January 11, 2013

Memory is a Terrible Thing When You Use it Right.

I haven't blogged in a while. Dictating and recording a life is a little difficult when you are attempting to survive it. But I do feel remiss. Things have happened. This post won't be pretty, but I will do my best to make it beautiful.

By now, everyone is aware that the love of my life died June 30th, 2012 at 1:36pm.
Yes. I recall that date, that time, every few hours, every day. And not just because I have his time of death as an reminder on my phone. This tragedy shut me down a little. It changed me. It altered how I see the world. This is assumed. This is obvious. This is not surprising. This is not what this post is about.

This post is about the miscarriage I suffered throughout the month of December and how I manage to convince myself that there is some reason to still get out of bed in the morning.

It wasn't a huge surprise. Nothing in my life ever really seems to be. All I knew to do was exhale. What better woman to be growing life inside her than the broken doll that felt life drain from her hands mere weeks before. In keeping with tradition, this development was not a secret to the people in my life. We made jokes. I was self-deprecating. There were deep conversations. There was more laughter. I cried. It was all we knew how to do.

But at the end of November, I started bleeding. Again, not surprising. I was having trouble keeping myself sustained, I was shocked my body had even gotten as far as it had in growing new life. It was barely keeping the old one afloat.
I went to the hospital. No heartbeat. I nodded. They gave me the list of warning signs and told me that there wasn't anything to do that nature wouldn't take care of on it's own. Come back if you have a fever. Watch your bleeding. Sorry for your loss. I didn't even get a pamphlet. The bleeding continued. Not a lot, but enough. My breasts stopped feeling sore. They never grew in size. I stopped gaining weight. I had no additional symptoms. My body just... quit.

I knew the feeling.

Weeks passed. The bleeding and the fatigue and the emptiness continued but never really got any better, nor any worse.Until one night when there was a additional gush of blood. Most normal people at this point would have been concerned. Concerned about their own health and safety. Concerned about the possibility of a mistake. Most people would have asked someone for help.
I, of course, did not.

Because tragedy was not a surprise.

So I called and ran over the list of symptoms and the nurse explained that "every woman is different." That was an under-statement in my case. I let it go. I stopped eating. I stopped drinking. My sleeping was a mess. I constantly cried and laughed and felt generally horrible. I had financial setbacks. The holidays were killing me. I wanted to quit my life. Noting out of the ordinary or surprising and yet everything felt too new to predict or control. So I decided not to fight it. And I continued to bleed. Every day.

"How are you feeling?"
"You look tired."
"How are you holding up?"
"Can I get you anything?"
"What do you need?"
"It will get better."
"You are so strong."
"We love you, Bee."

Between the holidays, my disintegrating new dating life, general pity, and my health, I couldn't decipher when one symptom bled into another only to become actual blood and what, if anything, I could do about any of it. Every fiber of my being was a sullen extension of a dying woman that finished sentences and told jokes.

After an excruciatingly long and hard month, I was ready for a reprieve. I had Christmas plans, I finally purchased gifts a week before Christmas day... it was almost over. 2012 was almost fucking over. I just needed to hold out a couple of more weeks.
A friend from Prana Holistic here in Edmonton came by one night to give me reflexology. She was aghast at my physical reaction to her treatment and explained that something was definitely not okay. I agreed. Nothing was okay.

That night I started to get a fever. I made the joke that her witchcraft was killing me and she was fired. The fever hit 103 degrees. Thinking it was sepsis from the miscarriage, I took the necessary precautions. If every woman was different, I was unrecognizable. I was sure this was par for the course. After all, wasn't everything? Nothing surprised me. So I slept and waited. Waited to get better. Waited for health. Waited for the holidays to come and go. Waited for my energy and my life to feel like mine again. I laid there thinking something wasn't right. I looked around and realized that nothing was right. So, I tried to sleep.

"How did you not know you were miscarrying this whole time?"
"Didn't you feel something was wrong?"
"How did you not go seek help?"
"We love you, Bee." 

Christmas eve, as I was waiting for my friend to show with eggnog so we could ring in Santa's birthday in style, I began to feel cramping. Not hugely painful, but not quite ignorable either. I said aloud, "Well, that's a feeling I haven't felt before..."
But nothing surprised me anymore. I went to the washroom.

I froze.

All I could see were tiny fingers amongst the bowl of my own blood, waving like a greeting and a good bye.

I immediately felt the life of us both drain from the room. 

"How are you feeling?"
"You look tired."
"How are you holding up?"
"Can I get you anything?"
"What do you need?"
"It will get better."
"You are so strong."
"We love you, Bee."

I could go into detail about retrieving it, mourning it, burying it. And I have considered it. Considered going into all the detail I so desperately longed for when I spent nights on websites and message boards digging for answers. And maybe one day I will. For the woman in small town Saskatchewan or Ontario or Minnesota three years from now who wants to know how different a woman she has to be before something is deemed wrong enough to worry about.

