A couple of months ago, I fell over the edge of a gigantic cliff into the abyss known as Writer’s Block. Unlike the Bermuda Triangle, there is no sense of enchantment shrouded in mystery associated with this completely un-exotic location and I am reasonably sure I will find my way out again…someday.
In the meantime, grief-induced insomnia has returned with a vengeance and my mind is a racing, irrational, chaotic mess. The moment a solid, full thought forms in my mind, it immediately sparks another and takes off on an entirely different tangent. For example, this afternoon while I was showering (which is usually the one time of day when I form my best ideas for writing and where I come up with some of my best topics), I flitted through the following thought processes…
This shampoo smells sooooo good, but it really doesn’t do much for my hair, which reminds me, I have to wash the pads in my helmet…and those knee gaskets for Beatings and, oh yah, don’t forget a notebook for bootcamp this weekend. Oh look, a jumping spider is living under the washing machine –looks like a female – I shall call her Henrietta! I wonder why strange things always happen to me, like the lady at the store the other day – what was that all about? Why me?…Hmmm…I should really remove my toenail polish and give myself a pedicure because what if people see my bare feet this weekend? I should call my sister and see how she’s doing at SFU – we just never really talk. I need new laces for my skates – probably have to whip up to Dolson’s in the a.m. I wonder if there’s anywhere good to eat in Armstrong – somewhere healthy. Time to change my tires over to my winters…
And that was only in the first three minutes of my shower. This is what happens to my brain when heartache and grief about Cora start to build up in my sleep-deprived body and I can’t provide myself with the much-needed outlet of writing about my life. Hard core exercise can only do so much to alleviate the toxins that build up while people are grieving – there has to be more of an outlet than the physical aspects.
And, yes, it has been 16 months since Cora died and I still feel my chest constrict and my eyes tear up at least once each day when I think about her. Greg and I watched a story on the news a few nights ago about a boy who was a twin and passed away from cancer when he was three years old. His dad was being interviewed and his eyes were still haunted by the loss of his child four years later and he was still blessed with two remaining children. I couldn’t help but wonder if I will see that haunted look in my eyes for years and years to come. The cold hard fact is that grieving for the loss of a child is not like grieving for the loss of any other loved one. I know, I have grieved for the loss of many people in my life – my grandparents, my mom, friends – nothing even remotely compares to it in my mind. Even the loss of my son at 24.5 weeks in 1997 isn’t comparable to the pain I feel after losing Cora. Every second of every day, I carry the weight of it around with me and try to lead a “normal” life again (whatever that is), but every few weeks, the stress of trying to maintain that normalcy builds up to a pressure point and I suffer small compression fractures in my carefully constructed façade.
It is during times like this (today, for instance) that I feel the need to write most strongly, but something prevents me from sitting down at the keyboard and letting it flow. Instead, my mind tells me that people are tired of reading about my pain and suffering and a ton of them are probably saying, “Get over it already. It was over a year ago.” I’m not sure where this belief stems from, but I have actually seen people roll their eyes if I mention that I’m having a bad day, Cora-wise (when they think I’m not looking, of course). I’ve also noticed a distinct lack of comments or acknowledgements when I post my feelings about Cora on my FB status. Only six months ago, I could post that I was hurting and there would have been a plethora of consolation and support to let me know that people out there were thinking of me – of course, none except a few of them could understand what I was going through, but they were still there to encourage me and let me know I wasn’t alone. If I were to be completely honest with myself, I would acknowledge that most people have probably said all that they can possibly think of to say and now they are either at a loss for words or they have kids and the thought of losing one of them hits so close to their hearts that they can’t even travel down that road by acknowledging that it could, in fact, happen to them.
I understand that feeling. I thought it couldn’t happen to me, again, either. I was wrong. Reality is harsh and difficult to face under trying circumstances, but ignoring it doesn’t make it any less real.
Hence, the Abyss…I want to write, but am not sure what to write about anymore because all I can think about, day and night, is my daughter’s blue, dead eyes, as they removed her from life support and all of our hopes and dreams of a future as a family stopped with her last heartbeats. Our future is still frozen, but everyone else around us keeps living at the speed of light.
Here’s another stark reality for us. I cannot carry another pregnancy unless I get an extremely invasive operation, while pregnant, and even then, nothing is guaranteed. And I’m quite sure, after watching doctors and nurses poke and prod our baby girl in a bazillion different places for nearly the entire 30 hours of her life, that I would NOT be able to undergo any kind of invasive action to keep a baby alive ever again. I’m also certain that after having two perfectly developed, healthy, babies die shortly after birth, for two completely different reasons, somebody, somewhere, is trying to tell me something. Uhm, hellllllooooo, is there anyone in there? Are you a glutton for punishment? Do you enjoy these sadistic plucking of your heartstrings?
Who knows, maybe I do. Maybe this lifetime is meant to teach me how to overcome suffering by choosing not to allow myself to suffer, even though tragedy has, literally, plagued a large chunk of my life. Maybe I’m here as an example – to make others see what I’ve gone through and say, “Phew! Thank goodness I’m not her. I should count my lucky stars.”
Of course, looking for reasons and meaning where there are none can make a girl a little crazy…just read the above ramblings and I’m sure you’ll agree.
But despite all of these strong convictions, I still find myself yearning to have a family. I still wish Greg could have another chance to be a father because I know how great he would be. I still feel the pull inside me to feel a baby kick and roll, to feel it dance to the music through my ear buds (like Cora did) and to hear those first cries and see another brand new face, all squished up and angry and beautiful. I still feel the uncontrollable urge to be a mother and to watch my children grow and shape into people I am proud of and love unconditionally.
And, in the face of all of this conflicting emotion, I also feel a complete sense of loss and hopelessness that none of these mixed emotions will ever resolve themselves and I will be plagued by them for the rest of my days. I also feel like the weight of grief pressing down on my shoulders will always be present, jading my chance at being truly happy ever again because, even on my good days, the pain never goes away.
And so, I continue to flit from thought to thought in an intuitive effort to avoid the most painful truths that lie deep within me. Sooner or later, I will have to face my fears, but for now, I’m okay with floating in the Abyss with no oars and no land in sight.
Goodnight my friends. I wish you all enough.