Tag Archive | loss

Dream: Lost Girl

On Friday night I dreamt that I was on a train with my mother and my children including a baby who seemed to be about 6 months old. I don’t know the gender of the baby, and I can’t see details like what everybody was wearing, or what age my other children were.

We stopped at a station, and we saw my sister-in-law on a train going the other way (the logic of this doesn’t hold up in the real world of course – why were we going in different directions? how did her carriage exactly match up with where ours was, for example), and I made the baby wave to its aunt and she waved back.

Then the train started going again, and my mother took the baby (again, I can’t be sure of the reasons if there were any, or where they went, perhaps to the bathroom?) but my mother came back without the baby, with no memory of where she had left it, and of course drama and tears ensued. At the end of the dream, we were home (in my childhood home), and I was calling the police.

I woke up shaking with rage and fear and confusion.

So a number of things come to mind. My mother, in the real world, has dementia and of course I would never allow her to look after a child. Perhaps I might allow one of my older children to take care of her instead, but allowing her to take a baby would never happen.

 

I obviously know why I KEEP ON dreaming about babies and loss but what prompted this particular scenario? I wonder if, perhaps it is the sense in which I feel that I am actually losing my mother too?

The next day, I received word that the little girl we had been hoping to adopt from care was actually now going to go back to her mother (pending a court decision, I think), because firstly it had been determined that she was in fact un-adoptable (that is, that in the opinion of the social workers involved, any adoption would fail) because her trauma and damage was so great, and secondly because the mother had apparently sorted herself out, got a job and a flat, and the father was safely in prison.

I cannot put into words how crushingly disappointed I am, and how utterly wrong I believe this decision to be. However, it is what it is.

Even without mentioning names, it probably isn’t appropriate to go into any details about the case, but it really is just incredulous that this course of action is even a possibility on the table.

We obviously weren’t meant to have her, and I’m done now. I wish we had adopted ten or more years ago when my secondary infertility first started, but of course you don’t what’s coming, and we always hoped there would be another baby.

I hate that I am such a misery guts (and well, hopefully I hide it well enough that it doesn’t show elsewhere) and I hate the idea that my whole life seems to be so characterised by loss upon loss. But this is my ranting space, where I pour all my misery, so if you don’t like it, just scroll past. I write mostly for my own benefit, to get it all out, but maybe, hopefully it will help somebody too.

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Hope and Grief

I suppose I had better get this out of the way.

Without putting too fine a point on it, I am no longer pregnant.

It has been a week now and although grief has a nasty way of winding you when you least expect it, coming over you in unexpected waves as it does, I think I am starting to see light at the end of the long dark tunnel and I hope I can look forward to some better days soon.

We hadn’t planned this pregnancy at all – we had given up a long time ago (although I never stopped being broody and wishing for more babies) but I had more or less come to terms with the fact that, at 45, more babies weren’t very likely.

This was my 6th loss too, which seems far more than my ‘fair share’.

Anyway. I need to fold up all my hopes and dreams and plans of babies and young children and lay them back in the ‘hope chest’ and lock it away for now.

Plan B?

I’m not ready to think about that yet.

Shiva: Death, mourning and hope in Jewish Tradition

ברוך אתה ה’ א‑לוהינו מלך העולם, דיין האמת
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam, dayan ha-emet.
“Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, the Just Judge.”
After 4 years of trying, hoping and praying since my last loss, and 13 years in total, and finally after giving up completely, I was unexpectedly blessed with pregnancy again.

Sadly this pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 10 weeks, my 6th loss in total.

There are no funerals for miscarriages, no burials. No family get-together, no ‘sitting Shiva’ together. It is a special kind of grief, more lonely and perhaps harder to navigate than any other type of grief, because in our culture pregnancy loss is still taboo, something we still can’t quite face or discuss openly, and thus the sufferer is largely without comfort or understanding.

The traditional period of mourning in Jewish Tradition is 7 days (thus ‘Shiva’, related to the word 7). But the reality is that grief doesn’t follow a neat progression and cannot possibly be restrained within a 7 day period.

