Friday, November 19, 2010

sisterhood

I've been initiated into a sorority I never wanted to join. What makes this unique, I suppose, is that none of us ever dreamt of joining, and nobody joins by choice.

I wander through the world of the babylost moms and find myself awed, and devastated, by our sheer numbers. In my first few days navigating the countless blogs, I found them overwhelming. Now I've settled into a bit more of a familiarity with them. For the most part, I know whose child belongs to whom, and I recognize the mamas as we cross paths in comment sections around the blogosphere.

There are some of us that are so new to the game that our wounds are fresh, gaping open, raw and exposed. We walk through confused, anxious, struggling to complete sentences or thoughts.

Others are a few months down the road. Still struggling with the rawness of emotions from time to time, but living with the wound has become more familiar for them. Their steps are not far ahead of my own, and I find comfort in reading accounts of their "normal" days. Some of their days seem remarkably like my own, drowning in the grief; other days for them they seem more able to dance in the light. Or at least walk through the "normalness" of it all without falling apart - which, right now, is my daily challenge.

And then there are the wise sisters who are years down this road. Some of whom have gone on to have living children, some who have not. They grieve their children's deaths with the same fervor that a mama always will, but they have learned how to live with that grief in ways so that the grief is not the dominant emotion of every day, every moment. Their children continue to be important, be remembered, be honored, be celebrated. These women give me hope that someday I too will be where they are - where the pain is no longer so ferocious that I wake up every night in tears, where the simple words of another's pregnancy announcement don't sting and rip my wound open anew, where I can be with babies, children, mothers, without being knocked breathless by the injustice of it all.

I feel a little bit like a freshman in high school right now. Overwhelmed, stumbling through hallways and corridors and drowning in the workload. I see the seniors, hanging out across the quad, and they just seem so cool - they've got it all figured out, right? I want to be one of them. Now. I hang on their every word like they hold the keys to my sanity. Their reassurance and kindness is all I have to get me through each day.

(Now where the high school analogy goes awry is that in high school nobody really has any sort of anything figured out by their senior year, whereas I really do believe that some of you Senior Medusas (yes you know who you are) have true wisdom. Plus, when were senior girls ever really friendly to the freshmen? In my case, it only happened because I had an older brother who was a senior so if a girl liked him, then maybe, just maybe, she'd be nice to me. And, unfortunately, I also realize, even being the wee freshman that I am, that none of us ever really get to graduate from this high school, so again, it's an imperfect analogy. Bear with me.)

I have been reflecting on the generosity of women and especially the amazing mothering qualities that we all bring to this awful world of grieving a child's death over the last week or so. The ways in which we reach out and support one another, as if we all know that our very lives depend on this sisterhood. I have infinite gratitude for each and every one of you, for every comment that has been left here already - for the "Yes, I've been there" comments, for the "You're in it" comments, for the "Hang on, sweet sister" comments and every. single. gesture. of love, of support, of solidarity.

I know I am so new to this game. And I don't have much to offer in terms of "been there, done that" wisdom. I have no idea how this game is going to play out for me. I can only hope that one day I am able to repay the favor, and support a woman wandering into this world in her first few months, lost, grieving, feeling as if she is losing her mind. I hope that my reaching my hand out to her holds as much hope and as much love as the hands that have reached out to me in the last two months.

Thank you, sisters. Thank you.

13 comments:

Jenn said...

The dead baby mama community really is an amazing one, isn't it? The comfort and hope and kindness I've received from fellow grieving mamas has been a lifeline for me since Micah died. You're right, it's not a club any of us wish to be a part of, but it's still a club filled with awesome women.

Angela said...

Well said Sarah. I would be so lost without the mamas who are helping me through this. I'm sorry you had to join this club, but so glad you've found support and comfort.

Maddie said...

I remember reading blog after blog and then going through the archives trying to figure out when things got to be more bearable. I read and commented on blogs of those wise mamas as well and was surprised and comforted when they took the time to comment on mine with words of hope and you'll get through this.

Hang in there.

Simply Me said...

