Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Kitchen Table with Glow: Time

I decided to participate in glow in the woods Kitchen Table discussion. If you’d like to take part too just click here. All my questions I am answering just for Carleigh.

1. How much time has passed since the death of your child(ren)? Do you mark grief in months, weeks or years? Does it seem to be going fast or slow?

Today it has been 2 years 4 months and 5 days and I only know it to that extent because I looked at the ticker on the sidebar of my blog. In the beginning of my grief, I counted days. Then the days turned to weeks and the weeks into months. Now the months have turned into years. When the 28th comes each month sometimes I totally forget until someone or something reminds me. The next “milestone” will be 2 1/2 years in September.

Looking back the time has went by so fast. How can my daughter be gone almost 2 1/2 years already? It just doesn’t seem possible. I don’t think the time has ever went slow. Life just passes too quickly and it seems the older I get the faster it goes. I wish I could slow it down because the farther away I get from the day she was born the more the memories of that day fade.

2. Do you have an end goal to your grief? How much time do you think that will take? How much time did you think you'd need to get there right after your loss? How much time do you think you need now?

I’ve never really even thought of an end goal with grief until this question was asked. All I’ve wanted is to do the best I can for my daughter and be happy and I think that I have done that.

3. Rather than a clear end goal, is there a milestone or marker to indicate that you are feeling grief less acutely, i.e. going to a baby shower, listening to a song that made you cry early in grief, driving past the hospital? How long did it take to get there?

Knowing that Carleigh was going to die gave me a head start on grieving. The time spent waiting allowed me to gain perspective on what laid ahead of me once she was born and helped me to cope better after she was gone.

I know I am doing better than those early days because I can see how certain things affected me then don’t affect me the same now. It happened slowly. There was no quick fix. In the beginning I avoided leaving the house as much as I could. I didn’t like crowds and whenever we did go out I often got anxious or angry or even annoyed. And it was mostly just at the situation. I’m out and about and I don’t have my baby with me. People are going about their normal lives and mine will never be normal again.

It wasn’t until an outing in October 2009 that I realized how my feelings had escalated. All these emotions were boiling inside and threatening to spill over. I knew that I needed to get a handle on myself. After I consciously decided to make an effort at handle my emotions things started to get better. Slowly. I often had to take deep breaths and relax and calm myself in my head. I have gotten to the point now where I am ok with crowds again.

There are other examples too that I have made progress. In the beginning I could barely look at newborn babies or pregnant women but now I can look at them with a smile. Any song with a hint of sadness would make me cry but now I can make it through most songs while singing along. I couldn’t make it through a single church service without the weight of my emotions bringing me to tears. I avoided (for the most part) singing, praying, and my church family. But now I feel lighter. I can sing and pray with joy in my heart and I openly greet my church family.

Again, it has taken time to get to where I am today. I can see that by looking back on my posts and reading what I wrote then. I am glad to be out of the times when I was shackled tightly by grief.

4. How do you view the time you had with your child, either alive (within or outside) or already deceased? Before you all answer "Too short! Not enough!", did you have time to "bond" or develop a future imagination about what this child would be like? Perhaps depending on whether yours was cut short, how do you now feel about the nine-month period of gestation -- too long or not long enough?

Oh my heart. The time I had with Carleigh is so, so cherished. I only knew my Carleigh alive while she was in my womb, but I felt like I knew her so well. I knew when she was active or the time of day she was mostly likely to get the hiccups. She loved sweets just like her momma and her sisters. And just like her sisters, she liked to keep her head in my right hip with her arms around her face.

I loved her from the moment I knew she existed. I wanted her before she was conceived. When I found out she was a girl I was overjoyed and dreamed of my two girls growing up so close and having so much fun together. And then my dreams were shattered. My baby girl would never grow up to do any of the things I had imagined for her. I had to fit in a lifetime of memories in just the few short months I had left with her. It seemed impossible but I had no other choice.

I wish that I would have done more with her and taken more pictures when I was still pregnant with her, but at the time it seemed like enough. Is there ever enough? While I don’t regret the choices I made regarding her birth I often wonder what the outcome would have been if I had waited longer than 37 weeks for her to come into this world or if I had decided not to have my water broken. The outcome may have been the same but what if she would’ve been born alive? What would that have been like? I think I would’ve been able to know my daughter in a whole new way than if she hadn’t been born still. I would’ve got to see with my own eyes who she was, but her soul was gone before I could see it.

I desperately wish I would’ve had more time with my daughter. Both in my womb and in my arms. Those moments are never long enough. They seem but a blink in time now.

5. One grief book suggested that it took 2-5 years to incorporate your grief into your life. Where are you on this timeline, and you do you find that to be true?

I think that timeline seems about right. We are approaching 2 1/2 years and I feel like my grief is in a good place and I have learned to incorporate it into my everyday life. Hard moments don’t come as often and I can smile most of the time at the memories. For me, the first year was the hardest. Once I got past a year I felt like I could be a little more free from my grief. Like my shackles were loosened.

6. There's a familiar saying, "Time Heals all wounds." Do you think this is true? Or do you subscribe to Edna St. Vincent Milay: "Time does not bring relief, you all have lied"?

I used to but not anymore. There are some things time cannot heal and that is a broken heart from losing your child. I think that over time it gets easier but never completely better. You still have moments when grief hits you hard. I think of the line from the song Address in the Stars, “Everybody tells me all I need is time, but the morning rolls in and it hits me again and that ain’t nothing but a lie.”

7. Has your relationship with the future (immediate and far) changed since the death of your child(ren)? How about your relationship with the past?

I think about the past and the future more because unfortunately my daughter is in the past but she is also in my future. I held her once but I will hold her again. It seems to balance itself out-the sorrow of my past with the hope for my future.

8. How long did it take to answer these questions?

About a day because I had to stop to take care of my girls and other things and then come back to it later.


Caroline said...

What a beautiful post , so much love. You are a beautiful Mother.
<3 Carleigh <3

Fireflyforever said...

I find your writing very nourishing - you don't hide the rawness and the hardships of grief but you do have a wonderful, joyful perspective that I find very uplifting. Thank you.

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