The next chapter...
The next entries are about the growing need and stress of wanting another child, Ian's sibling, and the difficult process of dealing with infertility, ectopic loss, and missing Ian.
Entry: November 24, 1998
I haven't had a chance to scan Ian's photos or the other photos ... perhaps I'll do that this weekend. Someone asked me today, "all ready for Thanksgiving?" Someone else said, "done your Christmas shopping yet?" Honestly ... I don't really care. Sounds bad, but I'm in that funk now where my mind says, "Ian's not here, so who really cares?"
I remember the counselor I visited earlier this year said, "usually the first TWO or THREE years are the hardest for bereaved parents." I'm beginning to understand why she said that (she's also a bereaved Mom; stillbirth & teenage death).
Sarcastically, someone said to me at work today, "you're smiling too much lately." I must of had that "look" on my face; it's really hard this time of year.
Entry: November 26, 1998
Hope you all have/had a good Thanksgiving Day. It's a tough day for me ...just another trigger ... I'm missing Ian terribly today. Perry & I intend to visit him at the cemetery sometime today ... I bought a little stuffed bear and wrote a note, "We miss you SO much."
I daydream about what he would look like today
and what fun things we would be doing together as he
reached closer to age 1.
...I'm also having flashbacks from last year...
The 2nd year anniversary of my son, Ian's, stillbirth is fast approaching. Although the black cloud I've been living under all that time has lifted, there are still signs of it's existence every so often. I call those signs "triggers," a similar term I've heard used amongst many bereaved parents.
Triggers surprise you, make you cry, frighten you, cause your skin to "crawl," as well as many other feelings. The triggers certainly don't control me, but they absolutely catch me off guard.
It has been quite the challenge reacting to them but for the most part I've been able to handle them, as well as learn from them. From what I understand triggers are normal and to some extent will occur for the rest of my life, but hopefully the intensity will continue to decrease over time. I still cry when I feel the need, it helps release the pain and tension.
For example, just the other day I was standing in line at a convenience store and an elderly woman turns to me and says, "don't get old, dear, it's pure hell." The line was moving slowly, so she went on to explain that she's now 83 years old and has had numerous health issues. I briefly said, "I'm sorry to hear all that, it must be very hard for you" paid for my milk, and left the store. While I'm driving home I'm thinking to myself, "you think you have problems granny, my son died and he should be 2 years old on September 11th!" That's an example of a thought I may have had shortly after Ian died; why is it coming back to haunt me?
Alot of reasons I guess; the anniversary is soon approaching, we have yet to be successful with a subsequent pregnancy and have been going through alot of tests & procedures to be successful (including a pending surgery next month), as well as many other ordinary stresses.
I certainly have not become bitter over time, frankly I just still miss my son tremendously and often wonder what he'd be like today.
Somehow I've managed to hold onto a glimmer of hope for the future and when I feel as if I'm losing hope, I just try to hold on tighter. It's difficult, but I owe that to Ian.
I plan to print a memorial tribute in the obit section of our local newspaper on Ian's anniversary, as I did last year. Also, I've been actively writing freelance on the side, so hopefully our local community paper will allow me to write an article for the October "Awareness Month" as well as publish photos of our local "Walk to Remember." Lastly, a good friend & I plan to have lunch together the day before Ian's anniversary, "Happy Meals" from McDonald's, drive to Ian's gravesite and picnic with Ian. Of course, Ian receives the toys!
I'm taking the day before Ian's anniversary as vacation from work; several people, including my parents, have asked me, "so what's the big occasion? You'll have a 3-day weekend the weekend before, Labor Day, why do you need another 3-day weekend?" It hurts that they don't remember Ian's anniversary right away, but I'm not bitter about it ... depending on the situation, I tell them that my son's anniversary is very significant to me and I just need "a day to myself." I realize they can't fully understand my feelings. Mostly, I want them to know that Ian matters.
Indeed our children matter, they count, we'll love & miss them forever. As Marcia so appropriately says, "your loss experience eventually becomes a bittersweet memory." Honestly, I'm not sure I'm totally to that point yet, there is still some "grief work" to be done, but I'm starting to understand better what that really means.