Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Waxing Nostalgic

In 1990 one of my good friends from grade school got pregnant at 15. In such a small town, it was a semi-scandal, especially since her bf at the time was 18.

She decided to keep the baby. A boy. Beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed, and who was for lack of a better definition, mentally handicapped. It escapes me what the official ailment was called, but C was destined to not only raise a child at 15, but a mentally handicapped child who by all medical 'definitions', would 'never know her voice', speak or be capable of doing anything that 'normal' children could do.

C took it all in stride, went to doctors, got great advice and help when she could. She finished high school, married her bf and they were doing the best they could raising their boy. While she was dealing with all of this, we went our separate ways in school, remaining friendly, but I will be honest and say I never really understood what she went through on a daily basis. I was young, our paths were going in 2 different directions. She was a young mother, struggling to survive. I was on scholarship to university.

Fast forward to my 1st year in college, and I hear some devastating news. C's precious boy died in his sleep. No one saw it coming. It was a horrible blow.

I went to the funeral, sat in the pew out of respect for my old friend, and heard the jubilant recordings of her sweet boy laughing, and it sent everyone into mixed tears of sadness, and I-told-you-so defiance. Of course her son knew her voice, and the voice of his grandparents. Of course he knew happiness, sadness and all of the emotions of other children experienced. Despite everything that was predicted, he was still a precious little boy, C's first born, and now he was gone--way too young.

I am ashamed to admit that in my stupid-didn't-know-any-better 19 year-old mind I contemplated his passing being a blessing. She could be free from the 'burden' of her handicapped child. I was stupid, and thankfully I never uttered those hurtful words out loud.

12 years later, we met up again on Myspace. She is remarried with 2 boys. She still lives in my tiny hometown. She seems happy. We sent funny notes to each other over the last 2 years, promised to meet up again some day.

When Ronan died, she was the first person I e-mailed that wasn't in my close circle of friends and family. I didn't really know why I was doing it at the time, because I/we had not really brought up her son in conversation. But as a blind woman in the blizzard of deadbaby hell, I cast a net outwards, and having navigated this hellish road before me, she lit a flare and was instrumental to leading me to shelter that first night we got back from the hospital.

4 days later I received a small package in the mail. A necklace with a tiny charm---a heart with a band-aid on it. I wept when I read the card. She was thinking of me, she knew I could make it through this. When I placed that necklace on, I actually slept that night for the first time. I imagined our boys chatting, hanging out, getting to know each other. I knew that she managed to move forward. She didn't physically die from her pain. When I think I can't make it, C gives me hope.

Tonight, I am remembering Westley and Ronan. Princes of Smalltown, TX. Kings of Texas...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Silence is Deafening...

The doppler was placed on my belly, in the same location that they had placed it 2 weeks ago.

The second they placed it there, I heard silence where there was once was the sound of a galloping heartbeat.

In that moment, I knew. I just knew.

I drifted away in the next 20 minutes when they tried in vain to find the heartbeat, jabbing the wand in different parts of my belly.

"How will I survive this?"

6 months later, I still don't know how the hell I am supposed to survive this...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hey Jealousy

She was all of 7lbs, 3 weeks old, and moved in that slo-mo newborn way.

She is the newest edition for my BFF Chris and his new wife Crystal.

I told myself I would be a grown-up about this. Accept their offer of dinner and to come meet the baby. After all, this is not my baby. She is a girl. It should be ok.

And it was for a little bit. She slept 99% of the time we were there, only waking up once to eat. It was tender watching my BFF Chris handle this tiny creature with his mammoth hands, feeding her an awkwardly tiny bottle, his paternal instinct carefully masked behind the gruffness of his voice, the toughness of his exterior, weathered from his blue-collar work as a oil driller.

Then he handed her to Peyton, swadled up, and it took everything in me not to cry, not to be reminded of the moment when the nurses handed Ronan to us. The lump in my throat was the size of the Grand Canyon.

I watched Peyton look at her, watched her tiny hands grasp his index finger. He smiled sadly. But, he also smiled hopefully.

I wanted so badly to have that moment with Peyton with a child that was ours. The smiling, the peering at the infant with hope and blissful peace. My memory is blurred with salty tears, piercing pain, and endless sorrow.

