You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.
I was very anxious about seeing a newly pregnant friend recently. I didn’t know how it was going to go, and of course I was so jealous that it was almost blinding me. Towards the end of the visit, we were finally able to talk honestly about how we felt about this situation. About her being pregnant, us losing Silas. She said that when she found out she was pregnant, she was sad, scared, heartbroken and she cried. After learning about the death of a friends baby, I’m sure the last thing anyone wants to find out is that they are pregnant. But for me, finding out I was pregnant was the happiest feeling on earth. It made me so sad to think that it’s not that way for everyone. And that the loss of our beautiful Silas has caused such fear in so many women out there, a fear that didn’t exist before. We happen to have a lot of pregnant women in our life. Some have become pregnant since Silas, and others are giving birth pretty soon. I’m sure that most of them are scared. Now that they know what can happen. I hate that so much. That what is supposed to be the most amazing, incredible & beautiful experience has now been tainted by our bad luck. That is what it is. No one is to blame for Silas’ death. We were just unlucky. Our bad luck starts to make others wonder if they will be unlucky too.
I went into that pregnancy with some fear. Fear of a miscarriage, because almost every woman I know had one or two before they had their living, breathing beautiful babies. I assumed it would happen to me. It did not. I feared having a child with learning disabilities, autism, ADD, all kinds of stuff. I have been working with kids for over 10 years, I’ve seen it all and I’ve seen the best and the worst. I had fear about the delivery, that I wouldn’t be able to handle it naturally. I never in a million years ever expected to have a baby that would be born and would die 10 hours later. I thought maybe at some point in the delivery at home that I would need to go to the hospital because I was getting tired. I was a glass half full kinda person. Everything always works out in the end. It just does. But it didn’t. And now, I believe that shit happens. No reason for it, it just does. I have become skeptical and fearful.
Chris grew up with a mother with MS, so he has seen the dark side of life. He has faced his share of things not always working out. That wasn’t me. Things always did, and if they didn’t, we’d figure out a way to make it better. But with diseases and death, there is no way to make it better, it just is. We just have learn how to live with it in a healthy, functional way.
So now, when talking to friends who are pregnant, I don’t know what to say. I have no clue how to be. Yes, I was the statistic. The less then .05%. Stillbirth? Neonatal death? nah, not me. But now I have all these new friends who it has happened to. Who have fertility issues, miscarriages, stillbirths and neonatal deaths. It happens to people like you and me. I don’t know how to make you feel ok about your pregnancy. Doctors do not warn you of what could happen. I understand that to a point, would I have wanted to know all these risks involved? There is enough to be scared about as it is, do we need more? I don’t know. I do know that going into this next pregnancy, whenever it may be, I am already thinking about how I will approach it. After reading Elizabeth McCracken’s book “An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination,” she went into her subsequent pregnancy wanting it to be completely different. I’ve started to think- will I be taking pictures of my growing body again every week? Will I be reading about the weekly changes taking place? I don’t know. We will go to the same midwives, that we know. We will probably have a scheduled c/s – most likely. But the rest, who knows. I have a fear that didn’t exist before September 25, 2008. That I know and can’t help but feel.
For now though, I am going to enjoy my snow day. Put my fears aside, and continue on my reorganizational path. Oh, and dream of the Panamanian sun warming my body a week from now, maybe, possibly, drying up some of those fears that continue to hang out deep within me.
Silas would have been 4 months old today. We would have just been getting into our family groove, finally settling into our new role as parents. Instead we are on the darkened flipside of that joyful vision. We are unsettling onto a hard and slippery path.
Today I would have bragged about my tiny son and told you all about his poops and gurgles. Instead I stood mute and pushed grimly through the day, not telling everyone what I couldn’t stop thinking about.
I want to tell people about him, but I do not know how to do it. Even when asked a direct question about the existence of offspring in my life I’m not always sure how to respond. Just the other day two people asked me if I had kids and with one I told the truth and the other I outright lied.
I don’t feel bad about that, though. Sometimes it’s just easier to not explain everything, especially in a professional setting. I sorta believe that it’s a privilege for me to speak of Silas. It’s not something I talk about with just anyone. If I feel comfortable telling you about him it means I trust you and that I take you seriously as a friend.
