“Let me be to my sad self hereafter kind.”
-Peter Pouncey, Rules for Old Men Waiting: A Novel
I am weary and defeated, feeling that Life has put me through the wringer for the past six months. Is it six months now? Yes it is. Nelle was born on September 4, 2015 – now six months ago. Iris was born on February 13, 2016 – now three weeks ago. How can I be kind to myself, other than the generic “take it easy”?
Forgive. I could forgive myself for these losses and release any underlying guilt that I may be still harboring. In reality though, I am about 90% there. I have occasional moments of “coulda, woulda, shoulda” but after the battery of testing and doctors’ visits that I have been through, I know that there is nothing I could have done. My head knows it clearly; I am trying to get my heart to catch up. But full forgiveness is likely not going to bring me much relief since I am already so far into that journey.
Forget. This would be the ultimate kindness, to wipe away all of the horrible memories and sensations of labor and delivery, twice. I could then sleep more easily. I could eliminate the anxiety. But to forget would not honor my daughters. To forget would be not acknowledging that they existed. So I cannot grant myself this kindness, because it would remove the good with the bad.
Acceptance. I could allow myself to accept what happened to me, and to our family. But I can’t yet. I am so, so angry at the situation and lack of answers. Lack of answers is impossible to accept. The medical community has failed me so completely. I don’t even know where to place the blame for the lack of answers, since I have had an attentive and compassionate team of medical professionals working with me. But at this point they have all shaken their heads in bewilderment and said “we don’t know, we cannot explain why this happened twice.” That is very difficult to accept.
Without forgiveness, forgetting, or acceptance – what can I give myself that will ease this situation? What kindness can I allow?
Time. I can give myself time. The pain will not always be raw. Grief is not linear and will follow no pattern. I can willingly let go of any preconceived notions of how long grieving will last. I can shrug off societal pressures to “be ok.” I can give myself space to take a deep breath. I can give my body time to heal. I can give my family time to learn how to move forward. I can dedicate moments of time in my day to writing and talking about my grief.
I can be kind to myself with the gift of time. I can view Time as a gift in this process, rather than a burden. So far it has been a burden, as the days and hour creep by and I am a prisoner of flashbacks, a pounding heart, and a wandering mind. Instead I can work on viewing Time as an antidote to the poison I’ve been forced to drink, and that with each passing day I am slowly improving. Slowly. Incrementally. Sometimes sliding backwards. Sometimes not even noticeable.
Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting