Friday, November 18, 2011

Going through Stages

I don't know if I buy this "stages of grief" concept. Maybe I'm just abnormal or unique in my grieving process but I've skipped some stages and sometimes I go backwards. I'm looking at the stages right now, I've written them down, trying to find where I fit in. I suppose I went through Shock but then there is denial. Denial? I have never denied that Brody was gone. It has been a painful reality to say the least. 

Next comes pain and guilt. I've been there . Pain is right where I am on some days, pain is everywhere. Physically, pain is this everyday reminder that my son is gone by this strange tingling/burning feeling I've had in my ribs and back since I left the hospital. It doesn't last all day, but it occurs everyday, it sneaks up on me. Emotionally, pain comes in the form of realizing right now, instead of writing this, I should be putting my son down for a nap, right after an amazing feeding session, holding my son close to me and having him look into my eyes with fulfillment  as if he was saying "thank you mommy". The guilt has been strange. The other night, Adam and I went to Sears to pick out a range hood for our kitchen. On our way out, I spotted a big comfy chair and decided to plop down and test it out. Adam just thought it was hilarious that my feet didn't touch the floor and felt the urge to take a picture.

 We were laughing and having a good time and it felt "normal". Then there it was...guilt. I felt so guilty for laughing, for getting back to something that felt close to normal for us. I couldn't get the picture out of my head of Brody sitting in the chair with me, us pushing him the stroller through the mall. "Snap out of it, Tia", I have to tell myself, "He is gone forever".
Part of me accepts the fact that I did everything right and that I am not to blame but at the same time, I have to keep reminding myself that it was not the occasional can of Pepsi or the 4 hour trip to State College to pick up my new car that killed my baby.

Anger: I think the only thing that makes me angry is that there is nothing to be angry about. Yes, I'm angry that Brody is not here with me. I'm angry my life has flipped upside down and consists of trying to keep myself busy instead of changing diapers. The worst part is there is no one to be angry with, no one to blame. Would it be easier if there was? I don't know. 

Bargaining is the next stage. Well, I  wish I could bargain. My husband said to me last night. "We have so much to be happy for, we have good lives". In my head, the same one that was nodding in agreement, I was thinking "We used to". I said to him " I would give it all up, everything, if Brody could come back to us". I suppose that was me bargaining. I know what Adam meant. He meant we are so blessed to have family to support us, friends who stand behind us, a roof over our heads and food on our table. I get all that and I am very appreciative of it all, but part of me thinks all that stuff is missing something now... It's missing Brody. Our family will never be whole again, our friends and I can't have play dates with their children and Brody, our house is missing future memories, and the table with the food on it is missing a high chair. I know how this sounds. It sounds like I'm a ungrateful human being that can't be happy for what she has. This is not so. I am grateful, I am beyond grateful. When I met Adam and we decided to move in together, we lived in a crappy apartment downtown that was freezing cold all the time. I told his parents "I would live in a cardboard box, as long as it was with Adam". I meant it. I would go back to that crappy apartment with the draft if it meant I could hold my baby. By the way, Adam is the only person who is allowed to tell me to be happy for what I have or to pull it together. Anyone else saying it makes me...Stage 3: Angry!

As for depression and sorrow. Is this really a stage? Why is it the fifth stage? I have felt sorrow from the day we found out Brody didn't have a heartbeat anymore.  I think being depressed is different from depression itself. I know that sounds very confusing. I don't live this new life in depression. I get out of bed, I go places, I sometimes even laugh a real laugh. I have my days where I break down and I feel depressed  but living a life in depression is a choice for me. A choice I will not make.I could do it, it would be sooo easy to do. I could sleep all day, I could drink a fifth of whiskey everyday, or find some way to avoid my reality but that is not the life I want for me, for Adam, for Brody, for our future children. 

I've also been reconstructing since the day we left the hospital. Reconstruction is the sixth stage of grief. I started reconstructing everything in my mind. I reconstructed every aspect of our lives.The life of Friday evenings at home with Brody that we were more than ready for have been reconstructed to look more like they did before I got pregnant. Our lives as Mommy and Daddy have been reconstructed back to Tia and Adam. I don't really see reconstructing as the next to last stage because I feel like we will be reconstructing for a long, long time. 

Acceptance. I don't like this one. Will I ever accept all of this? Is there ever a silver lining to a dead baby? You can change your life for the positive, you can help other grieving mothers, you can start a blog to help your friends and family understand, but will you ever accept that your baby is gone...forever? I just don't know about that. 


  1. Im glad you and adam were able to have a "normal, happy moment". You deserve it and its OKAY. He would want you 2 to be happy and goofy just like youve always been.

  2. Yeah, the "stages" thing is tricky and the word itself is deceiving. The "stages" are not the least bit linear or chronological, and sometimes you'll experience all of them in one day. And what about those times I just go numb because feeling awful all the time is just so utterly exhausting and I can't function that way anymore? Shouldn't that be a "stage", too?

    I wish it were comforting or helpful to say that "Everything you're experiencing is completely normal," but I know that never really helped me. It feels so volatile and unpredictable and uncertain. It feels so stormy.

    Thinking of you so much these days -- keep on writing!!