Saturday, July 21, 2012

upcoming first birthday

i don't know exactly where to start with this post.

in april i told my dh that i was going to hawaii for nathaniel's birthday. he was welcome to come with me, but he didn't have to. i gave that same message to my living son. they both ended up coming with me.

so here we are for the week, on the island of kauai. when we arrived yesterday, i was tired and hungry and ready for the world to end. but then i ate and had a nap. it's probably good that we came.

for the past couple of weeks, people would say things like "are you *excited* for your trip to hawaii?" and i couldn't fake it. i couldn't say "yes (exclamation point smiley face)" so i would just say no. when they asked me in person and my face would contort into grief, i wouldn't have to say anything. i'm not here on vacation. i'm here because i needed to get away, and i know myself well enough to know that i needed to get away.

i was talking to a dear friend and fellow blm the day before we left, and i told her how i was feeling a little bit anxious about the fact that i wasn't *doing* anything for nathaniel. like, some people take toys to the local hospital on their child's birthday. other people i know have had the memorial service on their child's first angelversary. she told me that since i've already had nathaniel's service, and i've done other "external" things in his memory, maybe this week i can just focus on my relationship with nathaniel.

when she suggested that i started crying, and i told her that it's just so painful. but it resonated like good advice. 

when i've lost other people in my life, like my dad, it was hard, and it continues to be hard, but i always felt like he was there, just beyond the fabric of the material world, and whenever i needed him i could just "tune in" to his presence. and then i could talk to him and ask him questions. i used to say that i felt like i had more of my father after he had died than i had while he was alive. 

but with nathaniel it was different. it is different. i had a *very* distinct sense that he was *here* and then he was *gone*. gone gone. i could get a feel for him once in a while, but not very often, and i had to try really hard. and it was just so painful. there were several months this summer when i would meditate with the mantra: in breath - nathaniel is inside of me, out breath - i am inside of nathaniel. and for many weeks, this was one of the only thoughts that would soothe my nerves.

so much of my faith and my felt "knowing" of the world has been completely called into question over the past year, and that has undoubtedly impacted my relationship with nathaniel. also, i have so much guilt and shame that it's hard for me to look him in the eye.

so i guess that's my task - to bring myself more wholly and more honestly into my relationship with nathaniel, if i can. but how to start?    


there was a little girl on the beach today - about 14 or 15 months old - not much older than nathaniel. i watched her for a while. she wore a red pocka-dotted sunhat and had sand all over her legs, arms, and belly. i watched her toddle all around. my dh caught my eye shortly after that and smiled. i felt like i was caught trying to be brave, trying to look at a baby without getting upset. And this made me crumble into sobs.


  1. I love Hawaii. And especially Kauai. I remember after Camille died just wanting to run away as far as I could go. Trying to distance myself from the tragedy, the grief, the guilt. But grief attaches onto our hearts like barnacles and will not relinquish its grasp.

    I am glad you went on a vacation, soothe the soul? I know when I'm out of town the distractions and newness or exploration of a different spot than home is usually a welcome respite from my grief.

    Those little ones... It's hard not to stare. Even if not in a greedily jealous way, sometimes a curious could have been kind of way.

    I hope you find a way in the beautiful paradise to feel more connected to nathanial. I know I have never been able to "find" my daughter, no dreams, no missed sitings etc. I hope somehow you find a way to breathe him in and feel some peace. It feels silly almost to say that... Because there is little peace when we continue on without one of our children. Sending a hug from California.

  2. This posts resonates so much with me. I know what you mean about taping into lost ones energy or memory or whatever it is but feeling like your baby is just *gone*. I wish that i felt my boy more often but those feelings are few and far between.
    As the year mark comes towards us as well, I have been struggling with the feeling of, here are these children around me in my life and i will know them more then i'll ever know my own son. It's crushing my heart. It's not fair. It's beyond comprehension all of it, so i just feel confused, overwhelmed and anxiety ridden mostly now-a -days.
    I hope the Hawaii sun can help you find Nathaniel. If you are anything like me, you are probably searching for him everywhere in this life.
    sending hugs. xo

  3. Oh Suzanne - it's just so effing hard. I feel a sort of pressure to do something on A's birthday, to memorialize him outwardly. But what is the "perfect" thing to do. I wish I could quiet all of that and hear what my heart says is right for us.

    Attending to your relationship with Nathaniel is easier said than done. The intensity of emotions alone can make one turn the other way and run. Avoidance isn't always conscious, sometimes I think we do it to protect ourselves. You are brave to acknowledge it and even attempt to face it more wholly and honestly.

    My heart breaks all over again for you and your family as you endure Nathaniel's first birthday. Holding you close.

  4. Your right, I wish I could feel Jack but like said he was here and is gone, I dont see or feel him through nature, religion etc etc. The most I can do is remember him and carry him in my heart and I know that is where Nathaniel is too. You are a loving mother and Nathaniel is always in your heart wherever you go. I hope this trip helps you to feel him the way you want and that you enjoy the trip too.

  5. Getting away sounds like a great idea. Thinking of you and Nathaniel as his 1st birthday approaches. Sending you love across the miles.

  6. Oh, I really related when you wrote about how you were caught being brave and that it brought on the tears. I wish all of us here could watch a child playing with the same innocent joy that we used to. I'm sorry.

    I'm thinking about you and Nathaniel, and hoping for you. Love and big hugs. xoxoxo

  7. I connected to this so much. I hope this time away helps you in your task, to bring yourself more wholly and more honestly into your relationship with Nathaniel. This is what I want too.

    I'm thinking of you and sending so much love Suzanne.

    I'm remembering and missing Nathaniel today, and always. xx

  8. Happy Birthday sweet Nathaniel. You are missed so very much and loved even more.

  9. Happy Birthday, sweet and loved Nathaniel. Suzanne, I understand the "gone" feeling, too. It crushes me at times, and others, I find a sense of peace that he is elsewhere in the universe rather than being tethered to me. Wishing you peace and love

  10. Happy birthday to your sweet Nathaniel. And love to you, Suzanne, too.

  11. Oh I know that self-imposed pressure to 'do something significant' special... right... for the first anniversary... I struggled so much with it. I think your friend is wise though. I hope you found some peace in Hawaii.