I've thought about writing something here a million times over the past couple of weeks. I never did. Grieving is tiring. It takes a huge amount of energy. Crying is tiring, too. I've cried everyday for 23 days in a row. That is work. And right now, I guess it's my full time job. I've taken 6 weeks off school, which feels like a long time one minute, and no time at all the next.
I've been thinking a lot about time lately, and how to manage it. The first week of 2008 was the hardest yet. Christmas kept us moving, thinking, and the minutes and hours passed at a normal rate. But then it was over, and New Year's was over, and my birthday was over, and there was a whole year of hours and minutes ahead of me. Without the distractions of the holidays I was left with a huge hole in my life, and in my heart. Time slowed down and I was stuck in the saddest moment ever. I wondered how long I'd feel like this. How many more days will I be crying? How many hours can I go without having to sit down and give in to feeling hopeless? How will I feel at Fionn's
grave? How will I feel hearing the results of the postmortem? How will I feel when we think of trying for another baby? How can I ever face another 40 weeks of worry and anxiety? How will I carry this sadness inside my body for the rest of my life? Have I lost hope in things working out?
One of the midwives that attended Fionn's
service said something to me that came into my head a couple of days ago. I asked her what to expect, physically and emotionally. She explained the physical bit, and when it came to grieving she said, "Go with it." At the time this didn't mean anything to me. I filed it away because I respect this woman, and figured she knew something more than I did about this. But yesterday I retrieved this from my memory, and I think I know what she meant.
I'm trying to stop thinking about tonight, tomorrow, next week, next year. I'll face then when it comes. "Right now" is all I can do. If I feel horrible right now, that's that. If I feel ok
, that's better and I'll enjoy it. The unpredictability of how I feel moment to moment has forced me to be in
the moment, to dive into it, feel whatever is there, and leave tomorrow for later.
This doesn't come naturally to me. I am a planner. I plan my life, my kids' lives, my students' lives in the classroom. I plan our meals and make a list that shows what's for dinner tonight and what ingredients I need to make it. I buy airplane tickets 8 months in advance because then we know when we're going and we can plan around it. So this Go With It routine is new to me. It's my new job.
However, there have been a few other times in my life when I've been able to Go With It. During labor I was able to go through each contraction one at a time. I didn't think about the next one or how many more I'd have to get through. Time became abstract and irrelevant; I was unaware of how many minutes or hours had passed. All of my energy was put into the moment.
It's time for me to Go With It again. And funny enough, it's my experience of giving birth that is guiding me through this. I've realized that just as giving birth is an act of love, so is grieving. Each pain filled moment expresses love and devotion.
We all know the product of labor is a baby.
What's the product of grieving? Hope, I hope.