Grief: A Painful Blur

Yesterday was our little nephew Jasper’s 2nd birthday party. All week, we planned to go, and looked forward to going. When it came down to it though, we didn’t go.

I feel really bad for this, and it’s hard to explain to those that we love. We don’t want to hurt feelings, or have family angry with us, or thinking that we just don’t care. We care. We care a great deal, and that’s part of the problem.

David and I still struggle, every week, every day, sometimes every hour, with the loss of Clara. The smallest things — a certain song on the radio, a comment a stranger makes in passing, pink balloons on a neighbor’s mailbox — unhinge us. Something will strike a nerve with me, and I feel a lump in my throat, a pounding in the back of my head, hot tears rushing to my eyes. I look at David, and he’s looking back at me, and we both know that the other is feeling the same wave of pain. One of us reaches for the other’s hand, and we get through it.

We’re always waiting for the next time that grief will swoop in, out of nowhere, and we haven’t yet been disappointed. We tend to just avoid situations and things that we know will upset us, but even that isn’t as easy as you might think.

Even our television shows are full of babies lately.

The Walking Dead (spoiler) — baby and a c-section that kills the mother. I thought the baby was stillborn at first. We almost had to turn it off… it was hard.

Once Upon A Time — a memory scene where Snow White mentions that her baby daughter never spent a night in her nursery, complete with audio of a baby crying. We both cried, like babies.

Doctor Who (Season 6, Episode 12: Stormageddon) — adorable baby. That’s all it takes really… we cried.

Babies are everywhere. I notice that a lot more now that I’d rather avoid them, so as to not fall apart. There are a lot of babies in our families. Sisters, sisters-in-law, cousins (lots of cousins)… I am so happy for every new baby born, every new life that we add to our families. But oh god, it’s hard to be around.

I have to assume that this part passes at some point in the grieving process. David and I both have cousins with babies that we haven’t met, but would like to. We’re frozen by this desire to see/touch/hold the babies, and terror that we’ll fall to pieces if we’re in the same room with them.

We’ve missed out on happy moments because of our grief. I haven’t been able to babysit my niece and nephew like I had planned, because it was too hard to be around them all of the time. We missed Jasper’s birthday party, because it was a particularly hard weekend of missing Clara, and we knew we couldn’t handle being around little ones.

It’s frustrating and heart-breaking… and I don’t know if we’ll ever get over it, but I hope so. I really don’t want to be stuck in this repetitious and painful blur of grief for the rest of my life, and I know David doesn’t either.

Grief: A Painful Blur
No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. – C.S. Lewis
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I'm Heather, a married mama of two teen girls, a stillborn baby girl (7/1/12), and a sweet and wild preschool girl (4/2/14). I've been blogging at The Destiny Manifest since 2001. I like to write about appreciating all of the beautiful little things that surround us, particularly in the face of grief, infant loss and mental health issues. Every day is an adventure!

Latest posts by Heather O. (see all)

  • Emily

    Oh Heather, your writing is so honest and revealing that I wish I could just hug you right now. You have every right to skip parties and turn off TV shows…you sound like you are grieving in a very healthy way and I’m sure the people who know and love you completely understand. You’ll get out of the painful blur when it’s time…for now I am glad you have each other and others to lean on. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • JanineHuldie

    Heather, I can barely imagine what you and your husband must be feeling. I had one loss before having my oldest, but it was the form of a chemical pregnancy at the very beginning stages of pregnancy, but to lose an actual baby, oh my heart just bleeds for you. I did have a scare in my pregnancy for my younger daughter and was hospitalized and put on bed rest, but I thank god everyday that she was born safe and healthy in the end. Seriously, I am truly thinking of you and just can’t say how brave you are for sharing your feelings right here!!

  • Cari Lorine

    Oh, Heather, I can’t imagine what you’ve been through and what you continue to experience. I’m sure that no one in your family blames you for needing time to heal. You’re only human, and you’ve been through such a traumatic thing. Take the time you need. You’ll get past it, but if you rush the feelings without processing them, I have to think they’ll continue to resurface. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ll continue thinking and praying for you and your family.

  • Stacy Harris

    This is very powerful and honest. Never never apologize for grieving. It is something that you truly need to do and when you are ready, you will move forward and be able to once again not feel pained by everything around you. I am so sorry for your lose and in any situation, there is nothing anyone can say to make you feel better.

  • I hate that I know so intimately what you mean. This pain, these tiny emotional time bombs that go off at the most inopportune times. For the last week especially, as my would be due date approaches, my heart has been especially achy. I sit at my desk working and a song will come on or I will remember the day or I see all my friends who were pregnant at the same time as me, one by one, announcing their births and it kills me. I am happy for them but the pain is so much for me. I have a Christmas party in a few weeks and our cousin will be there with her newborn ( due 2 weeks after our baby would have been here) and I know it will be too much. I’ve already told my husband that I can not go. I too am waiting for the day when the grief is not so strong and fresh. Hugs my friend.

  • I think this part of the path can be more difficult because the grieving never stops, every thing is a reminder, a trigger of the life and future denied. Everyone else seems to move on, and though it’s never spoken people grow impatient with peoples sorrow, they allot an unspoken number of times to mention the lost one, they allot a span of time, then it’s suggested by actions that enough is enough. Which sucks, then people act like the lost one never exist.

    Josh has been gone just over three years and people act like he never existed.

    People don’t mention him, or speak of him. This loss is yours and Davids. Whatever you two can do to minimize that pain, that loss, even if it means not going to baby showers or what not then do what must be done. The health of yourself and the relationship with David is what comes first over social obligation.

  • Thank you so much Isaac. David and I were just talking tonight about this exact thing, how people seem to think “oh, that happened ages ago”, when in fact it has only been 5 months, or a year, or 3 years, or 10 years.

    It will never be “ages ago” for me, or David, or you and your parents… it will never be something that we don’t mourn. I will never stop missing Clara, or Josh for that matter.

    They were loved, they ARE loved, and we honor them by remembering them.

  • Bethany @ No Twiddle Twaddle

    Your post brings tears to my eyes. I remember too those difficult days in the beginning of grief where seeing a baby brought such great pain. It does get better over time, but for me even now there is still an ache in my heart that I can’t seem to shake. My thoughts and prayers are with you Heather.