Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nope, he's not our dog.

When Ethan died in my left arm, my world stopped.

The world where gravity exists and babies live are givens - well that was no longer my world.  And could never be again.  My naivete is gone.

I am not exaggerating, you should know, when I say that I thought of Ethan with every single breath.  Still do many days.  That there was a loop replaying in my mind endlessly shouting to the world that something unnatural had happened.  That my baby boy had died.  That life was not the way it was supposed to be.

It was amazing, wildly so, that others still live in my old world.  Part of me gets it actually.  Ethan was my son, not everyone else's.

In the days that followed Ethan's death I have walked through this old world of mine, but breathed and existed in another.  I witnessed my neighbors drive off to work daily.  Stood next to the parents at t-ball who were gloriously cuddling their babies or rubbing their swollen bellies in the naive expectation of pregnancy.  Three days after Ethan died I went grocery shopping for goodness sake.  (Rather I gingerly walked around the store and pointed to items for my amazing sister-in-law to put in the cart for me - since I wasn't allowed to lift anything, least of all Ryan)

Several babyloss mothers share how difficult it can be to venture out of the home.  To wade into the waters of their old world.  Where they no longer breathe the same air as those around them.  I can see that - though seclusion hasn't always been my preference.  Can't tell you why, it just hasn't been my road.

But today I think of this idea - that the world just keeps moving, the same as it always has, for most people around us.  Yet our world, for babyloss parents, has stopped.  Rather I got booted out of this common world and forced to simultaneously function in it (to take my children to soccer, to do the preschool drop off and pick up) while breathing air of my new world.  It's quite tricky actually.  The key to success is that we have no option.

I think of this idea today because something happened this week.  I stood up during announcements at Church on Sunday and briefly spoke of the March for Babies fundraiser that I am participating in to honor Ethan & raise funds for The March of Dimes.  Then Josh spoke of grieving Ethan's death in his sermon.  Remember that we are new to this church as we just moved here a month ago when Josh was called to this new congregation.  Well, last night someone mentioned to him at a meeting that some people in the church had no idea that we had a son who died.  They had heard of Ethan somehow, but then never saw him.  So some of the members had thought Ethan was our dog.  Really.  The dog.  The bio on Josh referenced his family as something like Josh, Annie, Caroline, Jackson, Ryan and Ethan.  (I fully love that Ethan is included just as any normal child, because he is that - he just happens to have died already)  But Ethan never showed up for church.  We all know that some families include their pets when they list their family members individually.  I can see why people would think that.  But it is sad, poor E.  Nope, he's not our dog.  He's our son.

I hold no anger or hurtful feelings about this simple mistake, truthfully.  I get it.  But it does reinforce that it was just my world, and the world of those closest to us, who's world stopped when Ethan died.  Clearly.

Ethan being mistaken as a family pet.  That's a new one.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What to write?

It's been a while since I have journaled (I don't even think that's a real word, I can't get spell check to tell me it is).  I've been filling my days with arts and crafts projects with the kids and for the house.  With driving Jackson to and from preschool while getting Caroline on and off the bus.  Trying to encourage Ryan to speak, or at least make sounds, and arranging his Early Intervention services for a speech delay.  I find myself busy cleaning the house, playing outside with the kids, grocery shopping and going to the Y to work out.

These are the things I fill my life with since we moved.  I am really liking it actually.  Finding it rewarding, and healing.  A few new friendships are being nurtured.  Pretty sure God, and some angel babies, are coordinating these for me.  These women have kind hearts.  Open hearts.  They want to hear about Ethan.  About me as a mother of four.  Two of them know this road - one is guiding me along it, as her sweet daughter Elise was born still five years ago.  My neighbor lost her first set of twins, her daughter & son, to premature delivery 10 years ago.  Another thinks of me and Ethan and lets me know that.  And another lets me hold her baby, when I feel that I am able to.  It's all quite amazing really.  How did I ever fear not being seen as a mother of four in our new community?  Fear not being understood in my grief?  Of course I feared that, though those appear unfounded.  So thank you Angela.  Thank you Leanne.  Thank you Dee.  Thank you Michele.  Thank you God.

Overall I have been doing OK.  Lots of decent days emotionally - with several moments of genuine happiness around.

Then the tears come.  Once a week, maybe twice a week now.  Last night they came.  Not the painful, aching sobbing cries.  But the tears streaming down my face, quietly so, kind of cry.  I looked at the pictures of my sweet son because I wanted to.  And I smiled through the tears.  He was so beautiful, wasn't he?  Impossibly so.  His body just didn't do what it was supposed to.  None of the medical interventions worked how they were intended.  No explanations for that.  Early on I repeatedly asked myself "why?"  I don't know.  And never will.  I have come to believe that Ethan was given to Josh and me...as a glimpse into the Divine.  He was just that.

So I write tonight because it has been too long.  I don't feel pressured to journal because it has been a couple of weeks.  But rather know that writing is part of my self-care.  I've found myself forgetting to take my anti-depressant until the end of the day occasionally.  I don't go to therapy or a support group any longer - and don't feel the need to right now.  But I don't want to let my self-care regime slip completely.  So I take my pill every morning, journal tonight, and run 3-4 miles a few times a week at the Y.  Oh, and lose myself on Pinterest like any good stay-at-home mom.