Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Devotion #10 - Husbands and Wives Grieve Differently

You may notice that these lengthy devotions are posted on the same worries, I haven't been hiding in my basement again. We've welcomed an exchange student into our home for a few weeks and she's sleeping in the room where our office is. With the busy times of school starting last week (check out my other blog for pics of that) I didn't have as much day time to blog so I did it on our laptop (not internet connected) at night and transfered here today...finally. I also added a playlist feature with some songs that remind me of Cole and my journey of hope, healing and faith.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

This is by far one of the devotions I’ve struggled with publicly writing about the most. It’s like airing your dirty laundry in public….no one wants to do that. But then again this is likely a subject that no one will be too surprised to hear what I have to say or how hard it is to write about.
So let’s begin with the first question…how do Geoff and I grieve differently. Let me take you back to the beginning. When Dr. Yiagi, the cardiologist at Sick Kids began scanning me on that fateful day in December Geoff was standing near my feet watching the screen. He saw that Cole’s heart was no longer beating, he knew right away. We weren’t given time to be together at that point, the doctor just pulled the ultrasound probe away from me and let me curl up and cry but then quickly was back to business. Geoff was the one who began to make phonecalls but for me this was the start of where I felt us separating in our grief. He needed to act and I needed him to be with me. For the rest of the time we were in Toronto it was like this. He kept his grief from me a lot and would go for walks and smoke breaks to keep his grief hidden. I was always so public with mine.
Once we were home he seemed to be able to move forward better then me….but then again he was working and had something to distract him. The same could be said for the time I spent in the hospital…I felt so much grief and loss and he seemed to coast through it and was more upset about having to handle things at home then with the loss of Cole. The flip of this was that I had so many people to listen to me...professionals, visitors, other antenatal friends and people who read our caring bridge page or who I met online. Geoff had no one really and I'm sure it was a very lonely time for him.
The week leading up to the birth of the boys seemed to change that somewhat and he became more and more affected by grief. For him it would come out in bursts of misdirected anger and sullen moods.
For me I struggled from day one. I’d felt Cole move…first, most often and most intensely. I bonded with that little boy, I carried him and loved him from his first flutterings. I felt a tremendous sense of loss, of confusion and of utter disbelief. As time went on I began to accept things as reality more and thought I was dealing with our loss better as well. Really what was happening was that it was all becoming very clinical as I saw atleast 2 doctors a day, had ultrasounds, NST’s and bloodwork all the time…I was simply a product of the system.
Geoff and I came back together in our grief on the day of delivery. I think I actually dealt with the loss of Cole and the reality of delivery better then Geoff…that day anyway. And as I stayed with Cameron in the hospital I became distracted again with what our loss really meant. Until just before he was to come home….then it hit like a ton of bricks….I was only taking one baby home!!!
Geoff seemed to have accepted this within days of the boys arriving and since then he’s, for the most part, shown little emotion about the loss of Cole (note I said shown... not necessarily how he truly feels but rather what he shows on the outside).
I struggle so much more, cry so much more often …or so it seems. But then we’ll have chats about how it feels to see twins or what we think it will be like on the anniversary date of finding out we were expecting twins and Geoff will say things that make realize he’s hurting in his own way too. But really I feel alone in the sadness and grief that the loss of Cole has created. I don’t’ think Geoff understands sometimes how hard it is to do all the ‘mommy stuff’ with Cameron as it is a constant reminder of what I lost. Even just nursing Cameron is a reminder. The pain is so intense sometimes and I feel like he’s just able to move on 3 steps at a time while I go one forward to two back somedays.
Sometimes I think our grief has drawn us closer and other times I am not so sure. For the most part we talk more about our feelings and the love we have for our children. We talk often about Cole and how we feel about him. But there are also some intense moody times that are so very hard on everyone.
We sought some help but it seems hard for both of us to ask for help, to talk to an outsider about what hurts the most. It’s definitely an area we need to work on (and incidentally I have yet to call for counseling for me either…but I will, really, I promise). Perhaps admitting here that the mood swings, depression and struggles we have through our grief are affecting us and the relationships within this household is enough to push to me to take action.
Geoff and I have been through so much in the last 9 months and are forever changed because of this journey. Sometimes I feel so alone and sometimes I feel like the gestures and actions he uses to comfort me only make it worse. Forgive me for not remembering that we are entitled to grief in our own ways just was we were entitled to love in our own ways. Help me to remember that although my love for Cole was different than Geoff’s for the obvious reasons of maternal bonding it doesn’t make it any more or less important. Forgive me for the way I feel and for wrong actions and words I’ve spoken to him. Help me to be sensitive to him. Transform my hurt to hope and the distance I feel to a deepened relationship with You and in that a deepened relationship and understanding of the man that I married.

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