CLICK HERE to Light a Candle for Gracie and Any Other Soul in Need
Light as many as you would like - as often as you would like.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I have been sick for the last two days.  As I sat on the couch today trying to muster the gumption to get some tea, something dawned on me.  Today I can say that I was pregnant with my first child 18 months ago.  In one week I will not be able to say that.  Monday will mark 18 months since Gracie died, and the wee hours of Tuesday will mark 18 months since her very silent birth directly into Heaven.  In some aspects, it seems just like yesterday, and in other aspects it seems like a lifetime ago.  I looked at her pictures on the computer for about 20 minutes after DH went to work this afternoon.  To be honest, I don't think he even realizes that we are approaching another milestone, and I'm not sure that I really want to remind him.  

It just seems impossible that it's been 18 months already.  I was reading a post by Acacia's mom earlier, and I can definitely relate to something that she wrote.  As much as I didn't want it to, I knew this day would come eventually, and it saddens me beyond words.  It makes me feel even worse to admit publicly that the details of Gracie's face are starting to escape my mind.  The generalities are still there, but the details are fading.  It seems impossible, since I look at her pictures frequently, but I now have to actually look at her pictures to recall the details. 

I look ahead another 5 or 10 or 20 years and wonder if I will remember.  I wonder how much will have faded.  I wonder how often I will look at her pictures.  God forbid, but I wonder if there will ever come a time that her birthday slips past us.  I wonder what she will look like when we are reunited...and I wonder if we will recognize each other then. 

~~ possible triggers below ~~

For the last few months, I have walked around every day with blog posts in my brain.  Occasionally I am able to start a post and come back and add to it over a period of days, but for the most part I usually don't have the time needed to sit down and get my thoughts into the computer.  As a result, I continue to walk around with random thoughts and feelings floating around in my brain...this post is an attempt to purge some of them and make space for some new thoughts in there!  Some of it will seem really random, and some of it not so random...I am just using this as a medium to get it out. 

My sister is currently assigned, via the Peace Corps, to a teaching assignment in Namibia, Africa.  She left for this assignment 2 weeks after Gracie's funeral, and will be in Namibia until some time between October and December 2011.  After much debate, she decided to some back to the states for a 3.5 week visit that covered the last half of December and the first week of January. To say the least, her visit did not go well, for many reasons.  While I tried to have no expectations for her time here, I was so excited for her to meet Jenna...but about an hour after she met her, an unexpected phrase crossed her lips.  "I'm just not that into babies."  Talk about a knife to the heart.  Prior to her departure, there was unpleasant communication between us about this, and other things that happened during her visit.  On the surface, things were okay when she left, but I am not sure that they are really okay.  I am worried about what things will be like when she comes home at the end of the year; I wonder what kind of interest she will have in my kids in the coming years; I wonder, in general, how different she will be once she gets back to the states and settles back in.  I am still somewhat disappointed about how things unfolded, and honestly, I am still a little mad about some of the things that happened.  Some of these feelings are deeper rooted and go beyond this visit, but I really don't think that she understood that when I threw it out there.  I don't know...I am feeling quite anxious and unsettled by the whole thin.  I hope the things that were amiss are better by the time she returns.

I seem to be quite frustrated by having to wear my big girl panties lately.  Over the last couple of months, I have had to fight, with all I have, the urge to unleash on a few specific people that I know in real life.  It's an incredible urge to blatantly and bluntly tell them what/how I really feel about them.  Holding my tongue and speaking in a socially acceptable manner is really starting to get under my skin.  At the risk of sounding judgmental, these people are all self-centered idiots (of varying degrees, of course), and everyone knows that except them.  I have no interest in being around or working with these people, but it's unavoidable.  *sigh*  I suppose that in good time, their eyes will be opened somehow.  Until then, the big girl panties it is. 

Completely jumping topics...  Over the last several months I have been unable to shake an unhealthy obsession with/fear of death.  I am petrified of those close and important to me just disappearing. Some days I want to suggest that DH and I ride in separate cars...just in case.  I am petrified that he won't come home from work one night (He's a cop.  Nothing ever happens here, but the thought is always there.)  I was petrified that my sister's plane would crash into the Atlantic during her trip home over the holidays.  I'm afraid of waking up to find one of my dogs or cats dead.  And of course, I am convinced that I will go in to get Jenna up some morning and she won't be breathing.  I am certain that this is the largest root of this whole psychological mess, and that eventually, the volume of this fear will start to fade a little bit.  In the meantime, it's kind of making me a little nuts.  :-P

Jenna's birth has forced me to plunge back into 'communication' with my mother, since DH says that she will not be intentionally kept from her grandchildren.  My parents divorced when I was 14 or 15 and I moved in with my dad when I was 16.  Prior to that, my relationship with my mother had been in the crapper for several years.  Most people assume that it's because I was a snot-nosed kid who couldn't get over something.  Definitely not the case, but only a few people closest to me have ever seen my mother's true colors to understand the whole story.  Some people, including my husband, never saw it until several years after he met her.  The fact that my mother and step-father did not show up for our wedding 2.5 years ago, more or less as part of some passive-aggressive tactic, opened the eyes of many non-believers.  

