Archive for May, 2009

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Almost

May 29, 2009

We saw a rental house today that we both liked. There’s no certainty that we’ll get it; it sounds as though there are plenty of other interested parties. No dishwasher, alas, but there is a laundry room, a basement workshop, a wood-burning stove, a yard, and a kitchen that reminds me of the farmhouse where I spent my childhood summers.  The roof is new, too, new this past year.  After months of leaking and leak-related unpleasantness, the thrill of a new roof and the thrill of a landlord who puts one on a house before there are leak problems is enticing, to say the least.

We’re turning in our application tomorrow and hoping that we’re the ones who get there first, who make a good impression, who are chosen.  But I’m keeping my hopes in check, not expecting much, trying not to get attached, trying not to want too much.

My wanting is reserved for other areas of my life right now.

I keep trying to squelch the insidious feeling that, because my baby died, the world owes me things, owes me this rental, owes me a sunny day, owes me a living child, owes me luck and good fortune.  I know that this isn’t how the world works.  I even know that this isn’t how the world should work (as if anything could pay me back for Teddy’s death).  But every once in a while these ideas pop into my head anyway.

And it is hard to be in a state of almost there – almost having found a new home, almost figuring out how to remember Teddy while not reliving every moment of his birth and brief life, almost being ready for whatever comes next.

I’m almost through my first year without him – less than three months to go.

It’s not that I expect to get to a place where everything is fine again, where life is suddenly sunshine and rainbows.  I just sometimes feel on the edge of coping better.  I may be on the edge for a long time, for years, and that’s if I’m lucky, but the glimpses of coping better are tantalizing.

I wonder if tadpoles with legs, who are almost frogs, feel awkward and restless and hopeful and anxious.  I wonder if it’s a relief to lose the tale and learn to hop, or if they miss the way they swam as tadpoles.

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Incoming

May 28, 2009

During the first year N and I were dating, we grabbed dinner at a Steak n Shake. Over a basket of french fries, I watched with amusement (and some trepidation), as he taught the little boy sitting across from us how to blow through his straw so that the straw wrapper propelled across the table, hitting whoever was sitting on the other side. The little boy’s dad thought this was hilarious. The mom was more dubious.

He’s so good with kids. They gravitate to him, knowing that here is a kindred spirit, someone who can toss aside the dressings of adulthood and throw himself wholeheartedly into a game of airplane, catch, tag, or make-believe, someone who can inspire them to new heights of goofiness and laughter.  A year ago, he let his small niece feed him blueberries, a food he normally won’t touch with a ten-foot pole.  Coming from her little fingers, though, he acted like they were the most delicious things in the world.  He thinks kids, all kids, are wonderful things, and I know he was very excited about having his own, that he was eager and ready (as any man can be, at least) to be a daddy.

Now Father’s Day is less than a month away. I’m already hyper-aware of it, and while I don’t know what to do for N, I want to do something. Something that lets him know I see him as a father, that I remember that he lost Teddy, too. Something that honors the way he was there for me and for his son during those very hard days. Something that honors the fact that he still holds his son in his heart even though he can’t hold him in his arms. Something that recognizes his love and loss.

And also something that doesn’t make him feel like I’m pressuring him to remember, or like I want him to remember and feel the same way I do about Teddy. I want him to have the option of burying his head in the sand and hiding from the day if he wants. We both grieve, but we grieve differently and I try to respect that and walk the line of sharing, but not pushing. I suspect I often err on the side of caution, and most of the time, that’s probably not so terrible. Come June 21, however, I need to have a plan (even if it’s tiny and simple) in place.

Any ideas about how you might mark Father’s Day, whenever it may fall for you? Or about how to show appreciation for a babylost dad?

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Patience

May 26, 2009

The summer is pressing itself upon us; seems like Spring, true Spring, was here so quickly. Now everything is warm sunshine, buzzing bees, and one thousand memory rushes a day. The end of June was when we found out that all was not well with Teddy, and I think I may have to resign myself to being overwhelmed with memories until August passes.

This weekend was full of sensory triggers, as is today, and these triggers – the smell of cut grass, the smell of lilacs, the sound of bees, the bright yellow dandelion blobs on our lawn, the soft noise of the ceiling fan in the bedroom – are like buttons on a time machine, sending me back, and back again. Those visits to the past are probably part of the healing, but I am left feeling drained and desperate to get out of the time machine, just for a day, just for an afternoon.

I want to go on a whiskey tour of Scotland.

I want to take a few days off work and visit the Oregon coast, where I could walk along the beaches and read a sea chest full of fiction, romance, mysteries, and YA lit. until I feel satiated and up-to-date on current literature again.

I want to get away. I want to escape from this season, from these languorous summer days where I keep meeting my past self, keep reaching out to my boy who is gone. I want to (and here’s the catch) escape from me, to run away from the tired, grief-ridden person I’ve become and be someone more lighthearted and less burdened for a while.

