Thursday, June 24, 2010

Old Self, is that you?

Dear Stevie,
Yesterday I had a few chance encounters with someone I haven't seen in a very long time, someone I almost didn't recognize. I ran into my old self.

I was sitting at my desk at work and realized, "hey, I haven't thought about Stevie dying for like, a whole five minutes." Then, I noticed my old self again, a couple hours later as I thought, "wow, I'm talking to my boss about her five-year-old and not feeling super sorry for myself that my daughter will never be five years old and going to soccer practice." Later that afternoon, my old self helped me take the dogs for a walk. She tagged along as I ran into a couple new neighbors along the way, chit-chatted about the World Cup and pretended to have a clue what I was talking about. I think I saw her again that night when I was laughing and smiling along with this very strange Niel Patrick Harris musical we found on Netflix ("Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog." Seriously, very strange).

Each time I ran into my old self yesterday, I tried my best to push her away. It was like running into someone you never really liked from high school at the mall. You have to say hello, but you try to get out of there as soon as you can. You make an excuse like, "well, my husband is actually waiting for me down at the pretzel stand, so..." and make a run for the escalator.

Every time I see my old self coming, I want to grab her by the neck and say, "What are you doing here?? Don't you know our daughter died!? Leave me alone!" I force myself to remember that I am sad. Whenever I find myself feeling "normal," I quickly think about the fact that I should be almost 33 weeks pregnant right now. I consciously make myself feel the pain of losing you again. I don't know why I do this to myself, but I do.

I am torn between wanting to feel like my old self again, and wanting to wallow in my grief for a little while longer. I feel guilty when I am not consumed with crushing sadness. Last week I prayed and prayed to start feeling "better." Now, when I do, I hate it. The great Justin Bieber (yes, I am going to make a Justin Bieber reference here, watch out!) once said, in his classic song titled "Eenie Meenie Mini Mo Lover," "You cant make up your mind, mind, mind, mind, mind..." That is how I feel (and now I am going to have that annoying song stuck in my head all day long, awesome).

I guess I need to take some time to sit down and get reacquainted with my old self once again. Maybe if I try and get to know her again, I won't think she's all that bad. Maybe, slowly, I'll let her back into my life. Until one day, the two of us are such good friends that my "old self" and this "new me" come together as one.

Love you, little girl. Hope you're behaving yourself up there.



Lilly's Mom (Desiree) said...

:) Praying for you during this hard time. I hate my old self.

Danae said...

I don't think I've truly seen the "old" me yet...and I honestly don't know if I ever will. At this point, I'm okay with it, because the person I have gotten to "know" since Bailey's death, is a better person.

But, if I ever catch a glimpse of the old me, I hope I can embrace her and not push her away.

Angela said...

My old self was so blindly optimistic I think I would punch her if I encountered her now.

Julie said...

i have this struggle every day. i go about the things i need to do, work on projects, talk with friends, and then somewhere along the way i remember, "oh yeah, i should be pregnant right now," or "yea, kenny's still dead." and then i feel terribly guilty, as if i owe it to kenny to spend every minute wallowing and thinking about him and looking at his pictures.

in the first few weeks i hated the idea that life was going on for everyone else when our baby was dead. now i hate the idea that life goes on for us as well.

Maggie said...

I also get a little caught off guard when I find myself not thinking about Alexandra or acting like my "old self". It's a little unsettling when you realize it in that moment. I've noticed my old self a lot more often the last couple of months. Sometimes it's scary to see. But...I think you yourself, told me our happy moments are little gifts from our babies. :) Enjoy the moments of your "old self" while they last.

Courtney said...

I've been seeing my old self lately. It's quite bittersweet and I too find myself guilty when I start to feel happy or enjoy something.


Violet1122 said...

I know what you mean about praying, begging to feel better... and then hating it when I do have moments of my "old self".

I remember the first few times I realized I hadn't thought about my babies (even for just a few minutes) I would end up a blubbering mess. Once some time had passed, I could realize I hadn't thought about them in awhile and not beat myself up about it.

I'm so sorry you were put on this difficult road. Prayers and big hugs!!

Kelley and Chris said...

I have struggled with the stranger of myself too. Guilt creeps in when a smile comes to my face. But then I think about my sweet boy and I realize he wants the old me, the happy me. Your sweet girl wants the same for you. Grief is certainly a rollercoaster. Enjoy the 'up' moments. Eventually they will outweigh the 'down' moments. Until then, we have to try to enjoy the ride. It's hard but what choice do we have? I'm glad you had a good day today!! Thinking of you..

Hannah Rose said...

I totally know what you mean! It feels so easy to feel guilty during the moments where sadness doesn't consume you.

Anonymous said...

