I guess it takes me the whole month to work through my answers to the 6×6 questions posted at Glow in the Woods.
1 | How would you describe your relationship to fear before and after the loss of your baby?
Fear. Yeah. I think before if you had asked me what I was afraid of, I would have rattled of a list of fairly general things…heights, small spaces. Fear was sort of a nebulous emotion and had a lot to do with the what-ifs. After Lennox died, fear revolved around Zoë. She was the focus of everything…hopes, dreams, love…so fear was about things going wrong; an infection setting in; an xray of cloudy lungs. Somewhere in the back of our brains was the fear of what she faced years down the line as a micro-preemie. There was also the looming fear of losing her, but that one was always shoved way down. We couldn’t allow that monster out of the closet because that fear was debilitating. After Zoë’s death, now, fear is this tangible thing in my life. It’s what makes my throat clench when the phone rings. It’s why I can’t take that trip. Fear isn’t about hypotheticals anymore. There aren’t any generalities. It just is.
2 | Is your lost baby/are your babies present in your life? In what way? I am not a religious person. I don’t believe in angels or heaven. I don’t think that Lennox and Zoë are watching over me. I carry their memory in my heart. I wear their names around my neck. Their footprints hang over my desk. I speak of them often and I think of them constantly. I live my life as Lennox and Zoë’s mother and try to honor their lives as best I can. They will always be present in my life because of that.
3 | Tell us about something said or done after your loss that left you feeling nurtured or supported.There were so many instances, it’s hard to pick. Some were so subtle, I’m not sure I could even put them into words. I am constantly amazed by the level of support I’ve received through this blog, from people I’ve never met. It’s been the people who didn’t turn away, who didn’t try to tell us what we should or shouldn’t feel, who simply held us in their hearts who were my source of support and strength. Those who were able to say, “I can’t do anything but be here for you, so here I am.” made all the difference.
4 | Tell us about something said or done after your loss that left you feeling marginalized or misunderstood.Ah, I won’t answer this one because I am trying to be the bigger person about it. There was only one instance of it and it hurt me to my very core.
5 | What’s taken you a long time to do again? How did it feel, if you have?So many answers to this pop into my head. It’s taken me a long time to absolve myself of guilt (and I haven’t completely. I still go over everything that happened and wonder what I could have done differently). It’s taken me a long time to look at my scar without cringing. I’m also still not completely there. It took me a very long time to be able to say their names out loud and speak of them as dead, as past tense, even just to myself. The first times, I stumbled over the words and felt ill, like my stomach had filled with acid. I’m working on it.
6 | How would you describe yourself as a partner before, and after?I am clingier now. I find myself in need of reassurance. I felt and still do feel, to a degree, a tremendous amount of guilt for bringing this pain into the lives of the people that I love. I worry about how much Shannon worries about me now. And I try to make sure that we find all the happiness we can, right now, this minute because this minute is all I can control. The next minute, it might all go away. I’m less willing to waste time waiting for the right moment. I refuse to let things go unsaid