Grief and Sleep Deprivation Make Strange Bedfellows

Ever just have one of those days? Well, it’s Tuesday and I’m having just one of those weeks.

I’ve been struggling with grief again in the last two weeks and, inevitably, when the grief surfaces, insomnia comes on stronger than usual. I usually do my best to deal with the weight of Cora’s loss by, literally, exercising my ass off until I drop into bed each night too tired to wallow in “what ifs” or “I could have spent more time with her” or “why did this happen to her, to us”, etc., but lately I seem to have come full circle. I’m back to second guessing and questioning her care at the hospital, questioning myself and wondering if I could have done anything further to prevent her getting sick and dying.

The guilt, although entirely ridiculous because I know that I did absolutely everything I possibly could to keep her healthy and thriving, can be all-consuming. My brother Mike once told me that he spends probably half of his time as a parent second guessing his actions and wondering if he’s doing the right thing by his kids. I was a mom for a whopping 30 hours and I’m still beating myself up about what I did or didn’t do while she was alive.

One of the glaring issues that I can’t resolve in my mind is that we never had the chance to give her a bath after she died, so she died still covered in all the gunk that comes along with birth. When she died, the doctor basically pulled her out of my arms to whisk her away for an autopsy (while her blood was still fresh) because they needed to know if a blood disorder had killed her. We also never had a chance to have moulds taken of her hands or her feet – something that would have been a tangible piece of her that we could have kept and cherished forever. At the time she died, I’d been awake for almost 60 hours and I’d been through an epic amount of shit, so I never thought of any of this. I was too distraught to even think beyond the fact that our beautiful miracle baby had finally been born only to die in a blink.

Now, however, 20 months after the fact, I have all the time in the world to think about these things and to let the weight of them push down on my exhausted and worn out shoulders. The rub is that I know these feelings will pass in time and I know that it is not helping me to focus on them or give my psyche shit about them, but it still doesn’t stop them from popping up time and again. The guilt and the doubt are ever-present and glaring, even though I have nothing to feel guilty about. Perhaps this is the feeling that every parent has when it comes to their children?

During these stretches of extreme sleep deprivation, I either become manic and find myself floating along on a bubble of giddiness (that doesn’t feel right, but can’t be controlled) or I become solemn, contemplative, quiet. Today, I’m a bit of both – giggling at things that aren’t really that funny or shouldn’t even make me laugh and then, in a blink, tearing up over the heavy feeling of loss in my chest. This grief wave can be quite the ride sometimes.

The worst part of not getting enough sleep is my extreme inability to concentrate for more than 10 minutes on any given thing. Flit, flit, flit from one thing to another, never landing long enough to accomplish much in the day. It’s very frustrating and I have resorted to setting a timer for 25 minutes at a time and doing everything in my power to concentrate on the task at hand for that entire 25 minutes. It’s not working. This post would normally take me anywhere from 10-15 minutes at the most and I’ve been working on it – on and off – for nearly two hours.

Perhaps, on a day like today, I should throw my list of Todos out the window and just concentrate on taking some time to just be and work out these purely blah feelings until I can sleep and think straight again.

I hope you are all having a much better day today than I am and I wish you all enough…

Jo and Juno on an air mattress in the water
A happy memory of me and Juno The Wonderdog floating around at our friends, Jay and Shannon’s, cabin!

One thought on “Grief and Sleep Deprivation Make Strange Bedfellows

  1. Guilt is such a horrible consuming emotion. It eats you alive. Hang in there.

    Ps when my father died (I was 3) my mom was consumed with grief and was asked if she wanted a grave site in her grief she said no and to this day she regrets not getting a grave site for him for me to go to (he was cremated) you can’t hold your self responsible for any decision you made during that time! You made good solid choices that got you thru the moment which is what is and was important. You are so strong so strong. Hats off! And remember she will always be in your heart.

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