It seems as if I am out of the loop. I don't know how it happened or when but today I had the shocking revelation that there are ALOT of new babylost mamas in our community who I have never met. And suddenly I wonder if I have been following too many blogs to keep up with lately because it saddens me that I have not met some of you and extended my hand in friendship and support. I'm not only shocked by the sheer number of us out here, I'm saddened. It feels like I am a veteran of grief now, someone who has gone on before to hack away at some of the path in the journey for others to follow behind. I guess part of me was so busy looking ahead that I forgot to look back and take time to recognize those souls trudging the path behind me. With this bit of insight, I would like to ask if there are those of you reading who have lost a child and whom I haven't quite "met" yet, could you leave me a comment, let me know your child's name and a bit about yourself and I will make it a priority to stop by your blog to say hello, offer you a hug and let you know that I am here and that I care...because I do. Hugs to all the mamas, none of who should be walking this journey.
Happiness is so fleeting at times, it seems that when I start feeling better something happens to knock the wind out of my sails and I'm feeling low again. Like what happened at H&R Block and that horrible woman that did my taxes. Thanks to your input, I placed a call to the government to find out exactly whether or not my son's short life "counted" as far as claiming him as a dependent. It turns out that it did, as many of you advised and I returned to H&R with Calvin's birth certificate in hand to have a word with them over their "error". It seems that the woman had already been advised that she had made a mistake when she told me that Calvin's short life did not count and that by not putting him as a dependent on my tax return, she had shorted me of about $2500 in child tax credit. When I arrived to speak with her, she had already done the amendment to my taxes and all that was needed was a copy of Calvin's birth certificate and my signature. She apologized profusely. Although I was somewhat miffed over her insensitive comments about Georgia, and Calvin "not counting", I felt somewhat vindicated.
I am almost off my meds as well. I'm down to the lowest dose twice daily but lately have only needed them to help transition to sleep. The withdrawl has been minimal and I'm thankful for that. It's not the nicest feeling in the world having the heebee-jeebees as you try to go to sleep. Another small thing to rejoice in. And really, it's a big thing because it lets me know that I can beat this thing, that my days of being fuzzed out and not remembering are coming to an end. I've been smiling more, feeling more emotion than I have in a long time and remembering how good it feels to laugh. This spring feels like a rebirth so far and I'm enjoying it.
There has also been a couple of serendipitous happenings in my life financially. Whew! It's been a tough winter and things are coming back together for construction and there is money to be made. And although money isn't everything, when you're used to having alot of it around and then suddenly are struggling, it's nice to get back into the swing of things. I'm learning also that there are things in my life that I can do without that I never imagined before. Material things. I've also learned that material things can never replace people, and that you cannot fill the void of missing someone by filling it with money or drugs or instant gratification. I'm trying not to fill the hole Calvin left in my life with things that don't really matter anymore. It's fruitless. However it seems that the less I fight the void, the less hold it has on me. I still miss my son with everything I have and I expect I always will. This new reality, however much I don't like it some days is becoming part of me, part of my life. The less focus I put on this new reality, and the more I just try to live again the less it rips me apart.
I have also been reminded lately by someone I admire that there is beauty all around us and it is ours for the taking. Today I took advantage of the rain and two sleepy children to crawl into bed myself and listen to the raindrops on the window as I drifted off to sleep. There were things I should have done but that can wait and the nap was as refreshing as the spring rain. My hope is coming back. Like the tide it ebbs and flows, but in this moment I feel it strong and defiant against the winter of loss as it begins to bloom again in my heart. I'm at peace today, and that in itself is another small, but important victory.
