Thursday, February 5, 2015

A rough week

This week has been particularly hard.

I learned on Sunday that my sister is taking her kids to Florida this week.  She didn't even have the decency to tell me herself.  She sent me this card yesterday telling me that Lydie's death is making her appreciate her life and her kids more, so she wants to have these experiences with them.

So not only does she have a living son and daughter, but because my daughter died, she is taking them to fucking Disney World. 

The rational side of my brain can make sense of this.  The emotional side is so angry at her.  And lately, my emotions are winning out.

Yesterday, my mom texted me a photo of her holding a beer and a pretzel with my sister at the Cleveland Hofbrauhaus and it made me burst into tears.  I do not understand how they can go out and have fun right now.  It makes me feel so completely alone in my grief.

So much, that when I couldn't stop crying while running around the track, I had to go sit on a toilet in a bathroom stall.  I had to wait until the people around me cleared out to let out my gut-wrenching sobs.

When I texted Justin to vent to him, he reminded me that it was Wednesday.  I found out that my daughter had died on a Wednesday.   It marked 13 weeks.  I hate Wednesdays. 

Justin seems to measure time by Thursdays, the day Lydie was "born."  For me, I mark Wednesdays, the day that my world came crashing down.  And to top it off, today is also the 5th, which marks three months since the dreadful day I found out she died.

Which makes tomorrow the 6th, three whole months since her silent birth.  Others have told me that anniversaries are always hard, and I wasn't sure what to think about that, until I realized this bad week is coinciding with the three month mark.   A whole trimester.  The fourth trimester.  I should be setting a chalkboard next to her, taking her monthly photo.  Remarking about how much she has changed and grown.  Maybe she'd even be rolling over already, like Ben did at 3 months.

Yesterday, I helped interview a candidate who just happened to mention she has three children.  And while everyone else nodded, I felt sick.  How simple this comment was for her.  I felt so jealous.

Later, a friend asked if I had any travel plans for work this spring.  No, I responded.  I was supposed to be on maternity leave.

Between the tears in the bathroom and my office, I looked forward to picking Benji up from daycare all day, thinking my day would greatly improve when my boy ran into my arms and hugged me.   But instead, he threw a tantrum about leaving school.  And considering there was a pregnant woman in his classroom and I could just feel my anxiety rising, I picked him up crying and carried him out.  He fought me as I wrestled him into his car seat, and as we're stuck in traffic and he continued to howl, I yelled "I know!" at him and started crying too.

And then once we got home, Ben opened up the fridge, pulled out a full bottle of lemon juice, and promptly dropped it on the floor, shattering it and spilling lemon juice everywhere.  I yelled "fuck!," dropped to the kitchen floor and wept in a way I haven't in months.  Ben sat down next to me, sobbing.  And eventually I pulled him on to my lap so we sat there sobbing together. 

I wouldn't say that it was my finest moment of parenting.

And in a few minutes, I have to go to a faculty meeting where I'll be surrounded by people I haven't seen since November.  And for each person that says hello to me, I'll have to quickly size up whether they know or not and make the split-second decision of how to respond when they ask, "How are you?"  Meanwhile, a trigger for me has been crowds and sitting in an auditorium with 200 colleagues gives me such anxiety.

I've read that I can allow this experience to make me bitter or make me better.
I know that I can't control what happened to my daughter, but I can control how I choose to live afterwards.

On the good days, I can feel this.  I can feel hopeful and grateful.

But on the bad days - or even the bad weeks - the anger and the fear and the anxiety and the resentment creep in constantly, and I can't control them anymore than I can control anything else. 


  1. I am sorry the picture made you feel alone. I recreated the picture of our time together because I have such wonderful memories of our trip to Europe. I wished that you were there, Instead I caused you more pain. Sorry! I love you.

  2. You're 100% allowed to let this make you better AND bitter for awhile. These things aren't mutually exclusive. Bad weeks are bad weeks. And the best thing about that is that you will wake up tomorrow and have another chance to put one foot in front of the other. Tripping up will happen. It SHOULD happen, because this shit is heavy. No one can get through this (nor should they) easily, Heather.

    Ben knows how much you care. And crying together is OK. And being angry at your sister for that is OK. I was so angry at my sister for getting pregnant so fast. SO SO angry. But when all was said and done...that anger has dissipated. In a way, I'm glad it happened. Because it helped me keep going. It gave me some ambition that I maybe wouldn't have had to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

  3. Oh lovely, I've had a shitty week too, I couldn't even reply to your email properly yet as I just don't have the words to say what I have said again and again. This can't be my life.

    I wish sometimes that us stillbirth mamas we're not spread so far apart across the world. It's so comforting to know someone else is having breakdowns in front of their kids, struggling with playgroup drop offs and just wondering how to keep putting one foot in front of the other. But how much more comforting it would be if we could actually meet for wine and a rant. In my head I've devised this daytime drinking game - one shot for a pregnant women, two shots for twins, a whole bottle for a pregnant woman bitching about being pregnant. I should carry a hip flask :)

    1. Oh my God, we'd be so drunk... they are EVERYWHERE, haunting me. Taunting me.

      On a side note, I did have happy hour with a new friend who lost her son at 34 weeks a month ago. Her first time out of the house and not wearing yoga pants... it was so me a few weeks ago.

  4. So, a friend of yours who goes to my church passed your blog along to me. I've been reading voraciously for the past few three days. We lost our son Alexander in July of this year. We found out on the 5th that his heart was no longer beating, and he was born still July 9. So this post. Today. I know you wrote it a year and a half ago, but today this is where I sit. A very heavy day, three months since our world shattered. Thank you for writing, and for sharing your story. We've been sharing ours and have been grateful for the support we've received and the connections that we've made.

    As I sit here today, having taken the day off from work, and wondering if I can muster up the energy to go out and run some errands that need to be completed before our son's memorial service this weekend, on his three month birthday, I am thankful for your words. And I am thankful for not being alone.

    Erin Haligowski


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