These last 4 months have been the longest of my life. The days have been dense and heavy, tough to carry and hard to push through. In many ways I feel like nothing else exists before September 25, 2008. It is somewhat painful to look back beyond that, back into our blissful ignorance. Before that day, hope was an idea I could easily grasp. It is much harder to grab hold of these days.
I reach for it, but hope is hard and slippery like the ice that seals the yards and sidewalks of this town. A white, crusty foam covers the landscape and when I walk down the block to the liquor store or the post office I see the same twisted flows of water-turned-hard day after day, week after week.
When I try to hold Silas in my mind and in my heart, I find those same slick surfaces. Everything we were about to become has slowed and hardened. Our almost-parentness, our new-sonhood, our fresh & beautiful family, those aspects are sealed behind clear, thick ice. Shattering those walls releases a flood of tears but the salty water runs hot.
I want to tell you about my son, but the story is too sad and too true. It starts where it ends: with broken hearts and the hard, cold flows of frozen hopes.
The only things that help us thaw are love and friendship and patience and music and the heavy purr of sleeping cats tucked close in our bed.
The promise of sun on my faces pulls me out into the day. At night, the chance to share a dream with our vanished son slips me into my anxious slumber. All day there are words that are frozen in my throat.
I want to tell you about my son Silas but the words are too hard to be heard. They slip from me in shivered whispers; his absence makes me cold.
Thank you President Obama (yes!!!) and Captain Sully for bringing tears of pure joy back into our home. I love seeing Chris get so choked up while reading about the brilliant plane landing in the Hudson the other day. He is obsessed and I really think its because of the pure, unadulterated miracle of all those people safely being rescued. It truly is a fascinating story.
Also, tomorrow is a day that we are so lucky to witness. I feel so hopeful, its like a sigh of relief. This is one less thing we have to worry about on a daily basis. How I wish that 80 yr old MLK could be here to witness this. Hopefully he’s crying his tears of joy, wherever he is. Our little baby boy will be with us, every step of the way as we celebrate the beginning of a new era.
My life is filled with fiction now. I live it. I breathe it. I am a story. The three of us are. Me, Lu and Silas, we are a story that people tell to one another about ‘this terrible thing that happened to some people I know.’
Our tale is a fairy-less affair that adults tell to each other to remind themselves of how lucky they are and to scare the shit out of themselves. It’s a moment to shudder and pray, then there’s a deep breath and a long sigh of thanks that this is not their life.
I wish it wasn’t ours, either. I spend most of the time during my day pretending it’s not. My fictions are tight and close. They are short, tiny stories that last less than a sentence.
“Good, I’m good,” I say, or “Doing alright, how are you?” Those are lies, but I wish they were true. They feel good to say because I’m getting there. We can’t help but have fun together, Lu and I. We laugh, we are silly, we shove aside the shit of life and get on with living. Our little lies are wishes we are trying to make come true.
Our lives are not destroyed. We will heal. Our friends and family are okay and healing, too. 2009 will be better than 08. Over and over we try to convince each other and ourselves that we are not standing amidst a complete and utter disaster.
The tough part is how normal it all looks. Our lives are identical to what they were a year ago in every superficial way and yet it all feels so horribly wrong. That’s where the deeper stories live. These are the crazy ones, the tales I have been telling myself on those long drives around the state selling coffee.
The one I keep coming back to is the story of Silas’ soul. Where September 25th happened just as it did, but then a whole other series of events occurred that are utterly beyond my understanding. That story I dwell on because there’s no specific answer but so many correct ones.
Is he at the bar that David Byrne so eloquently described? Where nothing ever happens but where it’s always so much fun?
Or is it more cloud-like and choirly with shitloads of angels doting on his every need (do you need things in Heaven?) and harps and feathery wings and a giant God that just hangs out helping him enjoy the Heaven-ness?
On the other hand, maybe that day didn’t go at all as planned. Maybe Death was drunk and screwed up completely. Maybe right now Silas is kicking the shit out of Death because Death really dropped the ball on this one.
I also can’t help but consider that life on this Earth is just one stage of the soul’s journey and that for whatever reason the next place the soul goes really really really really needed Silas’ help so they took him super-early, lickty-split, and now he’s saving Worlds and is some kind of Superhero in the next phase of existence. This one makes me smile, and that’s rare when considering the many lies I now live.
