Sunday, December 30, 2007

First things first

Seasons Greetings! Happy 2008. Forgive my tardiness of late (and also that I don't have RSS feed on this blog anymore much to the chagrin of many but it can't be helped - private blogs don't allow them apparently).

Secondly, we have counting to ten (and parroting in general) happening here in earnest since Boxing Day. And it goes a little something like this:

Uhn... Taow... Fee... Fow... Fyh... Siss... Seh... Aaaaait... Nyyyyy.... Tehhhhhhn!!! *claps herself*

Thirdly, to the very very thoughtful person who sent the anonymous gift (you know who you are), a hearty thank you so much for thinking of the LGBB. Whilst I am all for the saying "you can never start them too young" on that kind of appliance, the girl herself is still extremely unsure whether she wants to take to it or not. And in fact, has banished the toy to one of the very few cupboards she doesn't frequent. I trust that anytime now, she'll be whisking it around masterfully, but for now it goes in the category "that makes a scary noise so I shan't acknowledge its existence." I'm sorry! Who knew??

Fourth, we have steppage. Yes, after just two short months of crawling, the LGBB is now very keen to step out if we help her up and encourage her along. She is not yet pulling herself up on anything, nor is she mastering the weight bearing evenly on both legs. But, baby steps, baby steps. And besides.... my kid can count to ten! So it's official: she's counting before she learned to walk. Certainly shows where her developmental prowess is leaning. Ass' mah grrrl. Because let's face it, if she was all action and moving and everything, I'm afraid to admit that Steve and I would probably have to wonder where she came from, for neither of us are incredibly active people.

Number five on this rather tedious-getting list: we move in two and a bit short weeks. The (as Lolly would say) "Paaaaay-ting" is going well and we have now painted the front bedroom, her bedroom and the sitting room. The wall between kitchen and dining room is completely gone, it will be finished off by the builder next week. Terribly exciting seeing it take shape.

And last but not least, a teeny update on the book (a teaser, if you will, for I shall have to post more on this another time). It's been confirmed I shall have a new "minder", of sorts, to help me with this writing. Another guide, I think it is. And a female one, I know that much. I'm just getting more and more in touch with where I was destined to head. I can feel it now. I can tell. Closer to happiness, true happiness, closer to understanding my abilities more. Closer to letting so MUCH of my old life go.

It's going to be a great year. Good luck to you all with whatever your endeavours are too for 2008.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I only have myself to blame

If you've decided to tune to a station that (apparently) appeals to the masses in its playing of classic hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s, then really... you only have yourself to blame when you find your ears bleeding while stuck up a ladder, painting, unable to stop because you've got the perfect run of paint-daub happening along a crisp ceiling white edge.

When you hear 1927 singing That's When I Think Of You.

"I'd go mad", he sang. No shit.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Yet another year rolling to a close next week and I find myself devoid of Shitmas "cheer" completely this time around.

Think I am just spent, energy wise, and being jolly ('tis the season, I'm told) is just not up there on my list of must-do's.

Don't get me wrong, I am very happy about the pending move. I'm delighted that Steve, the LGBB and I get to spend our first uninterrupted (relatively - boom-tish) Christmas Day together because all the obligatories will be over with by Christmas Eve. And then we get to do what we want, with whomever we want. It's very refreshing.

But then, I also do still wonder how it's received. It must be difficult for the gingham-and-baked-pies set to accept that we don't want the traditional sit-down Shitmas fare anymore. I received the SANDS newsletter a couple of weeks ago. In it, one of the tips for surviving Shitmas was to know that it was okay to feel like you needed to break from old traditions. That we should do what we needed to do to get through this season, and that it was equally okay to allow others to do what they wanted/needed as well. Very sound advice.

Still, I wonder though: shouldn't this kind of advice via newsletters be going to the families of the family who's lost a baby, however long ago? It's just the one minor failing in this particular part of the process for mine. That I can read and be comforted that *I* am not alone, that my partner and my children are not alone. But what of the grannies, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins? Maybe they feel alone - as if they are the only ones trying to grapple with their various feelings surrounding the loss of a family member they never met. My sister never saw Ellanor. I wonder how that haunts her and if it does. I know it impacted me. But it's just how it happened.