Fast forward to my pregnancy with Gracie.  No communication at all between me and mother for the duration of my pregnancy.  The only thing we heard from their camp is that they stood in a local restaurant and told the girls working there that our decision to have a baby was some huge, life altering mistake.  Other than that, all was quiet.  And honestly, I was okay with that.  I am faaarrrr less stressed with things are quiet.  Several days before Gracie died, my stepfather started calling Jeff to tell him that my mom's birthday was at the end of the week and I should call her to wish her a happy birthday.  As luck would have it, Gracie died on my mother's 60th birthday.  Jeff called my stepfather to tell him that I would not be calling, and why.  And then they proceeded to call us 4 times in the 11.5 hours that I was in labor.  Phone calls were NOT what we wanted...from anyone.  We debated whether or not they would be included in the funeral, and ultimately, we decided that my mother had the right to mourn her granddaughter.  There were several points during the service when all was quiet...and all you could hear was my mother sobbing.  I have lots to say about this, but I will leave it at that.  After that, very little communication from their camp until about half way through our pregnancy with Jenna, when my stepfather cornered my MIL outside the grocery store one day.  Again, when Jenna was born, Jeff decided that my mother would not be cut off from grandchildren.  And that's all it has taken to open the door.  Once the door is cracked, my mom tends to come through on a bulldozer.

She was very over the top in the first few weeks after Jenna was born, and then they suddenly disappeared again.  Good and bad.  Bad because she is sitting around waiting for us to call and invite them over to see Jenna.  (We have a standing rule with everybody - if you want to come see her, call.  If we're home and up for visitors, you are welcome to stop by.  We no longer issue gold-plated and engraved invitations for people to come visit.)  Then she friended me on FB.  I didn't do anything with it, and after about a week I checked to see if she had friended anyone else.  It's been a few months, and she hasn't friended anyone else, so I know that it's another cyberstalking tactic, which I just can't handle.  I know absolutely, without any doubt, that if I friended her on FB so she could see more pics of Jenna, that she would go through my profile and friend list with a fine tooth comb...and eventually end up here.  In Gracie's blog.  Which is exactly where I don't want her.  Ugh.  The whole thing is uber-stressful, and I don't need that kind of stress.  Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to get any better. 
And last, but not least, there is the age old question that has been spinning in the front of my brain again.  Why do I come to this place...the baby loss blogosphere?  Why do I come here?  What does it mean?  I suppose, on a basic level, the appropriate answer is that I come here to expel my grief.  Sometimes I wonder if coming here keeps me here.  I wonder if not coming here for a while helps to lift me up?  Am I down because I come here or do I come here because I am down?   I think, for the most part, I come here now because I am down.  The days that I come here and write are the days that I am really missing my little peanut.  They are the days that I am overflowing with thoughts that I can't really purge anywhere else, because they are thoughts that not many people will understand.  I can come here, and offload whatever demons I'm carrying with me, and usually feel a little better after I do.  For the most part. In recent months I have begun to hold back a bit, even is this forum, simply because I have had trouble really purging my feelings without offending someone in the process...even here.  Who knows how long I will continue to come here to purge.  And in all truth, who knows how long I will come here to memorialize my first born child.  I guess that only time will tell...

So there is all of the crap that has been spinning in my head for the last few weeks...  It certainly makes me seem like a hot mess, huh?  In all reality, it's not too bad as long as the thoughts don't bang into each other as they spin.  :-)


Maggie said...

Purge away. I don't really have anything insightful to say, but I hope writing it all out helped a little bit and I hope you feel better soon! xo

Big Love, Big Acceptance - or so I say said...

I think all of this sounds so NORMAL! Or maybe it just helps me feel more normal? :)

The relationship with your mom sounds stressful (to say the least). It sounds like you are handling it so gracefully! My dh and I are thinking so much about our relationships with our own parents these days as we hope to parent a living child soon, and are beginning to imagine how our relationship with our parents will change as they become involved in our child's life as grandparents. I think it can be a rocky transition even in the best of circumstances/relationships, so any stress or strain just makes it that much harder.

And I am sorry to hear about what your sister said about not being into babies. My face turned into a little childish pout when I read that. We can imagine that your sister might not really have understood the impact of her words... but then I don't know for sure what she was really thinking when she said that. I hope you're able to come to some peace with your relationship with her, working on that now and when she comes home. I can imagine that won't always be easy.

Amazing how much time and energy family takes! :) I keep working with my therapist on how much I want to tell my family and talk with them directly about how i'm feeling and what I see as our family dynamics... and how much I am or will eventually let go of because I can't expect or change my family to be the way I want them to be (shucks!). :)

Personally - I'm glad you are able to find some time occassionally to come here and purge. I appreciate the connection!

Andrea said...

Susan, you are an incredible woman! All the reaching out you do to other BLM'S is amazing :) I wish I had the words to say what I wanted like you do.

Your mom reminds me of my friends mom in some ways - floating in and out of her life on HER terms, forgetting major life events, not attending b/c she "wasn't invited"...I could go on. I just wanted you to know you were not alone with that mom thing and I hope that one day her eyes will be opened.

Like yourself, I have been slowly drifting as far as Julia goes too. Just the other day I opened her box and was looking at her pictures. I forgot how looking at them made me feel. I think I think of her or remember her differently now. It's not a bad thing, only different. The longing to hold her again is still there, but there is also an acceptance of her absence. I don't think you will ever forget Gracie's birthday. Regardless of busy lives, the time if the year of our babies' births will forever be in our hearts and I don't think their birthdays will ever be missed.

Your thoughts often open my eyes to hidden thoughts of my own and for that I am thankful.

Love and hugs XOXO

Andrea said...

Oh, and I wanted to tell you of how I am more paranoid and afraid of death too. There are numerous times I get up to check on Ethan and Lauren at night and each night I listen for my hubby's truck to come back safely in the driveway. I have scary thoughts of driving accidents and have to whisk them away. I think it's normal, and like yourself I wish they were not there, but I think it will take time for them to lessen. Honestly, I think it's just part of being a mom but it is exacerbated being a BLM b/c we have so directly been affected by loss. Much love :)