"You get what you pay for, but I just had no intention of living this way." -Counting Crows

Why We're Here...

My husband David and I delivered a stillborn Baby Boy that we loved, and wanted. Our first and only son, Logan, had Down Syndrome. Our daughter's smile is a little light in the darkness. She turned one year old three days after our sweet Logan tip-toed away on January 24, 2009. After 2 1/2 years we found out we were having another baby, whom we affectionatly called Rudy. Just shy of 6 weeks we found out Rudy was Ectopic. Rudy was surgically removed on May 26, 2011 delivering another blow to our already broken hearts.

Crap! Where'd I put that armor!!

I've been feeling very attacked lately. By people who are close to me. People who ought to know better, be softer, love me more, catch me, take a bullet...you know, those people. But lately those are the ones I want to run from, hide from, close myself off from. I "see them coming" and my first instinct is to flinch, put my hands up, protect myself. It seems off to me, when I sit and I think about it. It makes me bitter. It makes me hateful and angry. And again I feel myself withdrawing, turning in, turning away. And I start to feel like I let my guard down, didn't put my armor on. Its my fault really. I have always kept everyone at an arms length, don't get too close, don't know too much. I don't feel comfortable in intimacy. I often recoil and shrink back when people touch me, I don't like it. I feel a sense of insincerity about it all. Like a snake coiling around its prey whilst singing a pretty song. I haven't always been that way. Its something I've picked up as an adult. But years upon years of feeling kicked around, stepped on and beaten down by the ones who are supposed to protect you will leave one feeling very defensive, skittish and distant. When Logan died I wanted to disappear. I wanted to fade away. I didn't want to die. I didn't want that kind of attention. I just wanted to not be noticed as I faded. I wanted to be left alone. And because I was so raw and angry early on, I was able to shut down and ignore and run and not many thought too much of it. These days I feel like that is not possible anymore. Like I am being sought out intentionally. Called to reconcile, called to state my case, defend myself, account for the behavior that is found unacceptable by people who can't fathom. And these days I feel like I am frantic in my search for where I stashed my armor. When I started to let the defenses down, when I started to "fade in" and people thought it ok to share their view of me, with me. I need that sign back. I need a T-Shirt, maybe even my baseball bat again.

And all of that leaves me feeling like all I've managed in my adult life is to let people down. My mother cries for a relationship with a fictitious daughter. I say fictitious because I will never be, could never be, the daughter she so desires. It leaves me feeling not good enough and alienated. My father, humph! There are not enough words in all the languages of the world for that mess... But it has left me asking why? And it has left me feeling ugly, shoved aside, overlooked, abandoned and so many other feelings that I don't even know the words for. [think scene from Hope Floats where her daddy drives away and leaves her screaming in the drive] My stepmother likes to remind me. Likes to send me hateful letters that make me feel as though I am to blame. Likes to make me feel as though I am the delusional one, the childish one, the selfish hateful one. The same woman who hasn't spoken to me in almost two years. The same woman who didn't acknowledge my son's death and chose, instead, to scream hateful things at me from the background, through the phone. This leaves me feeling like my head may start spinning, fangs may be produced and horns will shoot forth from my skull all while a demon-like guttural scream rises up from the depths of the darkest parts of my soul. And in the midst of such things I feel repulsive and disgusting to my beloved. Which leaves me feeling unsexy, undesired and gross. Not what a woman wants to feel, not to mention the affects it has on our intimacy.

Now I feel as though I have come full circle. I feel like I am back to feeling like I was better off locked away. And I yearn for the permission to fade away. I yearn for the acknowledgment that its normal, expected and okay to run and hide from the real world when I find it so difficult to accept my new reality. One that will always have one child less than should be present. And regardless of how many people, in their numerous ways, try to convince me that because they know loss and pain that they understand mine, when I can not begin to think they do. I do not try for a moment to understand what it would be like to loose a spouse, a parent or to have had cancer. I can not comprehend the pain of wanting to bear children and not having my body cooperate and get pregnant in the first place. I do not understand the pain of infertility because I have not been infertile. Those are different pains, different losses, ones I can not comprehend. But I hear it all the time. Loss is loss, pain is pain, and I say it myself. But the reality is that divorce and rejection are different realities then parenting a dead baby. Having your parents die, or your spouse is not the same has having a child die, nor is having a child die the same as a parent or spouse passing. I can not explain it. I do not try to put them in the same category. Its like saying the love for your child is like that of the love for your spouse. I can not try to reason with people that no, my loss is not the same as their loss. I am stymied as to why people want so desperately to find that common ground with me. Why people want to say to me "I've known loss and pain in my life also, so I understand." No! No, you don't understand. You may understand that I'm in pain, that I'm sad. But you can not possibly begin to understand the sadness that comes with loosing a child, anymore than I can understand the pain of divorce. I don't pretend to understand. I don't yearn to get on that level with those who do. My first thought is always, "Wow, that really sucks! I can't imagine." I don't know, maybe that makes me a cold person. But for me to sit here and say that I understand the pain of having my child die from cancer at 5 years old, after I've had a chance to get to know this child, their personalities and have made countless memories with them is misleading and grandstanding. I do not know that pain. I only know mine. I only know the pain of having what I understood to be a healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy for six oblivious months that turned into a stillborn little boy who died from complications with Down Syndrome. And I can not assume to know what it is to have a child with Down Syndrome, mine died before I ever got to know him. Another DBM blogger (and I am so sorry I can not remember who it was) compared the understanding of the pain of a baby dying with someone who tried to assume that they could understand based on the fact that their child almost died something in the form of this: "It would be like looking over the edge of the cliff at the churning murky waters and imagining what it would be like to drown. I don't imagine what it is like, I know what it is like." Thinking of how you would feel in that situation is so far from the reality of what it is that it becomes and insult, at least to me, for people to tell me that they understand...because they have known pain? I sprained my back once, but I can not fathom how it would feel to break it. I have been burned, but I can not fathom what it is to be on fire. I have been dumped by boyfriends in the past, but I can not begin to fathom the pain and rejection that comes with divorce. I just wish people would stop trying to understand and spend more time listening, nodding and admitting that they have no idea what I am going through, how I must feel, or this kind of pain. So much more pain could be avoided, I could stop feeling like I need to cower in the corner and protect my already damaged heart from those who love me. I didn't just loose a baby. When Logan died, everything that is ever connected with a child, with a person, died also. My hopes and dreams for him. The plans I made as a mother with a 16 month old and a newborn. The thoughts I had of my son and his daddy fishing, playing ball, building Lego castles. The thoughts I had of my daughter being a big sister, of my son being the first grandson to my mother, the first nephew to my brothers. The day dreams of my son learning and growing beside his grandfather. Thoughts of him as he grew, the person he would become, the life he would lead. The idea that there was this little man who I was in charge of forming and shaping and molding into a loving man, husband and father. That maybe I could somehow get retributions for the hole that my father put in my chest by helping to mold this young man into a great man. Do people think about those things when they tell me they understand? And not just say they understand but actually try to argue and convince me that they really do understand. Do they know that each and every time I see my husband holding a little boy, talking to a little boy or even looking, himself, at a little boy that my heart shatters again and again? That my heart shatters for the pain that is my husbands. Pain that I feel responsible for. Pain for not being able to understand what it is like for him, as a man, to have lost his son, and all of the hopes, thoughts and dreams that he possessed? Do not fool yourselves into thinking that you understand. Though pain and sorrow may be comprehensible to many, the pain and sorrow of loosing a child is beyond the understanding of anyone who has not walked this lonely heartbreaking path.

