The novelty of this thing called grief has worn off. I am overcome by despair and a feeling that I can’t do this. I have been crying again a lot more, hysterically sobbing over the loss of Sidney and all the things we will never get to do. During my acupuncture session, the acupuncturist put her hands on my head in a soothing way, a very maternal way, and I burst into tears, because I will never get to comfort Sidney. I will never get to rock him to sleep, soothe him when he is upset, have him feel my arms around him, and feel safe, and me feeling complete in my ability to protect him, mother him. Because I couldn’t protect him. I didn’t protect him. He died and now I can’t mother him. And I did not hold him for long enough after the birth. I kissed his face but I did not hold his little hand, wrap his fingers around mine, and now I never can. I physically ache to have him in my arms, to examine every aspect of his perfect body, to cover him with kisses, and I can’t. There is nothing I can do to fix this, and that is incredibly hard to accept right now. I am overcome by the immensity of knowing this loss is with me forever. I read quotes or blog posts that say that grief never goes away, that you just learn to carry it. I don’t want to learn to carry this. I don’t want to be the mother of a dead son, a perfect little boy who I want(ed) so fully.
Very slowly, I have started doing more activities with Eli outside of the house. We went to dinner at the house of one of his school mates, and it was okay, although it felt strange to be out, laughing, doing something normal, when Sidney is dead. But for Eli’s sake, it felt important. I came home drained. My son is still dead.
Our nanny asked for an exorbitant raise. But I can’t deal with her leaving at this time, deserting Eli, deserting us, so I feel we have no choice. She was supposed to be taking care of two children, getting more hours for that too. I would have gladly given her raise in those circumstances. But nothing is as it should be. I still feel like this is not my life, like I am watching a character in a novel, or a very tragic movie. But this is not a novel or a movie but my life. And this is a horrible situation. I wish that everyone in the world would read about grief, would understand that this will stay with me forever, and acknowledge and support me in this journey. As much as I am refusing to accept that this is now who I am, I am also afraid that people will rush me along, not understand the depth and intensity of the grief over losing a baby, and not accept that this has changed me forever, that this is now who I am. That this will never go away. But then again, I have not accepted this either.
I would like to frame Sidney’s picture and put it up on my bedside table. My husband does not want to have his picture out. He thinks it is morbid, keeps saying that it is a picture of a dead baby, not Sidney when he was alive. This is true. But he does not look ‘dead’ in the picture, and it is all I have. Hiding him in a drawer makes me feel like we are ashamed of him, that we don’t want anyone to acknowledge him or remember him, and this hurts me. And if I say I am going to visit Sidney at the cemetery, my husband says that I am going to visit Sidney’s body. Technically, he is correct, but to me, they are one and the same, and I don’t want to have to make that differentiation. This morning, I gave Eli a friendship bracelet that he could keep on, and look at if he was missing us (he has been having separation anxiety), while he was at school. It has three colors, and I explained that each color was either Eli, my husband or me. But I was thinking to myself, baby Sidney does not get a color. I did not say anything out loud, though. But then Eli asked me, ‘which part is for baby Sidney?’ and I was so touched he had asked. I told him that the knot in the bracelet, the place where the three colors came together, was for Sidney, and he seemed to accept that answer. Then, as we drove to school, he asked me, “Is Sidney growing up in the cemetery?” “No,” I said. “When bodies die, they stop growing. He will stay a baby forever. That is why I am sad. We won’t get to know him.” Eli asked, “Is he a stranger?” I thought about it for a minute. “No,” I said. “we got to know him a little when he was growing inside of me. Remember when you would feel him kick, and you would talk to him, and tell him you would help take care of him, and protect him if he was scared that a wolf would try to get him? Well, we got to know him a little bit. We just won’t get to know the person he would have become, and that is a very very sad thing.”
I am so exhausted from this. A friend just told me that I should try not to have any expectations of how I will feel or should feel, and just take things moment by moment. This makes sense to me, but I don’t know how to do it, how to not feel overwhelmed that this is how I am going to feel for a long long time. How do I not wonder when I will start feeling better, or different, or entering some sort of new phase? When I say that they novelty of this has worn off, I mean that I have tried most of the recommended things at this point: therapy, taking walks, making sure I get up in the morning, going to support groups, and I feel like I need a new plan now. But I am not ready to make a plan, and I don’t know what that plan will be. Once I have done something for the first time since Sidney’s death, the novelty of trying to do it, being anxious about it, and then doing it, wears off, and then I still feel devastated, having to adapt to this new reality. Someone suggested I go to a mikva, to mark the end of 30 days of grief, not because it means it is time to move on, but just because maybe it will mark the end of one phase in grief for me, and entering a new phase. I have never been to the mikva, but I like the idea of this. I like the idea of being part of a ritual that has been going on for hundreds of years, I think because it reminds me that women have been losing children for hundreds of years, and I am part of something bigger. However, I do not know what this new phase that I am entering into will be, and it feels like each phase is as painful as the next, if they can even be called phases.
Tonight, I told my husband and Eli that I will go with them to the monthly children’s shabbat at the temple. I am afraid this will be very hard for me. It will be a big setting, with lots of young children, and babies, some people who know what happened, many who do not but who may remember that I was pregnant, and a less controlled, more overwhelming situation than I have been in since Sidney’s death. But one of the hardest parts is that even if it’s hard and if it’s bad, and if it sucks, there is nowhere that I can go where it will be better, where Sidney will be alive, where this is not my reality, and that is what’s heartbreaking for me.