Shane and I were bereft in the fall of 2008 when our son died, so much so that nothing mattered more than getting through Christmas and trying to mourn while tending to Georgia's newborn needs. We holed up in our home for what seemed to be months, doing little except spending time with our girls, avoiding going out in public where our loss could be brought up in awkward places. With the focus so much on our grief and trying to survive it, certain areas in our lives became neglected, one area being that we didn't file our taxes for 2008. Today I took the opportunity of a few free hours to collect receipts, slips and forms and head down to our local tax preparation place to file my delinquent tax return. After dealing with a blatantly rude receptionist who sat on the phone talking to her friend about "yeah, we're all laid off as of May 15th and now I have to give up my apartment....", I sat down to wait for someone to come and get me. After about ten minutes, an overly friendly woman bounced around the corner and called my name. Her friendly demeanor changed within minutes of finding out that I hadn't filed for 2008 and she grumbled about having to file a paper return. While sitting across the desk from the woman about to file my taxes, I pulled out Calvin and Georgia's birth certificates and place them on her desk. With a blank stare, the woman looked from Calvin's certificate to me, to the certificate again without saying anything. Bluntly I asked her, "Can I claim my son as a dependent for 2008?", to which she replied, "I don't think so", as she shoved the document back towards me. "But he lived for six days", I said. "Yeah, I don't think that counts", was her answer. Numbly I put his birth certificate back in my purse and as she picked up Georgia's birth certificate she asked, "Is she dead too?".
I literally had to use every ounce of restraint to be polite in my reply. Gritting my teeth, I answered, "No, she's at home with me...". I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe that this woman basically told me that my son's life "didn't count". That he could not be considered a dependent because he didn't live long enough. I'm angry. I'm hurt. I wanted to smash her fucking teeth in. I couldn't believe how casually she pushed Calvin's birth certificate towards me, the word Deceased seeming to leap off the top of the page. It was all she saw. All that mattered. My beautiful, perfect looking baby boy doesn't count because he's "Deceased". His birth certificate might as well have said "Diseased" by the way she was so quick to get it off her desk and back into my purse. I'm surprised she didn't go and wash her hands. Thanks so much H&R Block, thanks for turning an unpleasant experience into something that literally ruined my day. I'm glad your office is closing if this is the way your staff treats their clients. If the government really feels that my son doesn't count because he didn't live long enough, then perhaps I just won't file my frigging taxes again. Revenue Canada, go suck an egg.
Recently I reconnected with an old friend from highschool on Facebook. Ragne (pronounced Rainy) and I were in grade eight and nine together at a very, very small school. Remembering her from back then, I always think of her smile and her sweet, sweet personality. I was an outcast in school but Ragne never treated me that way. I still have pictures of us on the last day of grade nine sitting outside the school, waiting for our buses to come. Reconnecting with Ragne has been good, I told her a bit about our journey with Calvin and how his loss has been devastating to our family. She was touched and very sad to hear that we had lost our baby boy and couldn't imagine the pain we were facing. Ragne herself is a new mother, another one of my school chums to wait to have children in her mid-thirties. Ragne's daughter Mira is ten months old and beautiful. I ooh'ed and ahh'ed over Mira's pictures that Ragne had posted on Facebook, she is simply a stunning baby. Laughingly, I think I told Ragne that I know where Mira had gotten her beauty, Ragne was always a beautiful girl in school. Mistakenly, I had assumed they had issues conceiving because of a Facebook comment someone had written on Ragne's wall and when I asked her about it, she said nope, she just hadn't gotten married until recently and they had conceived almost immediately. Motherhood suits her beautifully and I know she absolutely adores her daughter.
It was through Facebook that I also discovered that Mira was facing surgery recently and when I sent Ragne one of those OMG, is everything okay? notes, Ragne wrote me back confiding in me that her world was falling apart. After taking Mira to a doctor's appointment because something just wasn't "right", Ragne found herself at Children's Hospital, being told her baby had a brain tumour. An MRI revealed it wasn't just one tumour, it was four and there was another at the base of her spine. Mira's surgery was a biopsy which came back as cancer. My friend is facing the worst time of her life, a time that should be carefree and filled with joy. Mira is facing the fight of her life. Ragne tells me that Mira will do five rounds of chemotherapy to shrink the tumours, after the second round they will do a repeat MRI to see if the tumours are shrinking. They have told her that Mira will probably have damaged hearing and infertility later in life due to the chemo. I cried when I read what this beautiful baby is facing. I cried for my friend and for how unfair life can be. I'm scared that Ragne will go through those terrifying moments of losing hope, losing faith and I wish I could protect her from it all. If there was a way I could make everything better for her I would. I've prayed for Mira. I've prayed harder for Mira than I have for anything since losing Calvin. I've prayed that God will spare Mira pain and suffering and that He will spare Ragne the pain of losing her only child. I am asking, please, please, please, if you believe in God to pray for this beautiful baby and her family. No parent should EVER go through what some of us have lived through and I want more than anything for my friend to be spared the worst pain in the world. Please pray for Mira.
