It's been almost four months since our precious Ariella died and was born. Four months. It's been both the slowest and fastest four months for my husband and I. On one hand, it feel like longer than four months since we held our sweet girl, saying hello and goodbye too close together. And yet we can't believe that we've managed four months without our girl...how could that much time have gone past already??
I cry less in public these days. I make it to more social events than I used to. I even manage to work two days a week. I volunteer in the Children's Church most Sundays. I sometimes bring baked goodies to events.
I am, somehow, getting through this year. But I want you to know that I am not okay.
Crying less in public doesn't mean I cry less. It just means that I'm tired of always being so vulnerable in public, and can better hold it in until I'm in the safety of my home.
Making it to more social events than I used to doesn't mean I make it to as many as I did before Ariella's death. It just means that I've learnt to put on a brave face and attend at least some things.
Working two days a week doesn't mean I've conquered the anxiety of going out. It just means that I've found something not too confronting to do that makes me feel like I'm making a difference and that I'm useful.
Volunteering in the Children's Church in no way means I'm alright to be around children. It just means that I needed to get back to some sort of "normal", and since Children's Church was normal for me before Ariella's death, I can normally hold myself together for a few hours each Sunday. Just because I can be in the Children's Church does not mean I can be in the creche. I can't.
Bringing baked goodies to events doesn't mean I can always cook. It just means that on that particular day, I was able to convince myself to go into the kitchen, as opposed to the days when the mere thought of cooking leaves me in tears, unable to physically make myself do it.
Just because I'm still here, still standing four months after Ariella's death, does not mean I am okay. I'm not.
I am not okay.
I get angry - when people do something insensitive, when they expect me to be "moving on" (whatever that means), when people forget that my husband lost his daughter too. I'm not the only one grieving, he is too. And I get angry and hurt when people don't ask how he is going. I am not okay with people focusing on me to the exclusion of my husband.
I get sad - when people take it for granted that they will have kids, when people complain about the children they do have. I understand that sometimes children can be tiring and frustrating, I've looked after them enough to know this is true. Just don't complain in front of us. We would give ANYTHING to have Ariella alive, even if she was a screamer who never slept or let us leave the room without a tantrum. Please think about what you say about children in front of us, and please remember that if you have a living child, you are blessed. No matter how frustrated or tired they make you.
I get overwhelmed - at the thought of getting up, going out, cooking dinner. But I'm also blessed, by a friend who made us a meal "because we might want a break" and by a friend who willingly agreed to make us a meal when I asked.
I get tired - of crying, of being vulnerable in public, of feeling like I don't fit anywhere except bereaved parent support groups.
We miss Ariella more than we ever thought it was possible to miss someone. It's been almost four months, but please don't expect us to be okay yet. We're not.