Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Breathing Again

Well, it's another day, which is a new day...which means it's no longer yesterday, thank God! Yesterday was terrible. I hate bad days. The term "bad day" takes on a WHOLE new meaning when you are grieving.

I quit my job yesterday, and surprisingly, the vet was very supportive. Told me he admired me and that he had never met anyone who had been through as much as I have and I was one of the most innocent and heartfelt, caring people he had ever met in his life. He also advised me to steer clear of jobs where I might have to watch people or animals suffer as my big heart would make that too stressful for me to be around constantly.

I whole-heartedly agree...part of the thing that was stressing me out so much was the notion that I had to learn to cut off some of that emotion in order to be good at the job. Not the mopping the floors part of the job, haha, but the part of the job where I assisted in surgery and he was giving abortions to cats. I held the instruments in place, tied the patient down, handed instruments, cleaned up, did what I was told...but I cried the whole time. Watching that little uterus come out with 4 or 5 little kitten lumps in it just choked me up every time....he told me I shouldn't be sad, that it was more sad for the kittens that weren't aborted and had no one to love them and died miserable deaths...I still couldn't make it "ok" in my mind or my heart. I'm such a softie.

Anyway, quitting lifted an enormous weight off my shoulders and I felt much lighter and freer all day yesterday.

But now I am still left with the questions, can I even handle a job at all? Am I so destroyed by the grief in my life that I can no longer function as a normal adult with a normal job? Is feeling like this normal? I know I've had a lot of loss in a short period of time, but is that an excuse for me to still be an emotional wreck?
What should I be doing with my life? Should I be trying to move on and look for something else, or is this an indication that I'm not ready and I should still be healing and taking time off?

I'm not sure. I wish I had some answers.

I called the University and got some information on going back to grad school, getting my Masters Degree in Spanish and teaching this husband cautioned me to think about it and make SURE that this was a good idea for me and not something that would throw me back into a ball of stress and grief.

This is one of those moments where I wish I had living parents. I'd love to talk to my mom or dad about this. Lord, I hope I'm around when my son is 30...I'd hate for him to have to go through what I'm going through. Plus, maybe I'll actually have some answers by then, hahaha!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

At What Point.....

....does this start to get better? And why, now after 5 months, is my life STILL in shambles??
I cry every day. I work a dead-end job as a janitor part-time for $7/hr because there is just nothing else. I quit my career job because Jimmy died....$20/hr with benefits and paid vacation and not only do I not have any babies, but I have no sense of self-worth as defined by my employment. (I certainly cannot define my self-worth by my ability to have babies which is for most women the most fulfilling sense of purpose.)
As hard as I've tried, my husband and I are not getting out of this tiny house. Stuck here.
I can't go back to school because we can't afford it.
We can't have babies because my body won't allow it.
We can't adopt because we can't afford it, we can't foster because our home is not big enough.

Were it not for my only living child, my fear of pain, and my fear of eternal repurcussions, I would kill myself right now, today, this very minute.

I am SICK of being sad and miserable all the time, I am sick of crying every single day, and I am sick of grieving! (Did I mention that my son's dog that we have had for 5 years had a massive heart attack suddenly and I tried to give her CPR and she could not be rescusitated?)

They keep saying "be patient and wait on the Lord."

Lord, I've been faithful as much as humanly possible throughout all of the tragedies in my life, one after the other, since I was a baby. A BABY. And it's not getting better, it's getting worse.

What am I supposed to do? I need something to live for...a reason to live. A defining purpose....something more than just the 3 hours I get with my husband and kid staring at the TV or the computer every night.

Lord, help me, I'm losing it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Will The Real Katie Please Stand Up?