That’s because the truth is too fucking brutal. Even with the truth of our lives so obvious and present, I cannot help but tell more lies.
This story starts one single, direct, beautiful and correct way, but ends in every possible fashion. It starts off where September 25th went off without a hitch and we are a tiny family of three assassin on down the avenue, a King, a Queen and a tiny beautiful Prince in our arms. That’s the story I almost cannot even think about, but the one I cannot avoid, ever.
Once there, the stories become even more beautiful and true, and even more terrible to consider. Not all end well. Death, misfortune, illness and unhappiness can consume lives and wound souls. That Silas lived is no guarantee that he would have had a perfect and blissful life. The opposite, obviously. But I have to believe it would be good, good so good to have Silas here with us, no matter what, no matter all the many ways it could have gone.
I live here, but my mind and soul are searching for ways to understand what we are going through. The fictions give me strength to move forward every day.
No matter what kind of teenager he turned out to be, we would have loved him. And there’s so much more beyond that it will take me a lifetime to describe.
I would give anything for Silas to be here on this Earth.
I would die if he could come back new. So would Lu. But that can’t happen, so onward we go. And somehow, every day, we’ll laugh and love each other and think of our son.
Someday our fictions could come true.
So I got to fly this weekend. A lot. And it felt great. It’s so freeing and exhilarating and allows you to really be present and alive. I went to NYC to take a Circus Yoga teacher training- I’ve been wanting to do this for years and the timing was never right. The timing was so right this time, it was almost perfect. It’s one of those things though, that if Silas were here, I wouldn’t have been able to take it. It was 21 hours in 3 days. It was exhausting, but my body and mind needed it. I got to play with 12 other adults by releasing our inner children. I moo and meow for a living so it seems like it’s not a stretch for me. But it was. Some of it was hard, because there were moments when I wanted to just say “I can’t do this right now, I can’t play, I feel awful.” I pushed through those feelings and gave myself over to it. There were moments that I left the room, that I took myself out mentally. But this was a great distraction and very, very healing.
Erin and Kevin have been doing this for a long time. The combination of circus and yoga is so natural, I feel so blessed to have found them! They have this amazing way of just being so free and silly that I wish I could let myself go and be that. I tried it on a few times and it felt great. We played games that really just allowed you to let go and have fun. I laughed so much, I cried a little, I bonded and I learned. I love my field of work. I love playing and teaching and being with children. Obviously it’s harder then ever for me, because I was robbed of motherhood. But kids are so innocent and sweet and they are a blank slate for us to write upon. I love teaching kids about their bodies, peace, om, namaste, relaxation and thinking about what makes you happy. I love bringing out the creativity and imagination in them as well as myself. I took this course to freshen up my teaching a bit. To gain some new ideas and tools because as a teacher, it is just important to do that so as not to get stale. I gained so much more.
This course was about risk, connection, expansion & vulnerability. I will take each of these principles into my heart and I will use what I learned in my teaching and in my life. It was also about healthy touch. Oh, touch is so important, you have no idea. I am constantly craving a hand on my back, a foot rub, a hug. We played games and learned ways of fostering healthy and safe and healing touch. It’s so important for everyone, but for kids, they need it to grow and be healthy, loving adults.
This weekend, I allowed others to lift me up on their legs and fly me, even if it was their first time and they were scared. I really wasn’t scared. I trusted and let go. I’ve been doing AcroYoga for years so I was ready. I haven’t done it since before my pregnancy so I was excited. I lifted others up, others who were much bigger then me and felt confident in my ability to help them soar. I also tapped into the deepest regions of my being to just be silly. It is hard to let go. It is so much easier to be reserved and together and self-conscious. I think that’s what most people are like because its the norm. But to get rid of inhibitions and make silly sounds and faces, or to walk on a pipe, or hold people up on your legs or your back, or roll around the room because it seems like a fun thing to do, is just necessary. It is healing and cathartic and exciting.
