Do you ever wake up, or have a hard time falling asleep, with your mind just filled with stuff and find yourself going over and over the thoughts, not being able to shut your mind off? I have had that happen to me a lot lately. At least I know what triggers it, but still, it's annoying. These thoughts are the same ones that haunt me from time to time. They are the facts of our son's death that have become my life over these last six months. It really doesn't help that I have now had three vivid dreams, two just this week, that Everett was alive all to wake up to the realization that he's not. When he first died there was nothing I could do to escape my thoughts. My mind was my own worst enemy and it still is from time to time. All the events leading up to his death and then everything after kept playing over and over in my head like a broken record and there was nothing I could do to escape it. All I could do was cry at the horror. I kept asking myself things like, did this really happen? Did I really spend just about the entire year pregnant? Because in a flash, the results of what I went through all year long had been taken away from me, taken away from all of us.
I've had several triggers in the last couple of weeks that brought me back to almost full blown grief, like the kind of grief I had in the beginning. This is the kind that's hard to escape from and causes you to go from calm to pissed in two seconds flat. This week though, has been the pits. It probably doesn't help that Everett died six months ago today. While I am so thankful that time has given the illusion to have flown by these last six months, I wish I could go back. I wish I could have advocated harder for him somehow. I wish I had been listened to by my doctors. I wish he was here with us and not in Heaven.
In all my trainings I've had over the years, including my extensive crisis response training, I've been taught there's no right or wrong way to "do" grief, unless you are harmful by immersing yourself in risky behaviors or drug or alcohol abuse. And I know in the back of my head that on some levels I am normal. But at times, it doesn't feel normal. I guess that's because it's still so new. Let's see here, there are seven stages of grief, although some models show five:
1. Shock and Denial-been there done that!
2. Pain and Guilt-Check
3. Anger and Bargaining-triple check on the anger one!
4. Depression, Loneliness, Reflection-I seem to be floating in and out of this one, although spending less time in it than I did in the beginning.
5. The Upward Turn-working towards it!
6. Reconstruction and Working Through-again, working towards it!
7. Acceptance and Hope-somewhat doing this one, I have hope for the future, am focusing on the race, but can't think about Everett without pain and that gut wrenching feeling of missing him horribly, and I would hope no one would expect me too!
I think sometimes people mean well, but expect you to move on way sooner than you are ready to and especially when grief entails loosing a baby, the taboo subject no one wants to talk about. With the loss of that child comes the loss of so many hopes and dreams. It's not knowing what that child would have become, not getting to see them grow up, not even knowing what color their eyes were. Dave and I drove past a soccer field this fall and I had tears filling my eyes as I watched a bunch of teenage boys practicing for an upcoming game. I remember thinking I'd never get to see Everett do that, or play football, or anything else he might have been interested in. You think about those things when you are pregnant, or at least I do. I dream about what my children might be when they grow up. What kind of actives they would be interested in, that kind of thing. I knew Lilli, from the womb, would be great at gymnastics and her tumbling classes are proving that right. Everett had a really strong kick in the womb and I often thought he'd be great at soccer.
I am including the poem we had in Everett's memorial card at the funeral:
A million times we've needed you,
A million times we've cried,
If love alone could have save you,
You never would have died.
In life we loved you dearly,
In death we love you still.
In our hearts you hold a place,
No one will ever fill.
It broke our hearts to lose you,
But you didn't go alone.
Part of us went with you,
The day God took you home.
I included this because it was true then and it's true six months later. I am not the same person I was before Everett left this world and I won't be. I am still trying to figure out what my new "normal" is. To any of my friends reading this or others who know someone who's gone through something similar, don't be afraid to speak my son's name, or another child's name who is gone. Don't be afraid you will upset me by mentioning him. It helps people to know that the child they loved so much and lost is remembered by others than just them.