I'm so glad you have these women to be here with you, Sarah, although of course I am not glad that any of you have had to go through such loss to be here.

I hope that your day of dancing in the light is soon, even if it is just for a moment.

Thinking of you and sending so much love.
xoxo,
Ren

æ said...

I'm so thankful you found this support, Sarah.

love
ash

Heather said...

I just read your blog after finding you through Glow. I'm so sorry you lost your beautiful Otis. A beautiful boy with a great name.

Our son, Henrick, was stillborn nearly three years ago. We spelled his name wrong. It was meant to be Henrik, but who the hell can spell after they just handed over their dead baby's body and then immediately have to do paperwork? Today that story makes me smile. It even makes me laugh sometimes. It was Henrick's only joke.

It does get easier. Life does go on. You are so early and raw in your grief. Just keep riding the waves, and hold on tight to those that support you.

Sending love.
Heather

Hope's Mama said...

You are so me two years ago. I felt EXACTLY the same way. Go and read my archives from Nov 2008 - I'm sure you'll find posts just like this. I read blogs all day every day for a few months before I had the courage to start my own (I didn't even comment initially, as I think I was in denial I belonged and I was so scared to finally come "out") and while I still read them every day, they are not as vital to my survival any more.
I still find it hard to believe I am one of the "seniors" now as it still feels like yesterday to me. Whenever anyone even mentions 2008 to me, I seize up. I can't believe 2011 is almost here and that right now, I should have a two and a half year old. I looked at the mamas ahead of me and wondered how they ever made it and wondered how I would get that far down the road myself. Yet here I am, possibly helping you out with my own "wisdom" on grief, life and loss. It seems utterly bizarre to me, as I honestly still feel like the grief is new to me, even though on the other hand, I almost can't remember my life without it.
Keep trudging along. Life will drag you forwards, whether you like it or not. And you can be sure we'll all be here to support you along the way. We're a loyal bunch, if nothing else. One day, you'll find yourself two years down the track, hopefully new babe in your arms and I know you'll also be a wonderful support to another newbie out there. As that is the other thing - our membership base will sadly continue to grow and we're all powerless to stop it.
xo

cullensblessings said...

As a fellow frosh I can say that I am as appreciative as you are Sarah. None of us wanted to walk through these doors... but I am so glad they were open.

So much love to you- L

Missy said...

Most days I wish I could fast forward to when I get to be a cool kid. The days in between are so daunting and unpleasant. I need these blogs like I need air in my lungs. It keeps me going. You keep me going. Much love to you Sarah. Someday I guess we'll figure this out.

Olivia said...

Sarah, so well put. Found your blog through Glow.

My 7 week old daughter died 17 months ago...so wouldn't call myself a senior just yet (more like a rising junior). Just wanted to provide another "been there, done that." It's hard to imagine, but as other upperclassmen have said, you WILL feel better. I so needed to know that in those early days following my baby's death.

I've given birth to a subsequent baby now who has brought me more joy than I ever thought possible. I still miss my baby girl (and don't think that will ever change), and would move mountains to have her back. Nonetheless, grief no longer dominates my every waking moment and I'm moving towards accepting that she just wasn't meant to be. Hang in there. Love and hugs. Olivia

brianna said...

I don't how I would be doing right now if it wasn't for this community. It has definitely been a lifeline for me too.

still life angie said...

Yeah, blogs saved my life.

I don't know how to say this, but I am going to slog through and just say this--two years from now, you are going to be where I am, wondering how to offer support to someone who just lost their baby, even though two years ago you just lost your baby, and you might remember this post, as I remember my post like this one. And you will just need to comment, like I need to comment tonight. ANYTIME. Any. Time. You want to talk, you email me(uberangie(at)gmail(dot)com), or Sally, or any of us years out. That goes for any of you out there. We emailed people who are now four years out, and they emailed people now six years out. That is how we survive this. Through holding hands and crying together and just being there to abide and listen and tell each other that it gets better. It doesn't get easier, you just learn how to live with this reality. You learn.

You are not alone.xo

IndieBambino said...

<3 just here, with love