Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blah, blah, blah

Tim and I had an appointment with our grief counsellor today, and she got me thinking. It's a good thing I suppose. A sign that all the money we are spending is not going to waste.

During today's session we were focused mainly on Tim, but when it came to me, we discussed the fact that I've got the blahs. I know I do. Very little interests me these days. Truthfully, I spend most of my days in the house, alone, surfing the internet - reading blogs, cruising Facebook, Googling random stuff. I do little 0f much else. Sometimes the TV is on for background noise, but I usually can't pay much attention to it. I take note of the tumble weeds of dog hair on the floor, the dishes in the sink, the laundry piling up and it starts to get to me (me, obsessive, compulsive clean freak) but then I just feel so blah about it all that I can't seem to do anything about it.

Often I feel a little stir crazy spending so many hours in the house, alone, doing nothing, that I think when Tim gets home in the evenings, I want to do something. But, then when I try to think of what to do, I just feel more blah. Walk the dogs. Blah. Go the movies, blah. Out for dinner, blah. So, the two of us just end up sitting together in the house. Tim watches TV, while I carry on surfing the internet.

Even when I drag myself out of the house, everything seems so blah. For example, I went to the mall today and bought some clothes for Tim and a dress for the wedding we are attending on Saturday. Usually I am so enamored by fall fashions that I get an overwhelming rush of excitement just thinking of the mall this time of year - cable knit sweaters, suede boots, wool suits, jewel toned blouses. But, not today. Nope, today the mall just made me feel, you guessed it, blah.

So, what do the blahs mean? Am I depressed? Sure sounds like it, right? But, my grief counsellor believes I'm not suffering from postpartum or any other form of clinical depression, just grief (another reason why I pay her so much - she isn't trying to label or medicate me). Apparently my blahs are the result of me shutting out the feelings associated with my grief. Rather than my denied feelings creating anxiety as they did before, now my feelings are overwhelming me to the point where I am not feeling much of anything at all. Blah.

She recommended that Tim and I both start privately journaling. Just thinking about what I would write in a journal forced me to acknowledge all the repressed feelings I am holding inside right now - sadness, anger, despair, sadness, more sadness, longing, jealousy, despair, lots of despair, a little more anger, and that longing, that powerful, powerful sense of longing. Oy! It's definitely all still in there.

So, now here I am, home again, alone and on the internet, and I'm thinking. I'm thinking about what it is I have been trying to do lately. I'm thinking about all the comments I have made on other blogs recently about trying to hang on to hope, trying to find the light, trying to see the roses. I think I have been trying a little too hard. At the end of the day, I want to heal. I want to experience joy again. I want to dance and sing and smile. I think I want it so badly, I have been rushing it a little. I have been trying to force it. And, it isn't working.

So, today I am reminding myself that I need to go through it. Head up, straight through it, and feel it each step of the way. Deep breathes. Feel it. The weight of my loss. The grief. Its so bloody hurtful to feel. I thought I was doing it. I really did. I thought I was living in it. Feeling it. Not denying it. But, our grief counsellor is so right. I haven't been allowing myself to feel. I was trying to skip to the finish line without running the race.

Maybe a finish line is a bad analogy. There is no end to grief. I will never "get over" Isla. The best I can hope for is to get to a place where Isla's death is a part of who I am, where I can feel joy along with the residual pain.

I think a better analogy is to think of death as a wound and grief as the healing. The death of a loved one, particularly a child, is an emotional wound, but thinking of it on a physical level, grief is like stitching up the wound. The scar will always be there, and sometimes it will get irritated and sore again, but the wound itself has closed, healed. Right now, only a few stitches have been laid, so rather than being stitched up my wound has scabbed over. And underneath the scab, I've got a huge gaping bloody wound and its throbbing. Only sometimes I can't feel the throbbing because my body's pain defences have kicked in and made me numb. I can continue to live like this, with a scab instead of stitches, but whenever I move, I am at risk of the scab tearing off, and when it does, I will feel the searing pain again. Much better to stitch the wound up properly, right? The catch - there is no anesthesia for these stitches. I've got to feel each one being laid.

The goal of our grief counselling is to teach Tim and I how to feel, but also how turn off our feelings so we can function with our grief. I'll be listening closely next week.


  1. Oh I get you on the blahs. I still suffer from that, but not as intensely as those early months. I'm glad your counsellor isn't trying to throw drugs at you to fix you. Mine is the same, and I love her for it. Its not depression, it is just grief. And that grief sure is different when it is for our own child.

  2. I remember during summer vacations I saw my neighbor and in the course of our conversation I mentioned to her that I had not left the house for 3 days. She replied that if she would be home for 3 days her house would be sparkling. I wanted to retort that the only reason for that is her child is have to be a dead baby mom to know how the mess piles up around you and even though it bothers you, you just "Blah."

  3. Oh those horrible blahs. They do make you feel, well . . . blah I suppose?! Everything you cared about before is just blah. I hear you on the fall fashions, I love(d) them too.

    Of course you want to heal. Of course you want to have hope and joy in your life again. So do I. And I believe that we will. I honestly believe that you will find joy again and that Isla and Peanut will be a part of that.