So why can't there be some sort of register that your address goes on, as part of a very infrequent mailing list (even twice a year would be good), where the organisation sends out little beacons to those people too? Not just reminders about how to keep the continuity of care for the bereaved parents and brothers or sisters or subsequent children of the baby who's died. But also, I dunno... sort of like a shout-out to say "Hey. We know you hurt too and we acknowledge that."

Maybe it'd help things all round if an initiative like that was in existence. As if perhaps by giving them this, they'd have more in them to continue to give to the parents at the centre of the situation. Maybe not. But just maybe. And surely "maybe" is worth it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And the gobsmacking coincidences continue

I was talking to the Dear Friend today and she told me that Ellanor's doctor - the one who oversaw the team looking after her - was now her son's doctor.

To say that I am floored at realising the chances of this is an understatement. Firstly, the guy changed hospitals from the one where Ella called "home" to the one where the Dear Friend's little guy is now watched over protectively, after serving 15 years in that job. Ok, so the chances could be perceived to be quite high that two of our children could have the same doc, given the fact that there are only four (is it four, or maybe three?) neonatal ICU's in Victoria.

But still. There is more than one doctor in those NICU's! Apparently, with my blessing, she has approached him and mentioned her connection to him through Ellanor. And he remembers her *sigh* I suppose you would. I would like to think that a caring, dedicated doctor as lovely as he would not have to notch up too many lost lives in a career and so therefore recall the memorable cases that he could not save. If that didn't jog his memory, I'm sure remembering me (clamouring for exact details and testing him with zillions of questions and scenarios) would be fairly easy. I was in his face - without meaning to be - every day for the last two weeks there.

And what a career. God, when I think about what those people must see. These are the true angels on Earth. Aren't they not? Ellanor's last nurse had only come back on duty that very morning, from two weeks' leave, and her first patient goes and dies. She came to Ella's memorial, told me that she had planted a rose bush in a little spot in her garden where she has a few other rose bushes for babies who have died while under her care. I couldn't imagine at the time working in such an emotionally taxing position that you have created an eternal memorial for babies who aren't yours.

Beautiful, some people. It's this sort of thing that you have to keep remembering, when all the other dung gets flung about - it's really. So. Very. Unimportant.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


So's I don't forget, and also knowing that if I put this here I am answerable to not just myself if I "forget" or otherwise don't come back to these thoughts.

I found myself in the past couple of days wondering just how often my free thinking falls to Ella - about her time here, about our life since, about the various fallings-out and fracture and discord because of things unspoken with a few people - and why it is that my mind always wanders her way. They're not destructive thoughts, they are simply thoughts of her. Am I doing this to ensure I don't forget any of these things until I get them all down/out on paper into this book? I don't know how much or little I will end up needing, but I do believe that (as with her initial story which I wrote out in more detail about a year after she died, the one on her web pages) until I get it all out I will not forget and I will keep having these thought processes go trailing through my conscious mind and memory. It's almost as if a daily ritual has been necessary in order that I stay close to that time, until such time as I can clear enough space to let it all flow out into the written word.

The situation I recently found myself in, whereby I went waaaaay beyond this physical realm and which I don't entirely understand or comprehend*, has been struggling to keep itself real in my mind too. When I was in the thick of it, I was very clear and sure of what was happening (not entirely how it was happening, but seeing and trusting that this was what I was experiencing and watching it all unfold into realising my life's work as a sensitive). But now that I am hitting the ground again and trying to recoup my energy, I am finding it so hard to trust what happened. Far too trippy-sounding to explain to the general populus. But also infinitely more important than me getting on the Humble Horse and slinking off into the sunset. No, they won't let me do that. But I am still a very unwitting participant. Well, perhaps that is not so true now... if you stand in front of your husband apologising to him, through heavy tears that you can't help, that he has to "go through this with me" (ie. take up full responsibility for our child while I trip off into trippy head-land to assist with a soul trying to decide whether to take off for good or not) then really there isn't much closer to reality than you get. This IS my reality, I've had to accept. So, in that respect, no I'm not unwitting anymore. Hell, yes, it has kind of knocked the crap out of me. But it wasn't as scary as I imagined it might be, the first time I am consciously aware of going into the void somewhere with someone.