I'd love to be able to say that a little over a year after Jimmy's death and 5 months after Becca's death that I'm ok and back to normal, but I'm not and it isn't.
I'd love to be able to say that Katie just bounced right back and she's such a trooper and isn't she awesome?? But that's not the truth either.
The truth is that I've changed. Permanently. Losing a child will do that to you. Losing two children, even more so.
I've quit talking about it for the most part because: a) People are just plain sick and tired of hearing about it. (Don't one likes to hear the same whiny crap over and over.) and b) I want people to be happy, and to be happy with me and if I show how truly not ok I am, I'm afraid no one will like me anymore.
I have trouble coping with everyday stresses and disappointments that seem to come so easily for what I perceive to be the "normal folk." Something as common and simple as PMS can throw me into such a dark hole that it takes me a week to climb back out. Something as silly as a misunderstanding or some other mild annoyance becomes a huge mountain that snaps my patience and my temper.
I have days were everything seems to be close to what "normal" used to be, and I have days where I can tell I have a long ways to go.
The hard part is pretending that everything is ok when it's not. I want everything to be "ok" so badly that I'm willing to just pretend it is. Sort of a "fake it til you make it" thing, right? Well it's not working! The fact is, life goes on with or without you. The world does not stop just because you do. But trying to put on a facade that I'm all better or that everything is looking up and my grief, aside from a few tears here and there, is gone? Well, that's just an outright lie. I'm miserable. Absolutely. Miserable. Yes, I have good days, and thank God for those good days, but in general there is this underlying sense of sorrow, anger, and fear.
Before my babies died, there were a lot of things that I wasn't doing right. There were also a lot of things I was trying to work on to become a better person, and a lot of emotional baggage. Having my babies die on top of everything else has made this out to be an almost unbearable load some days.
Today is one of those days.
It is hard for me to admit that I am not alright. It is hard for me to admit when there is something in my life causing me stress or unhappiness, and even harder to make a decision and act on it to remove or alter that something. I have been a person who always resorts to trying to change myself when something is wrong, or blame myself, or try to fix myself. I can't tell you how many times I've tried to work through counseling or take prozac or cry myself to sleep and pray for an answer about what I need to change...when it was something as simple as needing to remove a certain unhealthy friendship from my life, or quit a dead-end job. I've always defaulted to "there is something wrong with ME" and "if I would only change this behavior or do this better then everything would be ok." Well, that's not always the case. Maybe I need to start taking a good hard look at my life, take some action, and stop beating myself up.
I've been through a LOT of grief for one person in one lifetime. That is not an excuse for bad behavior, nor is it a reason to give up and feel sorry for myself. But it is a reason to give myself permission to not be ok sometimes, and to try harder to eliminate unnecessary stresses and be more assertive about my feelings and my needs.
Trying to keep everyone happy at the expense of repressing how I'm really feeling is killing me inside. Finding a balance is going to be tough, as will be trying to make the right decisions about the future, but I'm going to try.
I'm sad, I'm lonely, I'm depressed (this is where the prozac maybe should come in), and I need direction and purpose. Just making it week to week from one superficial happiness to another is not working. I need something deeper, more meaningful, and more substantial.
God, that's your cue.....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My First Dream About My Babies

