Friday, October 8, 2010


Last Saturday Ted and I were driving to Whitby for my friend's birthday dinner. I was feeling down in the car, but not horrible. Ted started saying how hard it is to see me sad all the time and that it is good to remember Jacob and love him, but I can’t let myself be a prisoner to losing him. I’ve never thought of it that way before, but I really do feel like a prisoner to it.

My days and nights are easier than they used to be – I no longer wake up crying and go to sleep crying (although I have been crying the past several days when I get into bed). I don’t spontaneously burst into tears during the day (most days) and a laugh doesn’t usually turn into a cry anymore in a split second. I still cry, but I usually have warning that it is coming on and I can even go for 2-3 days without a major cry, which is a huge accomplishment. My eyes will fill with tears at least once a day, but it often stops there (I make it stop since I am at work or out in public).

But the weight of losing Jacob and then August is always with me. Even when I am talking to someone and smiling and joking, it is still there. I was cleaning up after my Mom’s party on Sunday, wondering if anyone noticed the ultrasound picture of Jacob we have framed on my nightside table when they were taking a tour of our house, or if they look at me and think of what we have been through. Later on, Ted said that I look sad all the time (when I’m not consciously faking looking normal), that people don’t look at me and see a happy girl anymore, they just see a sad one. It makes me sad that that is what he is living with and that is what others see, but it also satisfies me. I want people to look at me and know that I’m not over losing my babies, that I never will be and that 4 months is just too soon to be "normal" again.  I am still trying to figure out my "new normal".

I really am a prisoner, serving a sentence that I don’t deserve to serve (who does?), in a jail that I don’t want to be in, but that I also don’t want to leave as it seems to take me further from my babies when I do leave it. Even when a laugh or a smile is really meant, not faked, it is always temporary. But it feels good that I don’t have to fake everything anymore. It feels good when I’m not filled with turmoil and I don’t feel like I’m drowning. I lived in that place for a long time and I’m glad it’s not my constant companion anymore.


Rhiannon said...

I feel like that too. A prisoner, in chains that will be there my whole life. I don't know if we will ever fully be free of this prison, it is always there in the background. It will always be a part of us, no matter how far we get out. We will always be serving time.

Like you said, even when I am laughing or truly feeling 'OK', I still have sadness sitting right under the surface. I feel like tears are always so close...always lurking, even when I am able to hold them back. I still cry everyday for Harper and for the life that we got cheated of.

Our grief is still fresh even though life in hell seems to drag on and on. I feel like I have been here forever but it's only been three months for me and four for you. Considering, I think we are doing the best we can. Sending love to you...<3

Julie said...

ken and i argued about how much grief was "too much." i was angry at first that he seemed so insensitive, but i came to see that he had a valid point. allowing myself to wallow was only making it difficult for me to move forward, for us to think about another baby, and so many other things. and yet, as "normal" and generally happy as i feel most days, i still carry a great amount of guilt over the fact that my every moment is NOT consumed by tears and missing kenny. it's so hard to find the balance.

Drew's Parents said...

I really do like the analogy of being a prisoner to the grief. It feels that way so much of the time. There really isn't any freedom even when we have those good moments (a day out for good behavior?) But at the same time, I absolutely agree with you that 4 months is not very long. You held Jacob inside of you for longer than that yet no one would question the love that you developed during that time. I firmly believe you have to be true to yourself when if comes to grief and healing. We are doing okay if we feel like we can identify our progress and can identify moments where we feel closer to our new normal. You are so incredibly strong, and you are working your way through the grief and healing the best ways that you can. I imagine the loss of August only compounded all of the grief you were already struggling with. But as your friend, I can absolutely see your progress in your writing and in our conversations.
I was reading a booklet from the SHARE program just last night, and it emphasized not rushing grief. The author encouraged parents to work through it as if it were a process (which it is). Be gentle on yourself and hold on the fact that Jacob and August are part of you for the rest of your life. The grief over losing a child can take months and even years to work through. We may feel like we are in prison now, but as good things begin happening I think those bars and chains will begin to disappear. And we will be left with the only the bittersweet and beautiful memories of our babies. I am sending you so much love! <3 <3 <3

Jennifer said...

Dana, you exactly put down to words what I feel sometimes - a prisoner of my own grief. Other times I really think that I'm being defined by my loss. And it scares me. I know we are so much more before our loss, we have goals, we have more to offer in this life. But it's hard to escape the fact that we are tinge with sadness now, that our hopes are not always there, that our new normal selves are so different from who we were.

Like Julie said, it's a struggle to find the balance, to be able to move on without leaving our lost babies behind, even to allow ourselves to be happy without feeling guilty about it. And this is what people don't know about us. They think we are being obsessed, we wallow too much, or we're always sad. But if only they knew the magnitude of what we're all going through, I'm sure they'll think of how strong we are in our moments of sadness.

You are a strong mama, as Allison said, you are healing in the best way you can. It will take time to be set free from this, but we get to go on 'parole' once in a while to get a bit of reprieve from grief and be able to laugh and be with loved ones in a genuine manner. I'm sure your children, Jacob and August, are proud of how you are bravely handling this grief. (((hugs)))

Violet1122 said...

Wow, describing us as prisoners really hits the nail on the head. And yet, what can we do? It's not like we have a choice in the matter. We can pretend and put on a brave face... but it doesn't change the fact that we are prisoners, and that we grieve.

I'm glad you have reached the point where you don't feel like you are drowning all the time. Time seems to be the only thing that has helped me through it. The problem is it takes time! There is no magic potion, there is nothing that can make everything better again.

You've been through so much, and you have come so far in the last few months. Eventually, you will find yourself even better than where you are now.

Thinking of you daily...

Sheri said...

I just saw your profile on the Faces of Loss site, and your comment on mine. I am so sorry for your loss, and sorry you had to go through such a horrible situation. There are very few people who have gone through a loss from amniotic band syndrome, so its comforting (while sad) to find out I'm not alone.

Hang in there...every day is like a rollercoaster and all you can do is take it one day at a time. I can go days/weeks without thinking about Olivia and then WHAM - something happens that brings her memory and the pain back in an instant.

Sending you a big hug!

KAM said...

Truer words have never been spoken.

I'm so tired of being held prisoner by my grief. It sucks the life right out of me. I've recently made a very deliberate decision to not be bound by the chains of my grief. Some days are much harder than others, but I work very hard each day to find some joy, something good, some happiness because I don't want to live the rest of my life miserable. If I've learned anything from my loss, it's life is so fragile and so short and one day it will be my turn. So, I have to make an effort to enjoy the time I have.

Of course, that's easier said than done.