Monday, May 11, 2009

Like an Ostrich...

Denial. As Mother's Day approached, the denial grew deeper and deeper. I buried my head in the sand and willed Hallmark to take it back, to not make it come this year. I anticipated it being hard, but unlike all the other hard days I've anticipated...the monthly anniversaries, his due date, my birthday...I had no vision of how it would be or even what I wanted it to be. Sadly, Hallmark ignored my silent pleas.

And then it arrived. It was only the night before that I began to have any sense of what I wanted. I wanted to be pampered and acknowledged like any other mom. And I wanted to hold my son close. Just like any other mom.

The day was an emotional roller coaster, with beautiful happy moments and steep plunges into the darkest places my mind goes these days. All day the sun was shockingly bright. It made me feel raw and exposed.

The day began with an extraordinarily delicious breakfast in bed thanks to my loving omelet with fresh ricotta, herbs and vegetables. I lolled in bed, read blogs. Smiled with delight at the couple emails from friends who remembered it was my day too. Most did not.

Then to the cemetery. We haven't been since the fall, its been so cold. Plus I don't think of Ezra being there, his spirit is with me always. But recently Ezra has begun to feel so far away. I needed to go, to seek him out. I wasn't prepared for the death carnival atmosphere. The cemetery staff out in full force, offering free flowers, saccharine offers to find a "location".

I sat by his grave and talked to my boy. And I was so overcome with the deep sense that I failed him. I pleaded with Ezra to forgive me for having failed to protect him. For not helping to see this day, this ridiculously gorgeous day. I felt the sun on my face and prayed to the Source of Life. I begged my boy to trust me enough to bring another life into the world. The tears poured down my face.

I don't talk easily about the shame of losing Ezra. The deep feelings of failure that have eaten away at me since he left. I know they aren't rational. On some level, I know that there's nothing I could have done. And yet.... I thought I had conquered the shame. In fact I had stuffed it so deeply inside that until recently, even I didn't recognize it was still there.

Puttering around my garden in the afternoon, I was exhausted, worn out from the morning's emotional meltdown. In the end, I took a nap, much needed to steel myself for the evening's "celebration" with my own mom.

: :

As the lovely and amazing Angie has written, no one in deadbabyland talks about their new relationship with their parents after losing their baby. My relationship with my mom is like the third rail, on this blog, but also in life. Everyone has a complicated mother-daughter relationship, I know I'm not alone in that. My own mother-daughter relationship almost ended entirely over my choice of a life partner. We got past this. It was not pretty. And having teetered on the edge of that cliff once before, I have no interest getting near that edge again. I don't have the energy for round 2.

Which means I'm angry. Furious. I'm furious my mom doesn't talk about Ezra as her grandson, that she doesn't acknowledge my pain as her own. Angry that she won't tell me she's grieving too.

In the beginning, the minutes, hours, days after Ezra died, my mom was my rock. I can't imagine how we would have survived if it weren't for my parents running to our aid. They were at the hospital within what felt like minutes of our call. They guided us through decisions about sitting shiva, purchasing cemetery plots...all the stuff we should still know nothing about. My mom cooked through her grief, stuffing our freezer and fridge with all my favorite foods, none of which I could bring myself to eat.

But as the months have worn on, my mom treats Ezra as a sad episode in our (not her) lives, not a life, a baby boy, who is mourned and missed. For the most part my dad does the same, but he's not my mom. Plus he's been recovering from major surgery. He gets a pass.

That was a turning point when my mom stopped grieving with me. It was 2 1/2 months after Ezra died when my dad got sick. In her shock and anxiety over my dad's health, it was if she no longer had room in her heart for her dead grandson. Not that she ever expressed her grief before, but at least she was more present with mine.

Thankfully, my dad has recovered. I'm not sure my relationship with my mom ever will.

: :

My mom never acknowledged me as a mom on Mother's Day. She didn't wish me a happy day. She didn't mention that it must be a hard day for me. She delighted in her gift. She loved the elaborate dinner I cooked. She went to sleep content, called today to thank me again for her celebration. I raged all the way home.

We live in parallel universes my mom and I. In her universe she has a loving close relationship with her daughter. In mine we share a loving relationship, marred by betrayal.

: :

It wasn't an awful Mother's Day. I anticipated it would be much worse. I am just oh so very grateful its over.


Hope's Mama said...

You and me both Sarah.

Ya Chun said...

I am glad Ezra touched you with a ray of sunshine.

Moms are tough, eh? We have been lucky with our families, I was rather surprised. My grandma even likes my ILs.

