The timeline of grief

After I accidentally packed a second lunch for Bee to take to camp today, I dropped Stell off at the wrong dance class. My “kitchen” is going on week four of being a half-remodeled room, thus I have no stove or countertops and just shoveled a bite of leftover Panda Express in my mouth. Also, I’m still carrying a dead baby. Sorry. Don’t read anymore if you don’t want to hear me say things like that. If you’re lost, get caught up.

Sometimes I wonder if grief has a time table. There’s my time table #1: that of my own impatience because I just want to move on. I want my house back to normal. I want to scrub out all this sawdust, literal and figurative. I’m tired of my own sadness and I just want everything I wrote Monday to be true all the time – especially the parts about being fresh and free and grateful. My heart is ready to be happy.

Time table #2 is my frustrating, slow reality. Something about being trapped in this never-ending construction with the debris and people “helping” me has stagnated time. I’m still sitting in my grief. It makes me so angry, I just want to move into a hotel by myself and escape-internet-rage on people being mean to little Justin Bieber. (For real, he didn’t know, it’s a floor, get over it.)  I just want to be alone.

Time table #3 is equally problematic: everyone else’s expectations. Old grief is ugly. Those first few days when people find out something bad has happened to you, everyone is all hugs and casseroles. People want to cry with you and suffocate you in their bosoms. In the worst moment of my life, there was a part of me that felt good to see tears also in my husband’s eyes. I looked at a calendar yesterday and realized it’s the middle of July. I didn’t even know that many days had passed since that trip to the woods. Weeks? Seriously? Almost a month? No one is sad anymore but me. Everyone’s ready for me to move on. People want to enjoy their summer and their dinners and their glasses of wine. They want me to be the usual me – the one who laughs at every joke and makes campy, off-color comments. My kids want the mom who loves craft time and tickling on the floor. Grief isn’t fun. I’m not fun. It sucks.

I’m loosely governed by sayings I’ve heard, however mottled the memory of them may be. I heard once you can’t live your life by “if only” because happiness has to be seized today. I hate those words nipping at me. I wouldn’t say I’d be happy “if only” both twins were living. I understand and have processed that is not to be and that happiness is possible anyway. The problem is “if only” the circus would quit spinning around me, I might have time to make order and get back to normal. Actually, maybe normal is never going to happen. Being pregnant with one healthy baby who needs to go to term while simultaneously carrying her deceased twin is a unique heartache. I physically cannot let go. I physiologically cannot move on. I am forced to carry the literal weight of my burden.

I know you have your problems. Even my Facebook friends posting pictures of gorgeous lives lived by the lake have their problems. I don’t want pity, I just want patience. You can’t help me unless you’re a magic wizard who can make the next 18 weeks vanish. When I’m ready to host BBQs and make beer hat jokes, I’ll just jump in and do it. I’m almost there. Promise. “If only” the leaves would change.

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Come on, fall! We’re ready!


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Filed under: Mother-in-law

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