Friday, March 21, 2008

It's the longing.

I think we had just started trying, or just found out we wouldn't be able to conceive without help. Since I'm Jewish, the holidays are pretty simple, and we usually go to C's family (1000 miles away) for Christmas. C's sisters had brought over the kids for a visit and and one of them, maybe a year and a half said, "Mommy, can I..." I don't remember what he asked for or what he said. This child just looked at his mother and called to her. Thinking about it now, I don't know, it sounds kind of cliche. But... there was something so basic, so primal. And I wanted it. I can't even describe what went through me -- it wasn't thought, it was feeling.

Luna at life from here sent me a copy of one of her posts in response to my last entry, and I think the way she articulates it is exactly right. She talks about trying to enjoy her family, those events that celebrate the young children in her family, enjoying her nieces and nephews and cousins. And that many of those times can be, well, joyful. She connects with these children, enjoys them at least for a little bit. It's just later that the pain sets in. The longing. For the children lost, for what should have been, for the opportunity to be a mother to a living child. Even to participate in the "mommy club."

That's what gets me. I was trying to name the ache in the center of my chest. The one that fills my throat. The quiet sadness I feel after talking to a pregnant woman, or friend. Like my sister. (Quiet? who am I kidding, it's usually audible weeping.) I want so much to enjoy her joy, but it gets eclipsed by my own longing for what she's getting. I'm not saying I don't feel other things, but I think this is the thing I couldn't identify.

Lately I've been feeling it in my arms. The longing, the ache to hold something. Someone. I thought I had escaped that "emp.ty arms" feeling since I'm a couple months out now, but over the last week it's been getting worse. Stronger. I'm feeling like there's something missing, like I need to hold something.

***

Last night I was thinking of my cat, whom I adopted when I was in college. She lived to almost 15 years and was quite possibly the best cat in the universe. over the last 6 or 8 years of her life, she would snuggle up with me when we went to bed. She seemed to wait for it, the way one of my current kitties waits for wet food. If you have a pet, you know the look. Well, I'd pat the bed and she'd jump up beside me and lay right next to my chest.

With me laying on my side she'd snuggle in on her side, leaving her vast expanse of soft, white belly fur for me to rest my hand on. It's hard to not sleep with a loving, purring cat laying blissfully against you. And so, almost every night, especially in her later years, this is how we'd go to sleep. Me spooning the cat, C spooning me. I was surrounded by love, my arms were full with it.

***

Last night I was thinking of my cat, wishing I could hold her, after I realized that what I wanted was to hold my children. To smell their heads. To feel their breathing slow and deepen as they drift off to sleep. To have my arms full with them.

I just long for it.

8 comments:

luna said...

yep, that longing and the ache. my grief counselor used to talk about grief as a pain in the body -- like heartbreak or aching empty arms. that sick feeling.

I had a kitty like that too, I think I commented about him on your hub's blog. both of our animals died last year within months of each other right after the 1 yr anniv. of losing our baby. sometimes I have to stop and think of exactly what I'm missing most at any moment because I miss them all...

glad you liked that post. ~luna

CLC said...

I can feel that ache too. I feel it everywhere anymore. I know that longing feeling well too. It's such a horrible feeling when you know that it will never be fullfilled by the babies you lost. I hope the days get better for you.

Amy said...

I long for that love too. That ache is so harsh and such a reminder of what we don't have. I remember that ache, it would make my arms tremble. Every now and then it comes back but it's only for a short time and then somehow, someway it miraculously disapears just as fast as it came on.

I love the cat thing, mine does the same, she snuggles under the covers with me. Animals are those amamzing creatures that teach us unconditional love. I'm sorry your kitty is no longer with you. I hope one of your newer kitties can fill that space next to you with warmth, fur, and a purr. Because of course another kitty can not ever take the place of one so dear.

G said...

That longing, oy. If I let myself think about it too much, I melt. I think sometimes, yes, there is definitely physical damage done to my heart from this. I can feel it.

Thinking of you.

c. said...

Although I have been blessed (?), fortunate (?) enough to be able to be a mom, yet I entertain a sense of longing, too. A longing for my C@llum, for my dream family, for what I've lost and what I hope the future will bring. It's such an intense feeling. Some days I wonder how I am even able to live under the weight of it.

Kami said...

I'm sorry and I understand. I found that my grief got worse for many months and then continued to get worse as we tried and failed to conceive again. Eventually - it took about a year and the help of a wonderful grief counselor - I began to climb out of the fog.

Everyone's path is different and I don't think there is any shortcut to grief. Sometimes all you can do is keep breathing.

Antigone said...

If I ever have a live baby, I think I'll hold him/her in my arms all day. I won't ever put him down.

Carrie said...

I'm sorry you have the longing. It hurts more than we can understand sometimes.
I wish there was more I can say, but words don't cut it. I am so sorry.