06 October 2010

I am kate, I am complex

Yes, I am kate, I am complex.
As I move toward the realization that time is running out and soon, I will move from being pregnant to being responsible for another human being,
I have also been realizing that a lot of grief is coming up.

This is not about how lucky I am to be pregnant, believe me, I know I am with every astonished fiber of my being. It is miraculous beyond imagining.
This is not about grieving my "single" days, my days of grabbing my tiny wallet and taking impulsive trips to the store or to vermont or to my sister.

This is old grief. This is the stuff that lies there, buried sometimes under just a dusting of good fortune and amazement and luck. And now, with all of these huge emotions beginning to stir, I am stirring up the old grief too.

I did not expect this, and it is hard to feel so happy and yet so haunted.

Jeff's things, what are left of them in my life, are in the closet in the mud room. They are in a pile in the corner so I know where they are, and what they are, a self protective move I made long ago to keep myself from stumbling across a book, a tape measure, a photo...

A few weeks ago, my beloved sister was visiting with her family and she helped me clean and sort some places where detritus seemed to accumulate naturally-- the baby room I was never sure I would use, the mudroom, the mudroom closet. And I stumbled across a box I had not labeled well, opened it with innocence, and found photos. It was simply in the wrong corner of the closet.

As part of our sorting, we took the closet doors off, and, as a consequence of the doors being off, as I walk in each night, I see the boxes. My eyes go there. Touchstone. I know what they are. I know what they hold. And I am feeling the grief pulling at me, the questions coming as they have always (quietly mostly)-- asking what right I have to be happy in the face of such a loss that I have never truly reconciled.

And I feel something akin to shame.

How do I even talk about this? It sounds crazy. But I am serious here, this sadness, this feeling somehow connected backwards to the loss of Jeff, is feeling so current.
Is it the open doorway? The accidental stumble on the photos? Or is it just LIFE CHANGING and that unsteady reassessment of everything, knowing only that I am stepping into the unknown.

My dear friend Will lost his wife two years ago to suicide--and I wonder if that is part of this too? If the season is pulling at me. My other blogger blog is about my response to Will's loss and to losing Jeff and a place to let grief come, and I have tried to not let it slob over into this realm very often since it feels, in many ways at least, like a different life.

But it isn't. It wasn't.

I need to be gentle with myself right now (always), be protective, move the boxes to the basement maybe, a not-everyday-place. I am someone who cries when something is beautiful, my heart just opens like that. And this openness is such a gift, except when it isn't.


sprogblogger said...

Ah, Kate. I am so very sorry you're going through this. Hugs from me, hugs from my mother, hugs from Henry. Thinking of you in this difficult time that I wish could hold nothing but unalloyed joy for you.

And yes, please do be gentle with yourself always, but now especially.

Rebecca said...

This post echoes for me the waves that I felt leading up to the birth of my (now 22 month) son. I know that losing a partner is radically different that losing a parent, but I had similar stirrings of old grief (at that time, the grief/loss was 3 years old). I knew I wasn't replacing my mom with my new baby but there was a palpable sense of continuance that life was moving forward, that I was moving forward. And all of this was happening despite my loss and my grief. I wonder if you are experiencing that at all. Preparing for birth, a new person, a new and different life is, while exciting, very stressful. It asks us to think about our history and future in new, complex ways. I didn't stumble on boxes but I did see the unexpected image of my mother in the mirror some days, me looking back at me. And it was those unexpected moments that were hard. I think your coping plan--to have the memories in a particular place--can help keep the sadness in a safe alcove of your mind. The memories are fragile scaffolding, I'm sure, but the baby is coming and will buttress you.

Lara (NoodleGirl) said...

Oh dear kate, I had no idea about the other life on your other blog. I'm sending you all the wishes I can for strength and hope as this weighs on your mind while you're waiting to greet your little one.

tireegal68 said...

Dearest Kate, I'm sorry. I had seen your other blog and I'm
sorry I never said anything. Suicide and depression are absolutely cancerous and I'm sorry that you are reliving this over and over when you are getting ready for the new beginnings of your baby.
Just this last month all these gay teen suicides has really brought home how insidious depression and suicide are and how horrific it is for those who take their own lives and how awful it is for those they leave behind. My thoughts are with you as you wressle with this sadness. Big hugs. You are strong and brave and your blog sisters are with you:)

alyssa said...

sweet kate, you need to get a giant box, put everything in there, shove it in the basement in a corner.

your mouth is likely gaping wide, you know i always have to face everything and deal with it, and i try to make you do that as well. and i will, in a few months, when you're not on the edge of having a baby.

put the things away, they will be there when it's time to deal with them.

Circus Princess said...

In happiness there is sorrow and in sorrow there is happiness - strange how two seemingly opposite strong emotions can be so connected. I had no idea the tragedy you'd lived through. Sending you lots of love!

Sarah said...

ARRRGGHHH Your sister here. Good god Kate get those f***ing boxes into bins in the garage. Get them out out out. Just do it! Get D to do it. You don't need the physical reminders to sit there while you get all angsty. This is self sabotage. Period.This is an emotional time for most women. Don't add more drama.

babyinterrupted said...

I didn't know your story, but thank you for sharing it now. Peace to you, and may the joy continue to fill up all the darker spaces in life. (And thanks for the link!)

IF Optimist, then... said...

First of all, I am not coming from the exact same place, but...

I get it.

Having the babies come soooo early, worrying about them every minute of the day in the NICU. Then suddenly they were home, all healthy and pink and happy and then my walls crumbled.

Your sister, who I am now in total love with, is right. Take these things away for now. They do not belong right here and right now.

Take your joy and hold it tight. The time is fleeting and it is yours and Doug's special moment.

You deserve the right to cherish it


with all your heart and mind and soul.

love, Love, LOVE