Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Greenleaf

I've been watching this show and in an early episode a couple is expecting twins but one of the twins dies in utero and it's never mentioned. One thing that really bothers me is when writers introduce a stillborn baby into a narrative but then just drop it, like there are no repercussions for the family. Now on S2 E11 the bereaved mother confides in a friend that she feels like the baby is a kite floating in the sky alone and she's the only one holding on and if she lets go the baby will fly away forever and she thinks about her every day. Friend says "You can let go" and I think oh shit not this bullshit again but then he says "I'll hold it for a while and I will never let go." and then he says the baby's name. She says she hasn't heard her name since she first died. In a later scene she's holding the twin who survived and telling him "Just because I cry for your sister doesn't mean you're not enough." It really captures the feeling I've had of being pulled in two different directions, mourning my son and raising his sister. I want her to know that true love never dies, and she is enough. She doesn't need to be or do anything to make up for her brother's death.

Scenes like these are rare. I wish all writers would not just use stillborn babies as a gimmick. Unless you're prepared to write them in as characters and not just props, don't do it.

He's not just some tragic event that happened in our lives. He's not a plot twist. He's a person, a family member, someone to keep loving and missing and including. And we will never let go.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Milestone

Big sister turned 10 yesterday. I spent part of the day beating myself up for getting more upset about the presents arriving in time than the tragic fact that he is not with us for this big milestone in her life. I think I have been really blocking my feelings on this one out of fear. I think some part of me still  believes I'm going to lose my mind about it all at some point. I just can't believe we are a family of 3 instead of 4. I don't think I will ever be able to believe it. She is such a warm, loving person, with no brother to spend it on. We sometimes spend time with siblings who fight but I just know they wouldn't be like that. In group someone said they were told "Don't idealize your dead baby." Fuck that. I know my kids.

We had a wonderful, full day yesterday. I'm angry and sad he missed it.











Friday, June 22, 2018

Not Sure Where To Put This


When he first died I met some people who were into scrapbooking and it inspired me to make this frame. It's been moved around our apartment over the years, usually propped up on a bookcase or dresser, and I've finally decided to put it up somewhere permanent. For a long time now I've been unsure about whether I actually like this frame. It's not really my typical style (she said, side-eyeing the flower petals around the border of this blog) and the people who inspired it have since become another source of pain. Long story. There is so much I could write about the history of this project, the details of the various pieces, and of course the photos. But I've gotten attached to it for obvious reasons. And now I think I do actually like it. It's sort of whimsical without being cloying. It's very much associated with his being a newborn baby and not the 6 year old he should be. That's fine. I haven't decided how to manage the idea that he's both a newborn baby and a 6 year old. Maybe it's not one solid decision but more like an endlessly treacherous walk along a dangerous cliff with an inspiring view.

So I got out the mallet and nails, moved some photos around to make space and...realized just how dusty this frame is. And because of all those delicate little scrapbooky pieces, it's actually quite hard to keep clean. I tried vacuuming and dusting by hand. I guess I will have to get some Qtips or something. Some of that dust is quite stubborn. Now I'm conflicted. Do I want a dusty photo frame of him? Not just up on the wall, but at all? Dust represents neglect. Decay. Time passing unnoticed. Normally I couldn't care less about dust. It's more of an annoyance that I can't be bothered to deal with. And that's the problem. I know I will go for long stretches without dusting it, or even noticing it's dusty. But this feels so symbolic. What does it say about me as a mother if I put up a perpetually dusty photo of my baby. What does it say about my love for him. Spoiler alert: there is no answer to these queries. It's just part of the experience of being his mother. 

Of all the struggles I've experienced since he was born, I never could have anticipated this one. It feels idiotic. At the time it was just a seemingly harmless arts and crafts activity I did to honour him. Something bereaved parents do. An Outlet For My Grief (TM). I could have read 800 babyloss blogs (I probably have) and not come across this specific challenge. 

So add this one to the list. Weird stupid unanticipated shit I have to deal with because my baby died.