Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dismantling

Dismantled the nursery today. It was time. I was tired of looking at the pictures on the walls. Sweet little bird pictures, of course. I was tired of being afraid to approach the dresser full of baby clothes. I tend to worry around situations. In regards to Charlotte I didn't worry about her birth (how naive of me) but I worried constantly about having enough clothes for her. Every time I look in those drawers I think hey, I did okay. I had lots of clothes, she would've been fine, not too hot, not too cold. I could've done this parenting thing. I could've, I promise. Can I please have her back now? And since I can't I need to shove that dresser into the other room and not look at those things for a while.

I couldn't keep the door closed any longer. I couldn't walk past that closed, silent, imposing door knowing what was behind it. It was too painful, too shattering, too hopeful, too naive. Seeing everything put together, but unused was too much. Every time I opened the door I felt the anticipation hanging in the air and this weekend it all became too much and down it came.

Our house is small, built in 1940. We have two bedrooms on the main floor and our one small bathroom. The bedrooms are the same size, but for some reason when we bought the house we moved into the one by the stairs. Yesterday we went to IKEA and bought a new bedroom set. Today we put together most of the pieces and where the nursery was our room now is.

This room, the one I am sitting in now, was always going to be a nursery. It started off as the guest room, but in my mind it was always the nursery. Then it became Charlotte's room. Now it is ours.

I think I am trying to confuse my own self and I am not sure if that is possible, or wise. Now instead of having a perfectly set up nursery we have a second bedroom with a whole lot of furniture in it. Yes, some of it is baby related, but there is also an entire bedroom set in there and a few other odds and ends. This is our room. That is storage. There is no nursery. And that soothes my soul a little bit.

Of course I hope a baby lives in that second room someday. But I will not set up a nursery until there is a baby here, breathing and in my arms. It's just too hard to create a room, a safe place for your baby, and then only be able to fill it with dreams.

I dismantled the coffee table shrine as well. There is a niche above the fireplace and a few things live there, but I don’t feel the need to have Charlotte’s things spread out in front of me anymore.

To be honest I don't even like having her urn in the house. It unsettles me, it has always unsettled me that the baby I carried for 38 weeks could be compressed into a space so small. When it gets very late, when I am very tired and sad, I think about how nice it would be to go back in time and have things work out differently. Then I remember the urn and I feel awful for having Charlotte cremated. I start to think that if we did not cremate her we could go back, we could rewind time and it would be the 14th of May again and the outcome would be different.

Grief is a strange, multi-headed beast. I am upset we had her cremated. But we had to have her cremated because we wanted the autopsy. And I cannot convince myself that we should’ve buried her. For when I think of that alternative, I know it is not the right answer either. What it comes down to, of course, is that I want her here. Not as ashes, but as a real live kicking smiling baby. I know this is not an option now, but sometimes her phantom spirit sits with me, gives me a little kick when I am trying to sleep at night, convinces me she is napping in the other room and will need to be cuddled soon. When that little spirit shows up I start to think I can go back to that day and bring her forward into the future with me. Around and around and around I go. Trying to find a loophole, a way to turn those ashes back into a baby. Where is the magic, the gift of life, of rebirth, when you need it?

Giant steps have been taken this week. The dismantling of the coffee table shrine, the dismantling of the nursery. It was time. I knew it was time. But it makes me wonder if the taking apart is leading up to a huge meltdown. I have learned that with grief it is two steps forward, five steps back. I am wondering if I have a momentous backsliding moment coming my way.

And, well, I probably do. It’s nearly been two months. I can see the two month mark in the distance, coming at me like a freight train, and I have a feeling it's going to knock me off my feet. I never know whether I should be sad on the Friday that marks two months or on the actual day. For the one month mark I went all out and was sad from the Thursday before the Friday until the actual day. Five days of absolute sadness and madness. It was wretched. I do wonder if I predict bad days and so they are bad. I wonder if I am doing this to myself. Then I remember what a friend told me: there is no wrong way to grieve. Anticipating a bad day does not make it so. There is no pattern to grief. Bad days are followed by good days are followed by mediocre days.

I don't know what stage of grief this would be labeled as, but I can tell you I am in the stage where I want to get away. I am tired of living in this space of overwhelming emotions. I want to claw my way out, breathe some fresh air, rip the mask of grief from my eyes so I can see clearly once again.

My grief has contorted itself into so many figures and yet it has new ways of surprising me. I am hoping to lose this phantom soon. The false kicks, the false remembering that makes me think Charlotte is here with me. (But if I lose the phantom will I lose my daughter? What if they walk hand in hand? Perhaps the shadow baby carries the memories and to cast her out is to lose all). I believe the taking down of the nursery will help. It was a huge block for me, an absolute nightmare. Every time I faced down that door I felt like I was living in a land sketched by the Brothers Grimm. Behind that door was a twisted forest, a sad haunted place where this deep unrealized, unnoticed, unaware of until I carried Charlotte, desire to be a parent resided. Now the door has been flung open and the trees have been felled.

