Sunday, March 9, 2008

Self Indulgence

During our first year of marriage, my husband and I discovered "Buffy," the, uh, killer of pale undead creatures who bite people's necks and make them undead. Flipping channels, I came across one of the episodes in which B's mother dies or has died. Seeing as it was barely a year and a half since my own had died, I was of course pulled in as to a traffic accident. I was touched, though by the sensitivity and "realness" of the characters' reactions, and I could relate somehow. In time, it became an evening ritual for my husband and me to watch BTVS, as one of the local stations was playing 2 episodes in a row each day, an new sort of guilty pleasure. Pretty well-written characters, enough of a metaphor to "real" high school life that I could suspend my sci-fi/fantasy disbelief. We became fans.

Years later, when we got one of those digital satellite tv recording doo-hickeys, we set times to record episodes we didn't have on dvd, particularly, the Musical episode, One of our favorites from that season, if not the whole series. When our recordings filled up, we wound up deleting most of the episodes, but saved OMWF.

After we lost the boys, I couldn't even watch TV, it all seemed so...pointless. I couldn't care about other people's pain, and their happiness just felt like salt in the wound. But somehow I could watch that episode. Songs like "going thr.ough the mot.ions" and "give me so.mething to about" ran through my head, endlessly.

For those that don't know the show, Buffy at the end of the previous season was killed, but brought back by her friends who practice witc.hcraft. See what I mean about suspending disbelief? Anyway, she has a hard time making the adjustment back to the living, as she believes herself to have been pulled out of heaven ("there was no pain, no doubt").

Now that I write about this, it all seems pretty trite and and neat, and the metaphors abound.


I have so much to be grateful for. Despite the horror of the process of losing Jacob and Joshua (which I do want to write about, but don't have the courage yet), I know that in many ways, I am very lucky:

>My family, overall, has been extremely supportive and sensitive. They were there when I needed them (with one exception, also to be detailed later) at a moments' notice and went above and beyond the call of duty. Despite some clumsiness, I know that they love me, and ache for my pain, and would do whatever they could to ease it.

>My friends, especially my oldest and dearest, and extended family have been there with phone calls, emails, cards, even while going through their own losses and turmoil. Expecting nothing from us.

>The first days I went back to school, the first meetings, the first classes, I was greeted with hugs and "I'm so sorry." It was literally weeks before I got the really inappropriate comments, and really, there were only a few. And there have been a number of awkward moments, people who maybe sent email condolences, but haven't said anything in person. I don't blame them, though it is awkward.

>I have a great relationship with my husband. It has not been easy, and we definitely have different ways of grieving, but overall, we have been able to communicate well. Generally supportive of each other, though I will admit to getting the better end of the deal. He deals by being kind of busy, taking care of me, and I deal by sitting in bed with the covers over my head. He's able to tell me what he needs though, and I try to give him that, and space.

>Grief support in the form of personal therapists, and the grief counselor at the local hospital (where I was treated but didn't deliver the boys). Online support from the deadbabyverse.

>Meds to help me sleep. and not feel quite so anxious.


I know it's a lot. Somehow, it doesn't seem enough. It doesn't stop me from feeling like everything is shit. And I look at this list and I think, oh, come on. Wahh, wahh. I am so lucky in many ways. I know that. There are so many people who endure what I've endured without what I've got.

So when I think to myself, "Give me something to sing about..." I just want to tell myself to get over it. And then I start to cry and think about my boys. And the life we're not going to lead together. And I think about my husband, and how stoic he tries to be, but how much I can see him hurting. And then when he can actually tell me how he's feeling, it rips me apart. And I feel like I did this to him. Maybe it's not rational, but I do, I feel responsible.

So when my shrink, or the grief counselor tells me I'm doing just fine, I think "Lady, you have no idea."


CLC said...

It's like having tunnel vision. It's so hard to think about what we have to be thankful for when we have lost our innocent babies. I think that's why it hurts so bad. Because we were supposed to be able to protect them and give them life, yet the opposite occurred. My therapist tells me the same thing, that I am just where I am supposed to be. But what the hell does she know, she hasn't lost a baby. So I take everything she says with a grain of salt.

Tash said...

Wow, do I miss BTVS. I also have the musical ep saved to tivo. Like minds, or something.

I wrote very early on about how it's not necessarily the event, it's the circumstances that surround it that can make the difference between devastation and abandonment. It would appear to me that losing a baby is a greater tragedy than losing ones girlfriend, but people have killed themselves over that. And I need to keep reminding myself that I want to be here, and that unto itself must mean *something.*

I also had a post about the good. And then a whole lotta family shit went down. Just a tiny warning not to let the guard down too far, I suppose. But I'm thankful that you have what you do, and that James Marsters can still find a way to pull you through.

Have you tried the comics for the ensuing seasons? I've only made it through about three of them, but they're pretty entertaining.

Antigone said...

Therapists are just people. No matter what training they've been through or how great their sense of empathy, if they haven't been through can they understand?

That said, if you're managing to go through the motions of normal existence, you're doing better than many of us.

Take care.