Aunt Flo has made her monthly visit. She is my most despised visitor as of late, since having the twins she seems to stay longer and longer each time she comes. Last month she was here for sixteen days and it's gotten so bad that I can no longer leave the house on the first couple of days she is here. I'm in agony. My cramps are so horrendous that my meds are no longer doing their job. A visit with my gynecologist last month had her suggest uterine ablation, that is burning of the lining in my uterus. I will hardly have periods if I get it done, but also never be able to carry a baby again. I'm holding out. Why, I don't know at this point as Shane and I cannot afford IVF right now and the likelihood of me carrying another child is not very high. But I'm afraid of the permanence of destroying my lining. Afraid of having my insides scorched and having to pass black, burned tissue. I'm afraid that if the time comes when we can afford the IVF, that I won't be able to because I've made my uterus uninhabitable. So I'm suffering, loudly at that. Poor Shane was roused from bed at five o'clock this morning so that I could change the sheets and start a load of laundry that needed washing immediately. I don't know how much longer I can keep this up. I am thinking of returning to work but know that no employer in his right mind is going to give me the first two to three days of my period off every month. I don't see any other way though at this point. Not only are the cramps intolerable but my flow is so heavy that no feminine hygiene product protects me for more than an hour at a time. I'm at a loss for what to do. I can't handle this much longer but I don't want to give up the possibility of ever having a child again.
I've wanted to post for some time now on how your support and the things you do to remember my son and give me comfort mean to me. Some days when I am feeling down, all it takes to cheer me up, give me comfort, give me strength, are a few words on my blog, left with love from another mother who has lost her child. Some days when I am feeling that no one in the world understands me I will read a post on someone's blog that says exactly what is in my heart. Some days when I feel that no one thinks of me or remembers my son, I get a sweet surprise from someone who has thought of us and taken the time to acknowledge us. I have been down lately. I have been struggling with Calvin's upcoming year, not only his birthday, but his death day six days later. I am having a hard time finding a way to honour Calvin on the day of his birth, without making it a sad time for Georgia. I feel guilty and sad and lonely and confused about what to do for her, to honour her sweet life while remembering her brother's place in our family also. I've been consumed with cleaning, trying not to think about things, make things more complicated while these days come closer and closer. I am filled with sadness over Calvin's marker and the thought that it might not be installed for his birthday or his death day. I am also trying to stay focused on feeling happiness for my sisters in law who are both pregnant and have every right to be happy and joyful about their babies. Some days it's difficult. Not because I begrudge them their children or joy, but because my own road to family has been so bumpy. Because although I have had two daughters and a son, my life feels incomplete without Calvin here. I envy them for not knowing the pain and fear of carrying a child with a serious congenital heart defect, for being able to embrace pregnancy and all the joys of dreaming of who that child will be without being shadowed by past losses and heartache. Both of my pregnancies were filled with worry, endless checkups and monitoring. I wish I had had the experience of having a child without fear, just knowing the anticipation of things to come. I am also trying very hard to be supportive for my blog friends who are expecting. I know they do carry some of the fear I had with me when I was pregnant and I wish I could help them believe that things will be okay for them. I believe it with all my heart. More than anything, I wish I could have an hour with each of you, to thank you for your words, the kindness and love you've shown me through these difficult months, for not judging me when my words come out sounding like I should be locked away in some insane asylum forever. I want to thank Lea and Bree for remembering Calvin on their blogs, for honouring his life. It means so very much to me to have him acknowledged as part of me, part of my family. I want to also thank Jesse for selflessly sharing herself and her son Oliver with me. They have come to be people I love dearly and think about daily. I don't know what I would do without the support and kindness you all have given me in your own ways. Just wanted to say you are terrific women, each and every one of you. None of us deserved to have these things happen to us and I wish to God it hadn't. I do think of you all, and your sweet babes very much although I haven't figured out a way to show it here. Thanks for being my light in the dark...and for being here as I stumble through surviving the most painful loss in my life. I love you all.
