The song of grief

It’s been a long time since I’ve needed to write here, nearly 3 years later after loosing Emmet, and nearly two after loosing Réa I find my grief is usually more white noise than radio chatter or a blasting song.

Tonight my metaphoric radio of grief is blasting full force and I have learnt to listen to it. To honour the song my aching soul sings out to the babies, the children I won’t ever get to hold. I know the words by heart and yet every time it is as if I am hearing it for the first time.

The faith I clung too like a drowning man clings to driftwood has gone. I never believed in God or an afterlife before the loss of my baby, but it was a lifeboat in the sea of terror I found myself consumed by after Emmet. I have once again placed my feet upon the shore.

There is a saying that no man stranded in the sea without any hope of rescue is an Atheist. I am inclined to agree this is true.

When I lost Emmet, for the first time in my life outside of the ritualistic sunday school prayers, which I engaged in like play acting, I prayed. I prayed fervently and with no real belief anyone was listening, and I continued to pray, beg, for the baby I didn’t even know I truly wanted until they were taken away. I prayed every day for over a year for them to be able to hear me. To know I loved them. To know I will always love them. I prayed for them to be waiting for me.

My screams were the rawest prayer of agony and hope, muffled by a towel at midnight and a consuming shame that made me walk in a farcical display of normality day after day, while the life I knew before slipped through my fingers like the blood flowed from my womb.

I needed a future. It was what got me through, to accept that they were gone was too much, too raw, I needed to believe that they were just waiting for me, that I would take the slow path and they the highway to the same inevitable destination.

I fought to keep them with me. Needed to believe for a time that there was a life after this; and I would see them again. It’s taken nearly 3 years to come to terms with the fact that I don’t believe that there is anything after this.

Nobody ever told me that the soul deep need to nurture and protect would last long after every atom of their being has scattered into the ecosystem and across the universe. I was never warned that loss and death are no barrier to the instinctive, obsessive need I have towards my babies.

The urge to protect overrode the logical which had before reigned my life. They had to be waiting. They had to be.

Having a faith kept me alive, kept me whole, I needed to believe in a purpose even if I couldn’t see why there was a purpose.

The second time I prayed again. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. For the test to be positive. For the test to be negative.

For a delay in the inevitable, for that faint pink like to get bolder, not fainter. For there not to have been a line at all.

The guilt of loosing two babies, both of whom came into my life uninvited, the second a piece of medical negligence that will continue to scar my soul until my last breath.

A hurricane of everything I never wanted, and everything I have ever wanted, is indescribable.

It has taken nearly 3 years and hours of therapy to be able to accept that I am not to blame. They weren’t taken away because I didn’t love them enough, because I didn’t want thwm enough, because I thought about ending the pregnancy. They weren’t taken because I looked up abortion clinics at the same time I looked at nurseries because I was 18 and terrified.

There is another phrase which I think is true, which is that a woman wants an abortion like a caged animal wants to gnaw off it’s own leg.

That it was not my fault that I believed what I was told, that it was not my fault that the malabsorbtion that caused the pill to fail wasn’t something I could have prevented. That it took over a year to be listened too when I said that there was something wrong with my body. It wasn’t acid reflux, or anxiety, it wasn’t just something that would go away with time. My eintire Intestinal tract is slowed, and portions paralysed completely. I will never be on a fully solid diet again, and yet I still ask myself why I didn’t try more to prevent a second pregnancy.

I think the answer lies somewhere between blind trust of medical practitioners, and because having another baby was all consuming. That I wasn’t careful enough because of the overriding obsessive need to fill the gaping chasm of my heart, to direct the aching love I had into something, and because I didn’t know that there was anything to be careful about.

I was not ready for a child. Am not ready for a child. Did not know what I wanted, except that the love I felt was as unwelcome as it was natural and inescapable. Inevitable.

I resent not having the choice. That the possibility of a decision was taken from me, and that I will never know what I would have chosen had the outcome been different.

The love that came fierce and natural and unbidden was the only certainty I had in the brief days between knowing and loosing.

For a long time I was ashamed to admit that I am relieved to not have living children. The diagnosis of a progressive, inheritable genetic disorder in 2018 was not a surprise, but rather something I had to fight tooth and nail for in order to be heard.

My condition has rapidly declined in the last two years, and I am not at a point in my life, and my deepest fear is that I might never be, in a position to care for a young child.

My condition has roughly a 50% inheritance rate. Roughly, and probably higher. As the condition is more common with those assigned female at birth. It has almost a 100% inheritance in female offspring.

I was ashamed of my relief for fear that people will take it as a sign that I didn’t want my pregnancies. Or perhaps my fear is that that statement is partly true. Or that no matter how much I want it not to be true, the fact is I would rather to have loved and lost, for my flesh and blood to have known only warmth and safety in the cocoon of my body, than to ever know the unending physical pain of my own experiences.

I cannot put into words the love and relief and anguish and regret I have around two pregnancies and two miscarriages.

I cannot accurately express the terror and guilt I felt, and still feel about creating a life likely to be bound to a body that will torment and fail them. The pain of not having them with me is at war with the relief that they could not and did not suffer.

Logically I didn’t want them. Unprepared, young, full of fear, in a declining body. But the instinctive love that poured out of every fibre of my being waged war with fear, with reason and logic and everything that ever came before.

There will always be the before and after. I did not think that it was possible to love that much and that deeply, and when my heart expanded a second time I was caught off guard.

Love is not a bucket to be poured and emptied but a spring gushing fourth, it’s existence natural, unending, a trickle which turns into a stream, which turns into a river which flows to the sea to become an ocean, and tears that fall like rain only to join the stream and begin again. A cycle that doesn’t end or deminish no matter how many reservoirs you build and no matter how many damms you put up.

Tonight the song of my soul is loud, it calls out aching to everything they ever were, and everything they will never be.

It calls out to the could have beens, should have beens. To the person I used to be, and the person I am, and the person I will be as I continue to exist without them.

I think that there is a certain poetry in knowing that everything they once were has long since scattered. Every corporal piece of their being is now part of something else, matter is temporary, shifting, the atoms and molecules which were contained in their being are forming into new things. That there is a chance that the atoms that I am made of might one day once again be linked to their atoms to forge something else.

All songs demand to be heard, and tonight I will let myself listen to the music I so often put on mute. I have a right to grief, and a right to relief, and a right to love.

For so long my shame was a prison, shame of creation and loss, fear of judgement. Fear of going against what was expected of me. Fear of becoming trapped into a life I hadn’t planned and didn’t want, but longed for all the same. A fear of loving too hard and too deeply that I wouldn’t get out the other side alive, and the shame of admitting that I didn’t want to live in a world without my baby. Not so much a want to die, but a want to simply fade away and stop existing. After all it was only right tjat I should be with them. Should not be parted from them. The act of wanting to die was too active, to have my being split in two for the second time in less than a year was more than I was able to process and I instead stepped into the comforting, atrophied embrace of denial.

I could neither accept nor move on. Entered shutdown. Denial. Stasis. I fought my way out when I didn’t know if there was ever an ‘out’ to fight for. Time. Therapy. Love. Healing. Acceptance.

Accepting that I could love again, and loose again, and survive again.

I will not be ashamed, of having or of loosing. This is my song.

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