My mom never talks about Serenity, and I didn't call her yesterday. I just didn't want to give them the chance to disappoint me (they didn't say anything last year, so a whole nother year out I don't expect anything). I don't know what the answer is. We just live in our own realms.

big hugs mama...

erica said...

I'm glad it was better than you expected. Much love.

Delia said...

I so much needed to read this post. There are so many emotions that I struggle with when it comes to my mom. Thank you for pouring out your thoughts in this post.

abby said...

Found your blog through Judith Fox's---we're both part of the same micropreemie moms' group, we're both also moms who have lost babies, and we're both in the Philly area---in Judith's case, far too many. Reading your Mothers' Day post summoned back my thoughts of yesterday, when everyone but us forgot to mention Olivia, whom we lost to prematurity at 18 days. It's differently complicated when you have two at home and one in the heart, but you never forget and you never stop grieving.

Anyway, I really like your blog and just wanted to drop you a line to let you know how thoughtful it is.

angie said...

you are an amazing daughter and mother. i just wish everyone in the world could be as amazing right back, especially the ones who can hurt the most by their silence. you deserve that. sending you much love, sarah. abrazos y besos.

Carly Marie said...

Oh Sarah.

I am sorry. I have no words right now.

My love to you always xxxxxx

Lindsay said...

I'm so sorry Ezra was not with you physically for your Mother's Day..
Do you know how brave it is to cook for and give gifts to your mom who alienates you in your grief and doesn't mention her grandson?
Most people would be more selfish, but you stood up and made sure your mother had a great day regardless. That says alot about your spirit.
I know you will be blessed in return.
Sending my love, Lindsay

Barbara said...

I'm so sorry your relationship with your mother has suffered Sarah, it's so un-bloody-fair. I hope it gets easier.


aliza said...

i'm glad it's over too sarah. and i'm so sorry that your mom didn't acknowledge you on mother's day. you were so amazing to cook dinner for her. i wish it were all very different.

k@lakly said...

I'm sorry she doesn't get it. Maybe it is easier on her to just grieve for you and not for herself. Maybe she's in denial. I don't know. Whatever it is, I wish she could see how her actions hurt you.

Cara said...

Sarah - I'm so sorry this isn't something that you can openly share with your mother, the depth of your emotion and your motherly needs, I mean.

*sigh* - perhpas she'll get there...perhaps not.

CLC said...

I am so sorry your Mom didn't acknowledge your motherhood. That has to be enormously painful on top of the obvious pain. I hope she wakes up one day.

Funsize said...

My relationship with my mother sounds much like yours- she grieved when he died, mourned with me at the funeral, and was done. She once commented that I *almost* made her a grandmother. She doesn't recognize my son as her first grandson. She also loved her mother's day, that I spent time with her, but no mention to how hard it was for me.

I'm so glad that day is over, too. I was thinking of you (and other babylost mommas) that day, mourning and pleading with the world to bring our babies back, even if it was just for that one day.

(hugs mama)

Lani said...

i'm so sorry sarah. i have no words. just know i'm there for you always...

Anonymous said...

It's so tough this new life. I am glad we have each other to navigate through. I wish your Mother's Day was different and Ezra was here. I miss that little guy.

Rach said...

I am sorry that your day was not how it should have been...

My mother hasn't mentioned Alice since just after she died. She didn't mention her on Mothers Day and my father has never spoken about her to me. Not once. Has Alice's death damaged my relationship with my parents - yes. And I won't ever forgive my father. I am too angry and hurt to ever say anything to him.

Sending my love,

Berta said...

sarah...i don't know the complexities of your relationship with your mom. but, having buried my own mom, i can tell you that if you can muster the strength to sit her down and tell her all this (muzzle her if you have to), it will be worth it for your own peace of mind alone---regardless of whether she "gets it" or not. she should hear these things. you deserve to say them.


Anonymous said...

Next year it will be easier to remember you on Mother's Day. Next year, you will be a mommy for your second child.

ezra'smommy said...

Wow anonymous what a thoughtless comment, you seem to have missed the point of my post. I am a mother, and while I don't expect everyone to realize that, I do expect it from my close friends and family.

Anonymous said...

You write so beautifully about your son. I am so sorry that it's so hard with your mom. Not to totally excuse her behvior but I know that for many women of that era, a "sad episode" is exactly how they thought of their own stillborn babies. They never thought of themselves as mothers to those children, they were told to "move on" and they did. That's what my partner's mother did with her stillborn baby. She will recount it as a sad episode in her life but never thinks of it as we would today, that she lost an actual child. Somewhere along the way, we figured out just how wrong that thinking was. But women of your moms era saw friends treat this horrible horrible event as something less.