Sunday, May 01, 2016

Managing

I feel like I'm managing pretty well these days.  Tomorrow will mark 6 weeks since I've had a really bad day.  I still think about Abigail a lot, but it's not painful.  I still see her absence everywhere, but I don't imagine that often what she should be doing.  At four months old she should be babbling, not just cooing, giggling and paying attention to more of the world around her, she should be playing with her hands and feet discovering baby toys.  But I had to look that up, it wasn't just something I knew I was missing.  That part of grief thankful has begun to ebb.

I'm still unsure of who I am now.  I find that while I am more sensitive and patient with the kids, I no longer have the patiences to deal with others.  I no longer have any desire to play the games of social niceties.  I'm still not comfortable with showing emotion and talking about personal things, but they are no longer things that can be neatly packed away in boxes and only taken out when convenient and only with the people that I am closest too.  I can still have a good time, but it's more subdued now. No longer wild and free, like the line from "Brave," where Merida's dad impersonating her says, "I don't want to get married! I want to stay single and let my hair flow in the wind as I ride through the glen, firing arrows into the sunset!"  I don't find that the experience has left me with any greater maturity though, just an increased sense of anxiety and unease in my own skin.

I have tried my best however not to let it change the way I parent the kids.  To allow them as much independence as I can... at least for a 7, 5, and 3 year old.  I want them to still have as much freedom to explore and be kids as I can, despite my desire to tie all their hands to a string and attach them to me at all times, the way the kids are in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou."  The sad truth though is that their being in my presence all the time won't keep them safe, I mean it didn't work for Abigail.  And it would only hamper their ability to grow into adults who are capable of critical thinking and ability to persevere when faced with failure.

If I am honest, I also sometimes worry at the toll this entire thing has taken on our marriage. Gary is passed talked out, and we have no points in common.  He sees her as she was, I see her as she is.  I need to imagine who she is to fill the void, he finds it a pointless exercise since nothing he imagines can be accurate.  I hate feeling alone in missing her, he hates that I don't see his grief.  Despite the fact that we both lost a daughter, grief is a very singular journey.  We have been through unemployment three times, a gillion moves, Church problems, family issues, and all sorts of other hardships while married but nothing we couldn't talk about.  Nothing that has felt lonely like this.

Unfortunately the loss of a child isn't just a stop in the road of life.  It's not like a wrong turn on a trip where you end up broke down in some podunk town.  A horrible little blip that after you get back on the right road leaves bears no bearing on the rest of your life.  Grief isn't like that, it is the road, the journey, an abrupt direction change our life took.  It's more than just a stop, it is a part of who we are now, and it has a very lasting impact.

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