Wednesday, April 6, 2011

For Lorelei

I've been hit hard by grief again these past few weeks and I'm not quite sure whether it's been all the recent news of births and pregnancies, new hope and new beginnings. In my saddest moments as of late the "raison d'etre" of my grief has shifted and taken on a new focus, one that should have been apparent to me all along but has suddenly become quite clear. My beautiful daughter is grieving. Still. Not just for her brother or her "Gramma Beverley" who recently passed away, but for her parents and for being "abandoned" by us when Calvin died. This has become very clear lately in my darlings behaviour, her need for mellowdramatic expression, her "emergencies" and attention seeking, and her in endless need to be reassured of our love for her. The dawning realization that I have failed her as a mother has broken my heart into pieces his past week and has resurfaced some issues and resentments over the way Shane and I were isolated after Calvin's funeral. I'm angry. I'm angry at myself for not being better equiped to deal with my grief AND not just my newborn's needs but my three year old's as well. I'm angry at family who instead of helping maintain a sense of normal for Lorelei when Shane and I were falling apart, turned their backs telling us we needed our "privacy". My girl has a wounded soul and it's taken me this long to realize it. She's preoccupied with a fear of death, terrified that any minor wound or illness may become fatal. She's resentful of the sister who took so much of what little I had left to give when Calvin died. She's prone to fits of histrionics and frequently reverts back to lap sitting and baby talking. In truth her behaviour is so aggravating some days that I was terrified to send her to kindergarten this year, terrified the teacher and other students would reject her. I'm so protective of her that I feel compelled to share what we've been through as a family while inside I'm silently pleading, "Please, please, be kind to her, remember what she's lost". My heart breaks for poor girl. Looking back now, I wish I had called up our friends and family and asked them to take Lorelei for some fun, to show her that although our life was continuing in a different way, that there was still going to be someone she could rely on when mom and dad weren't at our best. I wish they had called and offered to give her some extra attention and love while we were in mourning. I don't know why they didn't. I wish for her sake they had....And now I'm angry and hurt and feeling guilty for what she endured and is STILL enduring because of how our family grief was handled. I wonder at times in my exasperation with her behaviour if she will ever be okay and I wonder if it's right to expect this of her when I'm not sure I will ever be okay myself. And I feel stupid for taking this long to realize just how much my daughter is hurting.


  1. Please don't feel stupid or angry with yourself Margaret. I simply cannot imagine going through this experience and trying to consider the needs of another, older child. I just can't. I feel as though I barely managed with what I had, there would have been next to nothing left for any other children.

    I completely understand why you wish that friends and family had thought to look after your dear girl a little more. I think that people just become very frightened when a family loses a baby (or, indeed, are grieving the loss of any member) and many simply disappear. It's very sad particularly so when there are other children in the family who could use the support when their parents are simply too deep in grief. xo

  2. Margaret,

    Of course Lorelei is upset and of course you are upset. You both dealt with (and continue to deal with) an impossible situation the best way you know how. And for me, that is the key. Given the circumstances, you both did/are doing the best you can. Even if your best doesn't seem very good.

    All you can do is try to improve on one small thing at a time. I have a rule that I am only allowed one goal at a time. I can try to stop swearing so much or I can try to stop eating salt straight from the shaker. I am not allowed to try to do both at once.

    The swearing thing worked with Evelyn. We made a chart. One column was for me. One column was for Evelyn. Every day I didn't swear, I got a sticker in my chart. Every day she didn't pee in her panties (this was a few years ago) she got a sticker on her chart. If we both made it 5/7 days we got a treat. After we made 5/7 days, we had to make it 6/7 days before we got a special treat. It was fun and she liked helping remind me not to say naughty words.

    Love and Hugs