Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sadness is but a wall between two gardens

It has been a long couple of months. I have been spending time grieving. Grieving for missing out on Truman Joseph Anderson's beautiful mortal life. He was born deceased on November 13, 2011, at 5:45 am. I delivered him in the labor and delivery room of Sunnyside Hospital in Clackamas, Oregon. He was nine inches long. Perfectly formed. With Tyler's eyebrows and a lanky frame. Too perfect for this world.

Most of my grieving and journaling have been done in private. It's a private pain, you see. But I love him still. He has shown me a new way of seeing the world. Someday I'll be able to write it, what Truman knows, what Truman shows me. But not now.

I remember after miscarrying with our first baby, Sterling (Feb 2009), I went back to work after a week. My boss was a wise, wise, lady. She basically said that as an American culture, we do not know how to mourn. How to grieve.

I suppose that is true in a lot of ways. Going to school for a family therapy degree sure has helped me with my own observation of grief. Two years after that first miscarriage, I was sitting in a "pretend" grief and loss support group in one of my classes. I took the role of being a woman who knew she would never be able to bear biological children. Small, stuffy, room. What does it mean to me, I'm asked, to not bear my own children. I had one of those cathartic moments of life: a feelings of despair, grief, hurt, unfathomable pain--all those things that I had felt when Sterling miscarried--they were still there. 2 years later. Inside me. Hidden from even my heart. And in just the right moment, they all came tumbling out in sobs that I did not dare stifle. My poor classmates, just hoping to get through our group therapy class assignment.

I sat in a doctor's office several days ago, learning about possible causes/treatments of future pregnancy losses. Some parts of me were in the room, listening to the good doctor. And other parts of me were far, far, away.

"Number of pregnancies?" the medical assistant asked as we arrived for our consultation. "Two," I respond. "Number of live births?" . . . "Zero," I respond.

I respond. I go on. I go to work. I live. And I grieve. Grief changes you, makes you see things in a different hue. And others who grieve can tap into it. You walk on the same plane, even for a moment, and somehow you're connected to the deepness of loss. You don't say things like "it'll be okay" or "you'll have another." Most of the time, you don't say anything. You just get it. You know grief. It's unspoken. It's in the eyes. It's private. And shared, too.

The gardens go on and on. The walls must be climbed over, drilled through, bombed. Sadness exists. It must be respected, observed, maneuvered. Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.