It was hard to move like a hollow shell through the next few days. I only told the necessary people I needed to and let the rest enjoy their Christmases as much as they could. People asked me how I was doing as the first Christmas without Greg would be the hardest one. I agreed and smiled. I told them I was okay and I wondered if I was lying.

"Can I be done now?", I weeped.

I thought it was over. Except it wasn't.

I proceeded to have what can only be described as labour alone in my bathroom as my body writhed in pain in an expedited attempt to eject what was left of the life previously distilled. The pain and blood were indescribable. At one point, limp and ruined in a dark bathroom, I gave in to the reality that I may die. I even said good bye. Aloud. To no one. After four hours, I opened my eyes and could actually see again. The bathroom may have resembled a murder scene, but I was still alive. I would like to say I was relieved but something happens when you give up on your own life. Especially after you have witnessed a smaller life give up on you.

The last few weeks I have experienced the typical physical, emotional, and hormonal adjustment period. Nothing surprising. I have had support. I have had love. I have had moments of laughter and joy. As with the tragedy of Greg's death, I feel I owe my sanity and my soul's armor to those around me who refused to let me whither and die. No matter how many times I decided to give up.

Because that is what I have realized. Life doesn't have boundaries. It can't be contained in a dying body, or a forming child, or a listless woman in a pile of tears on the floor. It resonates and undulates in everything and everyone. The life force from my friend's fingers into my feet; the life force in the soup or slurpee brought to my door at midnight; the life injected through the hugs, the tears, the kisses, the gestures made by even people I have never met. Life has changed forms a lot in the past six months, but it hasn't left me. It hasn't quit.

And neither have I.

"We love you, Bee."

So for now, I will let the woman who still looks at the pictures of her dead child every day look inside for a while at the life she has left. I will let her feel the love and the life that has kept her afloat while surrounded by death and the disintegration of the world she knew.
Maybe she can heal first before she attempts to heal the world. Or recreate it.

Maybe she can start to surprise herself.


Elaine Doucette said...

I love you like crazy, Bee. Like. Fucking. Crazy.

You are extraordinary.

Two Thimbles said...

I want you to know, that as a person who doesn't know you all that well, I have love for you and your heart and who you are and I want you to make it through. You are important in this world and even though we aren't close, your facebooks your blogs your tweets are important in my life.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. Your candour is as inspiring as it is heartrending. You're an amazing human. I'm continually humbled by the way you live your life, and so grateful to know you.

xoxo Allie

Anonymous said...

My God. How have you stayed sane and such a source of joy for those around you? You are incredible.

Anonymous said...

Hello Sheena, my name is Robin, and besides knowing your wonderful mother Sharon, who is a Beacon of Love & Light, we have the loss of a spouse and child in common. My wife was pregnant when she was taken from us, and me, by a drunk driver. When I read your words from your most recent post, I felt many feelings from the past come back in a nanosecond, and I mourned the loss of Greg and your child for many hours. It is now a little past 2:00 am and I thought I would write to you and tell you how your blog affected me like no other I have read, and I have read many, many blogs without ever commenting. I will thank your mother for sending me the link so I could read it and understand your words. I re-lived my own loss of the loves of my life and took up a tablet of paper and a favorite pen and began to write about so much that was and still is inside of me. The writings have magically formed themselves into a number of songs that I will take with an old favorite guitar to some open stages around Edmonton and will bare my soul for whomever is listening there that evening, let them look inside of me with any fear of sometimes handy judgement calls. Thank you for being a catalyst for their creation Sheena.

The instrument called 'Guitar' literally saved my life Sheena. If you would like me to bring you one, as I share my instruments with other kindred spirits and complete strangers, please tell your mother and I will bring one to you. You don't have to know how to play a guitar to let the music inside to come to your ears. And if you are wanting to learn to play any instrument, I will give to music lessons as well :)

On YouTube, I am 'Cooktree', the nickname given to me by some tough hard men at Syncrude during the 1990's, because my love of cooking made even the most crusty, hardboiled men actually emote in a surprisingly happy/kind/polite/gobsmackingly friendly fashion.

Here's the link to my cheesey music videos on YouTube. I will come back and read your words again and not finish my introductory greeting with any cliches. If you feel the need to write to me, whether a few words or an epic novel, your mother has my email address.

I still see the world much the same way as I always did, if that makes any sense at all.


Anonymous said...

Give it a fucking rest. You don't have to remind everyone of the date and time of Greg's death. You fucking Facebooked it and less than 6 months later, you're fucking someone else. Saying pretty words doesn't change that shit.

Jenn said...

Wow. You're a useless fucking wretch, aren't you? Grief is a private process, different for everyone, and you should be ashamed of yourself for this post. I hope, two and a half years later, that you're fucking ashamed of yourself. I wish you'd shared your name, because I'd love to find your sorry ass and teach you some empathy. Fuck you.