I didn't expect it. And I found I didn't actually have to do anything! I was merely the grounding energy, not the guiding force. It all worked through me (rather, she did - Ellanor) and I am pleasantly relieved about that. I helped, assisted, was there... but didn't have to consciously step up and say anything (much). What an ace job! Heh. Sort of like being a chair-spinner in an office who doesn't get noticed for not doing more work. I can do that!

*kind of like when I was a kid, lying on our trampoline in the dark night and staring up at the stars; it petrified me sometimes to think that we were a mere tiny planet, suspended in mid-atmosphere - what if we fell?? But fell where? It frightened me and was too huge for my mind to contemplate and this is how it is for me lately, with trying to decipher what is largely undecipherable and should just be left "a mystery" of sorts.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Class, I want you to watch this video and spot for me the following:

• The Ugly Dave Gray impersonator
• The cringe-worthy slow-mo' dance move (as opposed to the other cringe-worthy 80's dance moves)
• The spot where the sound man accidentally leans on the dial and cranks up the speed of the music
• The suits dancing cheek to cheek (that is, butt cheek)

Bonus: count the number of chicken dance moves and score extra marks. (Note that this should not be confused for the monkey dance move, which is similar but has more hip-swaying with bowed legs)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mistress of Miserable

Note to self: You're fooling nobody but yourself if you think the "Look! Scraps wants to say hello to Santa" trick is going to raise a smile. Or even a grimace that could pass as a smile.

Behold, the moment the LGBB paused for breath in between gutteral wails and hysterical shimmying to get off the scary man's knee. Do you see Christmas in a child's eyes in this photo? No? Me either. But shit, I am starting to compile some pretty bloody funny moment-in-time yearly snaps with old Mr Claus, if the first two years are anything to set my expectations by. And at least she's looking at the camera this year. Pity Santa was looking at me.

I'm impressed that even when upset, she still manages to get her "I am SO not amused" lips down pat. She's such a consistent li'l trooper. And one day, so help her, she will finally teach her mother to stop setting her up predictably like this.*

Oh, and by the way, just a tip - don't be gripping your daughter so tight when lifting her that you take a decent chunk of his "beard" and, well, basically almost ruin Christmas for approximately 30 children. It was close, but the old man saved it.

* Not if I can help it, she won't - I'll be making her do stuff like this for as looooong as I can carry her and physically put her there muuuuahahahahaaaaaaaa *wrings hands*

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A bug's life

Last night, I noticed a big black loping beetle scurrying up the middle of our living room towards the front door. I'd not seen him before in the house (or any other like him) and I called out to Steve, "There's a lost beetle in the house!" as if he'd be able to help the beetle out with directions or something.

He: And?
Me: Well, he needs help.
He: Should I put him out, is that what you're asking me to do?
Me: Well yes, but... he came from over there so maybe his family is waiting on that side of the house. But then... there's no door there so maybe you should put him out the front door.
He: Lenny. It's a beetle. *wanders off*

The beetle was then left to its own devices and headed itself towards our front door. Moments later, it came scurrying back the way it had come.

Me: *calling out to Steve* He's back!
He: *uncaring and snootily* He's lost.
Me: He's carrying string! *stepping on the cotton the beetle was trailing behind him and freeing it from his leg*
He: Oh GOOD one! Now that poor bastard's going to get home and his wife is going to scream at him *scratchy shitty PMS high pitched beetle voice* "Did you get my string??" And he's going to go *lopey dopey voice* "Yuhhh, it's right.... HEY!" Good one. Nice way to get him in trouble.

I think this says more about me than it does Steve. Or the beetle.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Birth quilt

I was painting endless timber panelling this morning - a lovely tinted white, very cool and calming - and as I got on with the job, my mind turned to pregnancy. Heh. Now isn't THAT something I've thought about before.