I met friends for the first time who I have had email and business relationships with for awhile. I loved that! It was so great to finally make the face to face connection. In this type of program, you get close, really fast. I told everyone where I was emotionally, and what happened to me. I couldn’t allow that to be my secret. I am an open and honest person, I share pretty easily so I needed to do it. I was thanked over and over for sharing and for allowing everyone to be a part of my tragedy. Someone thanked me for allowing others to be in their own grief, while hearing about mine. Others shared their recent losses with me as well, of moms & dads & pets. I’ve found that in sharing your grief and pain, it really helps others to deal with their own. I find that as soon as I open up to someone about what I’m going through, they feel like it is important to share in their own losses and pain. Which to me has to be a good thing- right? We need to be able to share with each other, and be real.
I didn’t get enough sleep this weekend. I also have a very full schedule ahead of me. I am scared. Scared of these distractions taking over what was once my very quiet life. I am working but I have had a lot of free time. This week I start new classes, workshops and trainings. I am finally jumping full force back in to my life.
I am sad, I am heartbroken, I have horrible anniversaries ahead of me that I will have to deal with. I am lucky though, I am finding this inner strength to put myself out there and be with people and share my tragedy and in turn, it is helping me to let go and fly.
Oh yes, I am back to pissed off again! But it’s just a pure furiousness at the injustice of life. And that’s fucking laughable. How is it possible to even feel mad about that? It’s like hating a color, or despising the breeze. Ridiculous.
Nonetheless, rage it is. I blasted home today. Had to beat the storm. Wished the whole way it was a tank I was driving and could just roll over anything in my way. I wished my soul was like that, too. Unstoppable. Scornful of obstacles. Armored. No chance of that, though. The soul is lucky to have the body around to protect it, and the body isn’t much of a defense. Agility helps, but really the mind is the means to protect the soul.
That’s how I keep going forward. My mind tricks my soul into thinking everything is okay for a little while and then shit gets done. That takes an enormous amount of effort, though, because I’m not even supposed to know it’s going on. But it is tough to keep secrets from yourself.
Lu’s post hit a nerve yesterday. We could tell by all the emails and phone calls from friends and family near and far. The funny part is that everyone that called that thought her post was exactly about them were really none of the people it was actually about. Those people don’t read this. They didn’t call after she wrote it and they won’t call anytime soon.
Frankly, I could give a shit. We are mired in such a quandry of conflicting emotions that I’m more concerned with myself and Lu than anyone else around me. Some people just can’t deal with this. So they don’t. They have backed off to let us deal with our lives as we will. Perhaps they will come back to us down the line. I hope they do.
Others have just jumped in to help us any way they can. I guess I’m more surprised at how many people are still all over us than I am at the people that are not. I expect imperfection and disappointment from other humans. We all can’t help but screw up now and then. And let’s admit it, we are scary people now. We represent a terrifying aspect of life and it is almost blinding to look too closely.
We’re like a dense black hole of raw emotion and every now and then a little beam of light fires out of it. People around us, they feel our gravity and then see that beam and they latch on to it and they stare into it to try and discern what exactly is going on behind our darkened veil of sadness, but that is so hard to do. That little flash of insight is meager and thin compared to boiling plasma within our skin. Some are able to face that roiling, furious sadness, take the heat and light and pain and calm us with a word or ease us with their simple presence. Others are burned to a crisp whenever they get close, or perhaps aren’t even sure if they can handle us right now.
We don’t even know how we can handle ourselves sometimes.
Sometimes I don’t care about a damn thing. Then I care so much about everything I shatter from a breeze. Then there are tasks to performs and things I want to and must do, and my soul is briefly distracted until I get through another snowy sunset, whole still, yes, but hollowed out inside.
Then the phone rings and it’s a friend on the line and I realize just how much I need other people to lean on. For long moments at a time I am filled with laughter and everything seems almost bearable, almost.
I’m worn thin by the constant flow of tears, by the friction of my raw soul rubbing against the rough edges of this life. I’m not pissed off at anyone in particular ’cause I’m too busy being mad at the fundamental axioms of the Universe itself. More than anything I just miss Silas with every cell of my being, all the time, always, even when I’m somehow dealing with the day and seem okay.
I guess it’s time to get back in the Tank and demolish some of life’s bullshit. Get out of the way if you see me in the rear-view. I don’t honk anymore.
