Thursday, March 31, 2011

Working It Out

An old friend asked me the other day if I thought that my grief had worked itself out, since I was "back to normal".  It always strikes me off guard when I see the way that we, as a society, view grief.  That it is something work out... That it goes away... That our happiness or our "normalcy" is some sort of sign that we are all better.  She was asking for legitimate reasons; she's lost a child to miscarriage and wants to know if, someday, she'll be better... If her grief will pass...  That people will one day stop telling her to "get over it" because she will have.

Facebook is only good for so much; I'd love to reach out and give her a hug and tell her that, just over the horizon, her grief will be gone and she will be her old self.  But the truth is, she won't be.  That person is gone.  She has been changed.  She gets the choice of whether that is for better or for worse.  I look at this girl... This pre-1st miscarriage girl, who was still a newlywed in love, and so happy, in spite of anything else.
In 1998, when these pictures were taken, I was between 150-165, weight wise.  I was a freshman in college and, I'm sure, didn't eat well.  This was pre-miscarriages, pre-dealing with infertility, pre-autoimmine and PCOS issues.  I was happy, but I was so naive.  I was barely 18 years old and, although I thought I'd lived (and while, in a lot of ways, I had), I had no idea what life had in store.

And then, I look at this woman...  
This woman who was struggling with infertility and one miscarriage.  Who thought that that worst thing life could throw at her was what she had already overcome.  I was 24 and weighed about 220 by this point.  It's crazy to think that, now, although I can see the fullness through the face... The tired smile that was still hopeful.

She moves into this woman.
I was 28... 3 miscarriages under my belt, 3 dead babies taken from my arms.  240 pounds.  Smiling because I was told too... Smiling when I didnt want to...  A smile that didnt quite go all the way up to the eyes.

And she's become this woman.
The me of today (well, of Sunday, actually).  180 pounds of me.  30 years old.  A woman who is grateful for the life she has carried and is defined by their lives instead of their deaths... Who carries them all in her heart- a heart that is full and mended together through their love.  The scars remain- they always will.  They will always be just below the surface, ready to ache when the climate dictates.  But, they are scars.  

This woman smiles again- and means it.  This woman has rediscovered joy- and realized that it was never truly gone, just hidden beneath layers of cold, worn hurt.  This woman has found acceptance in the fact that she will never know why, but will know that...  That these children chose me to be their mother; that I was given the blessing of having them grow inside me even if but for a moment; that I will always be theirs and they will always be mine; that one day, I will be reunited with them in that Great Divide where the souls of those we love wait for us.

I like her better, I think...  
The knowing... The understanding... The life.

Do we one day work it out?  Does the grief go away?  Will she be back to normal?  As I shook my head, I typed into the chat window.  "No, you never are that person again.  You're a mother now.  You have a new normal, and, one day, that grief will become a part of you and you will smile again."

And she will... We all will.


Ms. J said...

very well put. I had the same best friend from ages 11-31, then a series of very bad choices by her put huge strain on our relationship and I ultimately had to step away from it. 3 years later, after having righted her ship she asked to re-enter my we met...and I couldn't muster the interest to put the friendship back together or even start anew. During those 3 yrs she had missed my three miscarriages & the one failed adoption referral. I met her in a coffee shop, going on my 4th night of no-sleep as we had just gotten LP's referral and were awaiting review of her records by a pediatric cardiologist. I tried to explain to my former BFF all of this, and how I was not the person she had remembered...while her life had gotten better, our hiatus was marked by extraordinary grief & raw emotions. She chattered on about her new life, and I knew she wouldn't be up for my journey w/LP. I felt like she didn't deserve access to my joy, since she hadn't been present for my pain. Yes, I look back at old photos and see the difference, the innocence, the hope in me, too.

Kakunaa said...

Oh, woman. I am sitting here weeping. You are soooo good at putting things into words. I am sitting here with my miracle baby suckling at my breast crying with gratitide...and not a little bit of fear at the future. HUGS.

Anonymous said...

You said it so well Michelle. We will all smile again. *hugs*

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I am loving the woman you have become. It is sad that pain has to change the person we were but often that pain also makes us a woman we admire within ourselves.
I know that I have strengths inside of me that never would have emerged if I hadn't gone through pain in my life.

I think what you told that woman on Facebook was a perfect, touching answer.

Barb said...

I like the current me better too. :)
Very profound.