July 12, 2011

Right Where I Am: One Year, Two Weeks

I just finished reading a great post by a fellow "Baby Loss Momma" (as they're known in the baby loss community) about the therapeutic value behind blogs. It just got me thinking about some feelings I've had of late about my grief and reminded me about the Right Where I Am Project which a lot of other bloggers who've experienced loss wrote about in the last few months. The idea is that you write about your grief - right where you are in it since your loss and in doing so, will help give others who have experienced loss an idea of what to expect at that point. 

I think it's a great idea, but that it could also inaccurately portray what grief is like at X point. Because we all grieve differently. And we all have different experiences. And while we (the baby loss community) all have one thing in common - loss - those losses differ from one another in many tragic ways. But I think we tend to connect to those we related to best. I know I've done this. I read blogs of others who have experienced loss, but have found that I'm selective in even that. I think that's because the sad fact of the matter is there are SO many stories of loss out there, and if you allow, it can engulf you. Does that sound selfish? It may, and it's not that I'm not sympathetic to other stories of loss, because I certainly am, but I've found that I can let my own grief engulf me if I allowed it, so I try not to let the grief of others consume too much of my time and my heart. I feel that my grief is exhausting enough as is.

But the blog I read reminded me how helpful other blogs can be. Sure, sometimes it can trigger something sad and painful or keep you in a dark place if you are already there, but they also remind you that you are not alone. They remind you that a lot of other people, really great and genuine people, are walking this same journey and while at times may stumble and fall, they manage to hold their heads up and face the world. Sometimes our blogs don't always portray that. Sometimes they show just pain and heartache, but that's because we use these virtual soapboxes as therapy. And in doing so make connections with other people who help simply by being honest and grieving out loud. I tend to read blogs of people I can relate to best, either through their personality or their experience with loss. And if they are funny, that's an added bonus. I appreciate someone with a good sense of humor.

But back to the whole point of this post (an hour later) . . . I wanted to write about right where I am in my grief, but for a little different reason than stated above. Sure, I hope it may help someone get an idea of what to expect, but a lot of the people who read my blog are fortunately not in the loss community. I'm writing to help my own thought process and am hoping I give people who haven't experienced loss an idea of what it's like inside the head of someone who has . .  a year and two weeks later.

I've pretty much been open about my grief throughout the process, especially as it related to my pregnancy with Finley, but lately I'm having a hard time looking forward. I feel like I am moving forward, but I'm doing so on auto-pilot. The pregnancy with Finley had me looking forward to his arrival. It was scary and hard to do at times, but there was a definitive end result to hope for which got me looking forward. And since the timing of his arrival was right around the same time as Cale's first birthday, I now feel I'm in a strange point, in grief limbo, of how to continue to move forward, but continue to grieve for Cale in the process. I guess with us already passing the year marker I worry  that life is just supposed to take on a whole new meaning and that having this healthy and wonderful little baby (who is making really funny grunting noises right now), is supposed to change how I process everything that has happened to Cale. It's hard for me to figure out, and probably equally hard to explain in words.

As I've mentioned a million times, and will a million more, I never want Cale to be forgotten. But those who read this blog, and those who are important in our lives, have been great about reminding me that he never will be and that he is still so loved. I just worry about another year from now, about ten years from now and the people who don't really know our story and just see our lives from the outside looking in. I want people to know about Cale, but don't want it to be because I have baby loss written across my forehead or am so consumed in my grief that it interferes with living my life. Even when I started this blog, I didn't, and still don't, want it to be solely a baby loss blog. I wanted to document our lives. But a big part of our lives, especially this last year, has been baby loss related. So I guess I'm just trying to figure out how to continue to miss Cale, how to cry for him, get sad or angry or bitter or whatever emotion it may be, but not let it negatively impact Finley and living the {mostly} happy life I still hope to live. I guess this is maybe similar to what people who have living children experience when they suffer a loss?

So right where I am - well, I guess I'm not really sure. I've realized that grief doesn't go away. Just because we have Finn here and just becuase we've gotten through what probably (hopefully) will be the hardest year, we still will grieve for Cale. Our grief will never be gone, but rather will just change, just as our lives continue to do so. Another facet has been added to my grief and it's one I will continue to sort out. And will probably blog about in the process (lucky you!) 

Long enough? I think so.

6 comments:

  1. This is really beautiful, and a perfect articulation of how hard it is to explain the way grief functions in our lives at different times. I am also pretty selective about the "BLM" blogs I read now--partly because there are just some people I relate to more than others, but also because I can't get bogged down by more sadness sometimes. Navigating through my own life is hard enough! I think you do a remarkable job of acknowledging what you're grateful for, and paying tribute to the son you lost as well.

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  2. You wrote, "I'm just trying to figure out how to continue to miss Cale.." –unfortunately, I don't think it's something you can figure out. I don't ever want to tell you what I think you should do and how you should manage your grief, but here's one suggestion: As you continue to let the grief take whatever path it chooses, make it a point to honor Cale in some way every day. Let yourself feel however you want to feel "right where you are" but make a conscious decision to positively honor your son each and every day so that Finley will have more of a balanced impact of grief, not the negative one that you fear. The thing is, Miss peanut, I think you already do this. Sweet Finley will be a better person because of how you are and who you are. Thank you for continuing to share your journey with all of us. I'm beyond blessed to have you as my sister.

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  3. I so admire you, Caroline.

    You have it right. It saddens me to see other BLMs move forward with almost a new life, leaving behind their children and attempting to bury their grief. While I know we've talked before about misery loving company, it's much different than that. I don't hope to see people sad and depressed as they hold their new babies in their arms. But, there is a time to remember and such great importance in not losing sight of how their lives have shaped us and shaped who we are as parents to rainbows.

    Thank you for portraying yourself and your reflections of grief post-rainbow with Cale still in mind. I just don't think I could live my life (with 10 rainbows even!) forgetting or burying my love for Andrew.

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  4. I know that you will always be a great mom to both of your boys because you already are. I am sure that it can be hard to parent two very different children; one that is in heaven and one that is here on earth. But you do.

    You honor Cale's memory and even though it may be hard to figure out these new inner workings of grief after a rainbow, you still grieve with grace and love for your first born.

    I am honored that I have you to walk beside...

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  5. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing where you are at this point in the process. As time passes, both of your boys will continue to be (and always be) loved by those around you. I feel that the way in which you honor Cale will always allow new friends to know about him in a wonderful, loving way...not due to any kind of interference but just by the immense love you both have for him. :)

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  6. That is put so well, Caroline. That is one of the many questions that swirls in my head, is how to honor and remember Georgiana and not dwell for my future kids' sake. I'm sure God will guide us both in the right direction. Finley is precious, and sweet Cale is remembered by so many of us. Hugs and prayers to you.

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