this blog is a ghost town. it’s been a year and a half since i was here last.
i think sometimes when a blogger hasn’t blogged in awhile, the biggest obstacle to returning has to do with explaining the absence. and, like, apologizing. you have to justify why you’ve been gone in an attempt to convince people who read that they should give you another chance.
well, this blog has only ever been for me. i share it because recovery is so, so tricky, and i have read a few really obscure things on the internet that have saved my life, and one good turn deserves another. or whatever.
as for my absence: the baby died.
that’s really the whole thing. she was born and died on april 13th, 2011 at 32.5 weeks gestation. she lived for nearly an hour, but not quite. she weighed 14.9 ounces. (when you lose a person before you can know them, you cling to this type of information, i think. it’s her life story, these throwaway details.)
i have never had grief like this before. i have lost a few people. but it has never been like this. it has never changed my life so much for so long in ways i can’t even track, can’t name.
her name was ivy.
and i can talk about her. i can talk about her endlessly to anyone who will listen. dates and times and measurements and medical procedures and who was where and who said what and phone calls and requests and sleep or not. i can tell you every external detail.
but it’s so hard to talk about anything internal. not because i am unwilling. because i am unable.
i had one vomitus session on facebook about six weeks ago. i sobbed and pounded my keyboard and got this:
it’s been over 16 months. recently i posed a question to myself: which kind of day is more difficult? the days when you can’t stop thinking about her? or the days when you suddenly realize you haven’t thought about her all day?
the answer is “yes”.
sometimes i feel ashamed of my grief and i want to hide it and pretend everything is okay. sometimes i feel like i don’t deserve to grieve because she wasn’t my biological or legal child. sometimes i feel like i shouldn’t have to grieve so much for so long because i can’t really miss her. she was here less than an hour.
sometimes i want to just scream at people: can’t you see i’m grieving! no, i can’t help you! i can’t even help myself! i can’t do anything. i can’t cook the food and i can’t drive to the museum and i can’t weed the garden and i absolutely can’t be socially normal. because i am grieving, and it’s so hard, and i can’t do anything except miss her.
and i’m just now realizing how hard i have pushed people away. and i am too tired to repair my relationships. i am too tired to apologize. i want you to just forgive me. i understand that you can’t, but i want it anyway. i want you to understand and forgive me.
and i want to not feel so ashamed of the fact that i stopped making plans when she died. and that i don’t have a direction anymore, a plan, a goal, a future. my future died. i lost my future. my future was helping to raise this child, and collaborating with my family to break down the dumb stupid barriers that tell us how we can have a family and how we can have kids and how we can raise them and who does that work. and that plan is gone. and you can say i still have my son and nephew and living niece. of course i still have them, and no one should doubt how important they are to me. that’s not the point.
i want to be better. i want to be a better person and a better friend. i want to be a better writer and a better communicator. i want to do her justice.
and i can’t. i just can’t. so now i guess i’m in the place where grief is not about doing someone or something justice. the shape of my grief is not a measure of my love. you can’t even measure them with the same tools. you can’t even speak about them in the same language.
so i think this blog entry is a vow to myself to try to stop manipulating my grief to make it look the way i think it’s supposed to. and to stop waiting to talk about it until i know the right thing to say.
probably i will never know the right thing to say. it’s okay. i have plenty of wrong things to say instead, and i’d like to get back to writing some of them down here. there’s some humanity in that, i think.