Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Conference Approaches

I haven't had much (any) time to blog lately. It's been all hands on deck as the conference approaches. I've moved my laptop from the couch to the dining table so you know things are getting serious. My mom is here now to help out with our daughter who I pretty much won't get to see for two days. This is a huge problem for me and I'm combing through the conference program to see when my mom can bring her to the venue so Pete & I can see her during breaks. Of course she will be fine, it will all be fine, I'm not worried about it, I just don't like it. Meanwhile conference planning is going really well. We're at about three quarters capacity which we are just thrilled about. We're getting last minute registrations, both bereaved parents and healthcare professionals. I posted this morning on SLC's fb page that we already consider this event a huge success because of all the interest it has generated from a variety of groups and individuals, and because we feel we're helping Canada link up to all the great work that's going on internationally.

There is so much going on behind the scenes, it's amazing. As Still Life Canada, we have to sort of be "on message" but as a private individual, I can say Holy shit, we've really started something here. What we are doing seems to be resonating with so many different people. We are buoyed up by that, but we also feel the pressure. When we first started talking about the idea of this conference, over a year ago now, we said, What if no one comes? What if no one cares?? Now I'm feeling almost a "fear of success" because of what will come after. The expectations vs what we can realistically achieve. We are accomplishing so much in such a short time and we're pleased about that, but there's a cost too. An emotional cost. We are all still relatively new to our grief, and new to the world of stillbirth. The learning curve has been steep, both personally and for Still Life Canada. When you start something like this, I think it's easy to look back and say, We should have done this or We should have done it that way. But really, it had to happen this way.

I think about the people who will be coming on Friday and Saturday and I'm reminded of something Dr. Cacciatore taught us - when you are with the bereaved, you are on sacred ground. Tread gently. We are both the organizers and the bereaved. We are stepping very mindfully indeed.

I never forget that this is all happening because Toren died, and specifically, because he died before he was born. This is not to "compete" with other types of child loss. But I have learned that stillbirth is its own unique situation with its own unique challenges. I also never forget that this is all happening because he lived.

I've had some very dark moments in the last few days where I just wanted to give up and not be a part of any of this. I gave into that frustration a few times and felt very alone. But it was also a release and a time of reflection and stillness before re-emerging and accepting once again - more than accepting, embracing - this life. Again, beautiful words from Dr Jo came to me: "it was in the darkness when I truly found myself."

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