Friday, January 23, 2015

Does time heal and will I be normal again?

It’s been 2 years, 4 months, and 13 days since I discovered my baby’s heart had quit beating. It doesn’t feel that long ago and yet it feels like eternity. Although the passing of time has brought some new good things, on occasion I resent time’s movement because many days it feels like I’m getting further and further away from my little boy. I fear the memories will fade to bare minimum. I don’t ever want to forget holding Hudson. I don’t want to forget carrying him in my womb or my pregnant belly. Most of all, I don’t want to forget how it all felt. The agony. The anger. The grief. I want to remember it all.

I’m guessing that if you yourself have lost a baby then you may understand where I’m coming from. There’s not much to hold on to as time rolls on. Sure, I have a wonderful collection knick-knacks that have become very dear to me. I have lots of treasured photos, and journal writings to last a lifetime.
But you know what? Of everything tangible or not, that which was closest and most personal to me of all, were my feelings. The raw gut sensation that sent me into fits of anger and tears. The washing of grief numbing me to the bone. I wanted to escape them in the moment. I wanted to run as far away as possible from the weight of all I felt.

I remember being in very inactive labor with Hudson. I was growing restless just lying in the hospital bed. My room was full of close family chatting to pass time and the mix of physical pain, emotional pain, an uncomfortable bed, and idle chatter had me so restless. I walked around the small delivery room weaving in and out of randomly placed chairs. I knew my family was watching me but I looked down in order to avoid any sort of eye contact. Many times I was asked if I wanted to walk the halls but I quickly turned down every offer. I didn’t feel adequate enough to walk the halls of such a happy and heart-warming floor. I didn’t want to encounter the strange look of a single soul as I stumbled by with a hospital gown draped loosely over my small pregnant frame. I didn’t have a big 40-week belly and if someone saw me then they would know something was wrong. I couldn’t handle the possibility of one innocent question by a random passerby.
Well, after weaving through all the chairs for a couple of minutes I decided to step outside. I reasoned that my room was at the end of the hall, set away from all the happy faces. If I stayed right outside my door then possibly no one would see me. I walked out to the end of the hall and stood in front of the large window and peered out to the traffic below. My husband was with me with his arm around my back. First I thought of how badly I wanted to be home reading books in the rocking chair with my 16 month old, in preparation for his nap time. That’s what I should be doing. Then as I looked out the window, I chose a random vehicle driving by and thought, I want to be them. How carefree to be driving around town on a sunny September afternoon. Anything sounded better than this.

I was sure I would never be normal again.  I would never have another carefree sunny day to enjoy.

This is such a simple but profound memory for me. 
I was right. I would never be “normal” again, but as time passes a new normal does show up. The old normal is easier and less complicated, however, it doesn’t understand all that I understand now and it doesn’t have the capacity for love that this new normal has.

After such a tragedy, normal changes and so does time. Time will move incredibly slow at first and then regain it’s typical pace.
And then one day you’ll see how much time has changed you. Sure, the memories become a little fuzzier. That’s why I write them and share them so much. But time will cause you to learn a new way of life. One in which your days are more purposeful and you learn to live a differently.
Time has separated me from the raw emotion and anger, and time has given me the chance to learn things I would’ve otherwise never understood.

In the aftermath of a tragic loss, well-meaning people rehearse empty lines just because they don’t know what else to say. They’ll tell you time will heal.
They’re wrong.

Yes, you will experience some healing of the anger and grief. But it will never ever heal the wound.

I remember thinking, I just wish time would hurry up and get here. I believed those people that told me time would heal the pain. In the moment I had to believe that something would heal it.
As the calendar pages turn and the new normal fully moves in then you’ll see it happening. You’ll find ways to cope and it’s in those ways, whatever they look like, that you’ll feel your heart strengthen.

For me the memories are too precious to want to forget. I understand I’m lucky because it’s not that way for everyone. Maybe you think I’m crazy for claiming that I don’t want to forget the pain... And maybe I am just crazy.  Then crazy I’ll be.
If you’re in the thick of grief right now and desperate to know when or how it will get better, just hold still. Cling to what you find to be dear to you in the moment and watch and see. It’ll happen.