Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Approaching eight months. Nathaniel would have been eight months on the 25th. 

About three weeks ago I started having heart palpitations. It happened, for the first time, when I was laying in bed. My heart made one large thunk, then a series of little tink, tink, tinks, and then paused for a long time. It kept going erratically like this for a little while longer, and finally settled down into a normal rhythm. 

It was scary. This has never happened to me before. But I know Kate said something about having heart palpitations. 

I started having these episodes several times a day. My heart would just start beating erratically, and my arms and hands would numb. My mind would start to race, trying to figure out what to do, if I should go to the emergency room. 

David's birthday party came and went. It was *beyond* stressful leading up to it. But once it was over it was a success and the guests, and David, had a good time. 

The following morning we went to a Bar Mitzvah. I'd never been to one, and I cried several times during the ceremony. The worst part was seeing my friend's baby, born only a few months before Nathaniel. We would walk together when we were pregnant. I held and cuddled her baby while I was still pregnant, before we knew about Nathaniel's condition. I thought our babies would be friends. 

And when I saw this nearly one-year-old, I entered into that white tunnel of searing pain. 

At the luncheon, the baby was sleeping in her car seat. My friend came up to me and held my hand across the table. I buried my face with my other hand and sobbed. I hate public displays of emotion. Hate. Hate. Hate. Humiliated. 

She asked if I wanted her to take her baby and sit at another table. I said no, that's ridiculous. I am ready for things to be okay. I need things to be okay. 

They're not okay. 

At our table, we had two other babyloss families (with many years between now and their losses), and then the friend with her nearly one-year old and her older boy. I don't think it helped to know that the other babyloss mamas knew exactly what I was going through. I think it made it harder for me to perform being okay. I felt transparent.  

And then I felt like that crazy woman whose baby died and who cries all of the time.  

I should have stayed at home. 

That night, I had a three hour long episode of irregular heart beats. I honestly thought that I might die, and David and I talked about going to the ER, but then what? They hook me up to all of the monitoring devices, try to figure out what is wrong, and then find something that is wrong? Or find nothing that is wrong? Which would be worse? I know the irregular heart beats are about Nathaniel. And then I'd be a crazy woman hooked up to machines in an emergency room with my heart beating erratically and there is really nothing that they can do.  

And I figured if I was destined to die I was probably going to die. 

After that night, Saturday the 10th, I surrendered. I gave in.

I've been trying trying trying to do my part to make sure everything is okay. And it's not. 

My current working metaphor is that the grief has been like something holding me under water, and I have been fighting and fighting and fighting to come up for air. And there have been days where I have felt like I could breathe - Nathaniel flavored air, but air. But after the stress and the party and the Bar Mitzvah and the heart palpitations, I just gave up. 

And it's okay. 

So, for the last 10 days, I haven't left the house much. I thought I was grieving well and taking good care of myself by getting regular massage and acupuncture and exercise and going to therapy and the groups and processing and talking and writing. 

But now I'm not going anywhere. 

I'm crawling the line between grief and depression on my belly and elbows. 

I'm trying to stay out of bed during the day. I will sit or lay on the couch. I drink tea. I draw. I eat when I'm hungry. 

Allowing myself to do less. Nothing, if possible. 

Being held under water and not fighting it. Making the effort to not fight it.

The heart palpitations have stopped for now. The leader of my support group said that the palpitations are anxiety. 

And that's where I am. Not knowing whether the loss is going to kill me, or if I'm going to grow some gills. 



Monday, March 5, 2012

where is he now?

nathaniel died on a monday.

he was cremated wednesday morning. i know because i felt it. david was out of the house. i was alone. i writhed and howled and cried on the bed because he was being cremated and i could feel it.

the funeral director called david wednesday afternoon to tell him he could come and pick up the ashes.

he was gone. my sweet boy was gone. his little voice, his little presence, his little body i held in my arms and saw for only a few hours.

on friday he came back to me - burning in my mind's eye - about 4 or 5 years old. energetic. playful. with dark curly hair and 4 or 5 year-old teeth. we ran together and laughed and played tickle. i sobbed while i drove the car over a bridge. he was right there.

he was skinny like his dad - i put my hands on either side of david's stomach now, his shape, nathaniel's shape, right here.

the distance between shoulder and nipple like my (living) son. he's right here.  

i don't always have him with me in my mind's eye. i can't always feel his presence. i don't entirely understand the heaviness of the grief in relationship to *him*. who is he, where is he, how is he now?

do you imagine your baby? how old is he or she in your mind? what is your relationship like?