So today is the year anniversary of Silas. So much has happened in a year, its almost unbelievable. I was just lying in bed, trying to sleep and so many thoughts were zooming through my brain. I had to get up and write. I had no trouble falling asleep earlier on the couch while watching Planet Earth (which, btw, is amazing on our new tv). But once I moved to the bed, sleep just became an impossibility until I got these thoughts out. Something else was strange too, usually by this point in the evening of us getting into bed, at least 2 of the 3 cats are in bed with us. None of them were there. The bed felt empty, even though it was filled with Chris and me, something was definitely missing.
There are so many things about this situation I’ve been struggling with. Usually I like to write something cohesive following in the style of Chris because this is (or was!) his blog, but I think I need to just ramble a bit on this one.
So last night we had our upstairs neighbors over with some of their friends to play Rockband. We didn’t talk about what happened, it just wasn’t appropriate. These were new friends and it just didn’t seem necessary. I’m sure our neighbors (who unfortunately will have the sounds of my labor ingrained into their brains for life) told them about us, how could they not? Regardless, a pleasant evening was had by all and none of it had anything to do with Silas.
I think about how one of the bloggers I’ve been reading lately mentioned how we should be able to wear a shirt at all times that states “my baby died 10 hours after he was born” or something like that to let everyone in the world know the awful pain we are going through on a daily basis. I find it so strange to talk to people who don’t know me or what happened and to just allow that to just be. I was pregnant and delivered a baby. But now there is no baby. It’s just a really weird place to be in, especially since all I have left is the baby weight (which I know I keep mentioning but I really can’t help it, it makes me crazy).
Today I went to my yoga center for the free yoga day they were having. I have not been back since taking my last prenatal class all those months ago. I have been wanting to, but something was holding me back. I guess I was just scared to go there and have all those memories come at me full force. I have a few workshops I’m giving there planned for the next few months, so today I was going to teach a few free kids yoga classes. It felt great to be back, it’s such a warm environment and I realized a very necessary place to go to continue in my healing process. A few women were having a conversation about hypnobirthing and I just had to chime in and say how much I loved it and found it helpful during my labor. I’m finding it important to mention bits and pieces of my pregnancy in casual conversations, just to prove it did happen. No one asked me any further questions, but I assumed that they just assumed I had a baby at home. I wasn’t going to tell them any different, they didn’t ask. It was weird. But I guess this is all part of my new normal. I have to talk about my pregnancy and labor, it happened, I delivered a beautiful baby, even though he is not here with us. I can’t deny it happened and I need to make sure to keep talking about it. It feels good. Even when I don’t share the tragic end result.
So anyway, I took this yoga class today at the center. It is called “Yoga for Anxiety and Depression.” It was free and there were a lot of people there. It’s cool to see so many people wanting to use yoga to help deal with their issues. It was amazing and the teacher was amazing and I am so happy I went. I think I even convinced Chris to come with me to a workshop she’s giving in a few weeks. I don’t think I’m even depressed or anxious most of the time, you would think that would be the case, but I’m just not. Though I do have moments of both at times, so learning healthy tools to deal with it when it comes up is so necessary. I think my background in yoga has been a major part of my ability to be able to deal with the many layers of grief. The more I can learn, the better for me in the long run.
Another situation we’re trying to deal with is with those friends who kinda dropped the ball. They either never contacted us or did at the very beginning and we haven’t heard from them since. Where does that leave us? When we see them, which may happen as we become more social, do we tell them how much they hurt us? Do we not say anything and just let it be what it is? We’re not sure. In my opinion, 3 1/2 months out, you should have contacted us at this point. If you live within a few hours, you should have stopped over for a visit. And if you did once or twice in the beginning, a little email right about now to check up on us, wish us a happy new year, blah blah blah, would be nice. But I know from reading all the blogs lately, this is an issue. It’s something that happens after a tragedy like this and it’s human nature. People are strange, they don’t know how to deal with death and especially the death of a baby. I’ve made it a point to thank everyone in my life who has continued to bother me with love because it is helping us. In case you out there who don’t know this- comments on our blog, emails, phone calls, texts, letters, visits, they help us to heal. It won’t bring Silas back, but it makes each day a little easier or brings a smile to my face when maybe I was feeling really really sad. I know we’re scary to be around. I know its a tough thing for anyone to deal with, but I’m telling you point blank, it’s something that will help all of us, every single one of us.