Not me being pregnant, but the trials that some women (so many women) face both getting pregnant, keeping the baby and then also once it's born (safely or otherwise). Over the past couple of months, I've heard a few pregnancy announcements to women who've withstood some of the most gruelling tests of their lives... the waiting, the angst, the sadness, yet a couple of surprise effortless ones thrown in to the mix which are a blessed wondrous gift. And congratulations to all/any who may still be reading this blog who are newly pregnant ;)

But my thinking went further than that today. I was listening to a woman being interviewed on the radio. They have made a birthing quilt to bring awareness to the issues faced by indigenous Australian and Islander women, who are forced to travel outside their communities, sometimes outside of the country (not just their country/nation but across the seas to a completely different land) to receive medical assistance to birth their children safely. These women go alone. They leave in the final weeks of their pregnancy, leaving behind obviously their partner and any other children they have, they have no birthing support, their mothers and sisters or aunties do not travel with them.

So here they are, completely alone with unfamiliar caregivers, and then basically left alone to birth by themselves - or at the most, with a stranger they've just met - before returning with their newborn/s on their own again.

They gave a statistic this morning: that for every non-Indigenous mother and baby that dies there are 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women that die and 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies that die at birth (or from complications of).

And so, is it medical negligence? Too much or too little intervention? For a woman to give birth safely, she herself must have some sense of safety, surely. How can it possibly help to ensure the smoothest possible passage of delivery if she has so much stacked against her to begin with? Where are her emotional and other birthing needs being met in such a practice? The more narrow-minded might say "Well they should move closer" (and I have met such folk who use this as the all-rounded, bigoted, racist answer to everything that needs "fixing"). But seriously, wouldn't allowing any or all her support people to travel with her be at least some teeny tiny start in ensuring the process is somewhat safer?

Once again, my perspectives and realities become even more sharply defined as I am reminded of my place.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Surely I'm entitled

It's no doubt, the past week and a bit has been one that's seen enormous growth and shift in perceptions (for me personally, I can't speak for anyone else as that is their story and their journey to have).

I was even more sure today that I am still under somewhat of a shroud - is it shock? Is it me changed for good, and for the better? Time will tell - when we had a visit from the one couple I find quite difficult to find peace with. Usually, I shut them out (for that is the only way I know how to deal with them now, they simply do not understand or take the hint from my statements or body language with regard to how much it pains me that they seem hell-bent on refusing Ellanor a place in their lives while simultaneously lavishing affection on the LGBB - it's nice n' all, but... bit of a balance would be nice please).

But today, I was able to deflect and rather admirably too. I felt so much stronger around them today. I felt like I had Ella herself right behind me - figuratively, of course, as I did not even attempt to connect with her but I do think there was a far more positive and healthy aspect to my attitude today and I believe it directly relates to the work I did with her last week - and I was able to make it through the entire day unscathed. None of the usual balls slipped through to the keeper (or in less vague terms, there were no off remarks which slighted me and caused me to put another mark against them in my little book of Those People Who Won't Face It (And Can't Be Opened Up To)).

It's been such a tremendous time of learning that I am currently fighting the urge to give in to denial that I experienced something so huge, but concurrently that it also happened so naturally and came with ease - like getting on a bike after not riding one for 20 years. I have woken each morning and pondered, Did that reeeeeally happen??? Of course, my responsibility to my own gift will now probably not allow me to forget or wave it all off. But seriously.... it'd be so easy to never speak of it again, especially given the doubters I am bound to come up against. A large part of treading water with what I've learned and done is in seeking out or sensing the correct audience, the ones who will nurture and encourage me to be strong and have faith about it all rather than help that part of myself that wants to pretend it didn't happen and just put everything down to one big coincidence.

So when I was asked today what we are planning to put on the walls (in terms of pictures and so forth) as we were standing in the freshly painted sitting room, I very casually said, "Ella will probably have pride of place above the mantle" and basically let it drift through the air. The receiving party didn't miss a beat and replied, "So dark wood then, that'll go well in here" and nodded. I don't suppose by now I should anticipate or expect to hear anything more. At least he confirmed to me that he hasn't missed that massive framed portrait we have of her (which you cannot miss) that commands at least a glance when you walk in our current front door, because he knows the colour of the frame. I can just nod and let it be now. Still, it hasn't deterred me from trying to make them equal, at least in my eyes. I guess as a mum, you do that when you have more than one child. After all, I struggled with very similar doubts about whether I would be able to love the LGBB before I had her, given the enormity of my devotion to her older sister. I worried that I would love Ella less, that she would be left out/behind, back in 2004. And I worried equally that I would not love Lolly as much/enough. Well, as far as Steve and I are concerned, she fits like a glove. They both do. And I understand that now that I've had Lolly - the angst of anticipating the arrival of a very much-wanted subsequent child does not diminish your love for your existing baby, for your love for them is totally unique and different. Each an absolutely perfect reciprocal gift.

