Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mason's Story-The Aftermath Part 4

I have said this before, but I have to be in a certain frame of mind to write down Mason's story. I am telling his story as honestly as I know how. I know there are parts that someone who has not experienced grief may not understand. I know there are parts that make me look selfish, or dramatic, or bitter. The truth is grief is all of those things. It makes no sense. It changes who you are, how you feel, and how you live again. You will see in later posting how God lifted me from the pit of constant darkness. How He raised me up from the depths of the deepest, darkest parts of me and let me feel joy, peace, love, and even happiness again. But for now I am telling the story in the order that it happened, as it happened. I truly feel like that is the work that I have to do so that some poor woman who is newly grieving may read this and know they are not crazy, or selfish, or a bad person, but most importantly, that they are not alone. So I pick up Mason's story with the day following the funeral viewing. If you are new to my blog, all of Mason's story until this point is written in previous blogs. Just search the name Mason and you will find it.

The next day after the funeral viewing was Thanksgiving. Until that year we had split our time between my family and Jake's, but I just didn't have it in me this year. I went back and forth between such intense emotional pain and total emptiness. I was beginning to develop anxiety that would cripple me for several months afterwards. I couldn't stand the thought of sitting down to a normal dinner when things in my life were so not normal. To quote my pastor "things are a million miles away from normal." I couldn't stand sitting there and receiving pity looks from people, and worse I couldn't stand the thought of sitting there while people made small talk and tried to make life normal. I didn't want normal, normal felt like I was abandoning my son, like I didn't care enough to be miserable as crazy as that sounds. I thought of having to sit there and watch life go on as normal, and in my head I pictured myself just snapping and screaming "What is wrong with you people!" "My son is laying in a casket a few miles away and you want me to eat turkey and pie!". I know that this seems unfair, that several family members were hurting as well but were dealing with it in different ways, but that is what I felt like would happen if I went. Most family understood this, some did not and began to judge us for not taking James and Linda somewhere so they could have Thanksgiving dinner. It is very cruel to judge us in that moment. I had delivered Mason just four days ago. I was still having massive blood loss and fever from infection. My mind is absorbed with just getting up from my bed to my couch. They were fed and either played outside or watched movies inside. That was as good as I could do at the time.

I remember a family member came and got James and Linda and took them over to their house for dinner. I can't remember who though. I think it was my mother-in-law, but I am not sure. It may have been my mother. I am pretty sure that my mother-in-law brought us each a plate of food, but I am not sure on that as well. It is not that it wasn't appreciated, it is just that I was so overwhelmed at the time that smaller details are fuzzy. I know I was still not eating at this point. I also know I had started smoking again, something I had not done in over a year. I was living off of apple juice, pain pills, and cigarettes. Not a healthy combo for someone whose body had been through what mine had gone through.

Sometime in the afternoon I began to panic about what I would wear to the funeral. You would think that it wouldn't matter to me at that time, but somehow looking appropriate seemed so important. It seemed like what I wore would be a testament to my love for Mason. Everything dressy I owned was pretty cheery. I liked to dress up for work in different colors and patterns. I got up from the couch and tore through my closet trying to figure out what to wear. I can't even explain what was driving me. I know I didn't care what others thought, but what Mason would think. I know that is ridiculous, but I was obviously not in a normal state of mind. I went into my closet and began teaing things off the hangers. "I can't wear this shirt, it has flowers on it!" "I can't wear this shirt, it's pink!" One by one I threw things out of my closet into a pile on my floor. "This shirt is too low cut." " This shirt has sparkles." "This shirt is green, green represents life, I can't wear that!" With every item I rejected I became more hysterical until eventually I was weeping, and screaming, and throwing things, and hitting things.

Jake came into the room and I am sure thought I was officially having a nervous breakdown. He tried to tell me it didn't matter, that made me more angry and hysterical. He tried to put his arms around me to make me stop and calm down. I screamed at him to let go and he tried to hold me tighter. He was desperate to calm me down. He put his arms around me again and for the first time in our entire relationship I hit him out of anger. I punched him as hard as I could on his chest until he let me go. He would have bruises the next day. A couple of seconds later I realized what I had done and it was like my knees went out from under me. I sank to the floor, drew my knees up to my chest, and just wept. I sat there rocking back and forth on a pile of shirts and hangers and wept like a broken woman. Jake knelt down and gently put his arms around me again. This time, I let him. He laid his head on my shoulder and wept with me as I rocked back and forth. Even as I am typing this I am crying because I remember how lost I felt in that moment. It felt like something dark had swallowed the real me and all that was left was a broken shell.

When I had recovered, Jake handed me my purse and told me to go find something to wear. While I was gone he cleaned up the mess I had made so it looked like nothing had ever happened. I found a store that was open and got a pair of dark gray pants, and a black button down dress shirt. They seemed appropriate to me. After the funeral, I have never been able to wear them again, but I can't stand to give them away either. They sit in the back of my closet, only worn for an hour, a reminder of the pain I felt, and yet, I keep them. It makes no sense to me either. I only know that to give them away seems wrong as well. Maybe time will change that, I am not sure. I only know that for now, there they sit.