Sunday, June 7, 2009

How I'm really feeling

The past few weeks have unearthed new layers of sadness and anxiety. It doesn't help that work has been manic. Or that we've had so many additional life stressors thrown our way these last 9+ months. But I haven't slept through the night in weeks. I wake up in the middle of the night to cry, or worry. Sometimes I eventually fall back to sleep. Sometimes I'm done with sleeping for the night. Not surprisingly, I'm exhausted.

I still carry so much sadness, anger, disappointment...and yet most people don't seem to recognize it or ask about it anymore. Everyone comments on how much weight I've lost or how well I look. As if looking good were the same as feeling good. It's true I've lost weight - because ever since my baby died I've barely had an appetite. Its gotten better, I now eat healthily, but I still don't eat much. I also have lost my sweet tooth (except for ice cream!) since losing Ezra. Its really fine, I was above a healthy weight before. But how I look has nothing to do with how I feel.

Ezra feels so far away now. A few weeks ago we picked out the bronze plaque we will have placed on his grave around the 1 year anniversary of his death. I'm happy with what we picked out...though still find it surreal that this is all we can do for our son.

Although we're only a little beyond 9 months, I worry about hitting the 1 year mark. Other than my babylost friends and a few amazing others, almost no one seems to remember Ezra anymore. Almost no one asks how I am feeling and truly sticks around to hear the answer. Almost no one speaks my little boy's name. Will anyone remember Ezra's birthday?

I've been thinking lately that perhaps no one really asks anymore because they read this blog so they think they know how I'm feeling. I wonder if this blog has created a false sense of intimacy so that people are under the impression I've already told them how I feel. But with rare exceptions, it's only my babylost friends who comment on this blog, so I never know who in my day-to-day life is reading. Sometimes friends IRL will mention they read my blog, and it sometimes takes me by surprise because its no longer clear to me if anyone is reading. In the meantime, there's a distance that's grown into so many of my friendships, a chasm that may never again be bridged since there's no way to go back an re-live the past 9 months a different way.

If it sounds like I'm sad and bitter, I am. Many of those middle-of-the-night tears have been shed out of sadness and disappointment at relationships lost or changed immutably. These past 9 months have been the most isolating and alienating of my life.

Because I guess what no one sees because I look so good, is that to the extent possible, I now avoid social situations all together. Formerly an outgoing sociable person, I now experience such acute social anxiety at the most casual of gatherings big or small, that I prefer to just stay home. Not that we really get invited anywhere anymore anyway. My evenings and weekends consist of quiet time to myself and with David. And at this point, that's just how I like it.

Its not that I want every conversation to be about my dead baby. With those few amazing friends who have stuck by me through this entire journey, I talk about plenty of other things. I just don't want the conversation to stop the minute I say his name. Better yet, I wish someone else would say his name. I don't want the topic changed the minute I admit I'm feeling sad or anxious. Or an immediate query about whether I'm still in counseling (of course I am).

Its amazing to me how poorly people deal with the dark emotions. These days they intermingle with the light ones. I can be happy/sad. I can be calm/anxious. I'm not sure I ever envision it being any different. And no that doesn't make me clinically depressed. Every happy moment is a happy moment I have without my son. Every adventure is an adventure he's missed. And every beautiful day...he. is. still. gone.

23 comments:

m said...

yes. yes to all of that.

I wish there were a safe place to go. A place IRL where there was no need for anxiety or apologies at not being able to hold a thought without thinking of the child that isn't there. A place to go where people asked how you felt and really meant it and understood completely when you gave 5 answers at once.

I am reading. I am listening.

Kara aka Mother Henna said...

Hey Sarah...
For what it is worth, I went thru very much the same thing after Kota died. It was this kind of thing -- thinking about conversations where Kota's name just was dropped, never mentioned again -- it was in that space that I began thinking about "a different kind of parenting".

I began thinking about the parallels to parenting if Kota were here. I'd still at 9 months out probably would have had sleepless nights -- he may not have been sleeping thru the night yet. Though my sleeplessness what happening for different reasons, but still the parallel was there.

