On the lost world

March 11, 2009

There are days when things seem to be evening out, when I’m just grieving instead of racked with grief, when I look at the title of this blog, think of people who’ve lost much more than I have, and say to myself, Maybe you were a little too melodramatic with the title, there, E.

I Lost a World – is it overstatement, metaphor, or both?  Whatever it is, I can always partially blame Emily Dickinson, which is some consolation.

That was partly a rhetorical question.  I don’t feel as though it’s an overstatement, even though I started writing here at the height of my grief, which may not be the best time to name anything.  I wish I could just miss Teddy, but I miss so many parts of me, too.  I’ve lost the world I trusted, I’ve lost my trust in myself and in the very air I breathe.  You could tell me that the dirt I stand on is the same as it was this time last year, and on days like this, I would argue that it isn’t.  It’s treacherous dirt, now.

I was standing in a colleague’s office yesterday as he talked about how it would be fun to have a kid so that he could watch him (funny how he assumed his child would be a boy, a smaller version of himself) grow from helplessness into a person, so see human development firsthand.  As he talked and kept talking about this, I stood there, staring at him with what had to be amazement on my face.  My chin began to quaver, my eyes welled up, and I started thinking, panicked, about whether I should run for the door.  I was crying, Grief Girl provoked into showing herself, before he realized what he was saying and who he was saying it to.

I didn’t say, You only get that if you’re very lucky, or, You don’t always get to see them grow up, to learn who they would have been. I didn’t say, Sometimes they die.

I also didn’t say, My God, man.  You have to be the most self-absorbed, clueless person in all creation.  What the hell is wrong with you?

But I saw, very clearly, that my old world is gone, lost to me except for the memories.   It was a reminder, not that I needed one, that I am a stranger in a strange land.

I’ve been trying lately to revive my trust, to find solid ground, to tell myself that balance is possible again.  I stare at April on the calendar, thinking, we can try again in April.  How can we dare? I stand on the shore of a new world, eying the rocky clifts with skepticism, buffeted by cold winds.  Afraid, tired, off-balance, I hope that this place will have some joy in it.



  1. I don’t think it is melodramatic at all, Erica. Far from it. You lost your old world and you lost Teddy’s entire world. His whole life.

  2. No, it’s not melodramatic in any way. I also lost my world. The world has gone on, and I’m only beginning to be able to rejoin it. But it’s not the world I knew any more. That’s the world that’s lost. In one foul swoop – gone.
    I had almost 38 years to learn that old world and it’s ways. And now I have been dropped into the middle of this new one.


  3. I think we have children so that we can watch ourselves grow from helplessness into a person, to see human development firsthand. Only when we lose our children, our helplessness is a kind we never expected, and our growth and development filled with such potential… however little we asked for it.

    Reviving trust… hard, isn’t it? Something lately tells me that it’s not something you can try to revive, but rather something that will come, kind of unexpectedly, one day in the future, in little spurts, looking much different than the kind of trust we knew before.

  4. Oh, that is so true, how much of ourself changes, too, when we say goodbye to the people with whom we least want to part. There will be some things in time, I’d wager, that you will like better about your new self. Those are the qualities you’ll see as gifts from Teddy–the empathy, the perspective, the ability to connect to other grievers in a way you could never have done before. A place in history–I’ve never felt so connected to my ancestors and all the women who came before me than I have since my children died. Those new qualities won’t make up for what you’ve lost and they won’t make this world all that much more comfortable, but they do at least make it so not everything feels like walking backward while everyone else walks forward. They are the unique gifts that come with this kind of motherhood, and even though you want so much more, they are what you get to keep.

  5. I think “I lost a world” is the most fitting name for a babylost blog.

    I think we all feel that way, to a point at least. Most outsiders just see that we lost our babies, but what is often invisible is the empty hole of what used to be a fulfilling life. I think it takes a long, long time to build that back, and it will never be the same.

  6. I love the title of your blog – it’s very fitting. You did lose a world when you lost Teddy. Your post about a super-imposed life clearly demonstrates that. My DH thinks we’ve lost our world and we’re in another, wrong dimension of time. In some other world, we are with our live baby where she is now 9 months old.

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