Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More Time

My heart aches, it physically hurts, I am so broken hearted.  I have started thinking about the time I was able to spend with Silas.  I am not one to regret things in my life.  I tend to look back at those questionable decisions I have made or things I have done with acceptance, believing that I did the best for who I was at the time or with the knowledge that I had at the time.  However, with that being said, I very much regret having not held Silas longer.  I would give anything for just one more moment with him. 

My arms, my heart, my mind all aches to have him with me again.  I just want one more time to kiss his forehead, to bathe him, to memorize his perfect little body from head to toe.  On the day I delivered him I only held him for a few minutes.  I took the blankets off of his legs and looked and played with his precious little feet, but I didn’t see his hands or what I imagine to be his cute little tummy.  I caressed his sweet cheeks, forehead and nose, but I didn’t kiss him.  Oh the regrets, what mom doesn’t kiss her newborn baby?  And, I didn’t try and smell him.  I want to know what he smelled like.  Our doula stayed with him the whole time the doctors were trying to revive him and she said he was just perfect.  He was beautiful head to toe.  It is now in her memory, but not mine.  I am trying not to fault myself for not spending more time with him.  I was in shock.  I didn’t know that I could keep him with me for longer.  Maybe I couldn’t since he was donating his heart, I just don’t know. 

I also wish I was able to take more pictures of him.  The nurses gave me a pamphlet for NILMDTS, but they didn’t explain what it was and I didn’t look at all that they gave me until we got home.  I am an avid picture taker, it is important to me to capture events on film and make memories in that way, but I don’t have a picture of me with my baby.  I regret that.  I don’t have a picture of us as a whole family.  I regret that.  But, mostly I regret not holding him longer.  I just want one more time.  Where is my rewind button?  I know I can’t have him, but if I could just have a little more time with him.  I wish the nurses would have helped us more, guided us more, offered to take more pictures, offered to let us bathe him, offered to leave him in our room so we could spend more time with him.  I just want more time with him…

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Right Where I Am: 2 months, 2 weeks, and 4 days

Thank you Angie for starting this project.  I have relied so heavily on these blogs and being able to read what other women's journeys through grief have looked like.  It can be overwhelming though to sort through all of the different blogs to try and figure out where each person is in their process and how it has been for them.  I think this is such a great idea for us to connect to each other and get a good idea what it may look like at different stages.  I am eager to read the entries of those who are participating. 

Although, the thought of really looking at where I am at in my grief is frightening.  Most days I feel very confused by my grief, like it is playing tricks on me.  As soon as I feel like I have an understanding of where I am in my process and my feet are finally steadying themselves on the ground a huge sleeper waves sneaks up behind me, crashing over me and spinning me upside down again.  And, every time this happens I think I should have know this was coming, that this wave of grief was just around the corner waiting to suck me back under.

I feel unsatisfied in all stages of my grief.  When I am feeling okay, I don't like that I am feeling okay, when I am deep in the dark, ugly parts of my grief, I feel scared and overwhelmed and want to feel "okay" again.  I feel like my grief is this scary boogy man that is constantly chasing after me and I am afraid to face it.  Although I do try and accept my grief and I do my best to just feel whatever emotion I am feeling at the time, it has been really hard not to judge it.  If I am feeling okay does that mean I am "getting over my son's death," am I a bad mom?  When I am feeling terrible and can't stop crying does that mean I am not coping well?  Am I throwing myself a pity party?  I just feel so unsettled all of the time.  Uncomfortable in my own body, in my head.  Nothing feels right, nothing feels good.

However, overall, my moments of feeling "okay" are lasting longer then they were before.  My intense anger (at myself, at my doctor, at those people in my life who disappeared after we lost Silas) has subsided and now most of my days I am left just feeling depressed.  I feel like I may never feel joyful again.  I may never honestly laugh, care-freely, joyfully.  I think I have gotten better at pretending to be "okay" for others though.  I can get through days without crying.  I can smile, I can do the small talk, but inside I feel empty.  I feel like a fake.  People see me and think I am still Shaina, but I don't feel like that girl anymore.  I look in the mirror and don't recognize myself.  I am trying to learn who this new me is.  I know I am different, I know I will never be the same person I was before Silas died, but I don't know this person that I am now.  And that scares me.

