Friday, February 5, 2010

Comfort in numbers?

I have to preface this post by saying that I have a wonderfully supportive family and small but amazing group of friends. Those who have stuck with me, really, truly stuck with me through this past year, give meaning to the idea of true friendship. I commend them really, those who have chosen to ride this storm out at my side. 

Sometimes I sit and think on it, wondering how I would feel in their shoes. Honestly, I don't know how I would handle me, were I looking in from their side. I imagine it can't be easy being around someone who you met one way (happy, upbeat, outgoing, career driven, motivated, successful) and then find yourself looking for reasons to stick around when those qualities disappear. I have, in the span of 17 months, become nearly an exact opposite of the old me. 

Sure, there are those who would say, "That's not true Krissy. You still tell stories, you're the same you." and maybe sometimes I am, outwardly. Maybe I have figured out that to keep any friends at all, I had to find a way to silence my grief into a sort of background static. Maybe I have realized that what goes through the mind of a woman who has held her child as she died, what that does to a person, to their heart, to their core, that it is too ugly a business to share, or more to the point, too ugly a business to share with those you love, because they deserve their right at naive innocence.

And so maybe that is why I have felt so down this week, because I feel so tired, and exhausted by this roller coaster of loss and infertility, and so terribly misunderstood. My friends and family, they can try, but they will never truly "GET IT." It's not their fault, and I hope they never have to "get it." Unless someone has gone through this (and I pray they never do), there is just a level of understanding that is impossible to attain regardless of how much one might want to understand, or how much they love you. And that is how you end up in my dilemma. I am loved, so very loved, but also so alone.

I am lonely for someone to talk to who really understands the depth of this loss. That it doesn't go away in a year. That a permanent shift in me has taken place at a level so deep, so organic, that it cannot be erased. Someone who will never make me feel that I am taking too long, grieving too hard, or missing her too much. Sometimes I feel judged, and I know that this doesn't mean I am being judged, but sometimes I feel judged. Little comments made here and there break my heart because they hint at the hope of those around me that I could "get back to normal." There is no "back to normal" after this. There is only finding a way to move forward, forever changed.

My therapist asked me last week what my next step was. I told her, "I am having so much trouble finding that next step, that I just pray to God that the next step finds me."

That is not bull. It is not laziness. I don't have any idea what my next step in anything is. Life, career, family. For someone who used to be a Type A control freak, this last year and a half has made painfully obvious all that is out of my control.

Earlier this week I posted a status on FB that read:. 

Kristin sometimes wishes she had a few BLM's to talk to IRL. 

In response to this status, two people suggested that I find a support group for bereaved parents. The subject of support groups is one that hasn't been broached in a long time. We attended a group meeting very early on and it was an epic failure. I was a total mess who just cried the entire time. Feeling that it wasn't helping, we never went back. 

Getting those suggestions on FB had me wondering if maybe now, with so much time having passed, if I could feel a little braver this time around and attend these meetings.

I looked into the group that had been suggested to me, and visited the website, reading the profiles of each of the members.

Story after story told of children whose lives were cut too short by car accidents, cancer, brain diseases. With each story my heart grew heavier. This group of grieving parents was just another glaring reminder that there is no shortage of grief in this world, and that things can be so damn unfair. So many wanted, loved, children. Gone.

The next meeting for this group is still a few weeks away, and I don't know for sure if I am going to attend. As the date approaches, I guess I will PAGL it, and see what I come up with. There are so many questions. Would I feel comfortable walking into a room of strangers this way again? Would the meeting bring healing, or only more tears? Right now, I am just not sure.

I wish there was a way to bring some of the members of this community together, in person. That I think is what I was really referring to in my FB status. Maybe it should have read:

Kristin wishes she knew some of her amazing babyloss blog friends who have meant so much to her this past year, in real life.

Some of my most healing connections have been made with other mommas right here through this blog, and while I know it is impossible (some of my closest bloggy friends live half a world away, and others all over this country) wouldn't it be nice? 

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to sit in a room, to be yourself, and for once, to feel totally understood in your grief? 


  1. I get it........... =( I had planned to go to a grief share meeting tonight, but as the hour approached I couldn't bring myself to go.

    I feel the need to often stay positive, hide my tears, bury my is a way to protect others from my pain. It hits me at the most unexpected times. Two nights ago I was driving home from a meeting in bumper to bumper LA traffic and I just started crying uncontrollably. I couldn't catch my breath. But at least I was alone and no one witnessed it.

