Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sometimes Grief Rides Shotgun

I haven't blogged in almost a year. I haven't known what to say. It wasn't that I didn't feel the need to or didn't have anything to say; I just couldn't put the chaos in my head into words. Truth is, I had a hard time with Tyler & Ethan's third birthday this year. You wouldn't know it by looking at me; as usual, I try hard to keep it together. I didn't feel like I should be having a hard time with it at this point. The wounds aren't fresh anymore. I've found gratifying ways to honor their memory and put my energy into being thankful for the short time we had with them. You'd think it would be easier...but it wasn't. The weeks leading up to their birthday left me constantly beating myself up about the decisions that were made surrounding their care, the stress I had subjected myself to at work while I was pregnant with them, and all the "what if's" that go along with it. What if I had turned down that big project that had me working crazy hours and yelling at everyone? What if I had listened to my Grandma and stayed off my feet at home? What if, what if, what if... The quiet moments in the car on the way to and from work were when grief rode shotgun and guilt was a backseat driver.

A week or two before Tyler & Ethan's birthday, I was asked to work on a large project again. It was all too reminiscent of the situation I had been in while I was pregnant with them; the big "2011 project" I had agreed to work on that I (and I assume others) may blame for what happened to the boys. I freaked out. I am a rock most days - you have to try pretty hard to get me to cry, especially in public. But when I had to talk to my peers and superiors about not taking this project, I was a sobbing mess. Through tears, I explained that I could not take on this kind of responsibility plus my regular responsibilities because of what I had been through on the "2011 project" and all the stress that it had put on me and my family. I am so lucky to work where I do now - I work for a totally different team than I did in 2011 - my managers now are the best and would never torture me with a situation as bad as that "2011 project" but my heart couldn't take the risk. Luckily they were very understanding of my position on this matter. My family is the reason I needed to say no - T&E taught me that time with my family should be my #1 priority. Guilt is the reason I was a sobbing, hysterical mess; I felt like I was reliving 2011 and saying all the things I should have said back then...and the horrible guilt that maybe if I had turned down that project I could have saved my babies' lives.  I know I can't go there...but I just needed to say that sometimes, I still do. That's how grief is.

I guess what I'm saying is that everyone has their triggers. Bad feelings pop up. Old guilt pops up. You see a baby that reminds you of your own, and a sudden sting of tears sneaks up out of nowhere. It doesn't make sense. But I've learned that's how grief is. It's something I'll never be cured of. I'll still have bad days, sad times and things I'll need to work through. It sucks, but it's normal.

Today, October 15, was the worldwide Wave of Light. At 7pm, we lit our candles for Tyler and Ethan and shared a picture on Facebook. I was overwhelmed by the number of people who lit candles for their babies and ours and tagged us. My Facebook was blowing up! So out of the darkness has come all this light - all this friendship, support and love. And that is what I try to look to when grief starts riding shotgun.

Thanks for reading,