Friday, June 17, 2011

Still Here

Before Stephanie died, I was a blog hog - always on here, always writing, always commenting. Forgive me for not being around. Life took a sharp turn that day--April 3, 2009--and threw me through the windshield. There are so many things in my life that are sitting idle, unfinished, but I'm doing the best I can.

Lately I've been back at the meetings - Al-Anon, and an open AA meeting here and there. I'm trying to continue on my path toward getting better. Relationships? None. I'm talking to a couple of different women, but mainly I hang out with my friends and do some fun things. When I'm not with friends, I try to keep myself occupied with walks, jigsaw puzzles, and reading. I'm really enjoying reading again. But I have to get my act together and do what I need to do to be back in school on day one of the fall semester. That is imperative.

What is so apparent, from the meetings, is that I still have a very long way to go toward accepting Stephanie's death. I'm not talking about the obvious, the reality of it. I'm talking about really accepting it and integrating it into who I am now, my new normal. When I begin to tell my story, I don't get very far before I become choked up and the tears start pouring down my face. My friend, Linda, keeps encouraging me to keep going to the meetings and keep telling my story. "It's powerful," she says,"and it's a safe place for you to deal with those feelings." I can't help being a little embarrassed each time, though, because I feel like I ought to be able to get a grip by now. I ought to be able to tell my story without losing it.

But when you think about it, I guess two years is just the blink of an eye when you're talking about the loss of a child. A woman who runs a grief group on Facebook beats herself up for not being a little further along at only 28 weeks. I hate to tell her, but it's going to take a whole lot longer than that to get over a child's death. I gave birth to that beautiful child. I held her in my body and then in my arms. I wanted so much for her, but she isn't here. She will never be here again except in my heart and my memories. Sometimes I think Alzheimer's would be a blessing. I would forget she ever died. I would wait for her, thinking her next visit was just hours or days away. For now, though, I am here with my thoughts, my memories, my neverending love for her.

I was listening to a show on TV the other day while working (so I don't know all the details) that was narrated by Morgan Freeman (was it "Through the Wormhole"? I think so). The show was about immortality and life after death. One of the things they talked about was that what we carry around inside ourselves about the people we have loved and lost is part of life after death. A piece of them lives on in us. So I am carrying Stephanie around in me, memories of her, thoughts of her, the memory of her voice, her face. She lives on.

Working on the memoir, which I think is incredibly important, has been difficult because I'm still so entrenched in this process. I realize that I'm also still grieving the loss of so many other things -- my marriage, my son's presence here (he lives in Raleigh now), my sense of purpose in a family. I'm not so much grieving the loss of the relationships with Denise and with Kim. I've put away the anger I had toward Denise and have just tried to think of the good times we had, and I've put it to bed. With Kim, I still have anger, but I'm so relieved that I got out. So glad. That was a huge improvement, to realize within 3 months that it was an unhealthy relationship and to get out of it. I realize that in both instances, I went in way too fast. I didn't give myself time to really get to know either one of them before I packed up the U-Haul. Neither of those relationships was good for me. Neither was healthy or affirming. They both drained me, but at least with Denise there were some good times. Not so much with Kim.

I'm taking the time now to work on me and to find out what I want in life. It's only just now that I'm realizing that I do have a life. I am living my life the way I want to and doing the things I want to do. I'm looking out for number one while still nurturing friendships and my recovery process. I don't think any of that is bad. In fact, it's the healthiest thing I've done in -- I don't know how long!

So if you don't see me around much, don't worry. I'm doing right by me and I'm getting stronger every day. I still miss my daughter enough to tear up and dance on the edge of full-out sobbing when I talk about her, but I know that she will always be with me. Life after death. It happens inside all of us she touched. Now I just have to continue learning how to have my own life. Someday I will be just a memory inside my son, perhaps inside my ex-husband, inside my siblings, and inside every friend I've made. We will all live on. It's comforting.

I wish you peace, D


Maggie May said...

I'm glad that you are OK.
It seems to be a continual challenge, life, doesn't it?

It might be a good idea to just be you for a while...... on your own and not seek relationships just now.
Don't you think?
Give yourself time to heal.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Moannie said...

I miss you when you are not around, even fret a bit about you. I cannot concieve how it feels to lose a child [well I can, but even imagining is too hard to bear] I am sure that the pain will always be there, under the surface to be triggered by someone with a resemblance to Stephanie, or a song she liked or making her favourite meal. What will change, with time, is the strength of the will become stronger, honestly, and instead of crying you will smile; because that is what she would want you to do. Smile for her, for your son, and for yourself.

Daryl said...

Moannie said it so well ...