Saturday, October 31, 2009

Standing water

Several weeks ago I mentioned that I was doing much better. Grief cycles seem so cyclic, I was a little afraid that I was just in the middle of a few good weeks, but the pattern has persisted, for which I am thankful. For a long while, the waves of grief would hit, unpredictably, intense, for hours or days, so intense that it almost translated into a physical pain. That doesn't seem to happen often anymore, and when it does, I don't feel so lost in them that I can't find my way out. The feeling is familiar, and while not pleasant is welcome as a part of me, a part of my loss of Henry.

I feel much more myself, with all of my assets and handicaps intact. I'm back to forgetting friends' birthdays (never really stopped that, but I had an excuse), avoiding exercise, actually caring enough about work to let it stress me out. Regular life stuff.

But it feels as if I am walking in three inches of standing water. It's not harder than it is for everyone. I'm not debilitated. In some ways, especially parenting, I think I'm doing a better job than I've ever done. But every time I move, every step I take, every thought I have is followed by sadness that he's gone.

I wished and wished for some relief when the grief was so intense. Sometimes I did not feel like I had the strength to carry it much further.

But I don't honestly know if this stage will ever pass. If it doesn't, that's ok. This is something I could do the rest of my life, hearing the splash, watching the ripples every time I move. Maybe I don't want it to go away?


rlbates said...

You describe grief so well. My mother would have been 75 this coming week. She wanted a big party for that milestone. Now it'll just be me and my sister having dinner. {{{hugs}}}

Dr. Smak said...

I hope you find peace this week, Ramona.

ADB said...

I guess it is still a case of taking it day by day. The pain will grow duller as time passes, but never cease altogether.

Annapolitan said...

You describe things so well.

It reminds me of how I used to describe depression: like I was walking (or swimming) through molasses every day. Everything was so much more of an effort.

What I remember about grief is that sometimes it felt like rehab after a stroke or an amputation: I had to relearn how to do everything without that part of me. The first holiday without... a birthday... the anniversary. I had to rewire that part of my brain that still felt him here.

And when I started to feel more like myself and the grief didn't clobber me and didn't feel overwhelming, that was a sign I was doing my grief work well.

But often I wasn't sure I was ready to start feeling like myself again. I wanted to hold onto my sadness and loss because in those things resided my connection to him.

Nicole A. said...

Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I've looked back through the blog but didn't see what symptoms Henry had that prompted you to have him examined. As a nurse and a mom of two young boys, I'm curious - what can we watch for that could help us to get the earliest intervention possible?

Katerina said...

I haven't experienced such a loss as you have (thankfully) but from what I've heard from someone who has, the passing years do make the sensation less intense. That, and the gradual but inevitable fading of memories, might bring guilt along with the welcome relief.

I cannot imagine it's a quick process though, more of a matter of several years. Your loss is still so fresh. I imagine that what you are feeling now is quite different than what you will feel two years from now, although Henry, and his absence, will always be a part of you.

I am always impressed by your thoughtful, candid posts; I think you are doing as well as anyone humanly could following such a loss, the depth of which is unimaginable for most of us.

sajbat said...

New to the blog--just came here via a comment on another mommy/doc blog and have been reading through the posts--I have tears from your and Henry's story--what a beautiful child...and you capture things so perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I'm a long-time reader of your blog, and a little ashamed that I never had the courage to comment before, but, better late than never, maybe. I wanted to let you know how touched I have been by your journey, how I hope every day that you and your family find peace and healing.

Recently, I have become the co-ordinator for a knitting group that produces wig-like hats for children who have lost their hair due to chemo, brain surgery, alopecia, or other such traumatic events. Our caps are donated to our local children's hospital and distributed to children we will never see, but whose lives we are hoping, in some small way, to brighten.

I wanted you to know that reading your blog and Henry's struggle is a large part of what helped convince me to become involved in this project. Just as I hope that the items we are distributing will bring at least a moment of comfort and happiness to their wearers, I hope you will consider each moment of happiness, each smile we create, part of Henry's legacy, as well as your own. Thank you wholeheartedly for inspiring me to find some way to reach out to the world around me.

Dr. Smak said...


Henry was the recipient of many gifts from unknown benefactors in the hospital, from toys to quilts to hats. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.