. But it helped me – to imagine that Malou isn’t just in the past, but also in my future.

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Published in: on January 28, 2012 at 09:00  Comments (3)  
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68 days after

“Can our marriage survive this?”

I didn’t open up towards others, including my husband, in my grief. I thought I did. I tried. I went to counseling. My husband went to counseling. But the only time I really opened up was when it got so bad, I couldn’t help it. Otherwise, I tried not to cry in front of others. I hated having to say out loud what I felt. I much preferred (and still do) to write it down. But that didn’t do me any favors. I wish I was more open in my real life…when I talk about Malou now, I do it without tears. I always cry alone.

Published in: on January 27, 2012 at 09:00  Leave a Comment  
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63 days after

“Oh, baby, I need you. I need you right now. I miss you so much, Malou. What am I going to do without you? I don’t know how to live in this world without you. Oh, sweetie, please come back to us. Please please please. I need you. It’s not fair. I want you so much. I love you so much. You deserve to live. Oh my darling daughter, I hate my life without you.

What do I do?? Oh, God, I don’t know what to do. I want to go back in time. I can still feel you kick, Malou – why aren’t you with me?

Oh, God, how could this happen? Why me? Why Malou?

Before May 26th I was living. Now I’m dying.”

This entry makes me cry, 3.5 years later. I don’t feel the pain in the same way anymore, but reading my words reminds me of what I felt then – that horrible hopelessness. I struggled so much with seeing a future – it was just blank. I didn’t allow myself to dream, since my biggest dream was taken away. And now here I am with the future I wanted but was afraid to dream for – here. I have Liam in my arms and a new hope in my womb. I feel lucky and grateful, but still very much aware of how much is missing.

Published in: on January 26, 2012 at 09:00  Leave a Comment  
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55 days after

“Oh, baby, I miss you. My sweet girl. I even had a good day today…

But then it all comes rushing back to me. And I am miserable without you. I don’t know how to live without you, my darling daughter…

I don’t want to see or talk to anyone. Just want to sit and think of my Malou.

I love you, baby girl. I miss you so much.”

This shows how my “good days” could so easily turn into “bad ones.” As if allowing myself happiness only pushed the sadness away temporarily, allowing it to come back even stronger later. The good news is that that pattern went away…like I said before, eventually the good days outnumbered the bad. And having a “good day” didn’t mean I’d be due for a bad day. It just meant I had a good day. And I tried to be grateful for that, instead of feel guilty. Because it is so easy to feel guilty for laughing when you have a dead child. No one judged me, but I judged myself. Laughing felt so foreign at first that it would startle me – and then I would immediately become sad. I remember my first real laughter with Tom – it turned immediately into sobbing. My emotions were all mixed up. I am so grateful that laughter comes easily to me now, 3.5 years later.

Published in: on January 25, 2012 at 09:00  Leave a Comment  
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49 days later

“Another breakdown last night…Tom had to drive me to the cemetery to calm me down. Today is a tiny bit better. I just feel sad. Lethargic, listless, and sad…that is pretty much me lately. I keep having bad dreams. I wake up sad and don’t want to get up but I do. Just don’t do much. Can’t eat until lunchtime or later.”

I remember my days were spent alone, while Tom was at work, and I liked it that way. I didn’t want to go out or do anything. I didn’t want to get up, get dressed, shower, eat, exercise…nothing appealed to me. Just the thought drained me of energy. All I wanted to do was find other women online who had lost babies and look at Malou’s pictures. I was lucky enough to have paid time off from work for 3.5 months, time which allowed me to grieve. I still grieved when I went back to work, of course – but looking back, I am so glad I had a concentrated amount of time to do nothing. Nothing except be sad. No faking.

Published in: on January 24, 2012 at 09:00  Leave a Comment  
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45 days after

“Oh, baby, I am just sitting here weeping. I am so sad without you.”

…back from a meltdown that lasted several hours and made Tom come home from work early. 😦

“Feeling sad, depressed, hopeless, weak, useless, pain. In love with Malou. Missing Malou.”

(later)

“Tom says we’ll be ok. I’ll always be sad but it will get beter, I will be happy again. I’ll be happy when we can give Malou sisters and brothers.

I don’t believe him. Not today. Today is too hard. I think about where I should be, what I should be doing now, 10 days before Malou’s due date, and I am heartsick. Devastated.

I had the perfect life 7 weeks ago today. And now I have a life no one would want. Including me.

Oh, my darling girl, I love you so much! I miss you so very much.”

I see now Tom is right. I am happy now, 3.5 years later, even though Malou is still missing, and I still feel her absence. It hurts, but I can still find happiness. Joy came only with Liam’s birth, and since then it has grown. Yes, sadness still exists and nothing has changed in the sense that Malou is still gone, but I am so very grateful that it is possible to find happiness after loss. 