My life has been in a virtual shambles since Calvin died last November. I stopped cooking for months and we lived on either the kindness of family having us for dinner or takeout for a long time. Getting back into cooking was difficult for me at first, it came in fits and starts. I'd be good for a week and then lapse again into complacency and not cook for another month. I really noticed how messed up my life was at the end of January when I realized that I had been walking around the wrapping paper from Christmas morning for over a month and that my Christmas tree which had long since died had dropped almost all it's needles on my livingroom floor. We hadn't even unpacked from moving home from Vancouver by the end of January and I had been dodging calls from our kindly retired minister who had performed Calvin's funeral service, because I was ashamed at my lack of motivation or concentration long enough to get my house cleaned. It's been on and off like that for me for months now, since losing our son and it's just been in the last couple of months that I have started cooking again full time.
When we decided to move Georgia out of our bedroom a few months ago, we had to move Lorelei upstairs to her new bedroom so that Georgia could have her old room. We had made Lorelei's room as comfy and pretty as possible with all her things and her Aunt Susie and Uncle Dana had done an amazing job painting and putting up pretty wallpaper for her in anticipation of her move to her big girl bedroom. So both Lorelei and Georgia had pretty, clean, organized bedrooms. A fresh start for both girls. I don't know why I didn't give Shane and I the same fresh start. We've been living in clutter and chaos in our room and the remainder of the unseen parts of the house for almost a year now. This past week I decided I have had enough and set about to correct the chaos. I started in our laundry room which ironically still had boxes of stuff from our move home from Vancouver. It took me three days to clean it, organize it, get rid of the stuff that shouldn't be in there and do all the laundry that has been sitting in the hamper for months now. Yesterday I started on our bedroom. It's been a huge job for me, cleaning out our closet was difficult, not because of the mess, but because of the disorganization of memories collected there. Parts of Calvin's life lay all askew here and there, papers, birth and death certificates, clothing, memories. For the first time in twenty years, I took everything out of my hope chests and went through it all, getting rid of stuff I have lugged around for most of my life that had no meaning. Then I went upstairs and lugged down the suitcase containing Calvin's clothing and unpacked it. Touching each thing of his, remembering each special gift or outfit purchased with love for him, smelling the clothes he wore the day he died. I found myself crying, sitting alone on the laundryroom floor, packing away all of his things, putting my memories in one tidy place. All my hopes and dreams for my son now lay in that chest and although it hurt so much to go through all those memories and things, I feel a sense of accomplishment at having organized it all into one place. It's a feeling I haven't felt in a long time. In fact it felt so good I have been focusing on making our home feel homey once again, the thoughts of nesting down for the winter in comfort appeals to me right now as I know the memories and pain of last November lay just around the corner. This time when they come, I will be ready to face them and my world without everything falling apart again.
The funeral director was apalled when he heard that Calvin's name had been spelled incorrectly on his marker and assured us that "This never happens, it's a terrible fluke," like it would make us feel any better. Our son had a 90% chance of survival following his open heart surgery too, his death was also a "fluke". We are now waiting again for Calvin's marker to be replaced. I was told repeatedly that they could not possibly leave the marker there until his new one came, no no no, it must be sent back immediately. So my son lays in an unmarked grave yet again and we are back to waiting. Six weeks we were assured. "It better be here in six weeks, my son is not spending another winter without a marker on his grave", Shane told Rick. I'm hoping beyond hope it's here in time for installation. However, the family ceremony and balloon release that I had planned for a nice, warm, sunny day has been postponed, maybe until next spring. Devastated? Yes, again and again. Heartbroken for my beautiful, perfect son who lies in the ground in an unmarked grave like someone who's life was not worth acknowledging. Heartbroken for my husband who cannot bring himself to visit Calvin until the marker is installed and angry at the careless jerk who didn't check his work or maybe thought he could sneak his mistake past us. Now, instead of nice green grass and fresh flowers at Calvin's marker, I am anticipating dry, dead, brown grass and silk flowers for the winter. I'm bitter. I feel that if shit is going to go wrong, then it always seems to go wrong for Shane and I. Maybe I need an exorcism. Bah......
