Okay, so I said that writing about my grief hopefully wouldn’t end up being a multi-week series, but that was when I was hoping I would be able to think about other things in 2-3 weeks 🙂 Probably a bit on the unrealistic side there.
So here are some notes on Week 3!
This week, I had the multitasking opportunity of a lifetime: to continue processing our failed adoption while being socked in the gut (literally) by a 48 hour stomach virus of some kind.
(Note to God: when I said “I wish I could just go to sleep and forget any of this is happening,” I didn’t mean “I wish I could sleep for 19 hours straight, waking up only to vomit yet again.” Apparently I REALLY need to be more specific.)
I emerged from my couch cushions long enough to text my friend last night,
“I have to confess: I just asked God: an emotional ass kicking wasn’t enough? I needed a physical one too?!”
(Yes, I am a pastor’s wife. But every so often, only a swear word will do. Don’t tell Zoe I said that.)
While lying on a couch for the entire day while life happened around me (have I mentioned my dramatic streak?) I thought, “don’t despair. Count your blessings! You’re not alone! God is still here providing for you! Tell Him what you’re grateful for!”
My list went like this:
-I’m thankful that the Kardashians were somehow ALWAYS ON MY TV. I don’t know what sort of marathon I interrupted, but as the day went on I found that I could drift in and out of sleep with their nasally voices on in the background, wake up whenever, and pretty much catch the gist of what was going on within 2 minutes. (Scott is lying, Kourtney is trying to catch him in it, Kim is being a diva, Kris has a ludicrous idea and is not being supported by her family…you know, the template for any episode. But BRUCE! What happened to him?!! I must have slept through that horrifying Michael Jackson-like-metamorphosis…)
-Related: this was the only month I have EVER had cable since leaving my parents’ house. David signed us up for one month of cable only because of the Super Bowl and Olympics. If I had the stomach bug LAST month, I would have had Hulu Plus and/or static to watch. So yeah. Thankful for cable.
-I am grateful that my best friend of 11+ years came to visit on Sunday. I SO needed her to sit down in my kitchen and say “so…you only have one baby right now…let’s talk about that.” We’ve been friends since high school (before I had any real responsibilities or roles) so I can say anything to her and wow…I needed that opportunity to just talk, get coffee, and sit in the sun with someone I can be completely unguarded with.
-I’m thankful that I only had a stomach virus twice in the last three months instead of continuously. And hey…no holiday weight gain? <–(This is a joke)
-I’m thankful for my husband (this one is serious) because he jumped right into caregiving mode and took care of Zoe so that I could vomit and sleep in peace. That guy rocks.
Today, my stomach is better. But the physical exhaustion I feel plays right back into the emotional exhaustion I feel.
The truth is, I am just plain worn out in every possible way.
During Zoe’s nap today, I had a phone counseling session with a social worker from our agency. She reminded me that everything I am feeling (emotionally and physically) is normal and gave me some ideas of activities that I can do to process some of what I am feeling (like a letter that I never send! It’s like an idea that I’ve heard somewhere before…oh wait, IT’S ONE I RECOMMEND TO STUDENTS ALL THE TIME.)
But I am dutifully going to do all that she recommends because I don’t know what else to do. I know God is the ultimate healer, but it will probably go better if I give Him something to work with beyond a giant shrug.
Our conversation helped a lot, but I could still use some input on one thing. Maybe you can help. Here’s the question: I feel strongly that I want to do something tangible to commemorate this baby’s journey in and out of my life. But what?
When my grandpa died, I printed out some photos of the two of us. Whenever I felt sad about his death, I pulled them out. The photos reminded me that my feelings of loss came from great love and holding them and remembering that love made me feel better.
When I went through a different tough family situation, I kept photos of that loved one in frames around my house to remind me of our relationship and my need to pray for him/her.
When I see a flower in the sidewalk, I think of my other grandfather (who is no longer fully with us due to dementia) because of a conversation we once had about how God makes beautiful things in unexpected places, and I smile and think of him.
But how do I remember this baby?
I don’t want to just forget her. It was a real love. It was a sacrificial love. It hurts like a real loss. But I don’t have any pictures of her. I wasn’t able to name her. (Until last week, I didn’t even know what her final name was.)
I feel like a tangible gesture or item would serve as a touchpoint for me in these times when I wonder if I am just being ridiculous to hurt this much for a baby that wasn’t legally mine, and that maybe, as time goes on, this reminder can help me mark my healing (much like I eventually put those photos of my grandpa away because I didn’t need to look at them very often anymore…and in doing so, I didn’t feel betrayal. I felt healing and felt that he would be pleased with where I was at in my healing process.)
Our social worker suggested planting a tree, but to be honest, my track record with plants is 0-15 or so at this point and if I killed a tree that was supposed to be commemorating my almost-baby, I would REALLY feel bad…
If you have any ideas, PLEASE send them my way.
In the meantime, I’ll just be drinking my electrolyte enhanced water and trying to recalibrate on multiple levels. Bottoms up…