Last Thursday, I attended my second monthly grieving mother's group, and just as I had at the close of the first meeting, I felt grateful for having found it. As many of you know, this group isn't the first that I have tried to attend - I went to one early on that was an epic fail of tears and anger - but this group gives me a sense of hope, and so I continue going back. It is also a faith based group, and my faith is totally rocked right now, so I think that it is good for me to be around other women who have had their faith shaken to the core and gotten through it.
Sometimes it feels like the universe takes me by the hand, and leads me to certain people from whom I can learn. As I was preparing to leave the house Thursday, I suddenly felt compelled to wear the sea glass necklace that Hubs had bought me last year. I thought this odd, since I hadn't worn it in months, and when I got there, was floored by the irony of this action - the theme of the group was reinvention after loss, and to illustrate these changes, the group leaders held up marbles and sea glass.
Their interpretation of sea glass was different than mine, but I couldn't help but think about how fitting it was that the universe had brought me to sit among this group of women, talking about how I had left my life of medical sales after Peyton's death, and reinvented myself as a writer - and even more oddly, how one of the first pieces that I had written about grief, was a piece comparing my journey to that of sea glass.
As the night progressed, I thought a lot about reinvention, and grief, and this journey, and my mind kept returning to the old Chinese proverb: "Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
I started wondering where I was in that chain, was I a caterpillar, or a butterfly, and decided that I am neither, but instead somewhere in the middle. One of the women came over to share with me the story of her loss - a son who had passed some 8 or 10 years ago, and asked how I was doing. I told her that I have my good days, but for the most part am still quite angry and bitter, and she said, "like the butterfly in the cocoon, your stage of thrashing about can't be rushed."
Have you ever been to a butterfly museum and seen big glorious butterflies sitting on the floor lame, unable to fly? Those beautiful creatures are destined to failure, because they have been let out of their cocoon too early. To become strong enough to fly, butterflies must be left alone to beat their wings against the inside of their cocoon to draw the strength they need for survival, and just like these butterflies, so do I.
I need to throw myself against the inside of my cocoon for as long as it takes. I need to beat my hands at its walls, and scream and be angry. I was wronged! My child was born with cancer - I was wronged! I watched her suffer - I was wronged! She died in my arms - I was wronged! I will never see her grow - I was wronged! I mother a grave -I was wronged!
I was wronged!
I was wronged!
I was wronged!
But I embrace it.
People have asked me time and time again, if I am "feeling better yet," or "have gotten over it." and the answer is "no", and that is okay. Someday I will get to that place, where I shed my cocoon and fly free of the pain of all that happened to her. Someday I will flutter through the air, and others in passing will only see my beautiful colors, and comment on my grace, without knowing of the struggle it took to get me there. Someday I will be that butterfly, who as a caterpillar thought her world was over without believing that a beautiful life still lay ahead of her.
Someday I will be all those things, but first the hard work must be done. First I need to be left to thrash about. First I need to build strength in my wings against the walls grief has built around me. First I must work through the pain of child loss and infertility. First I must do all these things. These are the steps that will help me survive this journey.
I don't mind being stuck in my cocoon. I am used to it now, and know that coming out too quickly would put to waste all of the growing I have done this last year and a half. Coming out too quickly, for the benefit of others, would destine me to a life of looking pretty on the outside, but feeling too weak inside to ever truly lift myself off the floor.
I don't mind my time in the cocoon. It is what is owed to me.
**An IVF update.**
No news is good news right? I have been going back and forth with my symptoms, some days worse than others with OHSS. I find that if I can lay on the couch like a lump and guzzle Gatorade, they get better. When I venture out, they get worse. Sometimes I hate when they get better, because OHSS is so closely tied with HCG. The doctor has lifted some of my restrictions. I am now allowed a "short stroll" each day, and I am grateful for it because the weather is beautiful, and I was getting so bored.
I have been having a lot of pregnancy symptoms - extremely heightened sense of smell, exhaustion, tender gums, mild cramps, did I mention EXHAUSTION?- but I don't know which of these symptoms are due to the progesterone, and which are real. Two more days, and all this wondering will be put to rest, I just pray that the wondering becomes celebrating and planning... until then... I wait.