Saturday, 5 March 2011

Bereaved Parents Wishlist

I came across this on a site dedicated to motherhood after the death of a child, pregnancy etc.  I just had to re-post it.

1. I wish my child hadn't died. I wish I had him back.

2. I wish you wouldn't be afraid to speak my child's name. My child lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that he was important to you also.

3. If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child I wish you knew that it isn't because you have hurt me. My child's death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my child, and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.

4. Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn't shy away from me. I need you now more than ever.

5. I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you; but, I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my child, my favorite topic of the day.

6. I know that you think of and pray for me often. I also know that my child's death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know those things through a phone call, a card or note, or a real big hug.

7. I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in six months. These first months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my child until the day I die.

8. I am working very hard in my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my child, and I will always grieve that he is dead.

9. I wish you wouldn't expect me "not to think about it" or to "be happy." Neither will happen for a very long time, so don't frustrate yourself.

10. I don't want to have a "pity party," but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.

11. I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I'm feeling miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you.

12. When I say "I'm doing okay," I wish you could understand that I don't "feel" okay and that I struggle daily.

13. I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I'm having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So please excuse me when I'm quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.

14. Your advice to "take one day at a time" is excellent advice. However, a day is too much and too fast for me right now. I wish you could understand that I'm doing good to handle an hour at a time.

15. Please excuse me if I seem rude, certainly not my intent. Sometimes the world around me goes too fast and I need to get off. When I walk away, I wish you would let me find a quiet place to spend time alone.

16. I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died with him. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I will never be that person again.

17. I wish very much that you could understand; understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. BUT I pray daily that you will never understand.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Flight risk

Today started like all the others this week, busy with unexpected situations cropping up at work & capturing my full attention.  I focused, planned, strategized & as I waited to consult I had a moment to sit & the world around came back to life.  Life was happening all around me including a conversation about my coworker finding out she was having a baby girl.  She is 1 month behind where I would be if James hadn't died & over hearing her conversation set me off like a caged animal.  My flight response kicked in & before i new it I was on my feet & walking, desperately looking for someone where to go, to go where I didn't have to hear all the giggles, & squeals of delight, about how excited she & her husband were, how it looked on the ultrasound pictures - hear the hopes & dreams I am devastated to be without.

I bumped into a coworker who is aware & could tell something was wrong & as I tried to explain what I was trying to do, I lost control & started to cry.  She brought me into her office, closed the door & handed me a Kleenex.  I know she's also experienced a significant loss but hasn't shared her story yet - I think she may have lost her spouse - but that's just trying to put pieces of info together.  She was patient & kind, sat next to me without touching me or interrupting my emotion - but I couldn't allow myself to let it all out - I sucked it all back in & told her I was going to for a walk.  She offered to join me & I thanked her but went on my own & started to walk & never wanted to go back.  But like everything else in this shitty situation, it doesn't matter what I want, I have to do exactly what I don't want. 

The rest of the day was filled with anxiety about what conversation I was going to overhear, wanting to be anywhere but there & feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.  It got so bad I wanted to quit my job - just anything to get out & be able to never have to come back. 

I want to call in sick tomorrow - I'm seriously considering it but also know that tomorrow I probably will go in anyway.  I feel I can't stop, if I stop I am afraid I will undo some healing, regress into complete despair - but I feel like I need it.  Be kind to yourself, be gentle - I'm trying but I also don't know if I deserve it.  I know days like today will happen again, but I feel less competent everyday - i can't handle a busy work pace, I cant' handle others conversations, I can't handle my sadness, i can't handle much- I don't know what I want to do with myself, my time anymore.

what I do know is I don't want to do anything & that's not an option - standing still, being alone - it's just not an option.  I wanted to have my son in my life, that wasn't an option, I wanted to watch him achieve his milestones, not an option, I wanted to hold him, comfort him, smell him, not an option, I wanted my son to have a brother to play with, have sibling rivalry with, build memories with - not an option. 

So another bad day for the books but this one feels like it set me back, back to the place where I feel disabled in my grief & maybe even closer to losing more b/c I can't bury it and its making me impulsive, desperate, a flight risk.  maybe i just need an escape route - maybe I just need James.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A Blog for Father's When a Baby Dies: A poem for fathers

I found this on a blog about father's coping with losing a child & thought of my husband.  I'm posting this for him b/c I know he's struggling to.

A Blog for Father's When a Baby Dies: A poem for fathers:

It must be very difficult

To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry"
and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.

It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test,
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.

They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"

He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But "stays strong" for her sake.

It must be very difficult
To start each day anew.
And try to be so very brave-
He lost his baby too.

Eileen Knight Hagemeister

A strike of lightening

I met with someone from a bereavement agency today, I found it helpful while I was there, was even moved to tears at some points.  I headed home with a list of things that I could do to actively be a participant in my own grief, I was feeling more in control.  I got home & just like a ton of bricks it slammed me, back to reality & back to being completely out of control without time to do any of the things I wanted to do, and feeling alone.

Now, I am angry again.  It seems these days it's always something - if I'm not angry, my husband is, if one of us is feeling well, the other is feeling sick and right when I'm on the verge of a release of grief , anger, pain there is an interruption & it all gets lost & I'm alone again. 

The counsellor suggested I write a list of things I am angry about.  Here goes:

I'm angry with my parents for allowing me to be invisible all my life
I'm angry with my body for failing me
I'm angry with this life for not including James in it
I'm angry because James died
I'm angry because he was born too early
I'm angry with having to go back to work
I'm angry with my clients for needing me when it is me that's needs something or someone
I'm angry for having to suffer in silence
I'm angry for having to pretend
I'm angry for having to force myself to do everything
I'm angry because no one notices how lost & broken I am
I'm angry for having to make the world feel comfortable when I cringe every minute of the day
I'm angry for the lost hopes & dreams
I'm angry for the missed milestones
I'm angry with family for acting like it didn't happen
I'm angry for the stupid things people say
I'm angry with friends for protecting themselves & avoiding us b/c it's uncomfortable
I'm angry with friends for thinking it's over b/c time has passed
I'm angry with losing myself
I'm angry for feeling like I dont' have the guts to carry on
I'm angry I had to walk away
I'm angry that I had to say goodbye
I'm angry for all the interruptions
I'm angry for not being able to feel sad all the time
I'm angry for being afraid
I'm angry for realizing I have to start all over again
I'm angry for watching others not cherish every moment, milestone, miracle
I'm angry for not being able to talk about it every second of the day
I'm angry for not having brought the camera & taken pictures
I'm angry for not having more then ultra sound pictures to remember him by
I'm angry the hospital didn't give us his foot prints
I'm angry for others expecting me to feel sorry or comfort them for the most insignificant inconveniences in life
I'm angry for life carrying on
I'm angry for feeling relationships changing
I'm angry b/c people don't understand
I'm angry b/c I'm tired
I'm angry for not being able to sleep
I'm angry for being angry.

I fear this list could go on forever - the summary of the list - I'm angry.

I feel like I'm alone in this world with this burden, this anger.  I try and take moments to look at my surviving son & embrace his essence which is pure joy & that helps.  I worry I have traumatized him, haven't supported his grieving, that he has also been changed for the worse b/c of my being broken & lost.

A strike of lightening - that's what the OB likened what happened to James. Frankly, I feel like I've been struck by lightening - electrocuted - like it passed straight through me & left nothing but a path of destruction, like I have severe burns to 100% of my sense of self & will to go on, like I'm smoking with anger & smell like burnt flesh since everyone seems to be so uncomfortable & taking their distance.  They say lightening doesn't strike the same place twice - who cares if you've been struck once isn't that enough?!