As time goes on and I get further away from the day I held my son in my arms, I find that I am desperately grasping at anything that makes me feel close to him.  I so desperately want others to acknowledge my son too, in tangible ways.  I love when people say my sons name, but I want something to look at, to hold that reminds me of my son.  That let's me know that others still think of him and that he meant something to others too, not just me.  For example, a friend gave us a beautiful painting on canvas that had Silas' name on it and that meant the world to me.  It meant the world that she cared enough to do something so meaningful and special to honor our son.  And, I get to hang it in my room and it will forever remind me of him because it is for him.  To me this gift says, "your son is real, he is important, and we miss him and love him too, and we will never forget him and never forget that he is always right there with you in your heart and in your thoughts."  Does that make sense?  It's very weird though because as I want people to recognize him and honor him, I also want him all to myself.  I am trying to organize a memorial service for him because I so want to honor him in that way and I also want to create a space where everyone who loves him and has been impacted by his death can come together and share in their grief, united.  But, at the same time it feels very scary to be vulnerable and share my grief and my baby with everyone else.  The memorial service notice is done, but I am too afraid to send it out.

So, like I said I feel very confused by my grief.  I have very conflicting emotions and conflicting thoughts.  As soon as I think I get a grasp on them they change and I feel like I start the whole process over again.  I want to feel okay, but also want to feel raw, intense sadness.  I want my son to be recognized, but I also feel protective of him and his memory.

And, I am trying to put the broken and shattered pieces of the person I once was back together again to try and figure out who this new person is.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where are my tears?

I think EMDR might have worked too effectively.  I think I have lost my tears.  Or more accurately, I have lost the intensity and rawness of my emotions.  I feel like I now walk through life with a dullness, just a low-level depression.  And, often feel the tears there ready to surface, but they do not come.  I don’t want to lose my tears.  I have lost too much already.  It got me to thinking about how much one really loses when they lose a child.  I have not only lost my son, but I have lost his whole future, our whole future.  I have lost birthdays, first teeth, beach days playing in the sand, teaching him how to ride a bike, his 1st love, that call in the middle of the night, “mom I’m drunk can you pick me up,” I have lost family dinners, meeting the girlfriends, watching him graduate high school, college, marriage.  I have lost my hopes and dreams of what his life would be, what our life would be as mother and child.  But, I did not only lose him and his life, but also my own.  I have lost me, who I am, who I was.  I am not the same person I was before I lost Silas.  I have lost my joy, my laugh (although I do laugh, but it is a hollow, empty laugh, void of real joy), I have lost my love for dancing, for roller skating.  I am no longer carefree enough to dance, to skate.  I have lost my zest for life.  I have lost my innocence (although I never felt very innocent).  Many BLM’s talk about finding our “new normal,” who we become after our loss.  I am just starting to figure out some of what my “new normal” is, who I am becoming, and I don’t really like it.
And, here I am being selfish again.  My therapist told me to not be so self-focused, that the focus should be on Silas.  And it is, but how can I not also focus on me?  He was my son, that I lost, and my world is forever changed because of it.  There is a creative prompt on stilllife365 that talks about how self-focused we are when grieving and her prompt was to describe grief through art without using the words “I” or “me.”  I have been brainstorming how to do this because I think it is a good exercise, but today is about me. ME, ME, ME! 
I feel like I have lost almost everything important to me and I can’t even cry about it because I lost my tears too. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

fooling myself

Yep, I was fooling myself like I stated in my previous post.  I don't know why when I get these days of feeling okay that I think I am "over the hump" or something of that effect.  I always seem to be surprised when my grief hits me like a ton of rocks again.  Almost immediately after I wrote that post yesterday about feeling okay did I start to have a terrible day and missed my baby sooo much.  I don't know if I will ever get used to this rollercoaster.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


My days seem to be getting easier.  Although I could be fooling myself, as I tend to do each time I have a spell of feeling okay and thinking I am passed the intense sorrow only to be bulldozed over by grief again a few days later.  But, last week I had a session of EMDR therapy to try and rid myself of the self-loathing I had acquired since Silas's death and I have been wearing like a heavy cloak.  It has been almost a week and I feel like I have peeled off a good portion of that cloak.  However, like I just said, I am holding my breath thinking that I have only had a moment of reprieve and all those feelings will soon come crashing back.  But, as of yet, it has lasted, these feelings of believing I am a good person and a good mother.  That was my mantra in the session.  Since, the session I haven't really cried either, well not during the days.  I still think of Silas almost every minute of my day, but without the gut wrenching agony, just a sad longing to have my boy with me.  Now, at nights I lay myself in bed and I gently cry myself to sleep.  Since the day I came home from the hospital I have slept with the baby blanket I made him and his little beanie he wore stays inside my pillowcase.  It gives me a sense of closeness to him.  Last night, it wasn't enough.  Sometimes the yearning to hold him in my arms is so great it hurts.  Last night, I cuddled his picture and fell asleep with him in my arms and tears streaming down my face.  I have noticed in the last several weeks my tears have been gentler.  I haven't really cried uncontrollably, but tears just fall from my eyes.  At times, I haven't realized I was even crying until I felt the tears on my cheeks.  I think I might be stopping myself from crying like that though.  Actually, I know I am, I usually breathe through it so it doesn't get too intense.  I get afraid of letting myself feel it so intensely.  Afraid that if I let myself really cry, I might never stop.  It's a fear of losing control, I guess.  So, at night, when I finally have let go of all distractions and I lay my head on my pillow and look at his picture on my nightstand, I gently cry myself to sleep.

