Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I just came *this* close to burning my house down...

And some other news around my world:

Our dogs have to have brown rice cooked for them every couple of days. This morning I put the pot on, turned the gas way up so that the water would boil, dumped the rice in, and then forgot about it. I usually remember to turn the heat down once the water is boiling. Today, I didn't. And we left, to take the dogs for a walk. We came home to a house full of smoke and a burning pot on the stove. We were probably 5 minutes from flames, I'd wager.

E's sister is in town with us for the week. Harder than I thought it would be. She and I are very close, and became even closer in the week following Otis's death - she was instrumental in our funeral arranging and dealing with so many details that week. She wanted to come back out, to be a support for us, to show her love, yadda yadda. I am finding it really difficult to have someone here right now. I am falling apart by the hour, pretty much, and it feels really odd to have her here. E is in better spirits than I am, (and that's an understatement, at best), and he is very happy she's here. So it's the two of them, chattering away, talking about going to yoga classes and out to dinner and this and that...and meanwhile, I am wondering which closet would be the most comfortable to spend the next six weeks inside of.

Last night we went out to dinner and ran into an old, old, old friend of mine. She is in town from Holland, visiting her dad (who lives in my neighborhood) and we ended up sitting next to them at a family style table in the restaurant. She knows about Otis, she is on my and she sent me a one line condolence on there...her dad knows about Otis, he also is on fb...but neither of them mentioned a single word about him. This is the first time they've seen me in person since Otis died. It's not like they've forgotten. I made reference to being pregnant at some point in our dinner conversation, and it's like they both just blew over it. I think this was the first really extended conversation I've had with someone where they didn't mention him once. It stung. I have had moments with others in passing, where people stumble over their words or we pass each other quickly on the street and they don't say anything, but an outright omission during an entire dinner conversation felt so so wrong, and so sad. I wanted to scream at them to JUST SAY IT. MY BABY DIED. Did they think I had forgotten, and that their bringing it up would somehow make me remember and ruin my dinner? Here's the thing, people. There is not a moment in a day, not since September 12 at 1:24 am when he came out of my womb and into my world, that I haven't had a constant stream of OtisOtisOtisOtisOtisOtis running through my mind. It doesn't stop, ever. Sometimes the stream makes me smile, sometimes the stream makes me cry - but it's always there. Not acknowledging it feels a bit like the sky turned purple as we stood and watched and you decided not to comment on it.

My birthday is on Friday, as if the week of Thanksgiving weren't already enough of a whopper to deal with. And everyone is trying to accommodate me and my grief and nobody wants to make big plans but at the same time everyone is "we just want to honor you and show our love for you and no, it's not celebratory, it's just that we love you so much..." and I should be grateful, sure...but I just want to fucking yell at all of them and make them angry enough so that they don't want to spend the day with me. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, I can think of that will make this week feel okay to me. I can't even envision a "bearable" version. Oh, did I mention that I have a doctor's appointment on Friday? Because my fucking episiotomy is still not healing and I am in more pain now than I was in those first few days postpartum? And after almost ten weeks of pretty steady postpartum bleeding I finally stopped but just today I started back up? Because, you know, it's just not enough that my baby didn't survive childbirth, but my body can't figure out how to right itself now either.

And having a birthday also brings up the usual "I'm getting old" stories, except this year the stories about getting old have this beautiful new stain on them, the "I'm destined for infertility" theme. I was already of "Advanced Maternal Age" when I got pregnant with Otis. The numbers and figures scared me, but we bucked the odds and I got pregnant really without too much trouble. I am so terrified that this time around (if I am ever able to have sex again) we won't be quite so lucky.

Last year on my birthday, E gave me a poem and a dandelion necklace. The poem was titled "the wish" and he wrote about our dreams together - we were trying to get pregnant, we finally were ready to take that jump together, it was so exciting, so fun, life was one big adventure and we were ready to embark on it together... We celebrated my birthday in Portland with our best friends. It was one of the best weeks of my life. His poem made me cry. I was full of hope, full of love, full of eager anticipation for the life ahead of us. 3 weeks later I got pregnant.

One year later, and it was the very best year of my life and the very worst. Distill it down to September 12 and 13 - the very best day of my life and the very worst. It's a wonder that anyone's brain continues to function after having to assimilate such extremes in such a short time period. Or, well, perhaps the brain ceases to function - hence, the burning down the house.

I am not functioning well. I am barely scraping by.

I am terrified of the year ahead. I am terrified to imagine my birthday next year and being stuck in a similar place, or, even worse, being in a more hopeless state. I would like to think that next year at this time I will look back and be able to count my blessings from the last year, be able to rub my big pregnant belly or snuggle my newborn, blissfully madly in love with my husband and with a greater sense of peace about Otis's death...but I just can't see how I could ever go from the point where I am now to that point there. Instead, I worry that next year at this time I will just be one year older and a whole lot more desperate.