Patience is not my virtue, but I need it so much right now. I need to be patient with my body (especially since I’m denying it margaritas and caffeine), with the passing of this beautiful, horrible season, and with where I am in my grief. I think I need to let the memories come and allow myself to be overwhelmed by them without panicking, too. At least when possible.

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Not quite Thoreau

May 22, 2009

I grew up going to the woods.  It was always a romantic venture, but the romance was just a part of it.  And if your family took you on camping trips every summer, and if you have had many experiences with camping ground outhouses, you probably know what I mean.  Nothing makes you appreciate modern plumbing and kitchen appliances like a few nights in a tent.

Even so.  I’ve seen skies so full of stars that they made me wonder how darkness can even exist.  I’ve hiked up mountains to touch glaciers, have dipped my feet in icy cold, glacier-fed lakes, have sipped camp coffee doctored with Bailey’s from a speckled camp cup while listening to my dad tell stories and watching the embers of our campfire.*

We didn’t go camping last summer, N and I. There was too much going on to get out our new tent (wedding present) and camping gear. We may go this summer, if we can whip ourselves into hiking shape, but the truth of the matter is that my mom did an awful lot of prep work to make our camping trips fun. A lot of packing and planning and cleaning and organizing. Much as I miss going to the woods, I’m not sure I can coordinate a trip with her same élan.

For now, we travel a short distance to the local arboretum, where I walk along paved pathways and watch the seasons write poems on the trees. Not too long ago, I managed to remember the camera. I found some tenacious branches, refusing to let go of their leaves, and thought about how I hang on to things, too.  I worry about this sometimes, but seeing these leaves reminded me that hanging onto things is a pretty natural part of life.

leaves

There were also some newly swelling buds.  I’ll go back soon, and see them in full leaf, and I will smile and sigh at the same time.  I am trying to be glad of the Spring, to be glad to see things that are full of life and growing, while letting myself feel sad about what isn’t.  It’s both sweet and sad to remember being pregnant last spring.  The smell of lilac and apple blossom gladdens my nose, but it’s now forever connected with those days of first kicks and talking to my belly.  Teddy, you are so very missed.

buds

*This was when caffeine didn’t keep any of us awake at night.  The evening coffee was sweetened with Bailey’s.  Morning coffee was black.

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Green light, and wind

May 19, 2009

Spring

Yesterday, storm clouds swelled, the skies darkened, and the light – this pre-storm, rain-full, brooding light – bounced off the new leaves and the spring grass until the whole world looked green and eerily beautiful.

A caught-in-crystal moment of quiet and peace before the winds whipped themselves into a frenzy and the rain started to fall. For the rest of my life, will I associate moments like this, when the world seems to stop and hold its breath, with my too-short time holding Teddy?

I ran outside, attempted to capture the green-tinted light, but mostly failed. I caught this lilac, though. One of the things I will miss about this place is the back yard surrounded with lilacs.

I usually think of Spring as a gentle, growing time, but it is also violent. There are rainstorms and wind. The wind howled like a lonely thing last night; it kept waking me up from restless dreams. I kept worrying about the tender little plants growing in pots on my back step.

I spend so much time longing for peace lately, perhaps because I’m also longing for something that would make peace very hard to find for, say, nine months or so.

I feel like yesterday, with its stillness and its storm, was trying to tell me something. I haven’t unraveled it all yet, but I was listening so I think I’ll figure it out eventually.

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Walking

May 17, 2009

I love walking with N.  We walked together often in the couple of months after Teddy died, and it seemed as though we could talk to each other about him on those walks.  It seemed as though talking about him came more easily then

Yesterday evening, N and I went for a walk.  We offered to pick up some mail for friends who are out of town, and decided we should make a longer loop of it.

After a couple of blocks, he said, “I think you know this, but today is nine months.”

“I know.”

“I didn’t say anything because…”

“I didn’t either – I was afraid that…”

And as we walked up the hill we talked about how neither one of us had wanted to bring it up, about how each of us wanted to spare the other the burden of that particular memorial, even though we each thought the other knew.

We talked about the significance of the date, nine months since Teddy died, another Saturday the 16th, the feeling of wrongness that Teddy was here such a short time.

He told me how well he remembered that Teddy knew his voice, how our son opened his eyes when he heard his daddy speaking to him.

And I recalled how Teddy kicked at N’s hand when he put it on my belly.

We decided to mark off the 15th and 16th of each month, birthday, deathday, and plan on doing something to mark them – not necessarily big things, a walk or a dinner out or a drive – so that we can acknowledge these days openly.

It was N’s suggestion to mark these days, and it was a relief to me to hear him suggest  it.  We spend so much time shielding each other lately, and it’s good to know that we can approach some of our memory-ridden days consciously and thoughtfully and together.

We need to go for long walks together more often.

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Nine months

May 16, 2009

Nine months.  He would be nine months and one day old today.

Nine months is supposed to mean something else.
roseandbud

I miss you, Teddy.