This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada so N and I headed north to my hometown to spend the weekend with my family. It was pretty low-key. The weather has been unseasonably warm for October so we were able to go for a nice walk in a conservation area. On Sunday we had a big family dinner with some extended family. It was a nice weekend. I slept a lot and I didn’t feel stressed or overwhelmed or sad the whole weekend.
Until we got home.
After some reflection, I think that spending so much time over the weekend talking about (and planning for) baby girl impacted me more than I realized while it was happening. And I don’t even know exactly what I mean by this. Everything was just so incredibly normal and maybe I need to be more mindful about how un-normal our situation is. In our own home we have reminders of Odin everywhere. It’s the place we mourn, remember, and love him freely. And not that we’re not free to talk about him with family, but it’s easy enough to slip into “normal” when you’re in a different space. I think I need to always allow our loss a little bit of space no matter what we’re doing or where we are and that will take conscious effort. While we were away from home we talked a lot about setting up the nursery. My mom gave me a bunch of clothes that she had bought for baby girl. At the big family dinner there was so much focus on me being pregnant. I was fine with all of this while it was happening but when I got home I fell apart. I couldn’t sleep. I sobbed inconsolably into the wee hours. Our reality crashed down on me and I missed Odin as if we had just said goodbye.
On the holiday Monday we went to visit our friends from support group whose baby boy was born ten days ago. They lost a son last August when my friend was 36-weeks pregnant. Given my state of mind, it maybe wasn’t the best choice to visit that day. Or maybe it was the best choice? I have no idea. Their baby boy, Leo, is perfect. I held him and cried for lots of obvious reasons but also for reasons I can’t fully articulate. It felt good to be with that little family. Seeing how they’re okay. Seeing that it’s possible to have room in your heart for two babies, even if one isn’t here to hold. They miss the son they lost and they are overjoyed at the presence of their new little one. Maybe that sounds incredibly obvious but it was something I needed to see and feel with my whole heart. Holding that tiny baby boy was both a high and a devastation that I can’t explain. I feel like an addict who has had a taste and now I want more. But I want that more to be Odin, and it can’t be. If it sounds impossibly complicated, it’s because it is. Holding Leo was a reminder of what we’ve lost, but also a reminder of what hope and joy feel like. My heart swelled and shattered in a giant wreck.
I wrote this on Tuesday (I think I’ve mentioned I hate Tuesdays at the best of times) and I couldn’t care or focus at work. I was on edge. Grumpy. My heart and my mind are so full and I can’t seem to snap out of it. (*Pause here to email therapist to set up appointment.) I know I won’t always feel as bad as I do right now because healing is not linear and grief doesn’t follow any rules. Holidays are always hard and they likely always will be. There will always be a missing piece.