finding the words

I have not struggled to talk about my son. To make myself vulnerable and be honest about the raw emotions flowing through me. To speak with truth and candour about the toll that grief is taking. In some ways, it has been cathartic. However, I still have not finished writing Owen’s birth story. It has been weighing on me for months and I haven’t done anything about it. It isn’t that I do not want to write it, or for any lack of time. I just find parts of it too difficult to face.

Part of me feels that writing the story of my son’s birth is an acknowledgment of the tragedy woven in with it. It causes great pain and apprehension in my heart. The truth is, I do not have memory of the moment Owen was born. My husband does not either. We spent 9 months anticipating an event that we were not present for, one of us mentally, the other physically. It hurts.

When I was pregnant, there were no warning signs or memos sent our way to prepare us for the tragedy that would befall our family. We had no way of knowing that Owen’s birth story wouldn’t go as anticipated. None of the literature told us that we may not be leaving the hospital without our son in our arms. We had no idea. We were naive. These things are not supposed to happen to us. We were supposed to protect our little boy and bring him safely into the world. Sometimes the guilt is unbearable.

I started to write Owen’s birth story in December, a very early and raw time for my grieving heart. I wrote and I wrote and it felt good. I talked about the before and the after, of beautiful moments spent together with our little guy in and out of the tum. It is the in-between, the birth, that I am unable to face. As I wrote, the pace of my words slowed as I neared the hospital doors and the tears blurred my vision. Eventually, there were no words. It is just too difficult to venture further than those first few steps into the hospital.

Now, months later, I struggle to pick up from where I left off. It feels somewhat foreign. I look back at my earlier writings, including those from early days, and I see the voice of someone else. A tone shrouded in darkness, defeat, and at times, a listlessness I never imagined would reside within me. When I read parts of the story I started to write about a month after Owen died, I am reduced to tears. I may not recognize the writings of the person I was then, but a few months from now, I imagine this too will be read with renewed perspective. The grief continues to evolve. Yesterday, I read an article that talked about the changing sensation of the pain in relation to grief. The pain does not dissipate, it becomes more ingrained in who you are. The sadness may be everlasting, but the tone of it is ever-changing.

Back in the early hours of October 30th, I so desperately wanted to hear my screaming baby and cradle him in my arms, but this was only what I wanted. Instead, the reality of what happened was traumatic, riddled with guilt and what-ifs. Several times, I have sat down to continue writing the story, and have found myself easily distracted. I know that it needs to be finished so that it is not lost, or weathered by time. I know that despite the difficulty of facing the more difficult moments, it is still part of a most cherished time.

The story of our son’s start in the world has been written, it just does not have words yet. We did not get a choice about how it was structured, nor are we allowed to make revisions. This is simply not how life works. It is not easy to understand, but someday I hope to find the courage to face and preserve it. Even though it hurts, it is a story we never want to forget. The beginning of the tale of our little Owen Benjamin.

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