Today I called the funeral home to find out just what has been going on with Calvin's grave marker. I had been told that the delivery date was scheduled for August 17th and that it should be installed in the next couple of weeks following. As of yesterday it was still not there and we have waited almost four months since ordering it. Our funeral director made some calls and found that Calvin's marker was at the cemetery but not yet installed and could not give me a reason why. Twenty minutes later, the secretary called to let me know that they had installed it after speaking with Rick and that it was now there. Lorelei and I anxiously waited for Shane to get home to watch Georgia and she and I planned to go have a look at it and then go for an ice cream cone after supper. After we ate, I put Lorelei in the van and ran down to the cemetery hoping beyond hope that Calvin's marker was installed. I could see it as we pulled up. Excitedly I jumped out of the van and walked over to Calvin's grave and within seconds was devastated. We spent $2000.00 and waited four months and his name is spelled wrong. I could just cry.
Before I carry on with the ten random facts about me, I would like to mention that Shannon at A Memory in My Heart has suffered another devastating loss. Please follow the link above and visit her blog to offer her some love.
10 Random Facts About Me
1. I have struggled with my weight all my life. After my first husband and I separated I lost over a hundred pounds going from a size 24 to a size 12. During my pregnancy with Lorelei I gained over seventy pounds of which I still had thirty to lose when I got pregnant with Calvin and Georgia. I gained eighty one pounds with my pregnancy with the twins, of which I lost sixty in the first fifteen days following their births and Calvin's death. My goal is to lose another forty pounds to get back to my wedding day weight.
2. I have trouble forgiving and saying sorry. I have struggled with this character defect of mine for years. I don't forgive easily and have gone as far as to cut people out of my life completely when they hurt me. I'm not proud of this, in fact, it's one of the things I dislike about myself the most. I spent over ten years not speaking to my dad and haven't spoken to a cousin for six years. It often leaves me lonely and regretful but I also struggle with admitting when I'm wrong and saying sorry. It's something I desperately wish to change about myself especially because I know that not being able to forgive will hurt my marriage, something that means the world to me.
3. I bought my first wig ever a month ago in hopes of spicing things up in my life in general. I actually wore it out clubbing when Shane and I went to Vancouver and enjoyed feeling different about myself. He enjoyed it because it was completely out of character for me. Change can be good!
4. I am terrified of bugs and rodents, two things I seem to have in abundance in this old country house of ours. For some reason this house has the biggest spiders I have ever laid eyes on and no matter how many traps we set or poison we put down in the basement, we never seem to completely get rid of all the mice. I hate them both with a passion. I once killed a mouse with my broom. I was so scared I peed my pants and hollered so loud I woke Lorelei up.
5. I think my children are the most beautiful kids in the world and sometimes think I don't show them enough appreciation.
6. Shane and I met at a party after I had been stood up on a date. I had known in the back of my head that day that for some reason Brad (the guy that asked me out) wasn't going to show up. I asked my wonderful friend Ginger to hang out at my house until Brad showed up and if he stood me up, I would give him half an hours grace and then her and I would go out. He never showed and Ginger and I ended up at a party. I met Shane who ironically lived on my street at the time. Four days later we had our first date and within a couple of weeks we were living together. I knew from day one that he was the man I would spend the rest of my life with. I love him more than anything even though we have struggled through so much during our marriage.
7. I worship the doctors that cared for Calvin. I wish with my whole heart that I had enough in me to do a job like they do. The world is so much better because of these two extraordinary men. Dr. S and Dr. C I love you always!
8. I love diamonds. I have more jewelery than I really need but I'm always looking for more.
9. A man once randomly bought me a rose on the streets and told me I was beautiful. I was very overweight at the time so my self esteem wasn't the greatest. His act of kindness has stayed with me for seventeen years now.
10. My husband made me so proud of him once by giving an old woman who was begging in the rain on the streets of Vancouver twenty dollars. He went back to talk to her and asked her to please get out of the rain and go somewhere to get warm. It melted my heart and made me tear up with his compassion and kind heart.
So, there they are. Ten random facts about me. For the people I have tagged, please post your seven blogs and the links to them. Leave a comment on the blog of the people you have tagged, letting them know they have been nominated. Then post your ten random facts. Thanks again so much for nominating me Leila's mommy!!!
