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.
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