The loss of a child isn’t ‘just’ the loss of a baby right at that moment, but the loss of all the hopes and dreams – the loss of that child’s whole life – years and decades and life events that we thought was ahead of them. And even if a mother is graced with another child, this kind of loss changes you, and you always carry that little bit of sadness with you. You never ‘get over’ loss of a child.

I thought I had completely given up and resigned myself to not having any more babies, to ending my family on a loss. Now though of course, I find old wounds re-opened and longings renewed.

But for now, I mourn. 

Mourner’s kaddish
Jewish perspective on miscarriage and stillbirth
Mourning a Jewish miscarriage 
Jewish Prayer after miscarriage or stillbirth

Red Herrings 

In May we started the process of buying a flat. It was beautiful and big, but it had no garden or parking, no garage or storage, and it would have necessitated moving towns amongst other things. It seemed like a good idea at the time – it was a nice town that we all liked and we already had friends there.

But then I discovered that I was very unexpectedly pregnant and the lack of garden and parking suddenly seemed more problematic. The final decision not to go ahead was influenced by the fact that middle son felt very strongly indeed about changing schools (as in”I’d rather die!”) and daughter didn’t even get the place we had been assured was hers for the taking at Sixth Form in the same school.

So we said goodbye to the lovely big flat, with no clear vision of where to go or any obvious options other than staying in the housing association house that’s so unsuitable.

But then… I’m not pregnant anymore.

 I rather wish we had a move to look forward to, as the future is looking pretty bleak right now.

This was my 6th loss through miscarriage and since I’m 45 now, there’s no guarantee at all that there will be any more pregnancies or even any more conception (this baby was 4 long years in the making).

And so I’m beyond sad. I’m absolutely broken and bereft. I can’t see any light, only tunnel.

And the worst thing about all this is that we weren’t really trying to conceive anymore. We had given up. And I was more or less, reluctantly resigned to the idea that there wouldn’t be any more babies. 

But now? I can suddenly vividly remember the feeling I had after I lost my twins all those years ago – the feeling that I could more than understand the desperation of bereaved mothers who go on to steal other mothers’ babies. It becomes an all-consuming obsession to somehow obtain that which you cannot have.

Despite my determination to think positively, look for the good and find treasure in the darkness this year, all I can see now is darkness.

Was there any point in all this? Life seems to have a cruel and sick sense of humour. It seems to have been nothing but a red herring. But I don’t know anymore what I’m meant to be focusing on instead.

How to pray when life hurts?

This year seems to have been one upset, catastrophe, tragedy after another. I won’t dwell on the particulars.

But this verse came up in my daily readings and I felt an immediate identification with it:

“If the LORD be with us, why hath all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” – 1 Kings 1:13

If you know the passage, this is right at the beginning of the period of the Judges and the cycle of rebellion, punishment and repentance – old Israel was so hard of learning!

So does the cycle of suffering work the same way in the lives of believers under the new covenant? Perhaps, but not always. Illness, injury and disaster sometimes come upon people and there is no rhyme or reason or discernible explanation. (Did you ever read the book of Job?) And sometimes, as in the story of Jesus with the blind man, it isn’t the result of the sin of the man or his parents but so the glory of the Lord may be made manifest.

It is difficult to keep on trusting and obeying and praying when life is at its hardest. It is not easy to hold on to the truth that “All things work together for good to those which love God, to them which are called according to his purpose.” But it is still true even when it feels impossible.

In my daily reading from Charles Spurgeon’s ‘Chequebook of the Bank of Faith’ today, I read these words – painful but with a hint of hope:

Pruning for Fruit-Bearing

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

“This is a precious promise to one who lives for fruitfulness. At first it seems to wear a sharp aspect. Must the fruitful bough be pruned? Must the knife cut even the best and most useful? No doubt it is so, for very much of our Lord’s purging work is done by means of afflictions of one kind or another. It is not the evil but the good who have the promise of tribulation in this life. But, then, the end makes more than full amends for the painful nature of the means. If we may bring forth more fruit for our Lord, we will not mind the pruning and the loss of leafage.