She was a dancing queen, young and free only seventeen....months that is. Happy seventeen months on earth my precious girl. You are my sunshine, my love, my heart's delight and I am so priviledged to be your mommy. The only thing that would make having you here better would be to have your twin brother Calvin here too. I miss him sweet girl and I can only imagine your spirit times two. I love you Georgia Leigh...Please say a prayer for my girl, she's very sick right now after being exposed to the liquid inside a teething ring that I found out last night has been recalled due to toxic contamination.
We've just returned from Easter vacation with Shane's family in Alberta. It was a nice trip, far too much time spent in the car mind you, but nice to get away for a bit. My husband's family is huge, the Easter trip was a family reunion on his mother's side and there were something like forty people there. There were a few moments during the trip that made me feel that twinge of angst knowing that I will never have another child, another son. My husband's sister was there with her four month old baby boy, a darling little guy who is just so handsome and good natured. Watching Elijah creeping and trying to crawl on the grass outside in the backyard tugged at my heart, I miss Calvin so very much these days. Georgia is growing at an alarming rate, my baby now a full fledged toddler, still so very attached to mama but growing more and more independent every day. Watching my Georgia dancing, smiling, walking, running and playing this past week makes me realize how very fast she is changing and I wonder what Calvin would be doing with her had he lived. I'm afraid I made the most horrible mistake in getting my tubes tied because I don't feel as if I am done or ready to be done having babies. Seeing Elijah and baby Alayna being nursed, smelling their sweet smelling heads reminds me of how much I love the newborn stage and how soon my Georgia will no longer be my baby but my little girl. I wonder if I would be feeling the same if Calvin were here with us or whether I would be so exhausted from chasing after two toddlers that I wouldn't have time to think about another baby and how wonderful it would be to make another little person who looks like Shane and me.
I also feel like I am missing out on the expectant joy of pregnancy, that feeling of life inside and the miracle of knowing your baby as they kick and roll and hiccup in your belly. I loved being pregnant despite the stresses of having high risk pregnancies. I loved the feeling of the babies in my womb stretching and pushing and responding to my voice or the food I had eaten. I miss the joy of shopping for little sleepers and newborn clothes with the excitement of the impending birth. Maybe it's the possibility I also miss. Knowing that it's over for me is upsetting when so many women around me are getting pregnant and having babies. I want another baby. I want a son. I know that having a son wouldn't change the sadness I feel over missing Calvin and it wouldn't make his loss easier to bear, I just want a baby boy of my own. When I was pregnant with Lorelei, my dreams were of rough and tumble boys in dirty overalls and curly blonde hair flying in the wind. Of course I fell in love with the idea of having a girl when Lorelei's sex was determined during an ultrasound but I still had hope that eventually I would mother a fearless and adventurous boy. When I became pregnant with the twins, I hoped that at least one of the babies would be a girl because I had so much cute girl stuff from Lorelei that I didn't want to part with so when we found out that we were having a boy and a girl, I was in heaven. Then Calvin died and a piece of me died with him along with the dream of that dirty boy in overalls playing rough and tumble in the backyard. I wish things were different, above all I wish my son had lived. My beautiful, perfect boy with the broken heart, my Calvin. How I miss his presence in my life. The emptiness of his loss, my loss, echos through me during what should be happy moments in my life and leaves me feeling wistful for what should have been. He should have been there with us at that reunion, he should have been running amok and dancing in the backyard with Georgia and the other babes. It should be me that others look at and think..."She is so blessed, so lucky to have such beautiful babies", and make them want to have more children themselves. I can't seem to get over this longing and the feeling that I'm not done yet and I wonder just what the hell I've done....
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.