    I wish I had more to offer tonight except "i get it." I understand and I will pray for your strength and for Peyton's love to embrace you during the difficult days.


  2. Yes, to answer your question, yes a million times. I have thought about going to a local group support b/c I am TIRED of this mask that I have to wear to have friends (you put it SO extremely well). For now I am looking to art therapy. I am actually pretty excited about it (hoping it doesn't cost an arm and a leg!)

    I wish a million times that we could somehow just meet face to face together. This community is where I find my biggest supporters.

    Thinking of you and hope your next big step finds you. And wishing you all the best if you decide to go to the group meeting.


  3. I'm going to try a group support meeting next week. I'm not sure how I'll find it (it's just over 3 months). I'm worried about just crying all the way through.

    I have meet some blms IRL - a group had organised a weekend together and I went. It was amazing to be around people that just understood. That you could show photos of your baby and know they wouldn't find it strange. That when you cried, just hugged you and didn't try and 'fix it'. To be around a group of people and not be terrified they were about to say something hurtful just because they don't understand.

    I hope you can find a group or someone close enough to meet.

    Maddie x

  4. Bree (Ella's mom) and I met through our support group. I treasure her as my friend and supporter and I hope she feels teh same way about me. Our support group is small but after one year of grieving it feels like a family. I have blogged about our group meeting this month, and I am sure you will find that useful. And lets become friends on facebook if that is ok with you. Peyton is a beautiful angel baby and I cannot even imagine you not thinking about her or grieving for her. I am beginning to feel as if my life will now revolve around my grief for Akul. I do not usually talk about my child with people, but that is because I have always been a very private person. It is only very special people, with caring hearts and gentle eyes who get to know my Akul. My support group has many such people. I talk about Akul there. It is my safe haven... just like my blog. they understand and cry many tears with me just as I cry with them. Hugssssssss Peyton's mom... the grief is here to stay.

  5. I would love to spend time in real life with the bloggy mamas who I've grown to love over this past lonely year. I have no one IRL who gets it either Kristin and while I'm glad for them, I'm sad for me that this journey has been so lonely at times. It's kind of strange to say, but when I think of us all getting together, in my mind I see our babies there too. Maybe it's because the image I have of most of you is so entertwined with the love you have for your babies that I find it hard to think of one without the other. Wishing there was a way...Hugs

  6. Oh Kristin how I relate to this post. I've written similar things myself. It is feeling lonely when you're not alone. Even in a room full of people. Just feeling so alone and isolated in your pit of never ending grief.
    And I too feel I am misunderstood. That's why sometimes it is just easier to put on a front, even though it is always just so fake.
    I too wish I could meet some of you girls in person. I'm sure we could talk and cry for hours, and you know maybe even laugh, too.

  7. Kristin,

    I'm a long time lurker emerging to make a comment. I lost one of my twins to NEC about 2.5 years ago and have subsequently realized that another pregnancy is probably impossible without some sort of fertility assistance. So, I get some of what you're feeling.

    I think that the problem with support groups is that they meet for such a short time and so infrequently that they just become a pressure chamber for all of your sadness and ugliness.

    I attended a full weekend retreat organized by Angie (still life wth circles) in the fall and it was incredibly uplifting and encouraging. I think this is partly because of the women who attended but it's also just spending time on things other than grief. We crafted, cooked together, told funny stories, and just sort of occupied each others' space for a while.

    I don't know where you are. I don't know if we're having an east coast retreat again this year but I can't recommend it highly enough. It made me feel like a fully functional human again.


  8. I agree. I often wish I could meet in real life. ONE great thing that happened for me and my husband. We went to a parents support group and found another couple... same as us... and now we have fun together and they don't think we are strange when we say things like I bet Joseph and Grace are boyfriend/girlfriend in heaven... they laugh too. So I don't go back to the support groups becuase, well It just is too sad for me... BUT I do have new friends that will be there in real life and I'm thankful. SO my suggestion is get in... hope you connect and then get out. Good luck. Blog Friend!!

  9. Would it be possible to get in touch with one person from meeting and meet them one on one first? That may help going in actually speaking to one person and having one recognizable face when going into the meeting..

    My thoughts and prayers are with you...

