Life, Revisited.

Every time I’ve sat down in front of a blank screen this week I’ve been at a loss for words. With Before-Rhonda that would be shocking. With After-Rhonda, not so much.

My words are lost somewhere between my heart and my fingers. I rarely write here with my head. When I started this blog I knew it wouldn’t mean anything if I wasn’t completely honest and raw as a writer. I write first and think after most of the time. It gives me some catharsis then. A release that, no matter how hard I try, I can’t find anywhere else.

After my last entry, Darcy looked at me and said “You know, your blog entries are incredibly self loathing”.

And he’s not wrong.

I see that when I write, but more and more, I see that when I look in the mirror. And I know that’s what I need to change now more than anything. I can’t bring my daughter back. No amount of hoping and praying nor well wishes from others will ever give me what I need most. I used to love myself, every little bit of me. I loved who I was and I loved what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I wasn’t ashamed of who I had become. But that was Before, and After-Rhonda needs to fight her way back to that spot, if that sacred piece of ground still exists. Maybe it’s somewhere in a new place.

When I started this blog, I started it from the very depths of my own hell. A hell I have barely begun to inch my way out of. I’ve lost track of the stages of grief. I’m not sure I’ve ever really gone through any of them fully. I’ve always been the type to do things my own way, anyhow. Why should this be any different? At least that part of me hasn’t changed. But Darcy is right, that fun-loving side of me is gone, those shiny blue eyes that could look in the mirror and love what they saw are dull, and weary and tired. At least for the moment. Maybe forever. Who knows? But I’m working so hard to get that spark back; To try to find a little bit of joy. Right now I would settle for being able to face the world without being medicated half the time.

Every now and then I get a glimpse at what my life was like Before. It’s so alien. I’ll see my own photo and I’ll not recognize myself. I want that feeling back. I want to feel like tomorrow is promised again. I don’t want to face my own mortality like this. I don’t want to feel death so close anymore. I don’t want to be heavy with grief. But I am. And I look at those pictures it’s like life, revisited.

Image

Ive started beating the crap out of my body with exercise. Eating right wasn’t working fast enough. I have just over 15lbs gone in the last 5 weeks. It hurts to move, but at the same time the ache reminds me that I’m still alive and that I’m still breathing even though most days I feel like I’m merely existing in my own little world. I’m trying to learn to love it. I’m not there yet, but I know it will make me healthier and stronger for Everlee’s brother or sister.

It’s easy sometimes for me to hide behind my screen and interact with people this way. No one has to see the sadness in my eyes or hear the cracks in my voices. No one has to watch my eyes well up and my body recoil as I learn to live with discomforts of being this new me. It’s easy to type “:)” or “haha” to fool other people. I do it every day. That’s why I love social media so much. You can create a persona and no one is any wiser. But here, in this space where everyone sees me as who I really am, I don’t have to hide. And although my blogs are honest, and real and sometimes painful and self loathing they’re who I am right now. But readers I want you to know, that no matter how far down I am, I will always be fighting to get back to that place where I can smile and feel happy again. Because here, I’m Everlee’s mom, and I’ll always fight to make her proud of me.

The sound of silence.

Tonight was hard.  I’m more-than-ever acutely aware of how difficult I am to be around. And it hurts. Before Rhonda was always the centre of attention. After Rhonda stands on the periphery of a room and doesn’t get invited into the mix, let alone to the centre. 

I wish there was a guidebook for friends and family for how to deal with someone in  grief over the loss of a child. I make almost everyone uncomfortable, and awkward. More often than not, I evoke a deer-in-headlights reaction from people.  There are so few people I feel comfortable with anymore, and I know there are even fewer people comfortable around me. No one knows what to say, or do. They’re so afraid of hurting me they say nothing, unaware that it hurts me even worse than anything they can possibly say wrong. I’ve already lost my baby, anything you say won’t hurt worse than that. I just wish that there was a prescient for this – for all of our sakes. 

Afterthought: (Incidentally, I have discovered that someone HAS thought of this – this website has some suggestions.. http://www.glowinthewoods.com/how-to-help-a-friend/)

There’s an elephant in the room. But I’ve come to realize that the elephant is me. 

Everyone has gone back to their lives. I’m still here, frozen in time. It amazes me how I have not only become a stranger to myself, but to others too. Family and friends that I always considered so close to me have become strangers, they avoid me at all costs, physically and emotionally. Even when I’m in the same room. I’m not sure if they just don’t have the ability to interact with me without the fear of hurting me, or if  they fear I’m contagious – not unlike a leper. Whatever their reason I tend to feel more like the leper. I know their intentions aren’t malicious, but not having them here to support me hurts more than anything they could possibly say. Sometimes all I want is for someone to look me in the eye and ask me, genuinely, how I’m feeling (and not believe me when I answer with my usual, mournful “okay”). 

Then there’s those that I would never expect to even speak to me, or be understanding at all – relative strangers to the Before Rhonda –  that have come out of the woodwork to be some of my greatest supporters.

I guess watching people in grief does odd things to people. 

Darcy and I leave for a vacation in a little over a week. Miranda (my psychologist) says I grimace when I say the word “vacation”. She’s not wrong. I hate thinking of a vacation. I feel horribly guilty with the imagery of vacationing. This isn’t a vacation to me. I hate the thought of anyone, including myself, thinking of me care free on a beach sipping pina-colodas. This isn’t about sunning myself and getting my picture taken with Mickey Mouse. This is about anonymity, not having to constantly struggle to keep up with the social graces of being “that girl who lost her baby”. This is about taking some time to learn who I am now, away from the pressures of what “normal” has become, where I don’t have to look at that closed bedroom door all of the time. This isn’t about forgetting, because I’m not going to forget. I don’t WANT to forget. It’s about making happier memories and teaching myself that smiling isn’t a betrayal to Everlee’s memory, but it’s honouring her with my own living. It’s about learning how to smile again without having to concentrate on the mechanics of making it happen. 

It’s easy for me to type that. I just need to learn to live it now. This isn’t a vacation. It’s the beginning of a prescription for healing. I hope. 

And I hope being away from people I know will teach me how to be around them again, and maybe help me become easier to be around. And maybe I’ll get invited back into the mix, or maybe I’ll just find a new centre.