Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Casualties of Grief

Sleep.  Concentration.  Weight.  Sanity.  Pure, all-inclusive joy.  The light in my eyes.

These are the casualties of my grief.  The things that have washed away with the tides.  

Sleep.  This one seems obvious.  Some nights I sleep well, but others not so much.  If I haven't found time throughout the day to grieve, I mean devote time to grieving, it interferes with my sleep.  The kids go to bed at eight o'clock, so afterwards I might write in this journal, email with a few other women who have lost their babies, or go to a website for parents whose babies have died to support one another.  But if I do these things too close to my bedtime, I replay these things in my head over and over.  I eventually fall asleep and wake up with circles under my eyes and the day's responsibilities before me.  It's exhausting.

I find it impossible to concentrate well.  Somehow I can get by at work, though there have been occasions where even that proves difficult.  Managing my blessed chaos at home I need to be the queen of multi-tasking.  Usually that is no problem.  Since Ethan died, my mind is constantly preoccupied with thoughts of him.  Often times I am thinking of him, just saying his name to myself inside my head.  Wondering where he is at that moment.  Always missing him, wishing he could be here in an earthly way.  When I say always, I mean it.  A portion of my mind that used to be responsible for multi-tasking is now preoccupied with Ethan.  As a result, my concentration is shot.

Weight.  Three times in the past week friends have told me that I am very skinny.  Those of you who know me, know that I always have a thin frame.  But my weight has become a minor concern, certainly a focus of my attention, since Ethan died.  I am 5'6" and have a normal weight of 115lbs, so being 5lbs underweight leaves my ribs exposed.  My pants fall off of me without me having to unbutton them.

The night Ethan died my appetite went away.  This was an experience I had never had before.  I LOVE to eat.  Sweets, healthy foods, comfort foods, all sorts.  But from that moment on I stopped feeling hunger.  I would eat because it was time to, not because I my body felt the hunger.  A disconnect of sorts.  Clearly a sign of depression.  I do feel hunger now (thanks to my anti-depressant & working through my grief), but not as strongly or as often as I should.

By the way, just sitting here writing this, I am overwhelmed with sadness.  It's the deep sadness that I have to breathe through.

Sanity.  An argument could be made that I never really had that.  But I'm pretty sure it's gone now.  I talk to Ethan...I guess I pray to him?  And I like to.  It's one of the few things that makes me feel happy.  It makes me feel like he's still here somehow.  That I haven't had to say goodbye to him completely, that I can hold onto him somehow.  On one of the websites I go to for support from other parents whose babies died, I have found myself signing a post/comment "Annie & Ethan."  What's that about?  I'm not the only one who does it, and I don't really think it's wrong.  Hell, if you are not in our shoes you don't get to judge.  Occasionally I wonder if I am living in a delusion...when I talk to Ethan, sign his name to an email to someone who "gets it."  I know I'm not really insane, as he doesn't talk back to me and I don't see him where he is not.  But he really is dead, yet I like to pretend he's still around.

Before he died, when I was happy, joyous - it was not tempered by sadness.  The purity of joy is gone now.  Perhaps it will return some day, but it's not there now, and I don't think it will return (if ever) for quite some time.  Every happy occasion brings thoughts of I wish Ethan were here too.  Family pictures - one is missing.  Buying Halloween costumes - Ethan's not here to wear the alligator costume I had for him.  His absence is constant, and so is my sadness.

The light in my eyes.  The light that shows that I am alive inside.  I was looking at pictures of me before Ethan died and since.  The light isn't visible in my eyes any longer.  I fight to heal so I can regain that light in my eyes.  I deserve to have it there, my family deserves to have it there, Ethan would want me to have it there.  But it's not there yet.  Depression, it's real - and it threatens to extinguish the light inside of me.  But I won't let it...not fully.  It flickers quietly in my soul.  One day it will return.  One day.


  1. Yup - I totally get the sleep thing...