Will this hole in my chest ever go away? I am preoccupied by the thought. It feels like I’ve been in this funk for an eternity. Feels like I’ve been crying for months, and I’m tired of it, even though it has only been a little over two weeks since my son died. I should be more patient with myself, but I’m an impatient person by nature, and life goes on. I can’t be moping about while there’s farm work and house work and yard work and who-knows-what-else languishing on my To Do list. Chop, chop! I say. Quit your belly-aching and get to work! Even my physical limitations hold no sway over me: I am not being woken up every couple of hours to feed a child, nor am I fighting the stresses of new parenthood, and therefore in my mind, I have no excuse for laziness. There is work to be done.

And yet, no matter what I tell myself, the hole remains. Vital parts of myself have vanished into this invisible abyss and I find myself in the same state as our old Ferguson tractor: engine madly cranking to get going but unable to catch and start.

In the meantime, I’m racked with doubt, fear, and jealousy. What if I did do something wrong? What if this was a sign that I am not to be a mom? How can all my pregnant (formerly?) friends have healthy children and I cannot? What did they do to be able to bring their babies home from the hospital, full of life, and mine came home from the funeral parlor in a blue velvet bag that fit in my two hands?

There are no answers to these questions and it’s a huge annoyance because I want answers, dammit. Answers would help fill this gaping hole and I could get on with my life better, sooner, easier. I’m tired of tears. I’m tired of coming home and feeling myself get more depressed with every mile I get closer. I’m tired of seeing other women’s children and having to fight bawling in fetal position on the floor in Walmart because one had sandy-colored hair and dark eyes like my son would have had. I’m tired of feeling waves of jealousy at the newborn baby pics that show up on my Facebook feed.

Mostly, I’m tired of grieving. Which sucks, because I’ve already reached my tolerance and I know it’s going to be like this for months to come.

The worst part is that everyone says it never truly goes away. How can I deal with that?

I have a hole in my heart
It’s deeper than the sea
Filled with all the wreckage
Of dreams you’ll never see…

And so, my coping mechanism is pushing myself. I push myself to keep going, to do this or accomplish that. I’ve taken up a light exercise routine and started back into my historical rapier hobby within the SCA. My rapier and buckler are like old friends. I push it, too hard at times, but physical discomfort is an acceptable trade for spinning my wheels. At least when I’m attempting to best an opponent on the field, I am not at the mercy of the swirling current that drags me into that hole of crushed hopes and destroyed dreams.

24 thoughts on “Hole in my chest

  1. Heather, please don’t push yourself. You’ve been through a devastating emotional trauma. Each us us grieve in our own ways. Know you did NOTHING wrong. Sometimes we have no explanations for things that happen. I think all you’re going through is natural. Take your time and allow yourself to feel and move at your own pace. Prayers for you and your husband as you go through this.

    1. Thank you, Suzi.

      Thankfully, I don’t blame myself. My doctors and the nursing staff at the hospital made certain of that. And really, what would I blame myself for? I carried my son to full term, and he was alive when he was born. I had a beautiful pregnancy. Much as I would like to find something to blame about the process, there isn’t anything. I just want answers. The classic “Why me?” question….

      Each day is a challenge. But I’m writing, and playing music, and that helps a lot.

  2. Be very gentle on yourself. I believe you are expecting way too much way too soon. and don’t let well meaning people try to take your grief away, by saying stupid phrases. We all hurt for you. I am wrapping my arms arund you.

    1. I’ll admit I did overdo it on my training routine this weekend, so I’ve had to take a couple steps back to couch-potato land this week. I’m actually happy it’s been raining so much lately — I don’t feel so pressured to get out and DO stuff when it’s raining cats & dogs… 😛

  3. In times like this, there is no normalcy. There are no two people that heal in the same way or in the same time frame. The grieving process is one that takes time, despite the fact that you may feel that you have had enough time, your body, mind and soul know different. Take all the time that you need, there is nothing more important right now than you having the time you need to heal.
    Please do you best at not putting the blame onto yourself. Comparing yourself to others is not the way to go either. Again everyone is different. The struggles that go along with this are long and hard, give yourself a break, don’t play the blaming game. Free yourself from that as hard as it is. The pain that comes with this time is long and hard, The slightest things can bring the memories and thoughts rushing in and you have to find the strength to keep them at bay. As time goes on you will have good days and bad days and as those days pass each day will get a little bit better. How ever you must allow yourself the time to heal that you need.
    I shall keep you and your family in my heart, thoughts and prayers.
    Brightest Blessings to you.

    1. That is very true that everyone has their own pace at which they grieve. I have been through loss enough times (sadly) that I know my pace seems to be sudden, intense, and violent for that first week, then after that it’s a matter of picking up the pieces for as long as it takes to pick up said pieces. I do not blame myself — my doctors and the nursing staff made sure they took care of that before I left the hospital. But I do find myself battling bitterness, especially when I see other mothers with infant children, or when answering the dreaded “are you going to try again?” question. It is tough. Especially to think of the future right now. Scares the living shit out of me.

      Thank you for stopping by, William.

  4. That’s right Heather, you’re not that person that gives up. You’re the strong, beautiful, Irish girl I raised to hold her head up high and move swiftly through the torment to the safety of her own world…the world she loves, of books, music, cows and a loving husband. Concentrate your energies there. It will help. Do things for others…that will help as well. And above all, know that we all love you.

