Saturday, January 3, 2009

Is this living or simply life?

Today hasn't been a good day, which follows yesterday, which wasn't too great either. A lot of tears. Downright sobbing. To the point of nearly puking. And I didn't even bother to get out of bed until an hour ago.

The grief physically hurts. My neck and shoulders hurt so much that I can barely move at times. I feel like an old lady. (On a side note, when I was in TN, my feet were hurting so severely that I thought I wasn't going to be able to walk and, without a word, my mom suddenly geared up for a foot rub. She rubbed my feet for almost an hour and afterwards, they didn't hurt a bit. It's amazing how much our mothers know us when we don't even know ourselves.)

Just when I feel like I might be able to breathe, it all hits again like a ton of bricks. Some moments, like right now, as I stare at their pictures, I feel okay. Not great, but okay. I'm up and showered. I'm dressed (well, in PJs, but still dressed). We're planning to go out and buy stuff to make my stepfather's DELICIOUS rice pilaf (and yes, I'm going in my PJs.) I haven't eaten since yesterday afternoon; I'm hoping that making the rice will get me in the mood.

I feel like I'm gasping for air at the top of Mt. Everest. Like I can't breathe, like every breath I manage hurts and freezes my inner core. I'm nothing but thousands of cold, icy shards, each one poking at my insides, cutting away what might still be left behind.

I'm so tired of being the person that everyone else wants me to be. So very tired... I can't cry because they don't want to see it. I can't stay in bed all day because they need me to get up and show that I can. I'm just so tired... I could sleep forever and still be tired. And that's the worst of it; I don't sleep anymore. I just lay there, sometimes with my eyes open, sometimes with them closed. But always awake. I can't tell you the last time I had a "good" sleep; yes, I can. It was 1am on November 23rd. I slept until 3:30am, when I woke up to a contraction and Alex was born soon after.

This morning, I was plagued with thoughts of the first on-call doctor I saw, the idiot who told me that I "needed" to walk around, even after she'd seen that I was dilated. Of course, who is more of the idiot? Her? Or me, since I actually listened to her. I look at that and I can't even blame her. I should have said no. I should have demanded a bedpan and put the bed in inversion myself. I'm enough of a reader that I should have done that. I still can't believe I got up and went to the bathroom twice. Was that was started the inevitable? Was that what let him drop to the point that only my water breaking was enough pressure to get him back inside completely?

The questions today are merciless; the blame that follows, inevitable.

A dear friend of mine sent me a card with the following quote by Arthur Schapenhauer written in her beautiful manuscript: "The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely an irretrievable loss." That about sums it up...

I've been home from work since the 19th of November. I worked that Wednesday and was admitted to the hospital that evening, so I've been out of the office, as it were, since. I've worked from home several hours a day since coming home from Alex's birth. I am due to go back on Monday morning. I really don't want to. I feel horrible because, in today's economy, people want gainful employment and I just have no desire to go back. The anticipation is like someone pulling out my fingernails. After Nick and Sophie were born, going back to work was the worst thing in the world. Everyone told me how going back would help, how I'd be glad that I did. Bull. It was the worst thing, for both my psyche and the me that shown to the outside world. I loved my job. All I'd ever wanted to do, work wise, was run a small library. Getting that opportunity (and getting it before I'd hit 30!) was so awesome! It allowed for Peter and I to move into our dream home. Best of all, the expendible money meant that we were able to help those in our family who were struggling and couldn't make ends meet. We always had planned that, once the kids were born, I'd quit my job and we'd make things work on less. But... I don't think that's possible and, while everyone was telling me how much I'd benefit by going back to work, I think it was a simple cost-benefit analysis that made them encourage me to return. Anyway, I was miserable. Every day was a new layer of hell on earth. And, because I was so miserable at work, I was miserable at home. I rarely cooked and mostly just sat on the couch. Cleaning didn't really happen until the sheets HAD to be washed and we were out of clean clothes to wear. And that was pretty much it. I'd dust up if people were coming over, but mostly, we just existed in whatever was. If paper fell on the floor, I'd step over it; if the counter was dusty, I'd use another. Then, Alexander came along, and suddenly the reason to live was there again. Things were better. Work was still pointless and I came home miserable, but I was able to overlook it because Alex made the world a better place and I was living for him. And now, like my precious Nick and Sophie, he is in another world, making it a better place, and I am still here.

I dont want to go back and I feel roped into doing so. I feel like there is no choice. If I don't go back, then how will we meet our financial commitments? How will we help those who need help? Peter has said that if I really dont think I can do it, then to give notice and then we will find a way to make it work. But still, I cant make myself do it. And I know that next week will be hell. I know that it won't make anything better to go back and that, whatever pieces of me are left, will be widdled away. That I will have to be someone else who can deal with the horrible parents and the crying babies and all the nonsense, because the real me can't. The real me can't even be with the people she loves without putting on a different face. The real me still wishes she were in bed right now.

And so, I write. Because there is nothing else to do right now. Because this is the only way that it will come out, and it needs to come out. Because I dont have the physical voice to share it with even my dear, sweet husband. But he's coming downstairs; so I'd better find a voice because he'll know something is wrong the minute he looks at me.


A n T said...


(((Hugs))) I can not even begin to think of the pain and the hurt that you feel. I'm not sure of even the words to say but know that I'm praying for you and your husband's strength. I know you will never forget the pain or the memories, I just pray that God gives you the peace that surpasses all understanding as we have to continue on with our day to day living.

c. said...


I feel your hurt, your pain, your longing. No one should have to be forced to endure the magnitude of loss you have. It's unfair and awful and so distressing. All I can offer is I hope you are able to take the time you need to grieve. I think Peter is incredible to suggest you not go back to work if you just physically and emotionally can't.

If you are back at work, I hope you are hanging in there, one miserable day after another. I hope, in time, you can come to find the motivation to love your work again. And if that means growing another baby will offer you that hope and motivation, so be it. I know another pregnancy will never replace the pregnancies and babies you lost, but I also know subsequent pregnancies go a long way in restoring some semblance of hope and happiness to our lives again.

Thinking of you, M. Absolutely.

S said...


I'm so sorry. I don't know exactly how you feel, but I know the agony of having to pretend thing are alright and having to play along when you are in despair. Is there someone you can talk with, or something you can take to make it a little more bearable to get through the day. I have finally broken down and gotten something and it might help a little for you too. I'm sorry the way things have worked out. I am sending you love. When I was going through that post partum depression after Ruby people were presureing me to get back to my normal life and get on with things and all I wanted, needed was to jsut curl up and stay away from everyone. I don't know if that's the best choice, but it's what I needed and I think you should do what you need right now. If returning to work is too, much let it go.

Love you and will come see you soon.


B said...

Oh Michelle - you are doing it so very tough. Going back to work is very very hard. Getting out of bed is very very hard.It is very difficult to begin to try and find some meaning in life at this point when you feel so utterly broken.

We didn't clean the house for over 10 weeks and then we started paying a cleaner (which we still do).
Holding you in my thoughts and prayers