How has it possibly been 21 days?! It makes me feel like throwing up to think about 21 days that I have not seen Tatum. It makes my heart hurt so bad. These past two days have not been the best. I feel like I have had a pretty hard time, just feeling really sad and heart sick. It feels a little like how I would imagine post traumatic stress victims would feel. I am not equating what I am going through with a war veteran or anything crazy like that. What they go through is unthinkable. It just seems like the brain and the heart react in similar ways through grief. I feel like I have constant flashbacks. I will be getting ready to go somewhere and start to make a list in my head of how it is going to happen and realize that I don't need to get Tatum ready. Or I will be outside and think, "I need to get inside to check on Tatum". It is cruel and unusual, however I will be much sadder when it stops. I am impossible to please! It probably doesn't help that I can't put her things away. We still have a little portable crib set up in a corner of our room. She never slept in it, but I used it to store all of her "stuff". Diapers, wipes, medical supplies, gifts that people had brought by. You name it. I have gotten rid of most of the "stuff", but not all. Then there is her car seat and her little bed and all of the beautiful quilts that people made her.
How do I ever put these things away? How do I ever take all of the pictures that we used at the viewing out of the frames? I just feel paralyzed when it comes to certain things. I feel like for the most part I am functioning in my life, even though I don't want to yet.
I am writing these things, and trying to be fairly candid, so that those who are grieving themselves will feel "normal", and for those who are concerned about someone who is grieving will understand and be a little softer. I know that some of these things sound so crazy to people who have not experienced a loss like this. But I know that I am not "clinically" crazy. Silly crazy, sure, but not clinically:) So I know that all of the feelings that I am experiencing are "normal".
Today I visited with a young woman whose baby died a few days ago. I asked her how she was doing and she said that she felt a little better because she was at least finally able to sleep. I found that funny because I could certainly relate to the lack of sleep that she referred to, but I could not relate to welcoming sleep. I fight sleep because I feel like being able to sleep signifies that life is back to normal. And I do not want that. I then asked her how her sweet baby slipped out of this world. She said that they found her not breathing in the morning and that it was very peaceful. I hope that I did not audibly gasp. I was so relieved for her that she felt like that was how it was best for her baby. But I was so grateful that Tatum did not slip away that way. It would have crushed me, literally. That led me to think about how grateful I am for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and allowed me to have the experience that I needed with our little Tater bug. How differently we all grieve and how different all of our needs are. I found it so intrigueing.
I had several visitors today, and I think that was helpful to keep my mind busy and off the saddness of the day. A few friends from our bereavement group came by and a good friend and her family that I met many years ago. My pediatricians office called me and told me about her when her little girl was very sick and close to dying. They thought that we might hit it off, and they were right. We have been good friends ever since. They were here from Texas so I won't get to see her for a long while. It was a great distraction and so fun to visit. We have literally watched each other's families grow up. Then one of my friends from the hospital brought us a few rose bushes that are just amazing and sweet and some extra Brobie's that he found at a store. Yesterday a few friends of ours had our blog printed off and put in book form. I was having a really cruddy day yesterday too, so it was such a wonderful suprise and relief that now I do not have to figure out how to print it! I am going to say it again, the goodness in people is simply amazing and I just don't feel deserving of all of the goodness. I am forever humbled and grateful.
As people have come by and dropped things off, or called, or visited, etc. I have reflected on the beauty of sisterhood and friendship. I have felt so well taken care of. It literally feels like the arms of our Heavenly Father have been wrapped around me and like I am being ministered to.
The ache to hold and love on Tatum has been intense these past few days. I don't know how my body continues to breathe and work through the pain, but it does. I am missing her presence in our family now and in our future family. Tonight Hilary was getting ready for bed and she said "I miss Tatum". I told her I did too. Three weeks down.