Oof, it's all doom and gloom around these parts.


zubeldia said...

Hi Sarah, sweetlu. I've been thinking about this week for you, of how hard it would inevitably be, and remembering it was your birthday too. Goodness, I so deeply want Otis to be there with you and E, celebrating your first TG as a threesome, and your first birthday as a mama to a son who is alive and in your arms. Oh, how much I want that for you.

I have, though, so much hope for you, so much of a sense that you will one day be rubbing that beautiful belly of yours, that you'll be kissing the perfect head of beautiful Otis' younger sibling. And maybe this is my naive wish that somehow it would undo some of the excesses of this terrible grief for your boy, for your dear, dear boy.

With so much love.

Maddie said...

If you don't want to celebrate your birthday then just tell people you don't. I said no to Christmas after Matilda died - my family were here but no tree, no presents, no Merry Christmas's. If there was ever a time to be selfish and put yourself first, this is it. And in the first 6 months I saw hardly anyone or ever went out and was only marginally more social in the next 6 months. If having people around doesn't help you, please speak up and ask them to stay away or E to keep them away.

Maddie x

Missy said...

SO so so much love coming your way. So much for you in just a matter of a couple of days. A big overstuffed red couch, glass stemware overflowing with a fruity merlot, a mixture of laughter and tears with mounds of dirty kleenex blanketing the ground like snow. That's what it's like on our island. We're all holding your hand, if you just close your eyes, you'll see.

Hope's Mama said...

Oh Sarah. I just want to wrap you up in cotton wool for the next six weeks (longer if need be). My birthday was exactly four weeks after Hope was born, and no one knew what to do with me. Like you, I just wanted to hide in a closet all day. We ended up getting away for a few days as I didn't want to be at my house a second longer. That worked for us.
Honestly, your story continues to take my right back to the same awful days I was having so early on. I know it is impossible to imagine happiness in your future right now, so if you can't do it, I am going to do it for you. I see a beautiful future for you. Not as you'd imagined it or hoped for, but beautiful nonetheless.
Just keep swimming.

æ said...

a footprint, with love. youve been in my heart and on my mind all day, morning til night. thru the night.


Sadkitty said...

Oh mama. So effing sucky (to put it mildly). I am not good at saying the right thing or being touchy-feely, but i do like to give practical advice. I refused to do anything for my birthday this year. You can too. You do not owe anyone anything. Only do what you can and what you want.

Oh and you might want to invest in a rice cooker ;-)

B said...

you didn't burn your house down. that's important. don't beat yourself up about something that didn't happen.

i find it really hard to have people around in my personal space these days. my sister was the only exception, she came to visit with her boyfriend back in march and i cried when she left. but most people are just too hard to deal with. home is my refuge and having people here seems very wrong. so i can relate.

oh, the conversation... it's all very well to think that your friend and her dad were just too afraid to mention Otis, but we shouldn't ever have to make excuses for people. i think sometimes people don't mention it straight away when they see you and then after that it becomes too hard to as the conversation wears on. it's no excuse but i have to believe people are scared to mention it rather than just that horribly insensitive.

i hope your birthday next year is easier, no matter what the circumstances. i believe it will be.

thinking of you sarah x

Tess said...

Oh, dear Sarah - I just want to send you loads of love and strength your way. I know what it is like having visitors and I just was to beam us all up to that Island Missy has got somewhere. Somewhere we can all just be. Somewhere we can feel each others comfort, love and support.

As Dory (and Sally ?) says:
Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming...

Anonymous said...

Breathe mamma- it is all you can do right now. I want so much to look into the magic ball filled with happy answers of what is down the road.. if only I could.
I hope that you find Otis whispering to you today- I know he is there and I know what it is to be listening with all of my being. That is my wish for you today- to hear him.
So much love and strength- L

brianna said...

Happy Birthday, Sarah. I know it isn't "happy" but I want to give you my birthday wishes, nonetheless. I wish you were celebrating this birthday with your boy. I really, really wish that for you. I hope that today you can find a little joy, wherever and in whatever way that may be.

Much love to you.

Sophia said...

Sarah, I am so sorry for the loss of your precious beautiful big son Otis. I am also sorry that you find yourself in so much pain now. I remember at around the 3 month post-loss mark thinking "It's getting worse. How can that be possible? How much more profound can this grief GET?" I don't think grief is linear, but I do think it shifts and morphs over time. It's now been 11 months since the death of my daughter, and although I remember well the grief you describe here I don't feel that every day anymore, and there is now more space in my head and in my heart for the everyday stuff which seemed impossible to manage back at the 10 week point.

I'm thinking of you. I hope your birthday wasn't as bad as you feared it would be. Sending love.