Thursday, February 26, 2009

Disbelief

My disbelief is morphing, ever so subtly.

Over the past six months, I frequently return to disbelief...for most of this time, it's been: I can't believe Ezra died. I can't believe that my perfectly healthy son, who we had hoped and prayed for, who lived safely in my belly for exactly 33 weeks and 5 days, who brought us more joy than we knew was possible...is gone. Snuffed out suddenly, despite a perfectly healthy pregnancy, as the placenta tore away from the wall of my uterus...the place he was supposed to be most safe. How could Ezra die?

But these thoughts are changing. I notice in recent weeks that somehow my mind has accepted the idea that Ezra is dead...he's gone, and no amount of longing or sorrow or despair will bring him back. Not accepted in the sense of agreeing with, or thinking its fair or just or even ok. But my mind accepts that it happened, that the fact of Ezra's death is reality, not some waking nightmare we're living.

The disbelief is still there, it just takes me to a different place: I cannot believe this is my life. I can't believe that we are a childless couple, who had a child. I can't believe that for six months, I have been sad every day, that the sadness is always there, sometimes lighter, sometimes heavier, but always present. I can't believe that life feels so static, in limbo, lacking in hope and expectation. I can't believe how hard it is for me to find happiness, that the world seems so dark.

Last night I became an aunt again, with the safe arrival of my brother and his wife's second child, Dalia. As I spoke with my elated brother on the phone, the sound of Dalia's cries brought tears of joy and pain simultaneously to my eyes. I am thrilled Dalia has arrived screaming into this world, and yet through no fault of her own, her arrival just underscores what I don't have. Although I am getting used to my reality of feeling contrasting emotions together, the jealousy is so real, so palpable. And again I return to my place of disbelief...how did I become this jealous woman? Jealousy is not an emotion I recognize in myself. All of my life I have always loved children, particularly babies. And over the last decade or so, as friends and relatives have had their children, I have been so drawn to the energy and joy that infants bring, everyone has commented on how relaxed and at ease I am with a baby, how easily quieted babies are in my arms. Now just passing a baby on the street, it feels like barbed wire is tightening around my heart. I haven't allowed myself to meet an infant since I met Ezra. Dalia will be the first. As emotional as that may be, I definitely want to meet her, after all, she's family. Again the disbelief - what happened to the old me?

I have been struck lately by how easy it is for me to assume I'm cursed, that the world is conspiring against me and David. If I really stop to think about it, it's not really what I believe...I don't believe Ezra died because G-d or the Universe is out to get us. But a lot of other bad things have happened in our lives since Ezra died...some big, some small...and it's so hard to have perspective when it feels like we keep being dealt crap. I wasn't always this way, it used to be easier for me to keep things in perspective, to take life's challenges for what they are, and to still assume things would turn out ok. Now it's so easy to go immediately to the worst case scenario in every situation. I know this is because we're living out the worst case scenario - our son died. But again disbelief: how did I get here?

As Barbara has written about, I guess I'm looking for the escape hatch. I don't feel at peace with where I am at in life's journey right now. The question is how. David reminded me this week of the words of our beloved Rabbi Linda who held us so close the week that Ezra died: We make plans, and G-d laughs. If Ezra has taught me anything, it's that.

So how to move forward? As wise Gal reminds me frequently, it's about setting intent, pointing my nose in the direction I want to go, and being open to the journey. Yet the emotions leave me feeling stuck, powerless, without a rudder. I never imagined life's journey would be so hard.

10 comments:

Carly Marie said...

I don't many words of help this morning, Only to do what Gal said and keep pointing yourself in the direction that you want to be. I know its hard, its so hard and so unfair.

I send you my love today,

Carly xxx

Gal aka SuperMommy said...

Oh sweetie, I am sending you such huge hugs right now. I wish there were an escape hatch... I think if there were we'd all get to meet each other in person on the other side of it (kind of like in LOST). But for now, just a lot of hugs and love.

Also this: When I read what you wrote about how calm children are in your arms, I got a glimmer of you holding your next healthy living child, and that child feeling such incredible ease and peace in your arms. I really saw it in that flash, and felt it too. Keep trusting that. Love.

Barbara said...

I have my moments of disbelief, sometimes I can barely believe that this has happened to me. Did I really give birth to my son? Isn't this some cruel joke?

But yes, we just keep going.

Keep going Sarah, you will get to where you need to be.

xxx

CLC said...

I still feel the disbelief as well. I feel like every word you wrote has danced around my head too. I guess the disbelief has faded over time, but some days it is definitely worse than others. Here's to hoping it fades away all together one day.

Lani said...

i am living this disbelief too. every night i say to chris "is this really our life? how did this happen?"

we just need to keep going forward, thinking of our little ones every day, and just point ourselves in that direction. i love that.

i do think we need that escape hatch too! i love that gal. where we all can meet up when we need it. one day we all will. i feel it. its a special group we've all got here. and we're going to help and support each other every step of the way.

xo
Lani

aliza said...

sarah,
i know that disbelief so well too. it's hard to swallow that this is our life. that we are back to just being a couple, even though we were three. hard to believe we are in this deadbaby club together.
life is full of disappointment, of sorrow and loss and we are getting a huge dose of it. i wish we were not in this club, but since we are i'm thankful we're in it together.
sending you so much love.

Rach said...

Sending you hugs and love from afar.

I visited a new baby yesterday and I agree with your words - yes I am happy for her family but 'her arrival just underscores what I don't have...'

Gal is very wise - keep heading in that direction. I hope will all my heart that we all get end of this journey with a smile on our faces...

xxx

Dani819 said...

The disbelief is so palpable, isn't it? I keep saying this to myself over and over again. Me. Of all people. To wind up in this version of my life. If you could have designed a very personal version of hell for me, it would have looked very much like this. But of course, that's true for all of us.

But as much as I have been stunned by the harshness of our new reality, I have been amazed by the unexpected moments of grace. And meeting you is right up there among the biggest of those gifts. There will be joy- and I will be smiling as I watch you find it.

k@lakly said...

I don't think I will ever really believe this is my life. I wonder if reality will ever feel real to me or if for the rest of my life I will be waiting to see if I wake up.

Hope's Mama said...

So incredibly familiar, Sarah. I too am the one at ease with children of all ages. Always been the one down on the floor at children's birthday parties, pitching in to change a nappy when needed, feed an 8 month old their bottle, read a book to a toddler, hold a delicate newborn with ease. I love love love babies, now they stab at my broken, fragile heart. The disbelief wont ever go away I'm sure. I can hear myself saying "pregnancy just agrees with me, its so easy" and I can hear them saying back to me "you look so good Sally, you are glowing, I'm so jealous, I looked hideous when I was pregnant". Yet I ended up here. Like Lani, I ask Simon every day "how did we get here baby?"