The Fourth Month

Friday, December 6, 2002

Here's something weird: we haven't made it to any support group meetings because they always occurred right after my back flared up and I couldn't sit to make the drive. So we decided to try a different group. Well, that day at work (Tues), I started to feel really chilled and on the way home I spiked a fever and started shivering so hard I thought I wouldn't be able to drive. So when I got home, I went straight to bed, coat and mittens on, and said, "I can't go." We are now wondering if we are not supposed to be going to these support groups. I'm just glad this time it was just a flu bug and not another back flare-up. So we may give up on the support group thing. I have a good friend from church, K., that has been so incredible - for someone who hasn't been through this, she still seems to know just what to say and do.

Tonight I went to the mall to put angels on the Hospice memory trees for Abigail, Luke, and Marie, the babies whose moms have been a real help to me. I was going to use gold script to write their names and dates on the angels, but when I started writing, I started to get very emotional and I couldn’t take the time to do it. So I just printed their information. I managed to get through it, even though I was crying when I walked away.

Saturday, December 7, 2002

Today I had a very relaxing day enjoying the holidays. First we decorated our Christmas tree. Then we all went to the mall to play at Candyland. I had seen that they had a playground all set up for the kids there when I had been there the night before. It was a very low-key day; Steve sat there while the kids played and I got to shop. It struck me as sort of strange a few times, thinking about Abigail, but not overtly sad. At one point, I was with Nathan and we were looking at Christmas stockings and were trying to decide what to get for Abigail. And he turned to me and asked, “Why do we need a stocking for someone who’s dead?” And it struck me as funny. I mean, he was right, it made no sense to get one for her, but I just felt like I needed to.

Monday, December 9, 2002

I am getting to know the feeling when that "cloud" starts to form over a "sunny" day and just ruins it all. Then I kind of end up wandering aimlessly, unable to decide what to do and not really wanting to do anything, and not having the energy to do it anyway. I just HATE that feeling - I call it my blah feeling. I want so hard to at least cry or something just to get out of that awful limbo. Steve tells me, "That's depression." I also lose all interest in food and just about anything else.

This morning I started getting excited about the thought of working on some of my other scrapbooks about something other than Abigail. That is the first time since her birth that I haven’t wanted to work on her things. And I am ready to take her pictures off my screen saver at home; I just don't want to look at the pictures all the time like I did. It used to make me feel close to her and remember her with joy, but now it just makes me sad. I know that this is a different order than many people, but right now I am at a point where I don't want to do more than glance at a picture of her. Strange how these things cycle so much.

The up times feel so good, but they are in such sharp contrast to the down times that they almost make the bad times worse. So even in the good times (like now) I am always fearful about when that cloud will come back. What a way to live: truly a roller coaster that I can’t get off.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

K. gave me an ornament with Abigail’s name and dates on it. It touched me so much; that she would think of her and make the effort to get it engraved and remember her dates. She has no idea what it means to me.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

After almost 2 weeks of doing really well and feeling pretty normal, the dark cloud has returned. I felt it looming the last couple of days, and I tried to fight it, and managed to delay it for a while, but it has arrived today. It seems like lately I have just been hearing parts of this sad story and then suddenly realizing it is mine! And that hits me like a slap in the face. I made it through our Christmas party from work last night, but had a few really shaky moments. I do OK in social settings for a while, but usually end up feeling like I don't belong there and then I just want to escape before I lose it.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Last night after church I held an 8-week-old baby, the first little one I've held since Abigail died. Her aunt is a good friend of mine and had brought her, and when she asked if I wanted to hold her I surprised myself by saying, "I'd love to." It felt so good to hold her and when I put her on my shoulder she just snuggled up against me as if she belonged there. And she smelled so good! Of course, I shed a few tears, but it was wonderful to be holding a baby again. I got to feed her and burp her, 2 things I didn't get to do with Abigail since she couldn't eat. It just felt so right. It was a little hard, though, when Sarah came over to see the baby and give her a kiss - she loves babies so much. But when her aunt was bundling her up and putting her back into her car seat, she wouldn't take her eyes off me. It was as if she knew the gift she was giving me.

Friday, December 20, 2002

I have been doing surprisingly well - I had almost 2 weeks straight of really good days this month. I have kind of been getting into Christmas for my other kids I guess. I am not dreading Christmas or anything. In a strange way, Abigail's T18 has freed me from some of the "what ifs" that others are going through. I mean, once I found out about her T18, my hopes and dreams for her all changed. I stopped dreaming about Christmases and birthdays with her and her growing up, etc and started dreaming and hoping that she would be born alive and I would get to spend a few minutes with her. Since she lived 5 days, longer than many T18 babies, I feel like we got everything we could have wanted, given the limitation of T18. I am so proud of her for doing so well for so long! So I am not often plagued with the "would have been doing such and so" thoughts. I wouldn't change anything about her, even the T18. She was so tiny and cute and she looked like she did partly because of the T18. If she didn't have it, it wouldn't have been her. So my sadness is really just missing her as she was, not also missing her whole life and what she would have been, if that makes sense.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

I had talked with another mom who lost her baby, T., about how even though we think about it all the time, everyone else doesn't and we feel so conspicuous but probably aren't to everyone else. Most friends don't think there is a way we are "supposed to" act; they figure whatever we do is how we should act. It's just us that worry about the "right" way.

Yesterday morning we went to the tree lighting ceremony from hospice. It wasn't just for babies and I was glad; I think that would have been too emotional. But they read all the names and Nathan was playing nearby during the ceremony and told me he heard them say Abigail's name and the other babies I had gotten angels for. I took a few pictures of the trees and their angels and recorded them reading Luke's, Abigail's, and Marie's names on a .wav file that can be played on the computer.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Today, Christmas Day, was one of the most enjoyable for me in recent memory. I was really surprised. I think it was because I have finally had some extended time home with the kids when my back was feeling good. So I could focus on them. And they were sure enjoying Christmas this year. I thought of Abigail quite a bit, but it wasn’t with sadness but with some joy. Not what I expected, but a very pleasant surprise.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

I started working on my scrapbooks a little this morning. I just finished June pages for all 3 books. I wasn't intending to work on Abigail, but she is so interwoven - the U/S's, the diagnosis, etc all happened in June and July. So when I opened up the file with all the pictures, notes, and cards from July, it all came flooding back to me. I knew that was when they happened, but I just was thinking about the “happy scrapbook” stuff I wanted to do for the other kids’ books. So it really caught me by surprise and hit me hard. I guess it's not possible to completely separate any of the kids from the others, so it shouldn't surprise me about Abigail. I can see how July 2nd will be a hard date for me from now on. So many things seem so symbolic now, dates and events. I think that now it is hard to have so many since it is just sad, but someday I will be glad to have so many "special" reasons to remember Abigail. At least I hope that's what happens.

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

We had nothing planned for this evening; I was looking forward to working on my scrapbooks after the kids went to bed. It had really been a good holiday season. But once it got dark, I felt the “cloud” looming again. I didn’t want it to ruin the day, so I distracted myself. And I kept it at bay.

December was really strange; I had thought the holidays would be really hard, but they did not turn out to be that hard. One thing that helped was watching my other kids get so excited about Christmas. And I think the fact that we cancelled all “appearances” and only did the things that we really wanted to do. That took the pressure off and didn’t make me have to act normal in a situation in which I didn’t feel normal. But grief is so strange – it doesn’t disappear it just hides for a while.

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