Friday, October 19, 2012

A "Bad News Day"

What am I doing?  How are we doing this? Seriously, how does my body continue to function, putting one proverbial foot in front of the other, when my heart has emotionally ceased to beat?
I do not want to celebrate Brynna’s first birthday without her.  How heartbreaking is that?  Celebrating your baby’s birthday without your baby?  Trying to plan something, some way to acknowledge her and cherish her on one of the biggest birthdays that exists, and she’s not here.
One week. 
One more week, and it will have been a year since she was born.
Just seven more days. 
I am not so much worried about doing too much or not doing enough on her birthday.  I know that whatever we decide to do (or not do) will be the “right” thing.  I just don’t want to have to be in this position.
Never in my life have I wished more for a “do-over”. 
Never in my life have I wished my life were more like a "choose your own adventure book".  Remember those?  Remember how you would see your options at the bottom of the page… “to go into the big dark cave turn to pg. 17,” “to turn away and run in completely the other direction, turn to pg. 30,” “to grab a friend and a lantern, turn to pg 50”… and if you were anything like me, you would turn to each option and see how they each played out, and then make your move.
If I had a chance to be on the “October 25th” page, I imagine how different our life would be if I had only been able to read ahead and make my best, most informed decision…  “to go blindly into induction against all your gut feelings just because the doctor felt it was "necessary", turn to “October 26th”, “to turn to seeing your beautiful daughter grow and love, turn to “investigating more options””, “to escape a lifetime of pain and guilt and regret, turn to “you should do more research””….
If only I could have read ahead.
I am feeling more and more isolated.  A year is a long time for the non-broken hearted.  It’s time enough for the world to settle back on its axis, and begin to spin with regularity.  But for the grief stricken, a year is merely a blink.  It’s just enough time to cry an ocean of tears, knowing full well there are many more oceans yet to be filled.
It’s not so much that I begrudge others moving on and living their lives.  I have a very strong feeling that’s what we’d be doing if this cross was not ours to bear. Instead, I view everyone’s moving on, (decorating for holidays, having the energy and excitement to partake in any number of family activities, getting caught up in trivial workplace drama) as yet another illustration of how changed I am.   How complicated everything has become.
The grief of losing Brynna has changed me.  I want to believe that someday, somehow, I’ll get back to some representation of the person I was before. But I know that is not possible.  I will never again look at life through the exact lens through which I previously viewed it. Knowing now, first hand, that really horrible things happen no matter the content of your character, is something that permanently changes your heart. 
That’s not to say I will live my life feeling jaded and bitter, although there are definitely days I feel that way.  I just have to be honest with myself and accept that things are different now.  I can no longer live naively believing that if you just don’t give the sad, horrible, heartbreaking things any attention, they won’t really happen.
We’ve talked about, in grief group, that sometimes as bereaved parents, we feel others view us as violating their view on the world.  To be around us, and visit with us, forces people to acknowledge that bad dreams really do come true.
I explained it to a friend recently like this:
You know sometimes when you’re watching or listening to the news and it is just one bad story after another?  You feel like you just can’t take hearing one more heartbreaking detail so you turn off the TV or the radio, and somehow that makes it better.  Somehow by turning it off, ignoring it, refusing to give the bad news any attention, it can’t really be happening, it can’t really be possible.  And then you can go about your day with more confidence that you are safe, that your spouse is safe, that your children are safe.
We bereaved parents are, for many people, that “bad news day”.  Where it’s just one unbelievably heartbreaking detail after another, and to know us and spend time with us means you have to acknowledge and accept that it could happen to you too.  For many people, that is too much to ask.  So they stop calling, they stop coming around, they “turn the TV off”.
I wish I could turn this TV off.  I wish I had a “do-over”.  I wish that being a good person was enough to guarantee only good things in a lifetime.
I wish, with all that I am, that in one week we would not be celebrating our baby girl’s first birthday without her.


Julie said...

I love you all and am thinking of Brynna me when you can...when you need to....when you can't....I wish there were more I could do....I am always here...thinking...praying...crying...hoping....loving you all....

Anonymous said...

Hi friend. I just wanted you to know that I'm thinking of you as Brynna's first birthday approaches. I think of you guys everyday and while I don't always know what to say, and don't want to say the "wrong" thing, just know that I'm here. -Lindsay

Brynn's Momma said...

The the reader who wrote she has been following the blog for several months, thank you so very much for taking the time to comment. I do not know how it happened, but somehow your comment has disappeared. :o( Please know that taking the time to let me know you have walked this road and are keeping Brynn and our family in your heart, means so very much. Thank you, thank you!