We've been going to the cemetery alot, Lorelei and I. Most of the time it's been just a quick drive through to see if Calvin's marker has been laid or not. And no, it hasn't as of today. A couple of days ago Lorelei and I were on our way home and I told her that I wanted to drive by and see if Calvin's marker was in yet. As we pulled into the cemetery, I turned the music down. Lorelei asked me why we were turning the music down and I told her it was out of respect for the people who lay there and the people who were visiting them. I explained that everyone in the cemetery was somebody's loved one at some time and that to honour their memories, we kept it a quiet and peaceful place. Lorelei was quiet for a moment and then said to me, "Mom, I don't like this tragic garden". "Why not honey?", I asked her. "Because it makes you cry", came the answer. "This place doesn't make me cry Lorelei, I cry because I miss your brother so much." She sat silently in the back for awhile and then said, "I miss Calvin too Mommy, but I still don't like this tragic garden." I smiled and told her that was okay, she didn't have to like it there but it was where her brother's body lay. On the way home the words tragic garden kept repeating themselves over and over again in my head. Yes, the cemetery is a tragic garden, full of sorrow and love and lives turned to stone. So pretty and so painful. All the flowers for people who can no longer enjoy them, full of people who visit probably more often now than they did when their loved one was alive. I haven't bought Calvin flowers for a couple of months, I've been waiting until his marker is set, but I think now I'll buy my daughter some flowers too.
We ordered Calvin's marker May 13. It's still not here and I am aggravated beyond belief. At the time we buried Calvin, it was the end of November and the city was no longer installing markers because it was winter. The funeral director advised Shane and I to take our time on deciding what to have it say so when we went in at the beginning of May, we were told it would take six to eight weeks. When it still wasn't installed at the beginning of August I called the funeral home to find out what was going on and was told that the company that makes the markers was behind schedule and that it was due to be shipped out August 17th. I have checked every second day since then and it is still not installed. I am heartbroken my boy has been without a grave marker for almost a year and his father can't bring himself to go to the cemetery until it is installed. By the time it gets here I am afraid it will be too late to bring fresh flowers or that it will be so cool that I won't comfortably be able to spend any time there with him. I'm angry and feel like this is yet one more injustice to my beautiful son. The longer it takes, the more upset I am getting and I am questioning why we have spent the kind of money we did on something that we have yet to see. If it is not installed by the end of the week, the funeral home is going to wish they had never had to deal with me after I get done. I doubt very much if it was one of their children lying in the ground without a grave marker that it would be taking this long. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that Calvin's marker is installed in the next few days so that I can spend time with him there while the sun still shines.
The reality of loss is that when you least expect it, the pain will creep in and knock you right back down leaving you stunned and breathless. It leaves you questioning every aspect of your life, haunting doubts and what ifs and painful memories squeezing out any semblance of normalcy you've managed to collect. Mirne and Craig's loss has left me reeling, questioning everything I've tried so hard to believe in since Calvin died. Last night the cork blew off what I had managed to bottle up these past few lonely months and the pain surfaced tenfold. My life has lost any vestige of ordinary that once cloaked me in anonymity. I no longer feel invisible, I feel like I have been painted a shocking putrid yellow that announces my freaky existence to everyone around me, an unacceptable colour that gives me a wide berth and makes me feel shamed. My pain is worn in my eyes, on my face and in my posture. It shows through the lack of care I have regarding my appearence or surroundings. I am shabby and not in a chic way. My heart is hanging in shreds and the mentality that comes with a shredded heart is a skewed version of reality, where simple things become ugly as they are interwoven into the pain of loss. I screamed and bellowed and railed and wept angry unaccepting tears last night as I fully began to see just how warped my thinking and feeling has become. I can't watch movies, or the news, or be in situations where there are baby boys or the joy that comes with expectancy. I am jaded and bitter and without hope for myself and my future and no amount of howling wails or hot tears makes it better. Last night the bitter sting of separation crept into my heart, pain I have kept at bay for awhile now by immersing myself in distractions. All of it. The full force of knock you on your ass oh my God my baby died in my arms and is never coming back and I can't have anymore children and my life