And so the same with conversations with friends. I was fine with the people who would still talk to me about my different kind of parenting. It wasn't the entire conversation we had. But that part of myself was included.

The people who could not talk to me in a way that included my whole self, well... let's just say I was surprised by how much loss there could be on top of loss -- in that I was quickly losing those relationships where the other person excluded any realization or acknowledgment of my different kind of parenting.

Anyway, it was overwhelming in those first couple years to get conscious of how very different I was. Really felt different all the way down to my cells. So the integration of the "new" version of me seemed to take forever. Really, it probably just took whatever time it took, but when in the middle of it...

Know that your experience will be unique to you, of course. But just wanted to say I remember these things and it took much energy and more time that I seemed to have -- or maybe more time than the "world" seemed to want to allow. But regardless, the least I can say is you aren't alone. For whatever that's worth...

Thinking of you much!
miracles,
k-

aliza said...

oh sarah,

it's such a bizarre new reality we are now living...i too am not social at all anymore, i see very few people and spend lots of time just the two of us. we are forever changed. i am ok being with and talking to friend who can talk about lev and are ok with hearing the truth, but otherwise i just don't have the energy for any of it.

i think it's all so complicated...the relationships, the losses upon losses, the trying to be real and authentic..

like you said, you may look good but that doesn't speak to what's really going on inside and the grief and sadness that are ever present, even when you also feel so calm and happiness. they are intertwined.

i really hope that you get a full night of sleep...have you tried a hot bath before bed? or some relaxing tea?

sending you love my friend
and know that i think of ezra everyday and will never ever forget him
xox

Michele said...

i share your feelings. after alex died, at his memorial, someone approached me and said, "you look great!" i remember feeling so empty inside.

sending hugs...

angie said...

Yes. The sadness and anxiety and lack of sleep--it all seems so unjust. I am reading too, as you know, and I think of Ezra, all our babies, every day too. I notice that people irl reading my blog act like we have been having this long conversation about Lucy and my grief when they haven't spoken to me in weeks. They act like we are the best of friends, and social...of course, they don't comment either, or even send emails. It is such a disconcerting dynamic. With much love you are on my mind.

Lea said...

Every word you wrote is true. We are living a different normal... one we never, ever expected and it is hard. We do the best we can.

Take care of you. xx

erica said...

I'm so there with you, Sarah. Sometimes it feels like my grief is invisible to those around me, and it's hard to feel strange and lonely. Thinking of you.

Paige said...

I feel so similarly, Sarah. Things have been rougher lately, much more sadness and anxiety. The happy/sad, calm/anxious tension is always there, and I'm still trying to grapple with the fact that I will never be one hundred percent happy again. I was a pretty happy person before, and this new life, this new me is so hard to get used to.

And yes, it's so frustrating for people to look no deeper than the surface and assume we're okay. I think people see what they want to see, and are pretty good at ignoring the rest.

Sending you love and a peaceful night. xo

ak_sapphire said...

the last few posts i've written have included, i think, a lot of similar emotions to what you've expressed. i want my children to be recognized, not ignored or hushed. it seems like just because we're still hurting no one wants to acknowledge the truth. i'm so sorry you're feeling down lately, just know you're not alone.

Funsize said...

I've gotten the "you look so good!" comment too. Only, it's, I can't believe you lost the baby weight so quickly! -Yeah, it's because I quit eating because I miss my son and I blame my body for killing him.

I'm dreading the 1 year mark. I know I'm going to be a wreck. I don't want to go through with that day. I don't even know how I'm going to celebrate/remember that day. Do you have any plans for yourself on that day?

I think only the babylost mommas will understand when you say "I'm doing ok", really means I'm functioning but I feel like crap. I think others will just take it at face value.

I'm thinking of you, Ezra, and your hubby.

xoxo

Ya Chun said...

it just amazes me that the sadness can't be see. I don't feel like I look great - the sadness around my eyes, the tiredness. Are they really looking?