Published in: on January 23, 2012 at 09:00  Leave a Comment  
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23 days after

“How could this happen to my baby?????????

I can’t stop crying. It is pouring rain and I feel like the world is crying with me.

Now it is thundering – echoing my sobs.

How can I live through this? Oh God, I want to wake up from this nightmare and be with my daughter again.”

My grief went up and down. A good day was ALWAYS followed by a bad day. Once I figured out this pattern, it comforted me on the really bad days. Knowing that as bad as it was, it would get better again. And slowly the good days started outnumbering the bad. And now 3.5 years later, I don’t have any “bad days.” Not like I did before. I have sad moments during some days, but it doesn’t ruin my day. I never knew that could happen. And if someone had told me so, I probably wouldn’t have believed them, because it hurt so much in the first year, that an alternative didn’t seem possible.

Published in: on January 22, 2012 at 09:00  Leave a Comment  
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19 days after

“Oh, Malou, I am sitting on a deserted dock looking out at the calm water, the beautiful trees, the clouds which have been so unusual lately…and I am thinking about you. Of course. I am always thinking of you, my beautiful daughter. I wish you were here with me. Life would be perfect then.

I think, I hope, I am feeling your presence now. In all things beautiful and from nature. In the pouring rain and the warm sunshine. In the birds chirping, the water lapping, the wind blowing. In the clouds moving and in a rainbow appearing.

Today is the first dy I have felt any type of happiness since you died. I shared your name and pictures and my love for you on the website I’ve been visiting … everyone saw how beautiful you are, and saw my love and your daddy’s love shine through for you. That made me happy. To show you off. I am so proud of you, so proud to be your mama, my sweetheart.”

I refer to a website that I still visit occasionally…one other woman had lost a baby and she was my lifeline. Having other women validate my pain and look at pictures of Malou and tell me that they, too, thought she was beautiful and special, made my day. I remember so clearly feeling for the first time like a proud mama, and not “just” a dead-baby-mama. 

Published in: on January 21, 2012 at 09:00  Leave a Comment  
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17 days after

“I miss you so much, my sweet angel. I want you to be with me right now, physically, but I’ll settle for a sign that you are ok. Can you do that? It’s ok if you can’t. You have given me so much just by being you, I don’t even want to ask anything else of you. But, if you can, send your lonely mommy a sign. I love you so much…yet I feel as if I have abandoned you. Or that you, poor baby, might feel as if I abandoned you, when I never would and never will…

I love you!!! And I miss you. I want to cover your soft cheeks and cute tummy with my kisses right now.”

I remember being so desperate to receive a sign that Malou was ok. Some type of reassurance that life continues on some level and that I would see her again. I felt like I never really got that. I never “felt” her presence like I wanted to. I didn’t realize it until now, looking back, that after I wrote this journal entry, I started finding heart-shaped stones whenever I looked for them. I have a collection now, of stones collected from beaches all over the world. 

Published in: on January 20, 2012 at 09:00  Leave a Comment  
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14 days after

“Oh, Malou, I just saw my “to-do” list of things to do before you were born. 😦 It makes me so sad, that I don’t need to do it all anymore….”

(tears smudge the page)

“Your dad and I went to the hospital today —

Oh, FUCK IT! None of it matters. It’s all so fucking pointless. I HATE this! I hate my life. I hate knowing I have to live my life without Malou. I hate that I have no choice. I hate my body. For betraying me. For losing Malou. For reminding me of what I am – a mother without a child to love and hold in my arms.

I am nothing without you, Malou! I want you. I need you. Oh, my sweet daughter, you, your short life, knowing you, being your mama – it is ALL worth it, but I don’t want this pain. I want you so bad I can’t stand it. I just don’t know how to live without you. My whole life seems so pointless right now. My prior life seems pointless now. How was I ever happy without you??? What was life worth without you in it? NOTHING. You are my daughter. This is NOT RIGHT. This is a horrible mistake and I am so angry about it. I want you back right now!!! Do you hear me, God!? Give my baby back to me!!

Oh, please please please.
It’s not fair.

Oh, Malou, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I lost you. I’m sorry for being angry. But never at you. You are perfect and I know you love me and that you know I love you above all else.”

This started the second theme in my grief…anger. I was so angry. Especially at my body. I never got truly angry at God, or at the doctors (although when I think back now, I do think they could have done more to take care of Malou when I was admitted to the hospital, and I feel they were irresponsible when giving me the medicine Diclon three times throughout my pregnancy)…almost all of my anger was directed at my body. This was compounded when I struggled to get pregnant again. It took us a year after Malou died to get pregnant with Liam – and a lot of fertility treatments. Every time a treatment failed, I would rage against my body. For failing me yet again.

Published in: on January 19, 2012 at 09:00  Comments (1)  
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