    Just remember that you are under no obligation to rush. You have to do this thing in your own good time, when you are ready.

    I loved your comment on my post. I sometimes think that I can really understand only a little part of the other babylost mamas out there, because I lost one of twins. I spent a long time trying to convince myself that I wasn't going to grieve for the twin that I lost. But like you say, that was just letting the wound scab over when it needed stitches.

    It has taken me over a year to reach even a moment of feeling 'just fine'. I agree with you, I don't think there is a finish line and everything after that point is resolved. Another blogger described it as subsuming the experience, Isla and Peanut and the love and grief you feel for them will perhaps become an integral part of you, always there but the feeling might not be as overwhelming as they are now?

    Oh geesh Isla's Mommy. What do I know?! A great deal of nothing is what. All I can say is that I am thinking of you and Tim and I hope that your time with the counsellor helps. xo

  4. well... i screamed and cried my head off tonight after getting the news about the autopsy. i guess that was stitches without anesthesia.

  5. after reading the happy sad mama's entry tonight, as i am in my 2-3rd month of grief right now like you, i was reminded of this song and i know it will give you the chills like me.

    april come she will
    ~simon and garfunkel

    april, come she will
    when streams are ripe and swelled with rain
    may, she will stay
    resting in my arms again
    june, she'll change her tune
    in restless walks she'll prowl the night
    july, she will fly
    and give no warning to her flight
    august, die she must
    the autumn winds blow chilly and cold
    september, i remember
    a love once new has now grown old

  6. I can totally relate to the blahs, the tumbleweeds of dog hair (and cat hair too), dishes in the sink, laundry on the floor, grass knee high in the yard, hours wasted on the internet, the list goes on and at times - I just didn't care.

    It has gotten better though - it just takes time. I am glad that counseling is helping you both. My counselor was pretty useless to me so I gave up on her - at least you found a good one :)

  7. Believing in and
    Loving our
    Angels we
    Have let go
    So Soon

    Yes we have the blahs.

    My house is a wreck too. I debate everyday if I have the desire or "ganas" as they say in spanish to do anything. It gets hard sometimes to lift myself up let alone cleaning a house or going anywhere.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I feel the same way. All the things I used to care about and obsess over just don't matter anymore. What you wrote really makes sense. I know I suppress my feelings and I guess that might be why I fell so blah. I feel like I should chip in to pay for you counsellor! xx

  9. This so resonates with me and how I have been feeling, thank you so much for sharing it. Sometimes it helps to know that our emotions, even the blah ones, are valid when we hear other baby lost mommas going through the same things.

  10. Hi There,

    I just came across your blog and wanted to say how sorry I am about the loss of your sweet babies. Isla is gorgeous. The pictures you have are precious... I'm glad you have them.

    I especially noticed you because you live in/near Toronto. Me too. Just felt an instant connection.

    I have made a pair of Angel Wings for Isla. You can find them here:

    Love and strength to you.....

  11. (((Hugs))) I am so glad your therapist isn't throwing drugs at you but encouraging you to just grieve. I'm feeling so rushed by nearly everyone around me and it's just been only four months since our George died during his birth. I'm also a cleanfreak who now stares at the dirty floor and dusty furniture and no longer feel the impulse to tidy. I'm sorry for your losses and your having to go through the blahs.

  12. I am so glad that this blah-ness is normal. I so dont care about the housework and I havent cooked a healthy homecooked meal since, 2 months. Thank you for sharing this. This is why I find blogging so comforting because I can connect with other baby loss moms and know that my grief is normal.

  13. God, it's so hard. No matter how many books and blogs and self-help advice is out there, doesn't grieving a lost baby still just feel so damn confusing and un-mapped? Alienating sometimes? I seriously felt like I was just groping my way around through muddy waters for the longest time, and most advice I got from people just went in one ear and out the other. I totally get the wanting to feel joy again and reaching for it so hard that you forget to "feel the grief." Feel it baby! That's what my counselor told me and I was like, what the hell does that even MEAN? Like, sit here in this chair and when I count to three, you're going to focus on feeling like shit. One, two, three.

    Here's my take: we all get there in different ways, to a point where we've got that balance back in our lives, but we do get there eventually. As my mom said, "time is the only thing that ultimately heals" - and now, 2-years after Zach's death and a whole bunch more sanity later, I know she's right. :-)

    Hugs and hang in there. Enjoy those blahs and rent some good series from Netflix if ya can.

  14. God this post is exactly how I feel. Blah. It's such a good word and sums up my emotions about everything. I wonder how I will ever enjoy doing mundane things ever again. I can't find the happiness or pleasure from simple things and I just can't function with all other 'normal' people so am hiding myself away at the minute. Reading these blogs is a great source of comfort to me, I love the way you write with such honesty and depth of feeling. I love your idea of death as a wound and grief as the healing. I truly don't think I am ready for the stitches yet as it is still so soon for me and I am just starting on my journey. But at least I know what I have to do when I am ready- to feel 'each stutch being laid'. Much love to you and yours xxxx