  10. Grief is so unwanted in society, it's like a stone in someone's shoe. People try to make it go away, and their intentions are good, but you need them to just BE with your grief. It's hard to get that across. My grief is different to yours, it's for my father, but I recognise what you are saying. I also break down and cry in the traffic, like Bobbie does, I think it's safe there, nobody will try to make it go away. I'm even tired of burdening my husband with my grief. I can say this, that 18 months down the line, I have started to find a little bit of joy in my life again. The old me is back sometimes, but she's better than before, maybe a bit wiser. I hope you will also experience that tiny crack of light in the darkness soon. You are still there. And you will survive this.

  11. *sigh** I completely agree with everything.. I have a few friends that have baby lost IRL, but they are in a different stages of grief... anyway, I hope you go and find some comfort..BIG HUGS!

  12. Kristin, I find most of my support from this blog community. It is where I come to be myself and to share with others who understand. I also go to a monthly support group and I was hesitant to go at first. These people are my new family and I am not sure where I would be without them and this blog community. I hope you give the group another chance. We go to a group specifically for infant loss. We tried a different meeting that included all ages, but that just didn't seem to fit for us.

    I wish I could meet in person all of these wonderful people as well. I have talked to a few people who live closer to me (in New England area) about getting together sometime.

  13. Yes! I think it would be amazing if we could all be real life friends.
    And oh yes, I meant to tell you, but the card you sent me from Peyton's charity is so lovely. I have it on my mantel shelf next to a photo of Florence, and I smile each time I look at it. x

  14. Thanks again for this honest post. I so get a lot of what you say. I too have some really close friends but there is a limit to how much they can "get it". And yes, grief is a lonely journey. | have met a few people in blogging land and gone on to become friends on facebook and it is great to be able to chat online.

    I hope you find a positive way forward that brings you the support you need

    Take care

  15. I hear you as well. I feel very alone and like more of a recluse day by day. People's lives go on and they forget about the sadness of mine (and more importantly they seem to forget about my son). I struggle with how to continue to move forward in this world with so many people whizzing by me who don't understand. I hope you find comfort in the support group.

  16. There are so many lovely you sweet lady...that I wish I could hold right now. I couldn't have made it this far without all of you. None of you live in Montana....none. And, maybe it's best...because in this way, we can all write when we our weak moments of tears, and our silent moments of heavy grief where you can only BE in small quantities. In this way...we can all be there for each other when we can be. But....One I'd love to hug you.

  17. Kristin, I can relate to your post. Feeling so alone, scared of going to the group meetings and wanting to be able to meet other loss mama's in person. I feel like only other loss mom's truly understand me too. I hope to someday be able to meet you and give you a great big giant hug in person. Take care and God bless.

  18. This really resonates with me right now. I went to a share meeting when I first moved to this area but it just seemed to amplify my grief. At the same time it made me feel like in comparison to some of the other people there, people who, like you, got to meet their children far too briefly, my grief was hardly justified. I barely got to make my little one's small body when I miscarried and yet the pain is still so deep. I have no one IRL to talk to about any of this. My husband wasn't anywhere near as affected by our loss and I feel like he has to be tired of hearing about it by now. I've thought about going back but I just don't think I'm ready, even 16 months later. I wish we could all get together and just grieve together, be honest with our emotions.

  19. Great post, speaks from all of our hearts **hugs** It would be nice to have more blogger ladies nearby. I had met Kerry at Making Coyne a few months ago and it was amazing, like I knew her forever. I am not strong enough mentally to go to one of those meetings, it's really difficult and I completely understand your anxiety about it. One other thing besides blogging that has really helped me is finding an online forum, and there are many out there and alot of them have all sorts of grief topics. The forum I found was for loss of multiples, but I will keep on the lookout for something that might help you if you want. Other than that, we could all post what state we are in and see who is closest! I am in PA. Hugs and love, Nan xo

  20. This post describes me completely. I am not the person I used to be and won't ever be her again and I know there are so many people in my life that are tired of the new me and getting frustrated by the fact that I am not "back to normal" yet. It's so hard. Thank you for putting it into words so eloquently. I have just recently found this community of loss mom bloggers and wish I had found all of you much sooner.

  21. Grrr, twice I've hit the wrong button and lost my response.

    I just wanted to say that while you can never return to normal, I hope you find a new normal that offers a bit of a haven from the pain. {{{Hugs}}}

  22. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so glad that you decided to join a support group, and even better that you are reaching out to people through Facebook and things like that. It will help you in the long run so much. Hoping and praying for you.