I've had lots of friends tell me they have had dreams about my babies, but I haven't had one yet....several friends dreamed about Jimmy after he died but I never had a dream about him, or Becca.
That always bothered me because I see dreams as a way for people to visit you after they are dead. I know that seems silly, but I believe it. I've studied a lot about dreams from experts and how they're your sub-conscious' way of processing emotions and I've gotten pretty in-depth with dream analysis. And yet I still believe that dreams are a way for someone who has passed on to stop in and say hello.
After my dad died, I had many dreams about him, most were mundane dreams where he was just part of the scenery...typical dad stuff. But I remember one where it changed my life. Taylor was about 6 months old and I had decided to go back to college. I had gotten student loans and Pell grants to go to MSU and it was my first month in married-student housing. (I wasn't married but as a single parent I qualified.) I had also applied for and gotten foodstamps to help me as a single mom since school and my son took up most of my time instead of a job.
The guy I had been dating for 8 months got fired from his job and decided to move in with me. I wasn't too thrilled but at 22 I hadn't quite learned to stand up for myself yet or even realize I had a right to.
One night I had a dream where I was at home in Oregon and I got to hang out with my Daddy all week. I came from a family with 8 kids and Dad was a surgeon at two different hospitals with 2 offices so getting time alone with him was hard to come by. So anyway, in my dream, it was just me and dad all week and I was thrilled! At the end of the week the whole family sat down to dinner and my sister sat at the head of the table and I said "No, thats where Dad is sitting" and they all just stared at me and reminded me "Kate, dad is dead. He's been dead." And in my dream it just hit me like a ton of bricks that I had been seeing what I wanted to see all week...I wanted Dad so bad that I had imagined him up all week and because of my feelings I couldn't see the reality...that it wasn't real. In my dream I turned to my mom and cried and said "Mom, I think I need help." And then I woke up. And I realized that in my waking life I had also been "seeing what I wanted to see" and that I was just with this bum because I was lonely and scared being a single mom with no family nearby and that I had been seeing him as a caretaking figure when in reality I was taking care of him AND single parenting at the same time and he was a no good lazy mooch! And that day, I kicked that guy out of my house and out of my life and told him shame on him for taking advantage of a single mom on foodstamps trying to make it through college and he needed to get off his butt and go find another job and another place to live. He whined and cried but I told him to call his parents, and he did, and they bought him an apartment and furniture and everything he needed. But my point being, that dream really meant something to me...and I think my dad had everything to do with it.
When my mom got sick with cancer, my dreams about my dad stopped completely and I heard from mom and my sisters that mom had started having dreams about dad. This made sense because at the time, Mom obviously needed dad more than I did! Mom kept having dreams that Dad was on a train and she was trying to hop on it but kept falling off. We joked around and told mom to "stay off the train, mom, stay off the train!" because we didn't want her to leave us, we wanted her to beat her cancer and stick around for a few years. Mom died about a year after diagnosis...I wonder if her last dream was getting on that train with dad?
After Mom died, I had a couple of dreams about her, but she wasn't as subtle as Dad. Dad always just showed up in the background of my dreams and waited for me to notice him. Mom just came up in my dreams and tapped me on the shoulder and scared the crap out of me. I was all "AAAAAAA you're dead and you're tapping me on the shoulder!", hahaha! Needless to say, mom only came to visit me in my dreams a couple of times before she stopped.
The night before grandma died, I had a dream about her. She came to see me and said "I'm lonely, I'm scared, and I want a cigarette." Grandma had quit smoking 20 years ago, but I know how it is....I bet she did want a cigarette. I wish I could have gone to see her, but she was already in a coma and Jimmy had just been born dead 3 weeks ago and I couldn't handle any of that stuff either psychologically or physically. (Sorry grandma!) I did manage to make it to her funeral though.
So, yesterday I had a dream that most people would call a nightmare, but after thinking about it...I'm just really dang grateful I even had a dream about one of my babies at all. Very grateful. Nightmare or not, I dreamed about my baby Becca and that was a gift.
In my dream, Rusty and I were were having a quiet weekend when a woman came up to me and pointed out that I could try to breast-feed Becca. Apparently, in my dream, I had been bottle-feeding for some reason or another. That conversation reminded me that I hadn't seen the baby all weekend...since Thursday in fact, and it was Sunday. I went into panic-mode thinking oh my God I've lost my baby, I haven't fed her since Thursday, she could be dead of starvation. I frantically searched the house and couldn't find her. She was tiny when she was born so I looked in her crib, it was empty, and searched through all the blankets thinking she got hidden in there somewhere. I kept wondering how on earth could I forget my own baby? What kind of awful mother was I?? I got on the phone and called Rusty, sobbing hysterically, and he was so concerned he was all "What? What?! What's wrong??" and I cried "I've lost the baby! I don't know where she is!" and just then my friend Jennifer came home and I remembered that I had let her take the baby for the weekend so Rusty and I could have some alone time. I was so relieved! I went to the back of her vehicle where she was unloading groceries and I looked over the back seat and saw an infant carrier with a baby in it. All I could see was Becca's little tiny arm waving up in the air. I asked Jennifer if I could have my baby back...and I asked it in a way like someone who felt that the baby did not belong to them anymore, but to the other person...very timidly. And she said "Of course!" And I was about to go around and retrieve my baby when I woke up in a panic...for a split second I carried that "OMG where's the baby!" feeling into my waking life and in another split second I remembered that there is no baby to lose because they are all already dead and gone and that was quite a blow.
I woke Rusty up and told him my dream and cried for just a minute, but really, I wasn't as upset as I thought I should be. More of just this calm, empty feeling.
After thinking about it, I remembered the last ultrasound I had gotten when I was in the hospital with Becca. They took me down to the lab for a full scan to see just how big she was and how much she weighed to see what our options were. On the screen, Becca held up one of her little arms and waved at was like she was saying "hi" (or maybe goodbye?) and I snapped a picture with my iPhone and sent it to Rusty since he was still in Columbus and wouldn't be back for a few days. That was the last time I saw her move since she was alive but very still when she was born.
I wonder if maybe that little tiny arm waving in the car seat in my dream was Becca stopping by to say hello or goodbye.