I have had the distinct feeling over the last several days that my emotional response has been lacking or even completely inappropriate, like people who laugh uncontrollably at funerals. Wednesday, I was so relieved to at least have an answer that I was happy and upbeat the whole day. I didn’t cry even though I wanted to. I took the rest of the week off, mostly because I knew Thursday and Friday would be the worst part of the physical pain, so I’ve been in a bubble of Tour de France watching and crocheting. I watched the movie Rent Thursday, and that was maybe the first time I really cried. And it was the only time I cried Thursday. Friday I cried because a doctor that came highly recommended from a friend who had similar problems is at a practice that I hate but not because we lost the baby – it was just a tiny taste of the frustration I know I’ll be feeling soon. I’m glad for the respite, but I don’t want to put off dealing with the emotional pain; the longer I avoid it, the worse it bites me in the rumpus when it finally catches up with me.
Unreality is easy in the short-term – I’m not at work, so I’m not dealing with my normal daily stressors; I’m not doing normal housework or cooking or anything that generally grounds me in reality, so I’m not dealing with my normal daily life right now. I’m on vacation, or at least my heart seems to be. I can try to draw it back, but I can’t really make myself concentrate on feeling anything right now. Maybe my heart’s not ready to deal with this, and that’s okay for a few days or maybe even a week, but I can’t ignore it forever. I sort of thought that the physical pain would pull me back into reality, but I think I’ve dealt with so much stress from the cramping and pain of the last week that unreality might be the best coping mechanism for a few more days.
Long term unreality will just allow the frustration and anger and pain to hide for a while and then pop out at inopportune moments. That’s why I would rather scream and cry now, even if it’s directed at something else. Maybe I should watch more sad movies or talk shows I disagree with: I could vent the emotion that I know is peeking out from under the covers right now. Maybe I’m just tired of working through the stages of grief only to start all over again and again and again. I am too tired to be angry, but I would like to get a jump-start on sad, depressed and bargaining – they hurt the worst. I could pretend that I’ve just jumped straight through to acceptance based on my attitude and emotions since Wednesday, but I know I’m really just on step one: denial.
Denial isn’t so bad for a short while; I have had a few days to relax and regroup before the real work starts, I’ve been able to watch the most exciting stages of the Tour de France without feeling guilty for not doing housework or something productive instead, I’ve given myself a pass for the first time in ages about not being productive (partly because I’ve been working really hard for the last few months, so I’m not as stacked up as I have been), and I’ve leaned on friends at a time when I would have normally pulled away. Now I trust that those friends will still be there when the ugly emotions show up, and I know most of them won’t run away. Actually, I don’t think any of you would run away.
I have begun to understand far more deeply than I ever imagined what Jesus meant when he said, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21) Jesus was responding to his family sending for him while he was teaching; most scholars agree that they were concerned with the direction his teaching had taken and the effect it was having on his reputation and the family’s reputation. I have no lack of familial support, but I have friends that I count on as family, and my church family has been a sweet and cherished example of “those who hear the word of God and do it” from our first announcement; you all are certainly family now more than ever. To that end, if you’re in the Birmingham area and don’t have a church home, you should definitely try Green Valley Baptist – I doubt you will ever find a sweeter fellowship or staff more dedicated to ministry and missions. I’m a little biased, but I’m right. 😉
Today, I’ll putter around some more and attempt to clean the house and crochet some more. Maybe Sunday will be more conducive to reality since I should be following a schedule and seeing people. Seeing people always brings reality rushing in because they are dealing with the loss, too, and they will be offering words and hugs of condolence. You cannot help but react to physical contact, and, as difficult as it may be for me to finally accept another loss, it is a necessary step forward in healing and moving on. I have the incredible benefit of being surrounded by family when I finally face reality.