On anxiety and a thank you
I’m sitting here in our family room staring blankly around the room. Carlos is cleaning out the fridge. Removing all the items and drawers. Carefully and thoughtfully cleaning each space and ledge. He is wiping down bottles, jars and containers of food that really no longer are of much interest to either of us. Throwing away the things that inevitably get pushed to the back, forgotten about and expired. He fixed the door to the fridge as well. Since we bought this house a year ago the door to that appliance doesn’t close all the way unless you push it. Fixing it was on his list of things to do while on his three weeks of paternity leave. Other things on the list include the remodel of one of our bathrooms we have been planning, getting in for several doctors appointments he has been putting off, getting estimates for the new AC unit we inevitably need to purchase and moving a large wood pile in the back yard to a new location. Some how, though all these things seem completely pointless and irrelevant to us now, he is plugging away at them.
I had no such list. I was supposed to be with Sylvia caring for her every need, feeding her, changing her, loving on her, only to hand her to Carlos for him to do the same. I was supposed to be exhausted from not sleeping. I was supposed to complain about how I didn’t have time for a shower. I was supposed to only have the energy to wear sad leggings, my expensive nursing bras and baggy t-shirts. I was supposed to be staring down at the most perfect creation I had ever laid eyes on continually reminding myself in disbelief that she was ours and we made her.
Instead, I am sitting here confused and empty with what to do with myself. Most days at least a handful of times I walk aimlessly from room to room of our house. Not pacing, not with a purpose, not even with a thought. Just a confused wander really. Everything we had planned is gone. I turn 30 next month. An event I was so excited about and am now terrified. Sylvia was going to be a skunk for Halloween. That is gone. Thanksgiving and Christmas had new meanings and now seem like an entry way to a very dark depression. First smile, first laugh, first words, first steps, first birthday…loosing a child robs you of an entire future.
My days are strange as I literally have nothing planned. Though physically I have been healing well, I am still on postpartum restrictions. I’ve been going for walks, but tend to get bad cramps after a bit and have uncomfortable milk letdowns periodically. We have been going on small escapes out of town but often still find ourselves with a ‘now what’ blank stare. The TV is of complete disinterest. Aside from texts, my phone might as well be dropped off a cliff. I have posted several things to my Instagram but have not checked my feed since I was admitted to the hospital. Seeing everyone’s lives continue on the way it always has still feels like too much for me to handle. Though I know many have been emotionally impacted by Sylvia’s death their lives go on largely unaffected. Ours does not. I do okay when I can control what comes into my personal space. My Instagram feed still feels too personally invasive. My Pinterest is flooded with things it thinks I might like, most of which are articles, images or info graphics related to pregnancy, babies or parenthood. Friends and family coming over planned I do great with, love it in fact. Our friends that keep coming over, sitting with us, crying, hugging, grieving, laughing and talking is therapy. We want to share Sylvia. Going to friends and families houses, I enjoy it. What I can’t seem to handle are unexpected encounters that leave me reeling, debilitated with anxiety. I know a lot of people don’t know how to handle or respond to what has happened, and that is fine, we don’t really either. But the family, friends, acquaintances and even total strangers that have so wonderfully with heart felt words once, twice or the many that continually check in on us deserve a huge thank you.
People keep saying, ‘I don’t know what to say.’ That’s okay, friend, we don’t either.
Others say, ‘I can’t even imagine what you guys are going though.’ We respond that we can’t either.
Many say sincerely, ‘I am so sorry,’ to which we reply that we are too.
There is nothing anyone can do or say that can make this any better, it’s true. I wish every thoughtfully written card, gorgeous bouquet, generous gift or tight hug could scrape off layers of this wound. They can’t. However, the human connection and the love and support we have overwhelmingly received since Sylvia’s death has touched our hearts. Every text, phone call, visit, card, bouquet, gift and hug has literally brought both Carlos and I to tears. So thank you, thank you, thank you. Truly. It means a tremendous amount to us. There has been no action, thought, word or message that has gone unnoticed.
Carlos is done with the fridge now and has headed into the back yard to start a new project. I’m still sitting in the same spot. Today it’s been two weeks since Sylvia was born. I received a necklace I ordered a couple days ago today in the mail that has a tiny gold dove on it. All I’ve accomplished today was not collapsing into tears, anxiety and sadness when Carlos put it around my neck.