The Ache

Today is the first day since I got home from the hospital that there isn’t a sympathy card in the mail. This makes my heart ache.

*****

My heart aches for many reasons today. I miss my husband. I miss my friends. I miss my life before all of this pain.

I miss being pregnant, though not the blood or the fear. I miss the hopes and dreams, the questions, the doubts, the curiosity and wonder, the looking-forward-to, the little flutters inside that feel like butterflies and mean new life. I miss wondering how I’m going to handle two children and still do the things I’m learning to do to take care of myself. I miss the glow.

I look at myself in the mirror and am shocked by the bags under my eyes, the remnants of tears, the pale skin and gray hairs. I remember the fatigue of a newborn and the serene joyousness of being a new mama. I look nothing like that now. I feel huge and still look so pregnant. Without the advantage of breastfeeding to lose weight I will have to work hard to lose every pound that went on so easily. I look forward to finding joyful ways to do it. Ways that help me love my life – yoga, dance, hula hooping, walks on the beach. Yesterday I made it – slowly – to the grocery store. Four blocks round trip. I am healing quickly, just not quickly enough.

*****

I feel isolated today, alone, sad. I know there are many people thinking of me. I know all I need to do is pick up the phone, send an email, reach out. Today the ache makes those seem like impossible tasks. The tears are stuck in my throat.

*****

The phone rang as I finished that sentence. It’s amazing what a few moments of connection with a friend can do. As deep as it is, my sadness is…what’s the right word? tempered? balanced? by my gratitude.

The tears are welling. Please excuse me while I cry.

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2 Responses to The Ache

  1. Melissa DeChandt says:

    Hi Alana,

    I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and feel such sadness for you. I wish that there was some sort of magic blankie that we could give people to ease the sadness, grief and sorrow. This has been such a time of loss and sadness.

    The week that Tinsley was born we found out that my father was in critical condition in the hospital and about to be airlifted to a larger facility. I don’t think that I had slept more than five hours in the entire week but we threw stuff in a bag and headed to the airport with my five-day old baby, all the while begging and praying to every higher power and spirit to let my father live and know Tinsley. We spent the next three weeks at his bedside in the ICU and finally brought him home for his final few days. Celebrating new life and mourning my beloved father still brings the contradiction of daily joy and sadness and there are times that the loss just sneaks up on me and washes over me like a uncontrollable river and I am at a loss…..we burried my baby brother-in-law last week in Arlington in the most beautiful ceremony and I cried as I watched his two small children say goodbye to his flag-covered coffin.
    These losses are all so terribly sad and hearbreaking and we are especially mourning the loss of your sweet baby boy…….

    You are in my thoughts…..

    • Alana says:

      Oh Melissa – I can only imagine the pain of having birth and death so closely tied. And your brother-in-law, his wife and his children have been in my heart since I heard the news and saw the pictures of their sweet faces. It’s the hand we are dealt when we choose to love so deeply. Grief and joy so inextricably entwined. If they don’t have it already, I highly recommend Tear Soup – it’s written so a child can understand. My heart aches for all of us in the world who are grieving right now, and it soars knowing that we will get through it and life will continue to give us the most wonderful gifts. Love to you. Alana

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