Monthly Archives: August 2013

#57: Relevance

Sometimes, it just feels over-done. I sense my grief building up, so I permit myself to roll around in the sadness just to get with over with it. It takes different forms, but mostly it is listening to sad, familiar music and reading old blog posts about Alex.

During this process, there are typically tears, a sense of warm release, and a deep gratitude for my faith and my fabulous family. That is a formula that has helped to get me through the past two years, that didn’t work today. I read through the blog posts and listened to the music. It didn’t get me there. While I could recall the familiar pain and sadness, it didn’t quite seem like it was me. It wasn’t my experience anymore.

All those ramblings of grief just didn’t seem relevant anymore. The grief I feel today isn’t the same grief I felt before. I had deep grief, obsessive grief, guilt grief, confusing grief… That’s not the grief I have today. Not the grief I struggle with now. I have nostalgia grief. Nostalgia for the happy times with Alex, or the predictable nature of the sadness after he died.

There is confusion in life that I didn’t have back then. It seemed like if I could make it through the day without collapsing, life would go on. Now there is a legacy of Alex that seems to have faded into the distance and I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

We have turned a new corner in our family and when grief strikes, it is just different. Our family goes on and Alex isn’t a relevant detail we deal with on a regular basis. Ben and I don’t talk about him. People don’t ask about him. Benjamin doesn’t ask about him. Molly will never know him. At some time, she will be old enough to wonder who baby Alex is, and why we remember him at prayer time. For now, Alex has become a detail that has faded into the background.

I’m not sure if I am proud that we are “better” and “moving on” with our lives. I’m not sure if I feel guilty that we don’t preserve his memory in our lives in more concrete terms. I just know that the grief from before isn’t relevant in the same way. What’s hard is the same things that used to make me feel better don’t work.

In the meantime, we enjoy the life we have. We hug our kids, we juggle busy schedules and we negotiate bedtimes. We take family pictures and do family outings. As we continue, the loss of Alex changes shape. As we grow in our lives together, we adapt to our loss.

Alex’s role in our family has changed. We keep the memories. Maybe the grief is what’s irrelevant.

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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Uncategorized


#56: Hope

Things are going well for our family. Benjamin is now “4 and three-quarters” as he proudly tells anyone who will ask. Molly is just over 14 months and shrieking loudly 24/7. Things are good. The kids get along and we are reminded everyday of what a blessing children are.

Things are fine, which is why I get so confused by the clouds of sadness that randomly appear in an otherwise sunny life. I’ll be going to the grocery store, or driving into work, and I sense the darkness spreading overhead. Out of nowhere, the grayness creeps in and I can feel my heart get a little heavier. I try to shrug off the weepiness that is looming, and I try to understand where it came from.

Enough time has passed that I can look at these times with a more discerning, clinical eye. I can rationalize the event and try to identify triggers that set off the sad thoughts. Maybe it’s hearing the name Alex when I don’t expect it. Maybe it’s the time of year, or sometimes it’s just the memories of being pregnant with him… those were such special times.

Sometimes, I don’t have any answers or explanations. I am left with this heaviness in my heart, a feeling of emptiness in my arms… I know I have rationally accepted the loss, but I still wonder when the reality of missing him will go away.

Unexplained sadness. So much joy in my life, yet these pockets of unexplained sadness. Times when I revel in my two children on earth, but sigh deeply at the thought of my Alex that’s missing.

I guess it’s okay. To still be sad, to not know when I’m going to be sad, to not have an explanation for how long I’ll be sad… I just I thought I would have more of this stuff pulled together by now. I would have all these conflicting emotions compartmentalized and color coded, laminated and filed away.

I long for a time when I have fresh memories of Alex that aren’t clouded with sadness. A time when I can share stories of how special he was without the inevitable gloom that accompanies any of those happy tales. I want to carry him with me in a way that I do my other kids. I want him to be present in family pictures, sitting in the backseat of the car, singing songs on family trips.

I want something impossible. I understand that. I guess that until my hopes become reality, my heart and my mind will be at odds. I am hoping for something that can never be, and it makes my heart sad every time I realize that. I need a new perspective, a new vision for our family and a new hope for our lives.

I keep working on it. Appreciating what I have. Not fixating on what I don’t. I keep trying, and some days are better than others. There is more joy than sadness, but amidst both of those things, there are tears. But there is Hope.

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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Uncategorized