Sometime after my loss and before my sister's, we had a conversation about denial. I was beating myself up for (theoretically) ignoring signs that should have sent me to the doctor, and she mentioned something about how we learned to be in denial from my mom, who, really, was Cleopatra* about many things.
When she had her loss, my sister's initial reaction, when I tried to be comforting, was to deny. She said all the things you never want to hear when you are grieving, but about her own situation. (I think I wrote about it but I'm not going to go dig out the post.) Later on, she indirectly acknowledged that she had been in that place, right after her loss. That the kinds of things she said, "I'm just going to go out and have fun and be happy!!" at that point were defenses against the outrageous pain. She could acknowledge that.
In a recent phone call, I asked her about being on the other side. Of infertility. Of loss. She referred to it as always being there, like in a rearview mirror, getting smaller and farther away. I mentioned the article on one of those magazines, and they talked about how IF seems to be one of those causes that people don't advocate for once they've reached the other side. My sister told me that for Res0lve, IF is a temporary state, eventually you either have a child or you don't and you go childless/free.
Then she talked about my dad, who has volunteered with the local hospice (almost) since my mother died. She said, it seems like he's not letting go. I responded that it's important work, even if it's not fun, and he gets something out of it. She said something about how it's so painful, so sad, why spend your time focused on that?
She talked about how she has a daughter now, and a life that needs living, and doesn't want to be stuck in the pain of her past. Or something. My words, not hers. That was the essence of it, I think.
So how do you balance it? Does it just fade? A past life? Life does go on, and, honestly, I don't spend a lot of time these days thinking directly about the boys, or what we went through in that horrible 10 days. But I feel it, I think. The IF. The loss. The secondary (?) IF. Next steps. New steps. But it all builds up to where we are, doesn't it?
She doesn't suggest pretending it never happened, but not getting stuck in it, not focusing on advocating for those still in it -- instead, moving forward into today.
I don't know.
I know this question has been asked, and answered, by many, but I'm asking it again. How much do you hold onto? If you could erase that whole period of time -- (IF,) pregnancy, and loss -- would you?
Just now, I said to C, I kind of wish I could just blank on the last 3 years. Or even the last five, as we approach 5 years of trying to have a living child (or working toward it). I don't know if I even meant it. I'm so tired of feeling sad and resentful and hopeful and tired. Tired of working to be hopeful and happy and productive in my work. Working to try to have a child. Depending on others, paying others to build our family. Especially when it seems other people's fertility is in my face -- and will be in my face for the rest of my life.
Sometimes I'm tempted to just chuck it all.
We were at the dog park with Stella today, talking with some of the local dog owner's group (who organized funding and creation of the park) and gushing about her. Stella. Our dog.
It felt a little ridiculous. We are so eager to talk about our sweet pup. We love her so much. She is the lucky recipient, I guess, of the love of frustrated, childless people.
Lately, there has been a very, very small voice inside that says, Wouldn't it be nice to just go on with the rest of your life without trying so hard, working so hard for this?
But I can't imagine it. I would have to run away to the other side of the world. Never see my (aggravating) sibs, never see my nieces/nephews (I assume there are more coming). Never see dear friends and family. I couldn't do that. As it is, I miss them all too much. Even when we live in the same town.
There is no eternal sunshine.
And even though I usually answer those questions with, I would rather have the pain because I get to remember the love and, especially, the joy.
I don't know anymore.
Maybe that's what's making all of this so difficult.
*The Queen of the Nile. Queen of Denial.