I looked up, saw Chris' blue eyes peer into mine, questioning. I looked away. 10 years ago he would have known my thoughts down to the nanosecond after I imagined them. 10 years ago I would not have to explain to him what it took for me to witness this moment after a tragedy like ours.

10 years ago, I wore my heart on my sleeve. It's doesn't seem worth it anymore...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K

It started with one message on Myspace. And then another. And then another. I suppose people have been having me on the brain lately, but it has been somewhat of an avalanche of inquiries. How am I? I am thinking about you. I am sorry for you. You never leave my mind.

I suppose in an alternate world it would be nice not to leave a person's mind. What is unfortunate is that I don't leave these people's minds because they feel sorry/horrified/deaf-mute for me.

I was never one who liked pity. My childhood was not the greatest, but I try not to focus on it. I am proud that I have overcome a lot considering I have a cracked out mom and an overbearing, bratty father. We are all given opportunities to overcome certain circumstances, rise up to try to be the best we can be. This was my mantra. I was a fucking poster child for higher education/overall betterment of oneself. If I could stand needles, I would have tattooed it on my biceps...I don't like crybabies. Whiners need to chin up and get a grip.

Oh, what a wicked web we weave...


I am my own worst enemy. I have become the woman I cannot stand. Pity me. Poor me. Poor baby less me. Poor me and my struggle to get out of the pit.

And if I had never gone through this, I would not be liking me very much (even though my whining is limited to MY blog and my support group friends)...but I am learning something as I am stuck here in DBL...

You see, the problem is, this deadbaby shit is not something you just wake up from, have a good cry, wash your face and you feel TONS better. One person told me early on (like a month after Ronan died) that I was 'spiriling out of control' because she had held 'many a woman's hand through {some kind of } loss' and was suddenly an expert on how women going through this should be progressing. Apparently the women that she 'held hands with' didn't vocalize to her what I have here. (She never bothered to call or write to ask how I really was faring...)

But, I gotta tell her and the others who think like her: She (They?) were lying to you if she (they?) said she was feeling better. That she never thought of that baby every single day of her life. That she never cried for no goddamn reason in the shower, or driving to work. What I suspect is that she (they?) stopped talking about it with YOU, because she (they?) realized the more she talked to women who had never experienced loss like this (LIKE YOU), the more they judged her, assumed she should be past a certain imaginary place drawn in the sand. That the 'old' her should be coming back any second now....

Anarchist Mom said it best in her blog today. The old us is GONE. The sooner that everyone understands this, the better off everyone will be. If it is easier to whine and say 'she was so much happier and fun to be with before her baby died,' well, I gotta say NO FUCKING SHIT! What a fucking retarded thing to say. Now, perhaps you too will have something to mourn while we here sit in an unwanted/unwelcomed perpetual state of mourning for our old life, and the one little life that left us too soon.

If some of you think that this navigation through deadbabyland is a CHOICE, that if we just CHOOSE to be happy, ignore the missing link in our empty lives, the reminders of what we almost had, then you are someone who just doesn't fucking get it. You will never get it.

Accept you don't get it. But don't you dare judge me.

Friday, July 18, 2008

We are all innocent

Colleagues. Schoolmates. Old friends. We are all guilty of falling out of touch and sending one of those random goddamn e-mails to play catch up.

I got one of those today. From a girl I went to grad school with a few years ago. She is one of those that was close-ish to me while in school, moved away before defending her thesis, quit grad school in her 5th year(!), got married, had a baby, yadda, yadda, yadda. She and her husband are good people.

So, she sent me an e-mail today. Just a quick note....announcing the birth of her perfectly healthy, beautiful baby boy. Zachary.

Of course.

...Fuck me running....

I am debating how long before I wait to send my news along, make her feel uber bad in her moment of newborn bliss.

But then, why should I bother to announce to her that I am not leading the same charmed life that she is? Is there a statue of limitations in announcing your inferiority to a woman who is so apparently superior? A woman who has eggs that, you know, don't happen to carry an extra chromosome, to help produce a fetus destined to die?

I reiterate....fuck me running....I need to go to sleep.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My wish list...

I grow tired of my work. My life. My 35 minute commute passing the same billboards that inform me there is a McDonalds at the next exit, or a drive-thru Starbucks is waiting to fill up my 'tank'.

I want to run away, dye my hair flaming red, wear black lipstick, wear combat boots, listen to Marilyn Manson at blood-curdling volumes.

