Update: I’m Back!

I attended my first personal grief counseling session with my partner this week. I can’t say I really like/trust my counselor. When I was trying to explain stressors in my life, she made a judgmental comment about my oldest sister which I did not appreciate. I know she’s an older woman (as I’m sure someone would point out if they met her) but some things are just not okay to say. Especially when your job is not to judge but whatever. All things considered, she was very right/honest in her concern for my mental/emotional ability to grieve if I’m always trying to get work done and creating new projects for myself. I know some people might find my obsessive compulsive need to plan and track everything a bit odd. I mean, when people point it out to me I can see it. But if I didn’t do those things I feel like I would just crash. And I mean crash. Like not be able to get out of bed and take a shower kinda crash which is depressing. And I don’t want to be depressed. Maybe I am and I just don’t know it, like ‘working depressed’? Is that a psychological term? Probably not.

I remember reading about this woman who was a perfectionist and did not allow herself to grieve following her child’s stillbirth. It finally caught up to her and she ended up having a nervous breakdown (I think they’re now called a psychotic break or something). I hope that isn’t me but I’m just not ready. Can you not be ready to grieve? The counselor also recognized that I was simultaneously grieving the death of my mother still which was probably re-awakened by this most recent situation. Yet again—she’s right. This is definitely a time that a person needs their mother and I can’t even call her on the phone. I guess sometimes I believe that I’m really okay because I appear to be a ‘normal’ functioning person (which is probably why I’m so intolerant for people constantly whining about their almost non-existent problems). If anything, I’ve been told that I seem incredibly strong-willed and somewhat reserved. But as they say: looks can be deceiving.

We also attempted to go to the stillborn grief support group. It was a bust. Apparently, you need to call ahead for this particular group because it doesn’t meet regularly. However, the group is monthly and conflicts with my grad classes for next semester. I guess I’ll just…I don’t know. I really don’t know.

Anyways, that’s all I have to say for now.

Dominique

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A letter to my daughter, Marieme from your A-type, overplanned, overimaginative mother/an ode to the grieving process

I wrote this on November 3 and 4th in my journal. I figured I would type and share for those that feel the way I do.

Your body entered this world at 1:48 pm on November 2nd, greeted by your daddy and I. But I know you left me on October 31, sometime in the early hours. I knew this because you didn’t move at all in the early hours when you’d normally tell me to pee for the thousandth time. Or wake me up in the morning to eat breakfast. Or thank me after I drank your favorite–a huge bottle of ice cold water. See, I knew you were gone before they confirmed it the next day. Before your daddy wanted to admit what I already knew. And the physical pain I feel right now…it has nothing on the emotional pain that will surely endure for the rest of my life.

You were 1lb 7 oz. Your feet looked just like your dad’s. You had a full head of hair already. I basically did everything sans pain meds and yet I didn’t get to hear you cry. I would give anything to hear that. And what’s worse is my body basically just ejected you and I feel empty. My stomach has already begun to flatten in the spots that you claimed. It’s almost like you were never there just days ago, kicking away. And now I wake up every night thinking I’ll feel you again but nope–nothing. I try to tell myself that there is so much of the world left for me to explore in your absence to feel better but I know that it is a lie. You were a happy addition to our lives. I mean the reason I haven’t written in this journal for months is because your father and I were planning for your arrival. After our anatomy scan on October 15, I just couldn’t stop thinking about how wonderful you are. How full your life would be. There will never be another you.

We were forced to go to the funeral home yesterday to talk about what to do with your body. And we decided to cremate you because we can’t leave you here in this town when we move. If I could move today, I would. Just so I could get away from the city in where you died. I don’t want to be here, but at least you can always come with us.

Today is hard because it is starting to sink in all the things that just happened. And of course my breasts are swelling with the milk for the baby that I will never feed. You were such an active little girl. With your long legs. I have your dad but other than that I feel so alone. I tried to laugh as much as I could in the hospital to break from reality. To be strong. And for what? To feel like this now, I guess. I know death can’t be planned but I wasn’t ready for this. I’ve gone through a lot of things but this just about tops it, it really does. I want my mom right now. She would know what to say but even she has passed away. And Papa hasn’t called. My distant father, your grandfather, surprisingly texted. You will never meet these people but they are real characters.

I just feel so alone and I don’t know what to do.

I thought you were the sign of life and vitality and then this happens. Why me? Why you? You didn’t deserve that. You looked so peaceful though. They said that the cord tangled around your little legs which probably made you go to sleep…forever. And it’s not my fault, they said. And there’s nothing I could do, they said. I was still going to push myself to go to class but they instructed me not to. Not for the rest of the week, they said.

I still have my hospital bracelet on. I can’t take it off yet. I’m not ready. I need to know that after twenty-two hours of labor that you’re still here. That it happened. Because it feels so unreal. I really wanted to be a good mother for you bu I will never have the chance to be. And I feel like I cheated your father out of this opportunity to be an awesome dad. The guy I didn’t have. I’ll be honest, I can’t even really imagine having another baby. They will never be you. Anyways, I only wanted one child. You were supposed to be my one and only. So now what? I didn’t want 30 thousand kids. I wasn’t greedy. Just 1. I can’t even have one child. How unfair is that?

You were so beautiful. It breaks my heart to see how heartbroken your father is. I don’t know what to tell him, to comfort him. I wish you could lend me the words in a dream. Maybe it will happen soon. Maybe ‘the words’ will come to me. And I can ease his pain.

What I do know is that no matter how long we tried to play Monopoly yesterday, it meant nothing to me. Winning felt nothing like losing you. If I could just feel one more kick I swear I would be so thankful. I feel bad because I have distanced myself from your aunt while she is also going through her own problems. She needs to understand that I need this time for me. I’m trying to be strong and opitimistic but I don’t want to. Not anymore. And I don’t want anyone to see me like this. And I’m not really sure that I want to live anymore. I’m just putting on a show for everyone else. You know, to pretend that I’m so well-adjusted–but I’m not. And there is no magical serum that I can buy to make my grief more comfortable and less apparent for onlookers.

And to make matters worse, I have just experienced a complete shift in hormones. It seems like it was instantaneous. I started feeling it even on the day I went to the hospital.

What am I to do, my little one without you? I don’t want to leave your dad but I feel like I don’t have anything to hold on to anymore. You were the one that helped me realize that there is more to life than school/work. You gave me a reason to finally enjoy life instead of feeling like every second of every hour had to be planned. And I’m scared I will never be able to experience that feeling again. Maybe I should do something drastic like cut my hair? I don’t know.

Anyways, I believe in energy. I know you heard my whispers when I told you about the day my mother died. It was the day after my seventeenth birthday. Merely hours into the new day, actually. Anyways, I felt her leave me. I woke up around 2 or 3 am and had the sudden urge to vomit. I received ‘the call’ about an hour later, telling me your grandmother was no longer here. I say this to say, the connection between a mother and child is so powerful. I know we didn’t have the chance to build a relationship the way that I was able to with my mother, but I know I will never be the same. You are just that special.

Love,

Your mother