And you know, I already have planned a Sisters montage for the entry in our new home. I can just see it. My two girls, side by side.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Steve dug a hole

Well, actually no, technically that's not correct. He burrowed a wall, forged a gap, knocked the crap out of an oddly-placed structure. I think he feels better for it.

And, just quietly, if anyone had ever told me three years ago that I would be taking snaps of my sweet little daughter eating a sandwich on a picnic rug in her front yard under a big ole maple, I'd have laughed my head orf at them.

I feel like I look and sound as if I'm am one step away from donning cotton gardening gloves and calling myself Mrs Fulton, Margaret Fulton*, and putting on a bright apron with sunny buttercups on it. I am finding it harder to fight the urge, moving to a house like this, and it reminds me of something my Homoeopath (remember him?) said to me almost off-handedly, ages ago just after I had Lolly. He said, "Why are you resisting being a mum?" It rocked me then and it's stayed with me til now. But maybe this is all part of that. This move might be just what I need to actually make the outside match the inside and feel comfortable enough in my ability and desire to just go with it, instead of being in this sort of half-life I'm still in, in so many respects.

Give in to the urge, is what everything is starting to nag me. And when I do, it'll be natural - the things I do will come naturally. Heck, I may even feel like cooking the nightly meals again (Steve has wrestled that one off me, nearly two years ago now, and it's become like his domain for the time being, but perhaps with a bigger yard and a huge blokey tool shed he will actually feel like getting out of the house into his expansive backyard, for until now we really haven't had anywhere to escape each other on our current turf).

It's all good!

*please do NOT let me go there, I don't want to box myself in, there will be no baking of cookies from scratch on cookie sheets for this lame-o domestic godess. Pull my head in if I even look like suggesting I make my own gingerbread cookies in the shape of Christmas trees, dusted with icing sugar to look like "snow".... please, I beg of you, save me from that.

Things that can't be good

• I saw a bank document (you tend to accumulate those when you are between homes) that said something about balanced translocations. And I though, "HUH?", having to think really hard and carefully about whether I was due for an egg retrieval or transfer or other such eggy-related thing. Then I thought to myself, that's impossible because 1) I'm not doing IVF and 2) last I knew, ANZ didn't offer PGD with their Cash Management Account. Reading again and making myself concentrate, I saw that it actually said "Balance transaction". You can take the girl out of the IVF clinic....

• My Gymboree clothing order arrived today. What a nice little boost to the senses and soul that was. Except.... every damn piece of clothing I bought the LGBB is so damn cute that she can't wear them. I may just squeeze her to the size of a toothpick. Seriously, people, have you seen this stuff?? Brightly coloured cupcakes at the cuffs of dark chocolate cord pants (very sensible, is cord, on a toddler) and a matching olive green top with three cupcakes on it, Gingerbread House pink pj's with dark burgundy cuffs, I Love Candy pj striped bottoms and pink top in candy colours, a white corduroy, puffy, satin-lined vest/jacket thing with faux fur hood. I can't go on. I've never seen such gorgeousness. It's ludicrous. What was I thinking and when did clothes actually become delectable?

• I ate a whole box of Jamaican rumball truffles yesterday. I think I justified it as lunch. So today, I've made pumpkin soup for myself in an attempt to redeem the evils of so much sugar.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Taking care of business

Why did it take me til only recently to be satisfied with my justification of the number of days/hours the LGBB is "seeing her friends" (at occasional care)?

Since we've had the house on the market, which would have been about two months ago now I'd guess, she has been going three times per week, 3.5-4 hours at a time. She lurrrrves it. I wouldn't be comfortable sending her if she didn't. But it seems, the more hours she's spent there, the more she has enjoyed her home away from home.

