Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tubby Time

Imagine two bathtubs side by side.   Go ahead and get fancy, and think of those huge, white porcelain tubs with the claw feet and the long, swooping faucet.  One of those tubs is full of water.  Filled to the brim and almost spilling over.   The other tub is completely empty.  Dry as a bone.  Ok, so I suppose it's a little weird that these tubs are right next to each other, so let's go ahead and move the empty tub to another room.   With such fancy clawed feet tubs, we must be in an enormous mansion, so how about we move the empty tub to a bathroom in the back of the west wing?   You know where the west wing is, right?   Down two flights of stairs, across the grand ballroom, past the library and then the third door on the right just after the kitchen.   Got it?   Alright, so now, I'm going to give you a job.  It's a very important job and it must be done as quickly as possible - otherwise everyone will get very impatient with you and probably make some inappropriate comments about your abilities to do it.   Your job is to transfer the water from the tub upstairs to the one in the west wing.   What should you use to move the water from tub to tub?'s a thimble. That is definitely big enough, no problem.    Oh, by the way, you want to make sure that once you're done that there is absolutely no water in the upstairs tub whatsoever.  We are out of towels, so you can use this sandpaper, as long as you don't scratch the porcelain.   Oh yeah, also, every once in a while, I'm going to turn on the faucet up there and let it run for a few minutes.  You know, just to keep you on your toes.   Then, obviously, I'll probably have to let a little water out of the west wing tub every few minutes too.   People will want to take a bath in there and they'll need it completely full of hot water when they do, so you'll really have to stay on top of that.  Now, remember, the world is timing you, so you'd better do this pretty soon.  Plus, we're all watching you, so don't spill anything either.  Did I forget to mention, you'll need to be wearing these roller skates?   Aaaannnnd....GO! 

That is what overcoming grief is like.   


  1. I read this and what I come away with is the general concept, of course. You write beautifully.

    You feel as though no matter how you try to move through the grief you, the well is never dry. Its confusing, messy, infinite, overwhelming, almost an impossible task. Theres always more that comes. More to think about, more to work through, more to work into the balance of your life. The flood gates open up without warning, and you get stuck on the raft wondering how to navigate and find dry land.

    It pains me to see that you feel as though you are required to get through your grief in a neat and timely fashion. What I read is that you have inadequate tools to face the task. What I read is that you feel as though you are being watched and judged. You write that people are expecting you to do things a certain way and if you don't they'll say something you consider inappropriate.

    I understand all of these feelings, first hand. I've been in your shoes. And when I say that, I mean just about to the "T". Same setting, same players in the game. My hope for you is that through this process you will find yourself comfortable and trusting enough in your own skin to not care what people think or say.

    You and I both know that even though it's too much at times, the only person that REALLY knows what's best for you.

    Through my geiving process I spoke to a very dear friend. I would express that I never wanted to kill myself or end it all, but if I could just close my eyes and sleep until it didnt hurt anymore, I'd feel better and less overwhelmed. Her response was, "The sun came up today, it rose in the sky, and you are still alive. Theres nothing more you can ask for and that's all you need to need to know."

    1. Someone mentioned to someone close to me that they don't feel like I am "getting any better", and that made me think, what is really "better"? How "better" am I supposed to be? Especially after three months. What people fail to recognize is that this is something I will deal with every day for the rest of my life. I will never actually empty that bathtub or fill the other, but I will try my best every day.

    2. Really? Who says something like that? I'm hoping it wasnt someone close to you.

      Getting better. That's not really how this works.

      I'm sorry you had to experience that. I'm sorry you had to experience any of it. My hope is that most of the interactions you have are positive. My fear for you are those certain people who think they have the right to say such nonsense to you. Having been in your shoes, I wish I could hug you and that when I do, I could be a sponge and soak up all of the sad feelings and pain. I wish I could take it all away for you.

      People seem to "project" their feelings onto others. "You should feel THIS way in my eyes, and I'm going to tell you so." I don't care for that, one bit.

      I have been down the same path you walk now. If you ever need to vent please feel free to contact me. I will always listen.


  2. Ahh, Rebecca. Another amazing post. Everyone else seems to know what is right for you, or for me during my early stages. Though for me, it seemed to be during my pregnancy when we knew that things weren't well, that I would get the opinions of others and start wondering if they were right, what I was doing wrong, etc. But the thing is, we are like the...engineers for instance...going with your analogy theme... schooled in losing a baby and trying to put the pieces together to make the product, our life, fit as"normally" as we can. They are the observers, the consumers of our aftermath of losing our baby trying to tell us how our product should go, and what is wrong with it. Maybe they think that little green plastic piece would be better off on the left side of our design rather than the right, or maybe it should be painted blue instead of green. Maybe it looks off to them, but as the engineer, we have a sound reason that it is the way it is. And by taking the advice of our consumers, perhaps things may get thrown off.

    I guess that is the best way I can describe it. Sometimes I was so afraid that I was doing things wrong and was taking in the opinions of others, that my vision became so cloudy and I didn't know up from down anymore. But eventually I found my way and knew that I was happy with the decisions I had made, and likely would have had some regrets if I went down another path.

    In the way that we communicate, I don't see that raw grief, or perhaps I do, just masked by your efforts to keep busy. We are all unique and our grief is so different. Three days after getting out of the hospital with Matthew, I was knocking at the door of a non-profit organization seeking guidance on how to start a program for baby loss moms in the community. Was I all better? Heck no. Four years later I still cry....we will always be emptying that water, some days more quickly than others, and sometimes we just want to let it fill up and overflow. And sometimes it's really helpful. Sometimes I want to let the emotions build up and then just let it all really feels good.

    1. I'm doing whatever I can to stay busy and focused. People who haven't gone through this don't know what it is like. They don't know of the constant struggle to work through it - how hard is is - how SLOW moving it is. I wrote this post out of frustration the other day because it seems like people tend to think that this is something you can deal with for a little while and then move on. But, it's not. It's constant. It's all the time. Everything I do now, I do BECAUSE of Kenley and BECAUSE I am grieving her death. I'm not raw anymore, but I sure am tired of running back and forth between these two tubs!

    2. Jenn is a smart woman. And so are you, Rebecca. And you are right, people who haven't been through it, don't understand. They attempt to deal with their feelings about YOUR situation by oversteping boundaries and saying what they think is right. They try to help, but dont realize what they're really doing.


  3. I hesitate to write this because it'll probably come out wrong but it's how I feel and I hope it brings some solace. I haven't experienced this loss but I hope my naive outside prospective is helpful to you and your readers too. :)

    When I saw you a couple days ago I thought you looked great. Healthy, bright eyed and smiling. :) Although you were smiling I knew how much pain was still there but I was so happy at how great you looked.

    In reference to the "getting better" stuff, you ARE getting better. I think you're doing amazing! You're getting better at handling every aspect of this. You said it yourself - you're not raw anymore and it shows!

    I'm also glad you're taking it slow - there should NEVER be a rush to dealing with loss. Unfortunately the pain will always be there but you are "getting better" at getting that thimble to the west wing. ;)

    Again, I haven't experienced this loss and I hope I haven't offended anyone, and please feel free to share your opinion on anything I've said. Rebecca you can just call me and bitch me out if need be. :D

  4. I loved reading this post. You described the process of grief so well. This is exactly what it is like. A year has passed for us and we have gotten pretty good at masking our grief. So much so that people think we are fine. There are moments that we let it out and I think people are shocked that we are "still" dealing with it. Sometimes it comes out and we are surprised and sometimes we intentionally let it out because we need to remember. They just don't get that it will be with us forever.