Still, purging is sometimes wrought by the Word apart from trial, and this takes away whatever appeared rough in the flavor of the promise. We shall by the Word be made more gracious and more useful. The Lord who has made us, in a measure, fruit-bearing, will operate upon us till we reach a far higher degree of fertility. Is not this a great joy? Truly there is more comfort in a promise of fruitfulness than if we had been warranted riches, or health, or honor.

Lord Jesus, speedily fulfill Thy gracious word to me and cause me to abound in fruit to Thy praise!”

When I do not have the strength to pray my own words, I pray Scripture (and if you dig into the psalms, it isn’t all sweetness and light – some of them are gritty and mournful) and remind myself that, no matter how bleak things look, Good is good, and it will all come right in the end.

Progress

kira-progress

I am sorry to have been absent for so long. Life on the Station has been complicated, and hard and painful just recently, and it has been a challenge to keep my head above water. I am trying to surface again now, but we’ll just see how it goes. I’m making no promises.

Summary
Kira has to go to one of Bajor’s moons to evacuate the last remaining settlers so that the moon can be used to create energy for Bajor. The settlers are stubborn and determined to stay, and although Kira begins to connect with the man, in the end she is forced to destroy his home in order to get him safely off the moon.
The sub-plot has to do with Jake and Nog who do a little bit of sneaky trading of Cardassian Yarmok sauce/ self-sealing stem bolts/ land on Bajor behind Quark’s back and find in the end that the apparently worthless piece of land is in fact a crucial piece of real estate that has marriage value to the surrounding land.

Comments
I was surprised this episode came up so early in the series. This is a difficult episode for Kira, because she empathises with the settler and feels that opposing him and forcing him out of his home is a little bit like doing the work of the Cardassians for them, but in the end she must make this painful decision in order to save his life as the energy project will start whether he stays or goes.

I never quite understood why she went about it the way she did. One minute she’s helping him build, risking her career and Sisko’s wrath by delaying, nursing the man while he’s sick when she could have taken him away then easily, the next minute she’s setting his house on fire to force him to go. It seemed harsh. I suppose it was necessary in the end, but I don’t know that I would have done it that way. Land, in the end (it seems to me) is only land. But the house and everything in it could have been saved, moved, transported. Why did it have to be destroyed? It seemed unnecessarily cruel.

In my life
I think about the house I left, and nostalgia comes over me in waves just like grief does. I was never that attached to the place as such, but that house – where my children were born, where we spent all the years watching them growing up, all those memories. My heart aches with longing for it. I know that those times are gone, and even though it is hard, we adjust to children growing up and becoming their own people with their own ideas and interests and plans.

But having the house where it all happened ripped away from me, well that hurts. Maybe Sisko thought that moving away would save my life, or my health, or my sanity. I don’t know. But I think he might have been wrong. The price was too high, and I left my heart in the old country. But I also know that, since we moved away, the house we left isn’t there any more – it was ruined beyond all recognition by the bad tenants to whom we had the misfortune of renting our home. So I have no choice but to move on. ((((But you exist there)))) Yes I do. Perhaps I just need to accept that fact, that my grief and loss is part of who I am now. There is no moving on, just accepting.

The Last Straw

Another lick of paint, to cheer things up. What do you think?

The sun is shining, but I cannot tell you how deeply low and bad and desperate I feel. I didn’t go under when I lost my babies, when my Dad died, when uncle then aunt died in quick succession, when we endured floods, when we lost our house, when husband lost his job, when we had to move 6 times in under 5 years*. I just worked through every new grief like a Trojan. See these big muscles? I’m invincible.

But right now, I am seriously considering admitting defeat. I feel as though cruelty upon cruelty has been heaped upon us, and I have had enough. I won’t bore you with all the horrible things I’m having to deal with right now, but Whistler’s passing might just possibly have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

And the next person to suggest that I’m ‘attracting’ all this bad luck can expect to be beaten to a pulp before I get dragged off to the funny farm.

* The abridged version.