Even yesterday, when I dropped her off at 8.30 and was very wary about doing so in light of the past week, I asked Penny (a lovely older staff member/carer at the centre who's into wooden toys and alternative/Steiner/whatever you want to name it teachings) to take extra special care of Lolly. That she had been feeling rather sensitive to either or both Steve and I leaving the room, let alone the house. I hadn't seen much of her since Thursday and had been gone for much of the weekend and virtually all day Thursday and Friday. So by the time Monday morning rolled around, that little powerhouse of a LGBB had only had a few short hours with just her mum and dad on Sunday afternoon. And she let us know she was unsettled by way of her altered sleep patterns, her numerous night wakings and crying out (she is still doing this, it may take a few more days yet for her to settle too from recent events).

So I dropped her off with a big kiss and a big hug, trying very hard to mask exhaustion and so forth (although I realise they just pick up on it and it must be rather confusing for a child to see a smile plastered on your face over the top of what they sense is unease), and called to check on her two hours later. She was fine. When I went to collect her, she was commanding a corner of the darkened room - for it was sleep time for the other children - and chatting to the bears there.

If we had other people to call on, I daresay some sort of regular arrangement could be made. A day could be agreed on. I am past the point of huffing over the fact that people I would have hoped to be willing to see her as often as they could are in fact not doing that and rather than take it personally myself, or on behalf of my daughter or Steve, I simply accept that it has not happened that way because that is not what Lolly needs. So this occasional care replacement, while it costs somewhat more than a relative or friend taking the LGBB for a day or half day, is the ideal thing.

It can't work both ways for people who are only "half" in her life. And I think the LGBB has very adequately informed me of her need for time without me and with whom she will have it. For now.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ah! There you are!

Ok, must be brief.

Shit, when I said in my last post on the other blog that I was being "called in" and needed to shift some of the physical stuff to get on with it... ah, I didn't quite expect it'd start happening THAT BLOODY DAY!!!!! I posted that before 7am and by 11.30 I was on the train to I've Never Been Here Beforesville. I still have an emotional lump in my throat and also need a bloody good cry, despite sort of letting some of the buildup go ... uh, erm, in full view of the public on a Saturday night. Oops.

I also still have to sort some things out and check stuff and yada yada, so this first post is very boring and very, well, simply here as a confirmation you're at the right place. Yes. It is I. Your resident nut job, freakoid, airy-fairy (aherm thanks, Mel) mother to one LGBB.

You're all lovely. And you must all be part of it, in some small way. That's why you're all here. Isn't it?

More soon, please don't gnash teeth til I get back. I just may not be able to post for a few more days because of 'tying up loose ends' and continuing stuff and business and all that. Clear as mud?! Sorry, guys.

*waving as I leave* No, you hang up first.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Getting there. It's time.

Geez, these days I hardly get time to get my feathers all ruffled and the realisation comes *pouts* Where's the fun in that?

I am joking, of course.

It's time to fly the nest. I didn't see before that I am not seeing my family as individuals, not beholdent or responsible for insuring my safe passage through my life after experiencing death.

Wise friends are like beacons to me and I appreciate every singular (and collective) one of them (you).

After a build-up of incorrect energy delivered upon me (again) today when I least expected it, in very poor form I perpetuated its effects by purging/dumping, if you will. Like most things viewed in hindsight, I don't know if simply seeing my hurting words on screen and knowing they'd reach a sympathetic ear was what catalysed the enlightenment. But in one fell swoop, I've made another bounding leap in knitting the wound closed.

I can't expect anyone not living my life to fully realise what I feel. No matter how many times I explain or spell it out, it's not for anyone but me to solve the riddle that's been niggling at me. Everyone has their own life. They don't owe me anything. But... in the reverse, nor do I owe them. This was my sticking point thus far, I believe. I expected to be expected to deliver. Seeing as I can't these days, such is life with a gaping hole I will in some respects never fill, I was beating myself up all this time that I can't possibly hope to repay in kind (or otherwise) that which was granted me as I healed in the early days of Ella dying. What's ensued is a flogging of myself to explain myself to, most of all, my family. I don't think they expect it, but I did it anyway. They're all individuals. They are all different (ok, ok, for the Python fans I have to echo... "yes.... we ARE all different"). They are neither responsible nor answerable to me nor me to them.