The problem with me though, maybe I'm being too judgy. I leave little room for others to make mistakes and hold people to the same standards of which I try to hold myself and I know that is a serious fault that I have. I know that, mostly, people are trying to find their own way, that they are sad and confused also. There is little else in this world that is more confusing and heartbreaking than the death of a baby. I understand that people falter because of this. And for the general population I will usually let it slide. People say stupid things when they are nervous. Anyone who knows me in person knows that I am the queen of this fault. I suffer from foot in mouth disease. My issue is more personal. My issue stems from holding to those standards the people who love me. Love me. I am aghast that anyone would want to argue about my sorrow with me, much less those who are supposed to love me. I can not help but to be judgy of those people. I did not realize that I was so judgy until recently. I've always been boastful about the way that I am not in denial of who I am, the faults that I have. Up until a few days ago no one would dare call me judgy (probably because they're afraid of being attacked). My new friend called me judgy one day. The thing is, I actually like her more because of it. I am so tired of fluff. I'm tired of asking people how I look only to hear that I look fine when I know that I have toilet paper stuck to my shoe and lipstick on my teeth. Why is it that people find it so hard to be honest? The fear of rejection perhaps. If I tell you what I really think, will you still like me? Anyhow, my new friend (coincidentally, a fellow mom in the pits) has right to think me a stalker, since I behave more like an obsessed school girl than anything (much to my husbands amusement). The thing is, she has a confidence in me that those who truly know me, wouldn't bother with. Its nice to be with someone who is so full of optimism for you that hasn't been tainted by years of recognition. She is my consolation prize. Don't get me wrong, knowing that I wouldn't have met her acquaintance had Logan survived, the circumstances of our friendship does not make me begrudge the gift that I see it as. Its refreshing to be with someone who is such an intrigue, who seems so mysterious and brilliant, someone who seems enthusiastic about life even in the wake of losing her own children. Its comforting to have someone in your corner who's foundation holds similar stones as your own foundation, and yet their structure is so completely different you find your self staring in awe. If I were asked about the good that has come from Logan's death, it would be making a new friend. A normal, not loony friend. Be advised though, it is not wise of you to point that out for me. I do well in finding what little good I can in the death of my son and I will be damned if someone else points it out for me.

This post was really long. I didn't realize I had so much pent up inside these days. I try to empty the "bottle" often so that I don't explode. However, lately I find more comfort in denying that I am being affected. It is easier to not deal with all of the crap that I feel pushing down on me than it is to stand up and call it out. It is easier to not admit when someone hurts you, than to show them your cards. My mother said that I keep my cards close to my heart. Isn't that the golden rule? Never let them see you sweat? Never let them see you cry? Don't wear your heart on your sleeve for someone to come along and knock off. Its easier that way. At this point in my life, I have enough going on with out trying to wade through the muddled mess that is the psychobabble and ignorant bible thumping that seems to want to come my way on a fairly regular basis.

Now, get off your lazy bum and help me find that armor. I know its around here somewhere...


Barbara said...

I'm sorry it's all so bleak at the moment.

And dammit family really should know better.



ps did you check behind the sofa for your armour?

Mary said...

It's probably in that spot where you go to put things that you want to keep safe and yet you can never remember where that is. I have those spots too.

I wish that you had more people around you that could help you.

Tracie said...

I wish I could loan you my best friend. She has told me more than once "I don't understand how you feel and honestly, I don't want to experience it first hand. But because you are my best friend and I love you, I am sad beyond words and my very soul hurts for you."
I think those are the best words ever spoken and more people should hear them.
(((hugs)))) My heart hurts for you.

belle said...

(((((BIG GIANT HUGS)))))

ps: check the bottom of the washing machine in that hole that eats the socks.... yeah. that's it. the sock fairy took it :D (hope that made you smile just a tad)

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