Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Gift. Or Two.

I got two gifts today.

I bought one for myself--I ordered a bracelet with Eliza's name on it.  I knew I wanted something but I wasn't sure what exactly.  Another mom whose daughter died posted a blog about buying a bracelet with her daughter's name, so it seemed like an answer to that question and I followed her example (although I ordered a different style).

I felt good after I ordered the bracelet.  It will be a visible way to wear my grief without actually having to have my heart bleed through my shirt on a daily basis, staining everything I wear and horrifying everyone who sees me (although that would be more appropriate, really).  I also hope that eventually this pain will soften enough that it will be a way for me to think about her and remember her without collapsing into a tear-soaked mess.

So there's that.

The other gift was a blog entry written by someone else.  I found it by clicking around online and it was the answer that I needed.  My question was "How do I keep from losing my mind?"

Again, it's the kind of thing that sounds so dramatic until it's really true.

I keep wondering how I will keep from going crazy.  I was talking last night with a friend about the way grief can make people really nuts and I said that I wonder if my therapist will recommend antidepressants.

I wonder what it says about me if I don't need them.

It's that thought that haunts me most of all.

This blog works to answer those questions so if you have time to read it, click over.

(All three links go to the same blog entry.  I'm just trying to be thorough here, folks.)


  1. Brooke,

    I think the antidepressant question is one we all encounter and grapple with in navigating this grief - I know I have. For the first three months (at least) my therapist had the following "barometer" for my sanity: Are you getting sleeping? (Sometimes.) Are you eating? (Sometimes.) Are you getting to your obligations (work) as you need to? (Yes.) Are you showering? (Sometimes.) For her, that was more than adequate. Lately the barometer has shifted a bit more towards "functioning" but even still she has a fairly lenient barometer which I find extraordinarily helpful.

    There are times I wish that I could take a pill that would make all that pain go away, much like the epidural did for me after laboring for three days without one...But, alas, I really do think this is a "only way out is through" kind of experience. Fortunately, and unfortunately, I suppose.

    My prenatal chiropractor, who subsequently has become a dear friend, lost her son just three days shy of his first birthday. She knows this path, all too well. But she's also two and a half years down the road, so she can offer some perspective when I have lost mine. She frequently reminds me how this does feel like insanity, that we worry we are losing our minds. (Or sometimes I don't even worry about it, I am just convinced that I am truly insane now, and forever.) She reminds me and assures me that yes, this is normal, this is okay, this is to be expected. "The New Normal" for me, is, at times, simply that every and anything is absolutely unpredictable and uncontrollable and scary and chaotic and totally unfamiliar. Insanity.

    There is great comfort in holding the hands of women who walk this path with us. There is also just
    indescribable, tremendous loneliness, because no matter what, when it comes down to it, we are alone in this terrible, terrible pain. It just sucks, no two ways about it, but together we will muddle through.

    Sending you love and light in the darkest of these days,

  2. Ha ha - I just realized I wrote "getting sleeping" - evidence of the fact that, indeed, I am only "sometimes" "getting sleeping," and only sometimes, coherent.

  3. Me again.

    I just went and read onceamother's blog that you linked to. It is so good, so true, so well thought out and so well explained. Should be handed out to every mother whose child dies, with a reminder to read it at least once a week.

    (Someday when I have more time, I will share the full story of walking past my former therapist's house (she also happens to be a neighbor) on Halloween, 5 weeks after Otis died. My dog began barking at her Halloween decorations and then grabbed the tombstone and raced around her yard with it, and then knocked the skeleton bones around the yard....all the while, there is me, scurrying, trying to put it all back together before she came out to see her client whose baby had just died rearranging and playing with the bones and tombstones in her front yard...My husband and I were greatly worried that we would become forever known as "that couple" in the neighborhood that just never quite pulled it back together after their son died.)

  4. Can you send a picture of your bracelet?

  5. Thanks for sharing the link to Once A Mother, so well said! Glad you found a bracelet to keep Eliza close to you. I have a necklace that I wear daily and has Lily's name on it with the two rings the hospital gave us when she died. It makes me feel that in a way she is with me and I often hold to it during difficult moments. I hope your bracelet brings you the same comfort.

  6. i was already on ADs before my pregnancy, so after sitting around catatonic in my stinky pajamas for 4 months, i knew what i needed to do. i went to a therapist who deals mainly with PPD. he said that i have something called complicated grief
    --ya think?! and he gave me ads which i promptly stopped taking because we were gearing up for another ivf. by sometime near the summer, i was having a really hard time again, and went to my family doctor who took the time to sit and help me find one that i could take before/during ivf anf up to the 2nd tri of preg. i have been on it ever since. i upped my dosage in october around the girls' birthday. i was having panic attacks in my sleep. it was rough.
    i only hope that in between the sadness and pain you are able to find pockets of happiness and peace.

  7. Lis--"Complicated grief." Was there ever a more accurate diagnosis? I hope you're finding peace as well.

  8. Brooke and David

    Someday and somewhere, the light will shine again. When you least expect it, you will see joy instead of pain.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, here in the present, and with your baby girl, Eliza, in the forever.


  9. I bought a necklace when my daughter died, it was one of those kind that split apart. It says "May the Lord watch between me & thee while we are apart from one another". I have half and the other I buried with her. I loved your description of it being a visible example of grief. At the time it was for me, now it brings me hope knowing I will see her again. Thanks for sharing Brooke :) Love ya!

  10. I don't there's any way that you can stop grief from making you crazy. In fact, I believe that if you try to STOP grieving, you probably will go crazy.


    Losing a child changes you. Some people may think that when you stop grieving, you will go back to the person you were. Firstly, I don't think you will ever stop grieving for your lost child. Secondly, your loss and your grief will change the person you are.

    But that doesn't make you crazy. It makes you you.

  11. Reading over the comments there is so much sage advice here. I just wanted to add that being on antidepressants or not being on antidepressants really doesn't say anything about how much you are grieving your child. It is all about brain chemistries and physiology and all sorts of other stuff too. Some people find that they need them while others do not. There is no shame either way, so don't worry too much about them until/if you need to (if that makes sense).