I am exhausted. Most of the time, I tell people 'I'm a mess.' and give them a wry smile and they seem taken aback - by the honesty? by what they think is sarcasm? by the matter of fact way in which I say that I'm fucked up?
It came up a lot today, because I went back to work today. I don't know what to write about it, about the struggles I went through coming to the decision, let alone actually going.
I have trouble verbalizing everything I want to say, even (especially?) here, in what should be my safe space to say whatever I want. One moment, I am eager to return and let out all the anger I feel. Or I want a safe place to continue to grieve, because safe places are harder and harder to come by. Or I want to explore something but feel held back because I know people might read and might not understand. Knowing that people are reading, weighing, judging never makes it easy and I find I care more than I would expect. I lost a reader this weekend, or so my dashboard informed me. I'm honestly not sure who or why, and I felt both vaguely guilty and a little angry (too much anger and sadness and lost? why the fuck do I care? that's my life right now). Knowing that friends have read here to glean some insight into me because my communication has been . . . lax (strained, one-sided, incomplete, take your pick) also makes me guard my words and leave off somethings I might say otherwise, makes me want to say I'm doing better just so people can feel better, even when it's not true. What a mindfuck. And yet, what I put out here is truth - full truth? Who knows? It changes by the minute sometimes, and I stand by all the 'ugly crying' that goes on here, and i stand by the moments of peace too. This is one of my 'necessary spaces' and I'm exploring what that means to my healing, to my darkness, to my lightness.
It's been hard the past week (the past three weeks). Time has flown and crawled and I just wanted it to stop. Friends have expressed concern that I am headed to a dark place and that I seem to be content with curling up and staying at rock bottom. I have argued that it is my prerogative as a grieving parent to do whatever the fuck I want and the fact that I have been making relatively good choices (ie, get out of bed, eat, don't oversleep, don't take up alcohol, try and express what I'm feeling, don't bottle up or push away the emotions) should count for something. We are both right. I have been staying there, at the moment of Gabriel's death and I have not done much beyond existing. I was not ready - I am not ready - and that is ok too. Grief takes time and it also takes energy that I do not always have and it takes a will to continue living that I have yet to find for continuous stretches. I haven't sought for that. I have not wished it.
I have not been ready to admit that I have to live the rest of my life without my son, let alone attempt it. I am not ready to let him go and be . . . what? A memory? A piece of me? What? I don't know.
I am still angry. I still blame myself. The fact that I know now that the care I received was negligent has not removed the blame, in some ways it intensifies it. I have trouble shaking loose of those questions and wondering how it would have been had I made different choices. Possibly no different. But . . . at least I'd know that all avenues had been exhausted. I am still ridiculously sad and I still feel like there is a huge hole in my heart.
I was having panic attacks last week, contemplating returning to work. Last night was more of the same; as was this morning. When it came down to it, I begged my husband not to make me go. He said he wouldn't, but he wanted me to try anyway. So I tried. I drove to work. I sat in the car and cried. He held my hand and walked with me all the way, even back to my office. I cried most of the way - feeling with every step that I was walking back towards normal and away from Gabriel, also remembering that the last time I was there, I was pregnant and still believed everything would be fine and I would have a baby boy in January (well, December, maybe). I was terrified by the mess I'd left behind me and how I could overcome that. Not to mention all the people who would want to express their sorrow to me and how little I wanted to hear it, because my compassion and social grace are fucked through right now and non-existent.
And all of that . . . I made it through. It sucked. There were thoughtless comments and people who avoided my eye. There was repetition and there was mourning. And I will go back again tomorrow.
Step by step, rebuilding life. Whether I want to or not. I don't, most of the time, and I won't apologize for it. I'm doing it anyway, and eventually, from what I remember and what I'm told . . . it will take over and sweep me on my way. Until then, I bide my time and mourn my son. Some days I find some peace, for a time. Some days I laugh and even enjoy things. Most of these moments are private, with my husband. But they happen. I think they are small points of light in the darkness and maybe someday there will be hope again.
How am I?
I am a mess, fucked up, not ok . . .
. . . but also trying, and still alive.
Some days it hurts to breathe, some moments I have to cry. Some days I lay down and I don't want to get up again. Some moments I feel him near me and I have some peace. Time is marching on, and I am reluctantly dragging my feet behind it. And that is good enough for me for now.