I want to run a small bookstore, wear Birkenstocks, wear dreads, sip tea and discuss Tolstoy.

I want to have some land, grow a garden, own some horses, maybe a milking cow, and about 7 more dogs. I will be the crazy lady who lives off the land, walking her cow up and down the road, waving to the small children who point and stare, with their parents secretly wishing they could be just like me.

I want to stay in my bed, have Peyton bring me plates and plates of greasy food, wash myself with a rag on a stick, gain 300 lbs before I have to endure Richard Simmons' bawling pleads to stop killing myself before the cranes come and tear off a side of my house to bring me to a hospital to attempt to save me.

I wish I had the balls to do any of this....

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

We developed the pictures from the hospital. All we had was a disposable camera, and no sense at the time to go home to get a proper digital camera.

All the pictures of me holding my son were dark. The one where the nurse took one of me, Peyton and Ronan didn't come out at all.

I keep telling myself that I don't need pictures to remind me of that day, of what he looked like, what he smelled like, what I felt like.

Still, it would have been nice to have a family portrait....

Monday, July 7, 2008

Drive-thrus and Chicken


I took off 3 hours today because I felt blah. I went to pick up a prescription (please come back in 4 hours (WTF?)) and decided to eat something. 

The drive-thru was insane, so I decided to park and eat inside. Chick-FilA Chicken Salad. In case you were wondering...

As I was ordering, I saw a woman and a man with 2 young boys. The man and woman looked so damn familiar, but that familiar where you are trying not to stare too hard. I order quickly and then the woman whispered to the man and he turned around.

"REESE?" he said.

He was Wes and I went to college with him 10+ years ago. He was a math nerd, I was a science geek. We were school buddies. The woman was his wife Sandy, (his girlfriend back then). Nice people. 

"Oh my God! How have you been?" they asked.

I have often thought about them. I knew they were still in SA, but had no idea where (he has a very common last name, the equivalent of calling 15+ people asking if they were the right one). 

He invited me to eat with his family, and we caught up. 

Sandy, of course, asked about children. I told them about Ronan, in that matter-of-fact way I hear my voice saying. They nodded and said they had 2 losses before they were able to conceive the younger of the 2 boys. She said that they had all of the genetic testing and whatnot and 2 hours of listing what could be wrong before they performed the ultrasound on the youngest one. She said it was terrible and nerve wracking. 

It is a small world. In more ways that one.

We exchanged numbers and promised to keep in touch. I wonder if we will...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Homes and Hearts

I love the rain.

I think if I moved to the Seattle area, I would be a-ok with 9+ months of rain. I am currently living in a concrete wasteland here in SA, where the sun shines and heats this pseudo-earth to almost 100 degrees everyday. 

This past weekend, I was at my dad's place in Smalltown, Tx. As we were driving the 2 hours it takes to get there, I am keenly aware of the Texas that I love---flat, open land, the occasional steer grazing, the bunches of prickly pear cactus laying lazily by the roadside. My father moved into the country 10 years ago, and I am finding myself turning into him, sitting outside, watching the sunset in silence. 

This past weekend, it rained--hard. It has been so dry and freakin' hot here, it took everything in me not to dance around in it, getting soaked down to my knickers. Thunder and lightening. I was downright giddy with pleasure. Now I am back in SA, and on the drive in, I felt sad. I think I have outgrown this city. I miss the smaller town feel, the hours not spent in a car driving to my location. I don't know if I can stay here much longer, because SA is the place that we lost Ronan. It will forever be known as this. 

And I have tried to go back to 1997 and make myself feel that sense of happiness and adventure like I had when I lived with Dr. Anne. The late night run to Jim's, the midnight dollar movies. Any of it. All I feel now is isolated in a gigantic city, and I don't know how to overcome this. We see my in-laws, but most of our friends are gone from here. Making new friends feels like a monumental feat. I feel like I am getting to old for this shit. I'm 33. Where are my best friends? In Dallas, Missouri, Round Rock, Philly, etc. etc...none are here in SA, TX. My one friend G is down the road from me, but between her 2 kids and daily life, it is hard to coordinate schedules. 

I don't think of Michigan as my home. But part of me feels like Peyton and I are still wandering, trying to find our home, and unfortunately, my Texas is not where my heart is. 

If home is where your heart is, and your heart is forever broken, do you really ever feel like you are home ever again?