Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yin and Yang

I have conflict over my grief lately. I want Calvin acknowledged but I also want my privacy. It's weird. We had a discussion a couple of weeks ago at Glow in the Woods about the face of our grief, and as inarticulately as I could muster, I semi-explained how I'm feeling. I think I lost myself in fact. I don't understand it myself. I want people to mention my son, I want him to be remembered, I want to talk about him, BUT, I want people to think I'm alright, I get defensive about being asked if I'm okay and I feel myself shutting down when people start to pry about my feelings. Does it make sense??? Probably not. It's this feeling I have, that if I don't present a "sane" face to the world in the face of my loss, than people will either turn away from me, or make me the object of their pity. I want neither to happen. I also don't know how to find the balance between shouting to the world how much this has hurt me, changed me, fucked me up inside etc. and smiling and saying, "it's ok, I'm ok, we're ok, everything is ok...blah, blah, blah...I feel like a fraud. I'm starting to get that paranoid feeling that people can tell I'm not ok when they look at me and it makes me hold on very tightly to my feelings. I feel safe in this space and with my husband. I feel safe with my friend Jesse. I feel safe at Glow in the Woods. There are not many other places, other than the blogs of other babylost mothers that I do feel safe. What saddens and angers me is that I don't have the kind of relationship with family, either Shane's or mine, that can fully be open with me about Calvin. There is always something being held back. I can't share pictures of his death, many of the family refused to see him at the viewing in his casket, I had to beg Shane's mother to hold Calvin in the morgue when he died. She now says we "forced" her to do something she wasn't comfortable with. That hurts me so much. His life was so short, my love for him so strong, that his death was all part of the experience of him for me. It was part of my time with him...Does that make sense??? Of course, I love my son so much that I would never stand for anyone to make comments about how awful he looked when he was dying, or say anything that would make me feel bad about sharing my experience. Maybe it's better that I don't share, but I need to. I need to share him, all of him, including his death with someone other than my husband who was there. Maybe that's why in desperation I emailed Dr. C, looking for someone to remember my son by someone who was part of our experience. Finding the balance between protecting my grief and sharing it with people is like walking a fine line. I worry about upsetting people, I worry about horrifying them, I worry that if I don't share my experience in it's totality that it's cheating Calvin and myself by prettying up a situation that plainly wasn't pretty. I just read the blog of someone who lost their son four weeks ago and she said something along the lines of "I want to shout to the world that I had a son and that he died and that it hurts and it's not fair...." That's exactly how I feel, but how do you do it without feeling even more hurt by people who are afraid of the "messiness" of death. I understand how people might be uncomfortable with the prospect of death, I'm not overly thrilled about it either. Calvin's life was centred around his illness, surgery and eventual death. It's not the way I wanted it, but it's the way it happened and I hate having to delete that part of the experience. I'm not sure this post made any sense whatsoever, I'm not sure I understand how I feel...just searching for balance.


  1. Your post makes perfect sense. I too am so protective of our little boy's memory. I am often desperately trying to figure out how to incorporate Nicholas into a conversation while talking about my other boys.

    Losing a baby is such a lonely, lonely loss and you're right, people are uncomfortable talking about death in general let alone the death of a precious baby... truly one of the deepest losses anyone can experience.

    I hear you about wanting to remember every little detail of Calvin - even the darkest moments. Those moments, those experiences are a part of who he is... a part of who you are. You deserve to talk about your baby.

    We are all here to listen and remember with you.

    Love to you.


  2. Trust me, as a young woman who just lost a baby this blog makes perfect sense!

    The only person that I can really talk to is my mom. She has never experianced a miscarriage and I feel a little awkward talking to her because I am scared that it makes her uncomfortable!

    It kills me that my daughter never got to hear my voice out side of the womb, she never got to feel my love as I held her, and she never got to meet her YaYa and PaPa along with her aunts and uncles!

    I too want people to know about my Amia Grace. She would have been my first child, but now she is just my sweet angel who is no longer here physically, but she will always be in my heart.

    I dont want people to think of her just as "the baby." I want people to aknowledge that she was a girl, she was MY DAUGHTER, and that she HAS a name and its AMIA!

    Im sorry that you lost Calvin! From the picture you have up he was very handsome!

  3. I put together a little photo book with pics of Oliver's first 75 days. It includes a chest shot taken the day of surgery and one after he went back on ECMO. As my neighbor reached for the book tonight, I warned her, "some of the pictures are terrible." Another one of our friends disagreed. "Oh, no they're not," he said.

    Oliver, like Calvin, had terrible things done to him. Wonderful, yes, but terrible, too. It is part of who he is. It is part of who I am. Oliver lived and I still rage every day. Quietly, though, so the neighbors don't hear.

  4. Makes perfect sense in this $!#@'d up reality in which we find ourselves. I just wish Calvin was here with you. I'm so sorry he's not. Much love.

  5. A friend recently wrote on her blog that she wasn't ready to share her son yet. I understand that very well.

    Although I want more than anything to talk about my beautiful children with everyone, I don't want to share the few actual physical things that I have of my children. For example, photographs.

    I have so few photographs of my children that I do not want to hand them out to everyone. People have asked, but I have hesitated. You see those children ARE MINE. So many people have been unable to understand our loss or empathise with us, that I do not feel generous enough to share the few things I have of my children with them. And that makes them angry ... as if they have a right to MY CHILDREN.

    Does that make sense?

    So I too only feel safe in very limited places to share freely about my children.