It's time. I'm on my own now. I finally. FINALLY. Realised it. Not more than 10 minutes ago.

Monday, June 25, 2007

So... just tell me again?

Because sorry, I've forgotten. Just why exactly would we be expected to smoke the peace pipe with anyone who could not see past their own ruffled feathers to recognise someone in the throes of grief? And not only that, but rub salt in the wounds ever so subtlely by sending unnecessary anecdotes about blissful newborn antics mere months after I lost my own?

You know the type who appears all demure and attentive and giving? And all the while, you know damn well you're being played, specifically by the blatantly obvious messages you're being slipped when no one else is looking so they get to keep their noses clean, and regardless, you have no choice but to go along with it, for the sake of family peace?

I can attest with all certainty that, even had I not experienced the death of Ellanor, if someone I knew (family or otherwise) lost a child, I would give them the hugest break of all time. I just know I would. I know for a fact that others would too. I've seen people give me all the rein I needed (and those who didn't give that rein have cut themselves loose from our life) and I've heard enough stories now to know that there seems to be a mix of the two types: the ones who give you as much space as you need and cut you slack, at times gently guiding you back on track if you get a bit overly sensitive. No pointing out faults, just passive, peaceful giving-way until you get back to the path.

Why then, WHY, are they insistent on us putting "all of that" behind us? Chatting in passing about it the other night (as we are so over the subject and at peace with our decisions it's not worth rehashing specifics one more time), Steve and I could look back at the people we were and see plainly that all that was required was some more acceptance and allowance for our situation. We received neither... rather, we received only as much as some people could give. And that was nowhere near enough.

Now, 2 years after the fact, it seems there is still a need for 
meddling middle-players that they will put above anything else. That is, they would rather we come together and forgive all trespasses. At the expense of our feelings, recollections, pride, ongoing needs right now, whatever... I find it so ludicrous that I can't even look at them anymore.

I've had it up to *here* with hearing "Yes but some people are just not strong, they are just not able to cope with things like this" ... things like "this" being the death of our. Well, you know what? We had no real say either. It was sink or swim for us. Somehow, we swam. But when we were treading water for that first year or two, apart from not even being there, these people made it WORSE than it had to be.

And now you want me to WHAT??! Invite them to celebrate the first year of our second baby's life? Not in a million forevers, sorry.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The "get on with it" method and why it doesn't work

I'm writing a book. I didn't think it fitting to mention until I had accepted it myself. But it's fact now, I've started. And I've got around 20,000 words. I'm compiling bits and pieces from things I've written in the past three years and I'm trying to make it all work together now. It's hugely intense and emotional, gives me searing headaches sometimes when I read certain things and yet I can't deny the messages any longer. I had to get going on it. So last week, I did.

Not entirely off-topic, as I've been surrounding myself with all this over the weekend and it's put me in a funny (not ha-ha) place. I believe that being in a place of acceptance that all is as it is for a universal reason (the end-point of which no one knows until it goes sailing past and then another life lesson comes up, they're like waves) is the main key to the healing I've made over the death of Ellanor.

I was struck again last night by correspondence from a dear friend that had me thinking all night. She has inadvertently helped me realise where all my energy is going (not that it helps me curb the drain, that'll take some work): I have been hellbent on "fitting the mould". Seeing my words through her eyes - the sucker for punishment read my entire blog in one sitting yesterday, can you imagine? - really helped me bring it all back in again.

Quite coincidentally, yet perhaps not at all (the symmetry of universal process never ceases to excite and delight me), I was also trawling through my whole blog yesterday for a different reason. I was struck by not only how much more light-hearted yet deep my writing used to be *sob* but the positivity that innumerous people have thanked me for in the past was actually evident to me. I've not seen it before. It was a sombre realisation. It showed me in black and white just how far down I've come, if I could see it for myself and think of it as the "me" from before - strange then, that this has come at a time when I *should* be so much happier.

But therein lies the issue. And what a biggie it is.