Next I hope to come to terms with her ashes. I don’t want them here, but I don’t want to scatter them somewhere either. Truth is, I don’t want any of this. No one does. But I am here, this is where I find myself in the twenty-sixth year of my life. Completely broken open, torn apart by grief, a mama without a child. I have been shaken to my core, but I have not shattered. Thank you to those who are holding me together. Those who admonish me to be gentle and kind to myself. Those who say over and over I understand, I am here, I am listening. And to one specific person: Thank you for going back into the hospital room, kissing my daughter and telling her how much she was loved. When I didn't have the strength or heart to do it you did it for me and I am forever grateful.

8 comments:

  1. I cried reading your post. Everything you say , i have felt to. We had Angel buried, it felt right at the time and now sometimes i wish we hadnt... as i cant take her with me wherever I go. Recently i took Angels photos down as it was causing me too much pain and i was feeling like i couldnt 'move on' as best i could given the situation.. I miss my baby girl too, i just wish she were here now, just like i wish your baby was here with you to.
    Angel's Mummy xxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here to send you love... your grief is young... don't rush yourself. You're very brave to pack the nursery up, but I understand. For me it's been almost two years.. in some ways I wish I'd packed it earlier, because now I wonder how long I will wait, and it just gets harder. Or harder in a different way.

    Just one walking step at the time. Don't let anyone rush you... <>

    ReplyDelete
  3. Grief is such a complex thing...we can only take it one step at a time, one foot in front of the other.

    I admire your courage and bravery to take the nursery down. I haven't taken ours down, and I don't think I will. I will leave it as it is in hopes of someday using it as a nursery...just like I intended to with Bailey. But, until then, I will avoid that end of the house like the plague.

    You are doing what is best for you to help you get through this...and that is all you can do. Thinking of you and sending you ((HUGS))!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a crazy road this grief is. And there is no way to do it right or wrong. I think of the hardest things for me is my fatigue. Some days I am just tired... and so tired of feeling so sad, so knocked down, so uncertain about anything and everything, and so aware of how uncontrollable life, and death, is.

    Our nursery is in shambles, really. I call it the office now (it was an office before it was a nursery). A few pictures remain on the wall from when it was a nursery. The dresser is still full of Acacia's clothes that she never wore. And the sides of the crib are still leaning against the wall (it was taken apart). We've been using the room more as storage for junk we don't bother to put away anywhere. But just today I told my husband I need to get it cleaned out soon. And that I want to paint the walls. Because of course painting the walls will lessen the blow of my dead daughther. Yeah, whatever. I wish it were that easy!

    Keep taking care of yourself, on your own road through grief.

    Hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. it must have been so hard for you.

    thinking of you hon xxx

    ReplyDelete
  6. I cried reading your post. Everything you say , i have felt to. We had Angel buried, it felt right at the time and now sometimes i wish we hadnt... as i cant take her with me wherever I go. Recently i took Angels photos down as it was causing me too much pain and i was feeling like i couldnt 'move on' as best i could given the situation.. I miss my baby girl too, i just wish she were here now, just like i wish your baby was here with you to.
    Angel's Mummy xxx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Grief is such a complex thing...we can only take it one step at a time, one foot in front of the other.

    I admire your courage and bravery to take the nursery down. I haven't taken ours down, and I don't think I will. I will leave it as it is in hopes of someday using it as a nursery...just like I intended to with Bailey. But, until then, I will avoid that end of the house like the plague.

    You are doing what is best for you to help you get through this...and that is all you can do. Thinking of you and sending you ((HUGS))!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a crazy road this grief is. And there is no way to do it right or wrong. I think of the hardest things for me is my fatigue. Some days I am just tired... and so tired of feeling so sad, so knocked down, so uncertain about anything and everything, and so aware of how uncontrollable life, and death, is.

    Our nursery is in shambles, really. I call it the office now (it was an office before it was a nursery). A few pictures remain on the wall from when it was a nursery. The dresser is still full of Acacia's clothes that she never wore. And the sides of the crib are still leaning against the wall (it was taken apart). We've been using the room more as storage for junk we don't bother to put away anywhere. But just today I told my husband I need to get it cleaned out soon. And that I want to paint the walls. Because of course painting the walls will lessen the blow of my dead daughther. Yeah, whatever. I wish it were that easy!

    Keep taking care of yourself, on your own road through grief.

    Hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete

thank you!

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