Friday, November 11, 2011

Giving Thanks and the New Joy

First I will be taking away.

One of my bloggy friends told me in an email that I was "very nice" for naming NAWP that way (Not a Whole Person). She very generously suggested that the name captured how I want good things for him even though he has hurt me. But I didn't--and still don't--feel like I want the best for him. So in act of reverse generosity, I am renaming him SS. That stands for Shit Stain.


Thanksgiving this year is going to suck. I do not care to be eloquent in saying that. There will be no Blue. There will be my one-year-old nephew who was three days old on Thanksgiving last year, just to remind me this year that there is no Blue. If there is one bit of light, it is that I had planned to be in DC with my newborn, SS and his family. I won't be having this same new tradition minus the newborn. I will be having the same old tradition of getting together with my family, difficult as it will be.

I had considered going away for Thanksgiving; taking a cool trip with some friends that would be nothing like family dinner. For a few years when I lived in Colorado, I would stay put, always finding a clan of other "orphans" with whom to share the holiday. One of my fondest Thanksgiving memories involves a football game, a lot of Gewurtstraminer, and making out with other girls and Redi Whip. Instead for this year I was thinking about a Utah canyoneering trip, or rock climbing in Red Rocks, Nevada, like old Colorado times. But things are different now. I can't just get in the car and drive to Utah, for one. And not as many friends have time to burn in the wilderness on long holiday weekends. Putting together a last-minute trip on the busiest travel weekend of the year? Boo. Spending time in the airport with happy couples and their happy little babies? Double-boo with a hiss. And I know I need to be around people who will truly care for me this Thanksgiving. I don't mean to say that my friends can't or won't do it--many of them have proven to be far better friends than I had even imagined. But sometimes people forget. Forget what JUST happened (no matter how long it's actually been). Forget how much I miss Blue, and how often I think about him. Forget how my grief turns ordinary molehills into mountains. This Thanksgiving I will be running in the park in the morning, making a new stuffing recipe, and having family dinner. Just like always. If I say it enough times, maybe I will believe it.


After Taking Away and Thanksgiving, now on to Giving Thanks.

Interesting text message of the week: You are always setting an example even when you don't know it.

This was from a person who did not know that I was blogging, did not know that I had turned to the Internet to find community with other baby lost mamas. I wanted to find someone just like me. So I started this blog partly because I wanted to be able to help other mamas like me--those left with no baby AND no relationship, thereby dashing hope of trying again soon. But I have found that even when our circumstances are so different, many of our feelings are the same. I have also found that even the mamas who are seeking and absorbing help in our community are unknowingly offering help to someone else.We are all setting an example. Whether it is an example to follow, or an example to not follow...we are all helping each other...always.

And so I would like to help with more intention today. Today is Friday, 11/11/11. I wanted Blue to be born today, just like every mama whose due date was/is in the month of November this year. For a few silly moments, in all of this true grief, I was sad that I had lost the opportunity to have my baby on 11/11/11. But today is not as bad as I thought it might be. Tuesday was my terrible, miserable day. Three months since Blue died. Then Wednesday was better. Yesterday was three months since Blue was born still; yesterday was worse. Today is better.

To all the baby lost mamas who have been promised that "it will get better," it will. But not everyday. Grief is not a straight line, and some days you will reel back further than you thought you ever were. And tomorrow may not be better. But if you can find joy in one little thing, if you can find one little thing to smile about, you will make a tiny move forward. Joy is not what it used to be--it's all relative. Redefine the word. Joy is desire, joy is "not sad," joy is distraction.

I have joy today, the new--perhaps distorted--kind. But I'll take it. An acquaintance has asked for my help in possibly starting a climbing gym in my hometown (where I currently live). I am going to Happy Hour yoga tonight, where the people know who I am and how I am really doing. And the guy I have called "attentive friend of a friend," so let's call him AFF, is getting friends together to go out dancing tomorrow night. SS would NEVER make plans, OR go out dancing. I have distorted joy in that realization. I have distorted joy in changing NAWP's name to SS.

If joy is relative, like I just said it is, then I probably have real joy in starting that climbing gym, going to yoga, and going out dancing on a Saturday night. Yes, I'll take it.

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