  23. Yes, that would be amazing. I get the whole feeling judged thing too, I feel it alot too myself. I think its a great idea to give the whole support group thing another go again, and hey your only loosing an hour or two and if its still not for you after that then what the heck, why not? I hope it works out! *HUGS*

  24. We don't really have any support groups around here, for things like this. I feel so incredibly alone. No one understands, no one gets it. Only my fellow bloggers get it, and sadly my only connection to them/you is this way. Its hard, its lonely, it really makes this journey that much harder. Not that I would ever wish this kind of pain on anyone, maybe I am just searching out for more supportive friends and family. We don't have that, so that paired with no support groups of anyone who has been here is so, so hard. Wishing you peaceful days...*hugs*

  25. I totally agree. It is impossible to "get back to normal". Normal is not normal anymore. A person has to find a new normal. It is so hard to try to find that. To figure out what that next step is. Sending you good thoughts right now.

  26. In real life, I am not surrounded by people who 'get it at all'. I am so so so glad that I found the bloggy-nook.

    I would still have coped if not for the blogosphere, but I am sure if I would have been any better-off.

    When I turn too negative, I get virtual hugs and chin ups. When I am excited about something, there is a roomful of virtual cheer for me...

    I hope you do find a worthwhile group to attend.

  27. Is it funny that nobody outside the immediate family, including my 'best' friend is aware that I went to IVF, and downhill?

    The question here is not that we want people who can sympathize, nor do I feel that my story is mine alone...but this struggle has a very strong and immediate impact on the way I see myself as a person and how I connect with people and what I look in them for bonding.

  28. I just nodded while I read this. Yes, yes, I thought. I went to a support group here once and there was one other couple and there loss had been 1.5 years before when ours had been the month before. AFter that I just never went back. But everyone here truly gets it. And I can relate to people no matter when their loss was.
    I wish we could all just be together and be ourselves, too.

  29. Sometimes I sense these words are raging through people's minds when I mention Emma's name, "Escape run as fast as I can from lady mentioning her dead child again"

    Perhaps I am being too harsh. Most are so incredibly wonderful and say sweet things. Many just stare with a look of fear :)

    But you are right, you do create this sort of facade shown to the world. Your child's name on a piece of granite or their ashes in an urn...not something most can truly relate to. I don't want to seem angry...I am just broken and that brokenness(word??!!) resides inside me. We should plan a retreat...a time to shed tears and understanding....hold the proverbial bucket for one another's tears. Boy am I emotional today - has their been some kind of barometric shift in the atmosphere???

  30. I tried a group as well but it wasn't on my level....while these people did lose a child....the didn't lose a baby. I felt no connection. you know what I mean? It would be nice to meet people that know really know where you are coming from.....hugs

  31. Oh, Kritin :( I hope you can find something that helps with your pain. Loss is such an unfair thing. Why should good people have to experience it? I'm sending lots of hugs your way.

  32. would be nice. Although it has been many years since I lost my babies, I have found more understanding in the blog world than I knew from most of the people in my "real life". I didn't come here looking for that. I actually came hoping to reach out to offer comfort and hope to others who grieve. But, I found a community of beautiful, amazing women. And, for the first time, I feel like someone really gets it. The friendships I've formed here are so precious to me.

    Love and continued prayers for you...

  33. Hello, I found your blog through Baby Leah's blog...five years ago we lost our only son to complication to a genetic skin condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa. He was just 12 days old. I can tell you, in the past 5 years, in some ways things have gotten easier; in other ways it has gotten harder. The pain and emptiness is still there, but the pain has lessened, but I am not sure the emptiness ever will. Grief takes as long as it takes. I get annoyed when people (who have not lost a child) think I should be "over it" by now. Thank you for sharing your story!

  34. I could have written this post Kristin! I know I have had many comments about depending too much on this blog world, on all these BLM's I don't know. But you are right, I feel like I know you all, and you understand me. I don't have to "fake it" here. Maybe we should all plan a time and place and meet for a weekend and have our own support group!

  35. Amazingly, I live near two women who have very similar stories to mine and it is through our relationship that much healing has been brought into my life. The understanding we have, the comfort just their presence brings is incredible. I pray that you will be able to meet and share feelings and thoughts with women who walk this road with you.
    Thank you for sharing your heart with us. We don't take it lightly.