I too am antisocial and just don't feel like going out to most places. We have a few friends that we feel comfortable and good hanging out with and that's it. I've shifted my definition of friendship, and realize that most people I knew were acquaintances. I don't sweat it. And I don't need to worry about them or their dramas anymore either.

we weren't sleeping well either, and started taking melatonin to help us fall asleep - it also helped me pass the 3 am mark. I took it regularly for about a week and it kind of 'reset' me, so now i rarely take it.

Barbara said...

Yes, yes and yes.

I was always somewhat anti-social but now I'm much happier when it's just Ray and me.

Always reading and thinking of all our lost babies.

xxx

marlono said...

Sarah,

You probably don't realize it, but I read your blog regularly. And I honestly think about and pray for you and David and Ezra every day. I think about how you're both wonderful, special people who had the worst possible thing in the world happen to them. And I pray that g-d decides that it's time for you to have another little one.

I'll freely admit that I don't know how to help or comfort you. It's terrible that you have this network of other babylost parents (terrible that so many other babies aren't with their families), but at the same time, I guess I thought that they were the only ones who could truly understand what you're feeling right now. I assumed (which I know I shouldn't do) that you wouldn't want to go "out," but I promise that the next time I'm in the mood to take a walk or go for coffee in the neighborhood, you'll be the first person I call. And, as always, you can call me ANY time, for anything. I mean it!

Gal aka SuperMommy said...

Still with you, Sarah. I will continue to be, and will say Ezra's name out loud and strong. Love to you.

Cara said...

Yes! The world wants to go back to thier book cover analysis of us when we are still dying inside!

Those waves, every few months are so hard. Reading, and thinking of you Sarah...

CLC said...

I read this thinking I could have written it myself. There's so many little losses layered on to our enormous loss. I wish people got that.

Louisa said...

"Its amazing to me how poorly people deal with the dark emotions. These days they intermingle with the light ones. I can be happy/sad. I can be calm/anxious. I'm not sure I ever envision it being any different. And no that doesn't make me clinically depressed. Every happy moment is a happy moment I have without my son. Every adventure is an adventure he's missed. And every beautiful day...he. is. still. gone"

that is an absolutely beautiful piece of writing, I can associate so much of what you articulate in this post, our angels are always with us and people should give ongoing support to baby loss parents so much so, I don't know if it's their level of lack of understanding or not wanting to upset us, but by not saying anything it can isolate us...feeling for you and the sadness is with us, it's a "new normal" a place in our heart whereby it will sit forever, but we learn to live with it..it's such a myriad of emotion that we have to work through, thinking of you

Louisa

Hope's Mama said...

You are so right on the isolating and alienating Sarah. I am right there with you, every step of the way. And I will always remember Ezra with you.

Monique said...

I wish more people were capable to be there for us, remember with us and continue to love us in our sadness but sadly, it doesn't happen often. I'll always remember Ezra with you, even though I never met him, I miss him and his crooked little grin. Much love. xoxo

Lani said...

wow sarah. there is so much in this post that i want to respond to.

a lot of our friends say they read which helps them to know how we're doing, and they feel like they do b/c of it. i kinda get mad when someone tells me they don't read it, i don't understand why they wouldn't want to keep up. but maybe they don't want to know how sad we really are. i don't know.

i hate small talk. i hate being social. its all fake to me now. i try to pretend sometimes i'm ok, but its emotionally draining.

its all just so complicated. i feel like i don't even know the answer. i don't know what's right or wrong.

anyway, i'm here sarah, i missed you while i have been gone. xoxo

Sophie said...

I completely get this post. I feel so bitter about it all.

Beautifully written, Sarah.

Thinking of you.

Rach said...

Yes, Sarah, yes!

People don't ask. Mostly. I did get asked 'how are you' on the weekend by someone who really meant it. Its so nice when that happens. Like you can stop holding your breath.

I am here, always. You and that little boy are never far from my thoughts. And that's true - when I think of Alice, I naturally think of her other little friends...

sendin you love, xxx

Molly said...

I so agree about how isolating it all is. I keep womdering if my friends and family really believe that pretending I'm okay really means I'm okay. And I hate when people tell me how great I look after losing weight.