I’ve been obsessively reading blogs these days, blogs from all of you who comment on ours, and blogs I discover through the countless blogrolls on the blogs I read. I’ve come to realize that I need this community now in my life in order to get through this. I also need my friends and family of course, you guys are the best, but you don’t really get it. And I don’t want you to ever get it, I would never wish this pain on any of you. Your support counts in other ways. I also need the support from others who get it, who have been there and who are going through the exact same emotions as me now. I read some of those blogs and I could have easily have written those posts. I know how much the comments mean to me, so I am commenting, every day, I am obsessively reading and commenting. Because I know how it feels and I know its important for our community to have this support. We are a lucky bunch of unlucky people. We have this whole crazy blogland of babylost parents out there. It’s simply unreal. This post from Cara of Building Heavenly Bridges really captures how I’m feeling right now. I love it, it’s a beautiful piece.
I haven’t taken very good care of myself lately, the month of Dec was brutal between the laziness, the eating and the drinking. I am now making it a point to get myself ready for this new life that will eventually grow inside me again. I need to be ready in body and mind and I’m ready to prepare myself for that again. What is so hard, and what we keep talking about is that we are back to square one. It’s so frustrating. We are where were were exactly a year ago. It’s such a helpless feeling. It’s so difficult to even comprehend. I do know that we got pregnant once, so it will happen again. But this in between place we’re in makes us feel so lost. Somehow, together, we will navigate through this mess. But today, I am going to honor my little baby, think about him and cherish the little miracle that he was.
My pain is mutating. It has been just over three months since Silas was born and passed away, and my new life is slowly coming into focus. Day-to-day existence has become more bearable, but an unshakable melancholy has settled into my soul.
I feel an ache I cannot shake, but I do not try too hard. That empty, painful place where Silas should be is all I have of him. I suppose the goal is to fill that emptiness with love and goodness somehow, someday, but that time is far off. For now I have to have that void tucked away into core of my being.
It just occurred to me that what I am feeling is essentially the complete and total opposite of being pregnant. First off, I’m a man so pregnancy isn’t an option. Second, there is no baby growing, no new being about to appear that I am waiting for. I’m dismantling expectations and hopes instead of building them.
The event has occurred. Silas was denied to us. He cannot receive our kisses and cuddles and love, not here, not in that physical, satisfying way. We love him, of course, but expressing it is extremely difficult and confusing. To have our love for him completely wrapped and suffused by pain is terrible.
But now we do Terrible every day as a matter of course. I need Terrible. Terrible is where he is, what our love must go through in order to reach his sweet little face. Terrible, terrible, terrible. It’s like edible horror. It’s terror you can feel inside you, a new layer that quivers and oozes between organs and skin.
But don’t worry! I’m getting accustomed to it now and someday I intend to turn that Terrible into something useful. I’m not sure what or how, but just knowing that this sensation exists, that other people can feel this way inside their own bodies and minds, that has to help me eventually. For now I just try to bear it and I’m getting damn fucking good at it.
Some things are easy to do now. I have no trouble demolishing a pint of ice cream. If I could find a way to keep the container steady I would have a spoon in either hand. It is also very simple to lay in bed wide awake with my eyes closed and my mind whirling as the gray winter light fills the room. This past weekend up in New Hampshire I found pleasure and serenity in the necessary task of cooking a meal. It was steak and lobsters for New Year’s Eve and it tasted just as good as it sounds.
I’m glad the New Year is here. I know it is essentially just an arbitrary date that has no real bearing on our healing and our grief but it still feels good. And I’ll take any good I can find anywhere, anyhow.
Lu’s arms around me is good. Our tattoos are good in a terrible sorta way that fits perfectly. Family is good. Friends that call and write and stop by to bother us with love are good. Somehow, some way we are still going to make our lives good.
And years from now, when we look back on this time in our life I have a feeling something else will appear that is good. 2008 will be good for us because for nine of those months, Silas was in our lives. It was the only time we had with him and so we must hold those moments close in our hearts and let our love flow out to him and feel the Terrible melt away,