fucking hurts so much I want to die some days and fuck why can't I just be normal anymore and smile and go about my day making happy plans for my future . The insanity of swirling pain in my heart as I remember my beautiful boy and question every decision I made regarding his life and whether or not I did the right things for him. The anger that it shouldnt have happened to us after trying so hard and now my life is completely fucked up and I just want to smash somebody's teeth in over how unfair this has been and how my husband has been hurt and lashed out in his own painful ways and how my daughter inappropriately tells random strangers that Calvin died when she's feeling insecure. I feel like I can't breathe because my chest is so tight with these constricting chains that at times I just want to ram my head through window glass so that something else besides my heart hurts. It's been nearly ten months now. Ten months of coping and moving further away from him as my life continues and his does not. Separation anxiety is rearing it's ugly head. It's an unnatural state of being, to be suspended in this hell of being without my child. It goes against nature. All my gutteral instincts tell me to pound the ground and beat my chest and let out loud primal screams as I deal with this uncomprehensible separation. All the socially acceptable dos and don'ts I've been taught keep me in check, murmuring my pain on the occassion and keeping my fucking mouth shut for the most part. Fuck society. Take away that which is most precious to you and be told to live with it. Deal with it. Cope with the pain and the feeling of being a freak everyday because you have this horrible secret inside. Keep it together. Keep it together. I can't.....my life is broken. Oh Calvin, what did we do? My gorgeous, perfect boy. Last night I wished your life undone, that I could go back before you were conceived....before the pain dug out my soul and left me hollow. I'm so sorry for feeling like that, for the selfishness of it all while you lay sleeping in your tiny grave. I just can't do this anymore, I don't know how I can......
We are what I'd like to say a "closeknit community", us babylost mothers, bound together by a common thread. That thread is knowing the pain of losing a child, the most devastating pain in the world. We console each other, offer words of understanding and love, shore each other up when we are down and celebrate our successes together. Most of us don't know each other in real life, most are connected only through our blogs and our stories, but regardless of the miles between us all, we care. I have come to care very much about women I have never met, through reading their words in their blogs or through comments on my own, we share ourselves and our lives here and it is very much real.
Over the past few months, I have been following Mirne's journey through babyloss from the stillbirth of her daughter Freyja at twenty eight weeks gestation and the sudden death of her one month old son Kees. She has shared her life, her pain and fear with us and recently her hope. Mirne was pregnant and expecting her third child at the end of August, a little boy who arrived safely August 29, 2009. Mirne and Craig named him Jethro Craig Wilhelm, Jet for short and they joyously spread the news of Jet's birth through the blog community. I rejoiced with them as I read about Jet's birth, relieved that Mirne finally had a living child to be mother to. They have lived through so much pain with the loss of their other two children that Jet's safe arrival was indeed a miracle. With shock and sadness tonight I read that Jet had died suddenly in his hospital bassinet at three days old. Why? Why do things like this happen to people who have already lived through so much? How is it that a perfectly healthy baby can be laid down to sleep in his hospital bed to never wake up? Mirne and Craig, my heart is broken for you. I am so utterly saddened right now, so devastated and in complete disbelief that this could happen to you again. My faith in God has been so shaky since my own son died almost ten months ago but I keep hanging on to my belief that someday I will see my son again. This makes me question God why? How could He let this happen to you after already losing two precious children? Where was He when Jet closed his eyes to sleep and took his last breath? I am angry at Him. I am so completely heartbroken for you both. I wish I had some answers that would give some insight as to how so much could happen to one family, but I don't. All I can do is ask that you pray for Mirne and Craig and for their broken hearts. Please pray for Jet's safe journey to heaven and that his mom and dad find peace and love in each other's arms. I'm so so sorry. Mirne and Craig, know that we weep with you and that you are being held in our hearts with love at this very sad time.
Please visit Mirne's blog to offer your condolences for the loss of Baby Jet:
I have decided to write about my feelings following the death of my only son in November 2008. I'm learning that grief is a process with good days and bad, a lonely road with new beginnings and unavoidable endings. It is my hope that through writing I can come to peace with what has happened to us and our beautiful boy.