(This is a very late entry to Angie's amazing Right Where I Am Project. Grieving has done wonders for my ability to procrastinate.)
I've had weeks to think about this but I'm still not exactly sure where I am in my grief these days. I still love and miss my son desperately, but that isn't going to change, ever, and I'm learning to live with that. At the very least, I've accepted that I need to learn how to live with it and I think that's a positive step. What I haven't figured out is who I am now and how I should relate to the rest of the world. The grieving process for the "old me" is even more complex than the one for grieving my child and the majority of this post is about me, not the son I lost.
I had to look at the ticker on my blog to see exactly how long it's been since Reid died. I stopped dreading the arrival of every Friday evening a few months in, but for the first couple months just the mention of Friday was enough to send me off the deep end. I remember that the 3rd of each month is an anniversary, but I no longer feel bad if I have do something more than get dressed and take care of my daughter that day.
I still cringe every time I see a family a with 2 or more young children. The closer the family is to the one I thought I'd have, the more painful the cringe is. I know some of those parents have gone through tough times to create those families, but I also know that the vast majority were able to do it without much effort at all and I hate them for it. (It sounds awful but I really do feel a rush of hatred and anger towards these random people. Once I'm away from them, it fades away but the feelings still show up.) I also still feel pain every time I see a pregnant woman. Whether that comes from missing Reid or the frustration of not being pregnant again, I can't say.
I have definitely been seriously depressed in the last year and had some very low points. I think my baseline emotional level has been reset to something sadder and darker than before so it takes a lot less to make me really upset and a lot more for me to be any kind of happy. I think I've gotten pretty good at faking something close to "normal" when out in public but I don't know for sure because I don't spend time with anyone who I could ask, "Do I seem like a normal person?". I still find the faking it exhausting so I pretty much avoid any social contact that I can.
After right Reid died and I recovered from the c-section, I actually spent quite a bit of time with a few friends. Then I was away for a couple weeks and noticed that if I didn't initiate the plans with these people, no invitations came my way. It felt like they had just been saying yes because they felt bad for me, not because they wanted to be with me, so I stopped calling them. Nearly all of my local social circle was people I met through mom's groups after my daughter was born and nearly all of them had babies just before or just after Reid died. There was no way I could make myself be around these people and their children in the early days and now I feel like I have nothing in common with "normal" people. Being around them would be more awkward and painful than anything else. I don't socialize at all and I don't know when I will even want to try.
Apart from a couple people who have made special efforts to keep in touch with me, I have also lost touch with most of my long distance friends as well. Their lives just moved forward and a "hey, how you are doing?" every 6 months doesn't exactly make me feel loved and supported, despite having known some of these people for most of my life. I am angry with some of them but as the anger fades, I just can't be bothered to try to reconnect with these people. They weren't there for me in the worst time of my life, I don't need them in my life. It seems that I am the classic example of the person who lost their child and lost of most of their friends too.
I definitely haven't put much effort into physically taking care of myself since Reid died. I know I dress like I need a fashion intervention, but don't care enough to do any better. I went an entire year without cutting my hair. I wish I could say I was observing some kind of mourning custom but really I couldn't face an hour of social interaction so I just didn't get a hair cut. Not cutting my hair was actually one of the few minor good things about the first year after Reid died because I finally managed to grow out my bangs. (Got to find the good wherever I can these days.)
Right where I am now is a confusing place. I don't cry everyday but that's mostly because I've figured out what I can and can't handle and I rarely let myself be pushed out of that comfort zone. Of course not everyone in my family thinks that this zone is a good place which causes more friction as time goes on. Really though, I am the only person who is living my life and when I'm ready for something different, I'll find a way to make it happen. I've found a way to survive this long, thanks in large part to the wonderful women in the on-line babyloss community, so I have to trust that I'll figure out how to keep on surviving and maybe even one day start living again.