I am so sad.
This is, of course, to be expected.
And yet I fight the urge to pretend everything is OK. Because the truth is, I feel done being sad. Mentally, I want to skip over it, bury it, stuff it on a plane, mail it to Timbuktu, do anything with sad except BE IT.
I am over being “Sad Girl.”
But I have to tell you, my heart could care less about what my mind wants.
My heart feels heavy. Just achingly heavy all the time. It’s like carrying 20 pound weights around all day, just sitting on your chest. You want to ignore it. You can’t.
It demands your attention every time your mind is not actively occupied.”Hey, I’m here. Can you feel me? Remember why? Good — because for just a second I was afraid you had forgotten that the boy you raised and loved as your son is five minutes away, being raised by someone else, and this is supposed to be good. I’m just here to remind you that he could be feeling abandoned at this very second, and what can you do about it? Nothing. So, get comfortable, I’m just going to sit here, extra-heavy-like, to make sure you don’t forget again.”
Oh, thank you, big weight on my heart. How can I ever repay you for reminding me of the one thing I can’t get off my mind.
My heart is not the only thing bearing the brunt of grief, however unwelcome it is.
The other day, I went to the dentist. I was concerned I had a cavity. December was full of bad eating … Not just the holidays, but all the emotional eating from stress, the convenience eating from business, and well, yes, the holidays. (Specifically the mint M&Ms. I may have gone crazy on those.)
The play, and the emotional roller coaster that we called transition, took their collective toll on me.
Most nights I would go to bed, clothed in whatever scarf, hat, sweater, skinny jean combo I wore that day. My makeup was fully on (oh the shame), the contacts still sticky-glued to my eyeballs, and my teeth shamefully unbrushed.
When the kids we’re finally down, I’d fall into bed and conk out. Or, which actually happened most often, I’d fall asleep wherever the heck I was around the house, and my husband would carry me to bed.
At any rate, the sensitivity in my tooth I’d been feeling convinced me that I had outrun my good-tooth-luck, and after more than 2 decades without a filling, I would have to admit that I. Had. A. Cavity.
Turns out, my teeth are as healthy as ever. My stress level is not.
Stress at night has caused me to grind my teeth extra hard the last few weeks (unbeknownst to me), and was causing a sort of repeat trauma to my top tooth. Potentially, if we didn’t fix it, it could cause more pain and even make it loose.
And so I consented to having a layer of my offending teeth ground thinner, in hopes of relieving the pressure. I’m also to get a night guard.
Who knew grief gave you toothaches?
Grief does lots of things I don’t like. It can seperate you from friends and events you used to enjoy.
Grief means I’ve had to stop wearing any eye makeup. (Bring on the “you look tired comments I invariably get whenever I skip the eyeliner.)
Grief means I am liable to cry at any point.
There are books I refuse to read to my kids. There are stuffed animals that make me come undone when I see them. There are memories all around the house. Anything is likely to turn the flood of tears on.
There is the sting of noticing kids his age when we go out. I try not to stare, but sometimes I do. There’s the explaining you have to give people who know you just enough to know you had 3 kids, but not enough to know that one of them was a foster child who returned home.
There’s the texting mom all the information you feel she needs that comes randomly to mind. Things like the fact that he had a vitamin every day, or his allergist needed some paperwork and you need to get that to her, or words that he might be saying that might not make any sense to her. (When he says “Zaboo” he wants to watch Zoboomafoo on Netfkix, his favorite show.)
Then there’s the waiting to see if she’ll text back. Sometimes she does, sometimes not.
There’s the restraint I have to have to prevent me from texting mom to ask for a visit. To ask if she even still intends for their to be a visit. To ask for updates and photos and anything that would give me insight on how he’s really doing.
But I can’t ask her any of that. So I keep as silent as I can on my end, while still keeping communication lines open, and simply pray for a miracle.
It’s like going through the worst break up ever.
My dreams and insomnia are just as bad as ever.
Ryan thinks he wants to do this again.
I’m not sure I can ever love a child like I did Z.
Time. Time and God will make the next steps clear, right?
In the meantime, we’ve got the last of his remaining toys packed to give him one day. We stored all his old clothes, put away all the baby toys, baby bath, potty chair, high chair and car seat.
But I can’t seem to pack his shoes. It’s like I need something to remind me that he really was here, really was my baby, and was not just a dream.
And arb night, my arms hurt for wanting to hold him. I want to kiss his cheeks, and smell his stinky big feet while he giggles, take him to the park, rock him one last time.
In the last few days, I snuck as many kisses in as he would let me. I’ve probably given him a thousand kisses.
But 1,000 kisses aren’t enough.
Because I would give just about anything for just one more.