Every year, 26,000 babies are stillborn in America. In 2003, one of them was my son.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thank You

Wow. All of your comments on my last post were great - so insightful, so beautifully written. And they helped.

LouLou commented that "Grief conjures him (her son) up more solidly than anything else does." And she's so right - I'd forgotten that. The first year after Ben died, I remember saying to my therapist that I didn't want the tears to end - because the tears connected me to Ben. That overwhelming grief felt like my only connection to my son then. And after a while, I realized that I had to find other ways of connecting with him. And I have, and I carry him in my heart every day, but tears will always be about Ben somehow.

Niobe said in her comment, "Loss evokes loss. It's like when you pluck one string of a musical instrument and another string, one that you haven't plucked, begins to vibrate as well. You hear the sound of both strings, not just one that's actually been touched." Wow. That is just beautiful. Thank you.

I am still missing my little cat, and when I walk in the door from running an errand I wonder why he isn't there to greet me. We definitely have a kitten in our future; my daughter is desperate to get one, but her parents aren't quite ready. We'll get there.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Headache, Heartache

I've got one of those awful post-cry headaches that no amount of pain reliever will help. Today I had to have our wonderful little cat, who we've had for 10 years, put to sleep. It was time, and it was the right decision, but boy, it hurts.

Why am I writing about the death of my cat on a blog about the death of my son? Well, I'm just wondering...anyone else out there find that every subsequent loss, after the loss of your child(ren), is somehow still about your child? I'm very sad about our cat, but I found myself crying over my cat at the vet's, telling him I'm sorry, and that I will miss him, but in many ways, I'm telling Ben I miss him, telling Ben I'm sorry. I don't know how to separate the grief for my son from the grief for my cat. I remember when my dear friend Elizabeth died two years ago - not unexpectedly, after a long battle with cancer - and I felt like I couldn't really grieve for her because I was still grieving for Ben. And that all my tears, for the rest of my life, will be for him, no matter who I've lost.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Living Children

I have two living children, one from "before" and one from "after." Charlotte was 16 days away from her 3rd birthday when Ben died; James was born 20 months after Ben's death. I remember writing in my journal at some point after losing Ben, that I wonder if Charlotte will grow up to think of us as always being sad. Will she always feel she missed out on getting to know us as happy people? Will there always be a sense of something missing - whether that be her brother or something in her parents? I'm afraid she'll feel that we were never wholly there for her after Ben died. I realize she won't have much, if any, memory of life before Ben - I guess that's what worries me. We were different people then, different parents. I'm afraid her life will be forever tainted by Ben's death, and she'll feel cheated out of us because of it.

Maybe I'm not making any sense, but I wonder what she'll think and feel in 10 and 20 years, about what might have been, what was, what wasn't. Part of me died the day I lost Ben, and that part of me can never return. I hope she can forgive me if I'm not the mother I could have been.