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My second child and our first daughter, Camille, died and was born on June, 30 2011 when I was full term at 38 weeks pregnant. I gave birth to my rainbow baby, a second daughter, on August 31, 2012. This is me trying to figure out how to be a mother to my living son and daughter and function in society after our tragic loss.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Profound Things We See

Have you seen the movie "The Words" with Bradley Coo.per? I'd been wanting to see it ever since it came out, but I never go to the movies. No one told me that someone's baby dies in the movie. It isn't the main theme but it is an essential component. How is a baby's death anything ever but an essential component? You see, the main character pretends to write a novel that he found. The novel was written by a man after his daughter dies. At one point Bradley Coo.per asks the man who is now old....what happened ie. to writing, to his marriage, to him etc... the old man replies "life happened".

I am watching a movie about a family inextricably broken by the death of their child. They are so shattered that their marriage falls apart. The old man says he had always imagined his wife being desperate and broken after their split but than he recalls accidentally seeing her several years after they separated, he was on a train and she on the platform. She was with another man and they had a child. He said she actually looked happy.

She had her rainbow baby and the man had never been able to move on, or rather, forward. I don't think either one of them was unscathed...she just found a way to try and find happiness in a way he never really could. He spoke of finding a sort of peace. This is something I haven't come to. I think it is much too early in my process. I'm too close to Camille's death. I am still broken, wondering, floundering, flailing, angry, sad, missing.

This was a really good movie. I actually really enjoyed it. It is strange to watch something like your life play out before you on the screen. But here's the thing....It's only a good story when you're watching it on film or reading it as fiction, not when it is your own tragedy, unfolding before you with no ability to change the words or know the outcome beyond what has already played out. The long nights staring out into the night time sky, the stars that no longer hold the luster they once did. The days spent wondering of the other path, the one more often traveled it seems by almost everyone but you. The path that leads to complete families and no dead children. The pleasentville neighbors and their hidden demons that couldn't hold a candle to your pain. The sidelong glances at the families who have the right number and matching genders of the children you gave birth to but are not represented by the number of bagels ordered at the cafe.

Camille is not my tragedy, her death was.
"Life happened"
Death happened
and my life kept going.
(and so besides the movie details that don't match up to mine exactly)
I find myself on that train station platform
with my husband, son and my rainbow baby girl.
My past can not be changed or rewritten.
I can only watch it, like the train, moving father away from me.
I hope for happiness
maybe someday... a measure of peace
but  I know the missing will never go away.

11 comments:

  1. I haven't seen that movie, but everything you've written here echoes my experience.

    Sometimes I hear about a family who has lost a child, another family who has had a stillborn baby, and I think, "Oh my God. How can they even go on?" and then I remember that it's my story, too. And I'm going on. And I have no idea how life can bearable after such a loss.

    A lot of the time now I think I've found a good measure of happiness, and maybe even a little bit of peace. But this "happy" life also includes waking up in the middle of the night and crying because I miss Eliza so much I can hardly breathe. It's a happy life, but it's also broken and sutured back together.

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  2. "Camille is not my tragedy, her death was." This is so true and it frustrates me that other people don't seem to understand this. It adds another blow to my already crushed self. Wishing for peace hidden amid the happy and sad that I never imagined I could feel at the same time.

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  3. "The days spent wondering of the other path, the one more often traveled it seems by almost everyone but you ... The sidelong glances at the families who have the right number and matching genders of the children you gave birth to but are not represented by the number of bagels ordered at the cafe."

    That is my daily struggle in those words you wrote. That path I often wonder about... but it hurts too much. I still fear watching movies or reading stories with dead children that doesn't center around that. How could they possibly not surround their ever existence with the death of their child like I feel like we have for the past 2 years? It seems impossible. Yet, the story just portrays their lives with that as just a snippet. I'm fearful of this movie and Les Mis. I've never seen it in theatre or movie and I'm scared I might lose it or want to alter the story. I also fear that watching these will portray child loss to those who don't live our reality to just be something you get over or a sad, but trivial piece of LIFE. I'd want to stand up in the theatre and scream.

    Maybe someday I'll allow myself to watch these...

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    1. There's a scene in Lincoln that is about losing a child that is so powerful and so honest and so real. I loved how Spielberg addresses it - especially how one minute we are in the depths of the grief and longing for our children, and in the next minute we have to put on a smile and engage with other people. Maybe it's just because I saw this movie on both Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it totally reminded me of the holidays, and how I am desperately missing my baby, and yet I have to go on smiling, participating, and engaged with family.

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  4. "But here's the thing....It's only a good story when you're watching it on film or reading it as fiction, not when it is your own tragedy, unfolding before you with no ability to change the words or know the outcome beyond what has already played out."

    I totally agree. This is one of the pieces of my own loss that I've really struggled with: how Nathaniel fits into the larger story of my life. What I understood as the story of my life, and how Nathaniel's death has changed all of it - the whole tone of the narrative. I've wondered how the story of my life will evolve - if the narrative arc of my life will forever be just broken, the plot turned into a just really sad read. If the story of my life will be the book that you're glad to put down once it's over.

    My marriage has survived so far, although I have felt too shattered at times to hold it together. But I have no rainbow baby, and I've been unclear about whether or not I should or even can. And not knowing whether I will or not is too stressful at times - sometimes I want to decide once and for all *not* to, just so I can move forward in a predictable way. But that sentence makes me laugh - because if I've learned nothing else, life is just not predictable no matter what. Right?

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    1. I'm in a similar spot. I know how you feel about maybe deciding not to have another baby could let me move forward. I also wonder if so much time wishing & thinking about pregnancy has kept me from fully grieving - or made my grieving different. Sometimes it's all just too much to even think about.

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  5. I just saw a clip for this movie a few days ago and added it to my "to watch" list and am even more eager to watch it. Your words are beautiful. Your love for Camille is beautiful. Even your broken, shattered life is beautiful.

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  6. Yeh, I still grapple with the acceptance part. Sometimes I think I've "mastered" it, and then the next I find myself going there and losing it all together. Ugh.

    I forget what movie I just saw that made me so angry with the portrayal with being a BL mom, but it did.

    And Les Mis. did nothing to me. Yes, it's all very sad, but losing my son was sadder. Real grief trumps fiction everyday.

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  7. I totally get this. And it makes me sad to think that so many people see the world through our lens, too. I recently heard of someone close to a friend of mine who delivered her stillborn baby on Christmas Eve. And I thought, 'Oh god, how tragic and awful and sad." But, like, I FELT it for them, too. How can we not, right?

    Sending you lots of love and light, friend.
    xo

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  8. Beautiful. Although I will definitely now not see the movie. I'm not able to watch happy pregnancies on TV shows (and I never realized how many TV shows dealt with pregnancies & babies until we lost ours!), so there's no way, with where I am, that I could handle that.

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  9. ..."and my life kept going"

    That's the hardest part of it all. Right there. The daily struggle of living without them.

    Initially it was brutal, and if the grim reaper had come along in those first few months and offered me an out, I wouldn't have hesitated. But now, I'm slightly amazed that I don't feel that way (entirely) anymore. I want to live for Hugo, for John, for what's left of our family. But, as I've said before, I'm not afraid of dying anymore. Because I am convinced I'll see Seamus then.

    God I miss him.

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