  5. I am so sorry. I cannot even imagine. Truly. All I know is every soul I’ve ever lost has been here to share with me and teach me things. I hope the same is true for you.

  6. My heart aches for you. I know the feeling of coming home from the hospital with aching, empty arms, and a body that thinks it needs to be caring for a newborn. I remember the jealousy, I remember that I had to avoid the Walmart baby section for months, and even then the rest of the store had NO comfort either. I know you want to accomplish those items on your to do list, but remember to delegate as well. If someone stops by, calls, or emails asking how they can help, mention the dishes and the vacuuming and such like that, even farm chores for those who know how to do them. Just suggestions for those who have been there.

    When you feel up to it, the website http://www.stillbirthday.com/ is a tremendous source of support and information and there is a group I am a part of called Born Into Heaven for those who have lost babies to miscarriage, stillbirth, or as infants. You can find the group on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/groups/140463882730347/ .

    Thinking of you,

    Janis Bowles

    1. Thank you for the resources, Janis. I will definitely check those out. I’ve been reading a bunch of books this last week on the whole topic, “Empty Arms” by Pam Vredeveldt and “Still to Be Born.” I have found them very helpful, but unfortunately, both were published back in the 80s, and so some of the information is sure to be out-dated.

      1. The book that spoke to me the most was “Surviving the Loss of a Child.” The lady that wrote it lost a child who was older but the information in there was still relevant. It is written by a Christian author, though, so it might not be what you’re looking for.

  7. No Heather, the hole never goes away but it gets smaller as time goes by. I refuse to go over the “what ifs” in my mind because it is nothing but torture. As always the answer won’t bring our sons back to us. God allows things to happen sometimes that we do not understand but we have to persevere and trust that He knows what is best. We don’t have to like it but that is how it is. I am lucky because I had my son for 18 wonderful years, but there are a lot of sad memories mixed with the happy. Staying busy helps a lot as does doing every day mundane things that keep our minds off the horrendous loss we have suffered. Try to stick to your normal schedule. I promise you it does get easier, but what kind of mothers would we be if it went away totally and we forgot our babies? Soon the memory will blur a bit and so will the pain. Time is the great healer but even after 10 years I still mourn for my son. My father passed in 1971 and every year on Father’s day, his birthday and the anniversary of his death I mourn the loss of my father. But the tears dry and life goes on as unfair as it seems. I remember driving along one day and thinking the sun shouldn’t be shining, my son is dead. But it shines on and I have learned to enjoy the warmth once again. There are people out there who rely on you and your strength. Call if you need anything. I love you. Aunt Teresa

    1. Thanks Aunt Theresa. I can totally relate. It is hard to enjoy some things right now just because I don’t feel too perky. I want my son. I miss him, even though I never got to really know him. It’s so hard to think of anything beyond the immediate time. But life does go on, as you say. I know I’ll come through on the other side of this, but I’m afraid of what kind of scars this is going to leave on me. It’s already taken my innocent view of the world, my naivete… I just hope that eventually, I won’t feel so cracked and bruised and broken inside as I do right now.

      Thanks again. Love you.

  8. Heather, I know we both know loss. We’ve both experienced a lot of it in our lives, though I obviously cannot imagine what you are going through now. I do know we both grieve similarly, in the fact that we push ourselves through the process because we just want it over, and, as you said, there are things to be done. But like Suzicate says, please be careful. If you ever need to vent, please call me. I’m here night or day or in the middle of the night, even.


    1. Very true. I DO want to be past it already, even though I know that’s an impossible thing. 😛 I am trying to be careful, but it is so freaking hard (ha!) since my impatient tendencies keep telling me I have no reason to be lazy. I’m trying to be good, though. Promise. 🙂

      Thank you so much for being there for me. You’re the best.

  9. as you said yourself – try to be patient and understanding. Grief and healing needs to take place. I know that there have been so many advices and so many “what to do” suggestions.

    what helped me was this book:

    here is additional information.

    there are so many books and articles and groups that claim to help you grieve but none of them actually provide an approach or give something practical. Why do you need that, you might ask?

    Because we have been taught how to celebrate success, what to do with joy and how to receive compliments, praises, new jobs and etc, but nobody has taught us how to deal with grief, how to fill in the gap of losing something dear – either a person, a job, a place, a dream, an animal. We do not know what to say to each other, we do not know how to behave or even how to start healing.

    This book gives you a practical approach that involves daily work with somebody important in your life. It gives you something you can grasp and something that you can control…

  10. Heather, I am so saddened by the news of your loss. There are no words I can offer to fill the gap you feel, and though you will always feel it to some degree, I believe it will lessen over time. It sounds like you are doing all the things necessary to feel your sadness and still move forward at whatever pace you can. It’s ok to stop and just feel what you feel at times. Those moments of crippling grief will wash over you and move away like the tide. Just float. You may not understand it all in this existence, but I believe that things will make sense to us someday – somewhere. Even though you feel diminished, you are still that bright spark in the world that you have always been.

  11. Taking care of yourself and giving yourself adequate time to grieve the death of your son is not laziness. It’s a necessity. Be gentle with yourself – one day at a time. There are some really good books out there now, as Dace mentioned above, more than when we lost our son. It helps to know you are not alone. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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