Again, so much to catch up on. One would think that grieving is a chance to take a break from life, to stay home, rest, cry, lock yourself away to heal and gather your reserves again. But no. Grief is an active animal.
Just over 2 weeks ago I visited school, (see Bullet Points post) and promptly fell into a deep depression. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, head straight through Apathy Town to Listless Village, where if you want anything you have to get up and get it yourself. And if you’re capable of that, you don’t belong there. Stay there with eyes open but seeing nothing indefinitely. I had my first day where I thought I might actually not get out of bed at all. Coincidentally (or not), Anna’s 3-month birthday. (I did eventually get up, at 3 PM, only because it was a beautiful day out and I thought I’d only be frustrated if I wanted to get out of bed at 8:00 and it would be too late to enjoy the sun. So I plopped down on the front patio in my PJs where my husband soon joined me. Later I went to get pizza 5 minutes away - yes, in my PJs and without my hair combed or face washed. To hell with anyone who had a judgement about it.) I couldn’t talk to anyone but Brad, and even that felt like Herculean effort. Just to move my mouth to form the words was like climbing through sludge. I was almost always surprised to hear that my voice sounded normal when I spoke, since the one in my head sounded wasted and weak.
Exactly a week after returning to face my co-workers, Brad and I had coffee with a woman who has suffered through eight miscarriages with her husband, and gone on to adopt a child internationally. She was...spirit-saving, at that moment in time. She could relate to the depth of our pain in a way few can and, most significantly, had reached the other side. Happy, with a child at home, fulfilled. AND, that child was not biologically theirs. After the road we’ve traveled and the utter lack of probability we can produce another child...this is a huge thing. It does not seem possible for us that we could find unfettered happiness in any other situation than having Anna home. In truth, unfettered happiness is not going to happen regardless. We will always feel pain in missing Anna. But others have gone on to be happy enough, and literally ALL the stories I hear that about are from people who have gone on to have other children. This woman was the first though, to have that child through adoption.
Immediately after meeting with her things began to turn around a bit. I also had an energy healing session with an amazing blind woman the next day, so who knows what can be attributed to who, but the result was coming back to life more than I have in awhile. I realized that every time I thought about returning to work at school, I would stop breathing and feel like I wanted to throw up. In the past, I’ve used my body’s responses to make key decisions -imagine myself in the situation, notice if my body relaxes and opens or if it tightens. I’ve not gone wrong yet in using that tool. Now though I’d been overriding that reaction with “but I need to go back, it’s the only easy source of proof that I’m returning to ‘functional’ that people can relate to, everyone is asking if I’m back to work yet and there’s pressure to get going with my life again, etc etc”. After having met with these women, I was able to gain enough objectivity to conclude that listening to myself and not doing something because it was what other people want me to do or “what I should do” is more a sign of positive mental health than succumbing to pressure - internal or otherwise.
The response I’ve gotten from my counselor, our support group leader, Brad, and even the Human Resources person at work as been strong and affirming. There has actually been cheering and tears (not mine, this time!). Since then I feel much less anxious, and have found the decision to have been important on a number of unforeseen levels. Since Anna died I’ve been buffetted (sp?) about by the winds of life and not caring one bit about where I end up, sort of desperately praying that wherever and whenever the tornado spits me out it will be a place I can live with for the next 40+ years. For the most part that still holds true, which is why this little piece is a Sign of Hope. I’ve taken a little bit of power back, which means, to some extent, I’ve re-engaged in my life.