What could those two things have in common???
Today has been one of those days where I've had a lump at the base of my throat all day. The tears wanted to come, but I wouldn't let them. Although, for some reason, I almost fell apart at Kroger tonight. No trigger. Nothing. Just almost started crying. But I composed myself. I fought it hard. The tears didn't come.
I haven't had a good cry in a long time. I let the tears well-up in my eyes and then blink them away. I keep swallowing until the lump doesn't feel quite so big. I keep taking very deep breaths so that I can get some air to help me not feel like I'm suffocating so much. It just takes soooo much energy to grieve. It takes soooo much energy to have the kind of cries that the love and hurt and lost memories of Grady bring about. There are times that I just don't have it in me to let go. And there are times when I don't feel "safe" to let it out.
You see, what I've found with this grief, is that it is somewhat of a personal thing. Yes, it is great to share my feelings with those who love and care for me. Yes, it is great to share my feelings with those who have walked a similar road. No, it is not good for me to keep it in. But the truth is this.....the ugly cries that really need to come to work through something like this are best done in private. Not just so no one sees how truly ugly I am while crying but for me to get the maximum benefit, or release, out of that sob session. And for me, that's literally what it is.
I think for many people they don't grasp the depth of the pain of losing an unborn baby. People say things like, "At least you didn't get to know him", "Something might have been seriously wrong with him", "At least you have two other children", "There's a reason". I don't know why, but one of the things I hated MOST to hear after Grady died was, "Well, you look good!" To me, that implied that I must be doing good if I looked good. Sure, the fact that I dropped 30 pounds in two weeks probably had something to do with it, but PLEASE! That is not the kind of weight loss regime that one desires! Anyway, I got so tired of it, that one night, when some poor soul (and I honestly can't remember who it was and if it was you and you're reading this, I do sincerely apologize!) brought a hot meal to our house, that person made the mistake of saying, "Well, you look good!" I know everyone who said this desperately just needed something positive to say to me and they were trying to make me feel better. But to this unfortunate person I replied, "Well that's a good thing because if the outside matched the inside, I'd look like sh--!"
So, what do my grief and a ball of yarn have in common?
When I went to my RTS Bereavement Training in March, we did an eye-opening exercise. We stood in a group of 6-7 people holding a ball of yarn. We were instructed to hold a piece of yarn in one hand and throw the ball itself randomly around the circle. Each time you threw the ball of yarn, you held onto a piece of it and you had to name how a mother (and/or father) bonds with the baby before that baby is ever born. So, our ball of yarn got thrown around the circle several times. Some ways mentioned that bonding occurs were hearing the baby's heartbeat, seeing the baby on ultrasound, feeling the baby move and kick, feeling baby's hiccups, preparing the nursery, naming the baby, baby showers, buying clothes/diapers, imagining life/holidays/vacations with the baby, etc. You get the idea.
All at once the leaders told us to stop. We then raised our arms over our heads and held up this "web" of yarn. It looked pretty cool from the bottom looking upward at the intertwined pieces of yarn. Then they told us to drop our yarn in front of us. It didn't look so cool anymore. In the middle of us was A BIG MESS! It was then explained to us that this is what grieving parents, who have suffered a loss, EVEN BEFORE BIRTH, have to unravel. As we were trying to "wind up" the yarn back into a neat ball, we kept encountering knots where the yarn would have to be more carefully worked with.
This is much like the grief that I have been, and still am, working through. From the viewpoint of an outsider, it shouldn't be that hard to lose a baby before he was born. After all, "I didn't get to know him". But nothing could be farther from the truth. I knew Grady very well. I knew him better than anyone else. And I knew him for 36 weeks and 5 days.
And I'm trying to clean up that mess and unravel the tangled yarn internally. You see, that tangled yarn is a good depiction of how my insides feel. It tells the story very well that my heart is broken. That even if I can work through some of the heartache, I will encounter bumps or "knots" along the way that may take longer to straighten out. That yarn is the clean-up that I'm trying to tackle every day. That mess of yarn represents the memories that I have of Grady, the memories that I won't get to make with Grady, the deep love that I will always have in my heart for Grady.
He's my son. My baby boy.
And I will never forget him!
And I will never let anyone else forget him, either.
And although I can't physically carry him here in my arms...
I will always carry him in my heart, forever and ever!