Since this blog is entitled Just As We Are, I figure it is OK to lay that out there right now.
Today I feel like a shell.
A great friend invited us to her child's Kindermusik class (which for those of you that know me well...I love this sort of thing). But as I sat in the class with my two beautiful children, I had a terrible realization...I am just a shell of who their mom was a few weeks ago - and they are really getting the short of the stick. Each day I wake up and "care" for them, but am I really engaging with them? I still feed, bathe, clothe, talk, read, sing, and play with them, but am I there with them?
I thought so. I thought we were doing okay and of course only doing the best we could, but today when I allowed myself to gaze at them playing in the music class and just took them in...as I sat and held them and offered myself emotionally to them for a moment...I realized that I have been just a shell - going through the motions on the outside, but cutting off the feelings on the inside - probably out of pure survival.
At that moment in music class - when my love welled up for them - vivid flashes of Isaiah entered my mind, and once again I remembered that I will never get to know Isaiah like this. Instantly my brain shifted into survival mode, suffocating those emotions of love to save myself from the hurt...and that was the moment that I realized I am merely a shell. An empty shell. They see their mom on the outside, and the inside is
hollow and empty.
As I thought about it, I couldn't remember how long it had been since I
stopped and was
really emotionally available to my sweet children. I always make sure
to talk with them
about Isaiah and about their feelings (and talk in a simple way about my
feelings), but in a sense I discovered that I had been hiding.
I don't think they know. Of course they know I have sad
moments throughout the day, but thankfully, I don't think they know that I am missing. I now realize that it is these feelings of love
and amazement for my children that I have been hiding
from - so that I don't have to mourn Isaiah as I love them.
I'm also hiding this fact from them (as I probably should) - but until today, I hadn't realized that I have been hiding
it from myself.
After this realization, horrible waves of guilt crashed against me once again - saying that I
wasn't "choosing" to know and love my children right now like I should...taunting me that I don't have the energy to get them outside on a
beautiful day or let them do a fun art project...reminding me that I often distract them or myself with a screen instead of interacting with them. Oh how long will my children suffer because I cannot get through these stages of grief fast enough?
This may just be the feeling of the moment today, so logically I know
that the kids are going to be okay...that I am loving them the best that
I can right now...that I need to offer grace and kindness to myself.
But it is very hard for me to allow myself to be weak so that I can
acknowledge each feeling of grief...so I'm trying to pause and do that
Yet another thing to grieve...the loss of being able to be emotionally available to my family. A friend told me that every small thing has to be grieved on its own. This is what I am learning as I come to a full realization of each small thing that is now missing from our lives...each thing that has changed because of our deep loss.
Today I grieve the loss of myself for my other babies who need me so much.
Today I hate what loss is doing to our lives.
Today I am tempted to remain in my shell - fearing I don't have the energy to face the hurt that emerging brings.
Today...I still miss him.