What do you do to feel close to your child?  How has your grief changed over time?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A letter to my son

My dear sweet Silas,

It is mother's day today and I thank you, for you are my gift.  Although this is the hardest time of my life, I am so thankful and grateful for the 9 1/2 months you were with me.  I cherished every moment we spent together, each kick, tumble and hiccup.  You have changed my life my precious little man.  I intend to spend everyday trying to make you proud.

I anticipated that today would be hard, but your mommy has so many people who love her and who love you too and they made sure that I was taken care of today.  I received so much love today and it is more then I could have ever anticipated.  You took care of me too.  I saw the moon this afternoon.  I don't know why, but I look to the moon to be close to you.  I have searched for two weeks now for the moon and it has not been out.  Today, the crescent moon was out.  I choose to believe that again it was you saying "happy mother's day. I love you today and always."

I love you my sweet boy, your mommy

Mother's Day

What a cruel reminder of what my life should be right now and what it actually is.  Not like I need a reminder.  It is all too obvious and soul-crushing every day, so thank you hallmark for slapping me in the face with it again.  Don't worry I won't forget.  I didn't know how I was going to feel today, I had been anticipating it all week wondering how I would feel, who would reach out, and what I was going to do.  Well, I feel terrible.  I didn't sleep last night and now I can't seem to get off of the couch or think about anything else except that my son is dead.  Today, Silas would have been 2 months old.  But, he's not.  He's gone.  And I am here, still alive, without him.

I can see all the other mother's waking up to sweet little cards from their children, having a picnic, maybe celebrating with family.  And, then maybe they would take some time to their selves because they have been so overwhelmed with the demands of being a mother.  My story is different.  I am a different kind of mother.  I am not exhausted from the sleepless nights of my crying baby, I am exhausted from my own sleepless nights of desperately missing my baby.  I do not need to take a spa day to get some much needed "me" time, I have too much me time already.  I think of all the other BLM (Babylostmoms) and I cry for them, knowing there day will be similar to mine.  You never realize this until you are in it or know someone in it, how painful a day like today can be.  I have a new appreciation for International BabyLost Mother's Day.  I think I fit there better than I fit here on this day.

There is a facebook quote about what it means to be a mom, it talks about being up all night, bathing your baby, having your baby fall asleep on your chest, etc etc.  That is not who I am.  Like another fellow blm wrote, I am a mother in how I keep my son's memory alive.  I've been thinking more about how to do this lately.  I am inspired by how so many other blm's start projects to support other women who have experienced this loss.  I am going to try and do something like this too.  I am playing around with the ideas of making blankets for the hospital or volunteering with Faces of Loss as an editor, I'm just not sure yet.  I do know that I am excited to walk for March of Dimes next Saturday.  I know now that I will do this every year as a way to remember Silas and to support healthy babies.  I am excited to build a team of family and friends who also want to remember Silas with us and walk with us.  It feels so important to me to do this in his name, to honor my son, this way.  I want him to be proud of who his mommy is.  Him and my husband are the only reason why I have not self-destructed, even when I have wanted to so bad.  But, I want to show my son how strong his mommy is and how I can do something positive, just like he did when he saved other babies lives by donating his heart.  I too want to give back to this community that I have just become a part of.  I can't comfort and nurture my little one, but maybe I can bring comfort and nurturance to other mothers who need it in their time of grief.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Some Art

I felt somewhat inspired today since it was International Babylost Mother's Day.  I finished my painting and sketched the beginning of my tattoo idea.  I really wanted to get a tattoo today or start a memorial tattoo for Silas, but Nate wasn't up for it and I didn't want to go by myself so I drew something up.  Daffodils are his birth month flower.