Wednesday, September 26, 2012
My Fight to Heal
Time does not heal all wounds. I just don't believe it. I think there is something to it though; time allows things to become "different" somehow. But if I took an inactive approach to grieving, I am pretty sure it wouldn't work for me.
My friend Lee said that I am "fighting to heal." Her words, but I like them. Damn straight, this is a fight. It's long. It's ugly. It's confusing. It's covered in tears. It's occasionally blessed with a smile. It's exhausting.
I've been talking the talk for about ten years now. Supporting, encouraging and challenging my clients to feel their emotions, so they can move through them...hopefully leading to a place of healing. The hour that Ethan died I knew it was time for me to put up or shut up. I called a therapist the next day, and scheduled my first session. I have worked the support group thing, finishing the six-week session just tonight actually.
I've started writing a journal, this blog being just that. Writing has never been something that's worked for me before, but I forced myself to try it at the advice of my therapist and group facilitator.
I push myself to work my grief. That looks like different things on different days. Sometimes it means setting up boundaries with certain friends, that I can't hear about their newborns or lives of sleep deprivation yet. I just can't do it. I've reached out to people who have also had a baby die, taking those awkward first steps to do so. Just this Monday I set aside time to go back into The Brigham and Women's Hospital. I didn't have to, but I knew it was time to. And I made it happen in a way that was healthy for me.
I agreed to say something at the remembrance service the NICU is having next month. I wrote something short to Ethan - only after I wrote it did I realize that I wrote a eulogy for my son. That still takes my breath away, that I am in this position.
I take medication to help with my depression. Something I have never had to do previously.
I talk about Ethan with the older three kids daily, in natural ways. He remains their brother and my son.
I returned to work, in a setting where many people are dying. I listen to others as they share their fears, blessings, anxieties about living with, and often dying from cancer.
I get out of bed every morning, make breakfast for Caroline, Jackson and Ryan, and move through our day. Allowing myself to smile and cry as I clean the house, read to them, play outside and do the grocery shopping. I push through those moments when my breath is knocked out of me, because someone around me needs something. Somehow I don't spontaneously combust.
I am very slowly healing. That's right, it's been four months but it continues to feel like yesterday for me. Society shouldn't expect that I am "better" now, not for a long time.
Grieving is a full-time job. I will heal though, I am working hard at it. To honor Ethan's love I will heal. When he died I promised him that I would do my best, everyday, to be a great mother to his siblings. And to do that I have to fight to heal.