I'm placing an ideal on myself subconsciously. It's one I've actually made mention of here and also to various people as the conversation arises in my life off-line. I'm going to Playgroup this morning, for instance. I could choose to let them in on where I am today (in a different headspace totally, surrounded by thoughts of Ellanor), I could vent a bit about how hard it is to try and juggle being Mum to two girls, one of whom is obviously not here; I could shut up about all of that and just focus on Lolly and get carried up by the day to days of all their lives; or I could just as easily not go, so avoiding the predicament altogether.

I say it's a predicament because I've done (and am living) the "get on with it" method, prescribed by family, friends and wider community alike. Why did I rush to get to this point though? Did I do it to reassure people I am capable, I was ok, I could do it all after I had Lolly? I recall telling various friends, relatives, health professionals, that I was NOT ok. When mention of Ella was made by me, I was moved along by and large (not by all, but when it comes from those you highly respect the opinion of, and you're feeling on the back foot, out of your depth, sleep deprived and very lost, hell yeah you use someone else's "trusted" judgment).

Yet, as this friend last night confirmed it is for her too, to live this way is to deny your lost child. And what would ANYONE who gave me the suggestion to move along know about that?? It's proven to me I still haven't quite got the balance right and maybe I never will. Days and weeks go by and I don't even notice that I haven't mentioned my dear cherub. I know on another level, though, that our connection is on a far more organic level. It's almost cellular. I don't always need to mention her or bring her into conversation now, as I used to (especially just after the LGBB made her entrance to the stage), because to do so and have conversations changed or be offered polite but very clear messages that I needed to "move on" and "let go" now that I had another daughter was actually more painful than the realisation that if I didn't say her name out loud, nobody would. Certainly they weren't mentioning (and don't mention) her to me. Here, right here in this blogspace, is about the sum total where consistently I've had only thoughtful, encouraging back-rubs from readers. That and a tiny online "mothers group" of my four non-blood related "sistas" *index and middle finger tap to heart* which has been my life blood for a couple of years now. I really have wound it right down, though, my expression of thoughts about Ellanor and the tough gig I've got keeping myself buoyant (no easy feat with an extra 20kg still to go, let me assure you) for Lolly day to day.

We just went on holiday. Every single day, I was thinking of Ella. This outdoor balcony would have been an issue with a 3 year-old, getting the LGBB off to sleep would have been hard with Ella here too sleeping in the same room, what would she have been like - would she have been into all the drawers and cupboards, would we have had to pack far more frugally in order to take her favourite toys (answer: Yes, undoubtedly). I could go on and on, the wonders I had in my mind. I do it all the time. Often, when I'm not talking and sitting feeding Lolly, I will be thinking about Ella. Wondering about her like she's still on her travels, wondering how different our house would be, my relationship with Steve would be. Would we be happier now if we hadn't had the struggle we had with Ellanor?

Yet, still I don't want to see her death as a tragedy. Her not being here as a gaping empty hole in my life. To do that is to negate the time she spent here.

And what of the LGBB? How does how I am with all of this affect her? I never want her to feel she is living in the shadow of a baby, an older sister, who can do no wrong. I need to do right by her too. How do I properly compartmentalise my ongoing healing and growing and accepting that Ellanor is not here, how do I weave that into my life, our lives, now, all the while maintaining an honest balance? How do I do it and keep the impact on Lolly to a minimum? When do I even get the time to regularly take my thoughts and energy to a space where I can continue this healing?

Therein lies another pressure not familiar (thank God for them) to most other mothers. No Playground floor play talk would ever be able to touch on how you balance giving yourself a break about giving in some days to the immense yearning for a child you will never see change in those photos, while still trying to put on a happy face for the achingly gorgeous grizzle-bucket now asleep (finally, damn those goddamn teeth - about 8 of them I can feel coming all at once, oh my poor Lolly!). How do I manage sitting here reading the diary I kept each day while looking after her sister in the NICU, keeping myself together even though my head feels like it's exploding? And then I have to go in to her when she wakes but it's like trying to flip a switch in my brain: this is not Ella. This is another baby.

Oh that's right. This is the Bliss Bomb. This is a totally different, unique person. I know that. But because Ella will always be a baby when I physically put myself back in time to where I was with her in the physical, it's still difficult while Lolly is also a baby to separate the two girls.

Feel a tad nauseous. Better stop and regroup before my young charge takes charge and yells out.

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