Planet Elsewhere

I began reading Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life by Cheryl Strayed.  The second letter is from a woman who lost a baby at 6.5 months of pregnancy, and after a year, how affected she still is by her grief.  Sugar’s response was one I needed to hear:  “Don’t listen to those people who suggest you should be ‘over’ your daughter’s death by now… Some of those people believe they’re being helpful by minimizing your pain.  Others are scared of the intensity of your loss and so they use their words to push your grief away.  Many of those people love you and are worthy of your love, but they are not the people who will be helpful to you when it comes to healing the pain of your daughter’s death.  They live on Planet Earth.  You live on Planet My Baby Died.”

I read the passage aloud to Ger, as it articulated my feelings of the past few days.  I feel like I’m having an out-of-body experience, where I am watching myself going through the motions.  Or I am a zombie, incapable of connecting to anything.  It is because I am on Planet My Baby Died, and Ger is there with me.  He pointed out that decades from now, we will be the only people who remember our daughters.  Their birthdays will come and go and maybe for a few years people will mourn alongside us.  But he spoke a harsh truth that, ultimately, we will be the only ones who remember.  That is something that only he and I share.

Since Theo still had a fever last night, I kept him home today.  Ger had a presentation and needed to go into work so my only option for attending therapy today seemed to be to bring Theo with me.  I needed that time with my therapist and was unwilling to cancel.  While running errands before the appointment, I received a call from the pediatrician’s office that his strep culture from yesterday had turned positive overnight.  Well, at least that meant antibiotics.  But also meant another day at home.  The world does not stop moving.

My therapist works a lot with children and always has a bunch of toys and games in her office, so I figured she would be cool that I brought Theo.  I came fully prepared with the iPad and he sat quietly on a chair playing Zoombinis while she and I talked.  I tried to explain to him in advance what I was doing there; that sometimes things are hard, like our babies dying, and it helps to talk to someone.  Kind of like the other morning when I gave him a shower and as I took my morning medication, he asked me what it was for.  I told him that one pill was for my thyroid, because it does not work properly, and the other one was to make me feel happier, because I was really sad.  I told him that sometimes people take medication to make them feel happier just for a little while, and sometimes people feel sad all the time so they take medication all the time, and that’s ok too.  I don’t believe in hiding anything from him and told my therapist that when she asked if I was comfortable speaking in front of him.  I was a bit more reserved, but not much.  Once or twice, Theo glanced up at us while we talked, but mostly he was immersed in his game.

My new chair arrived today.  We have a faux-leather chair in our living room that has a significant amount of wear, but it so comfortable that we haven’t wanted to get rid of it.  For whatever reason, after this second loss, I could not stand to look at that falling-apart chair for another minute, no matter how comfortable it was.  I’d rather have new and uncomfortable than old and comfortable.  Hopefully the replacement will prove to be comfortable over time.