Note: the following posting was written and held for several weeks. Mom: I’m fine. Really. I am.
I’m wondering if naming it will ease it at all. The dark cloud swooped in on me in the last few days, and I haven’t been able to shake it. It has been there, hovering high above my head and trailing me for weeks, perhaps months. But yesterday it did swoop, like a Demontor (those creatures in Harry Potter that sucks anything pleasant from your heart and mind). It covers me like any trite metaphor: a fog, a cloak, oatmeal, you name the trite metaphor and that is what it its like.
But this is not my run-of-the-mill depression. This is, I suppose, grief. Grief for my friend Jim, a man I should have known better. Grief for my dad—no, not for my dad, but for his health, as he is still here. Still here–and while I think it is not unusual to grieve while people are still here, it sounds quite morbid and wrong to do so. Is it grief or just sorrow?
And then there was the other grief, long-held, mostly hid, the one I can’t quite cop to because who holds on for so long to a loss so many people think is minimal and long-forgotten. And it sneaks in there, when I think it is over, when I think I just can’t shed another tear for a life that was never fully realized. Who holds on to that?
It took me a very long time to realize that I hated February not just because it was the most dreadful month of the year (at least in Indiana). I found myself cross and teary and unmanageable throughout February and it was several years after my miscarriage before I realized that the child I didn’t have should have been born in February and THAT was why February was so horrid to me (and those who suffered through it with me). And even though it isn’t February, I guess I am presupposed to grief right now, so that when two bloggers I admire and respect recently shared news of their miscarriages, I found myself unable to push this grief away.
The story of that pregnancy, of that loss, is so not like the losses those women shared. And yet, it is. I still feel guilty for grieving for this child as it was the only pregnancy I have had that I was not thrilled about. Kid 1 was two years old; Kid 2 was not yet one, and we were living in the house of my terminally ill mother-in-law. (Go ahead, ask the question–how’d I get pregnant in the first place with all that going on. I’ll just say we went to a wedding, there was alcohol, and leave it at that.)
God, I can’t believe I am spilling all this. Can’t believe I feel it is public domain. Still not sure I do. And maybe that’s why the pain remains fresh and unmanageable when it does show up. After I had my first child, my sister said “welcome to the club.” But there’s this other club, too, the shadow club–the one you don’t want to belong to. I thought I was empathetic before I had a miscarriage, but I believe I said all the wrong things because I just didn’t know. And then I knew what women didn’t want to hear because I heard the same words come from others that I must have said aloud to other, torn up and grieving women. It doesn’t seem like something real, does it? It’s just with you for a few, short weeks and then it is gone, so how can you hold onto that for so many years and relive it all over again every time you hear that another woman has joined this club.
I’ll never have another pregnancy again, so I don’t need to fear another miscarriage. I’m lucky that way.
While writing keeps me whole and allows me space to name my sorrows and my fears, I’m also leary about writing about the dark cloud here, because people I know and love read this and I don’t want them to worry for me or try to fix me. Not because I don’t want to be fixed (okay, there’s a reference in there that could be weird given previous paragraphs, but let’s let it slide this time), but because I know that noone holds the magic elixir, no matter what the pharmaceutical companies say over and over and over again on television.
Postscipt: Naming it helped. As did writing things down–lists of things that needed to be accomplished, and then accomplishing some of those things and crossing them off the list. The fog has lifted for now, but I’m pretty sure it will come back. It does that–and this is one of those things I know about me: when I see it, I’m on my way out of it. But I don’t always see that fog–I just feel it, overwhelming me, pushing me down to the depths where I can’t care about much of anything at all because it is too much effort to do what is minimally required of living on this earth.
The fog is gone. The Dementors have been pushed back by the triple-Patroni of naming, listing, doing. But they remain; lurkers waiting for the next moment of vulnerability and I have to remind myself to be vigilant against them.