My old self is so damn stubborn and resilient, she is pissing me the f off because she won't just GO AWAY AND LET ME CRY. I kind of hate her sometimes, she's too cheery. Who does she think she is anyway, making me look like I don't care?

LOL about the NPH show- I grew up knowing the "hot" actress, Felicia Day. We weren't friends or anything, she was just a violinist who was "really awesome" to me in my youth orchestra, so I knew her. Anyway, that show is the bees knees to everyone in Austin and a ton of my friends. I've never actually watched though.

Ashley said...

I know in so many ways it dosn;t compare but this blog really reminded me of how I felt right after my brother was killed. Like if I didn't think about him for an hour, or if I let my self slip back to "he's just at his house" (I was at college when it happened) then I would literally tell myself (sometimes out loud) "Don't forget Brad's dead, over and over until I made myself cry just to punish myself.

You are in my prayers! I didn't know your old self, but she seems like a pretty cool chick. Give her a chance.

Anonymous said...

I'm not there yet and I know that it will be bittersweet to get there. Your old self can still miss the hell out of Stevie. Never fear, your old/new self is forever changed.

Linds said...

I am happy to see that your old self is back. Now, I am not a psychologist, but I think that means that you are healing and healing is a good thing. It's easy for us MN women to think we need to feel guilty all of the time, but when you actually think about it, feeling guilty doesn't feel good nor does it accomplish anything.

I absolutely cannot even begin to scratch the surface of how you must be feeling since I have never lost a child. I never even thought about it until I ran across all of these blogs. We were supposed to be safe after 12 weeks, right? Now I find that you are never safe. There is always a threat to have this horrible thing happen. I have a 3 & 1/2 year old and my brain actually will not let me comprehend losing him. I have tried to imagine what it would have been like in order to empathize but my brain will not allow it. I am also pregnant with #2 and due August 4th which is why I identified with your story as well as being from Minneapolis.

I hope there is life after baby loss because the world will be so much better with you and all of the ladies I have read who have endured this tragedy in it. Maybe the 'old self' won't come back, but a new self will emerge who is a better, stronger version of the old self.

Suzy said...

I know this feeling so well. I felt so guilty for so long after my son died, every time I laughed at a movie, every time I smiled at someone and meant it, every time I had a thought that wasnt about him.

It does ease up, and you will find your od self turning up in different places more and more as time goes on.

Much love to you, and your little Stevie.

caitsmom said...

Your letters to your daughter are painfully sweet. I'm sorry for your loss.

I remember the first time I encountered my "old self" after my daughter died. It was as you described disconcerting; I see myself as a refashioned me. Taking the shattered pieces and some newly discovered pieces and reshaping.

Wishing you comfort in your journey.

Britt said...

Popping in from ICLW. We lost our daughter in March and your letters are beautiful! You took my breath away, as I write Ella Grace letters and I always tell her "You better be behaving yourself up there, Baby Girl."

I think I catch glimpses of my old self too, but it is what we have started referring to as our New Normal. Things are never going to be exactly as they were before, she changed us forever, but they have gotten back to some resemblance of normal...a new normal. The glimpses of my old self are like looking in a fun house mirror. I can make out what looks like me, but it is distorted by New Normal.

I am so sorry for your broken heart and for the pain that is still so raw.

Ashlee G. said...

I'm sorry that your heart is broken. I wish there was some magical button that I could push to make all your pain go away. No mother should have to feel the pain that you are going through. I really hope your old self and your new self can make up and be best friends. I'm sure in the long run, it would make you happy.

My thoughts are with you,

The Griegers said...

Wow, I do the same thing when my "old self" shows up. I just feel so guilty for having moments of happiness again, what kind of horrible mother is EVER happy after losing her child. I hope one day we can find a balance between the two selves and live out our lives with a sense of peace. Hugs to you!

Dana said...

I do the same thing you do. When I realize that I haven't thought about Jacob for a few minutes or haven't felt really sad for a few minutes, I purposely think back to a really painful moment -when I was holding him for the first time but he was dead instead of alive, to when I handed him to the nurse for the last time, or when my doctor couldn't find his heartbeat. I feel like I am punishing myself by doing this, but it is better than the guilt of moving on. I know it is silly, we all have to move on at some point. What is the point of living a life full of sadness and misery. I know that I am lucky to be here, I'm lucky I didn't have more complications during the birth etc, etc.

But when I do feel 'normal' for a minute or two, it is a good feeling. My husband gets to see the woman he married again. He certainly hasn't seen much of her lately and he was getting worried that he never would again. I'm glad that it can ease his mind, if only for a few minutes at a time.

I sometimes think that I just don't want to get back to normal, I want to grieve forever. We all will, but we'll just have fewer breakdowns and I'm not really at peace with that happening yet.

Anyway, I'm thinking about you.


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