Monday, August 11, 2008

Riding the balloon

I was sitting in my baby loss support group tonight when I realized that I had completely missed the fact that it's been eight months since Gabriel was born, and eight months since he died.

Two thirds of a year have passed. Two thirds of a year, and I was tearing up tonight listening to a new member of the 'club' describe the loss of her little boy all of 4 weeks ago to a rare genetic disorder where his lungs didn't work properly. I felt jealousy for a minute, as she had her little boy alive for 5 weeks. Yeah, he was intubated in ICU, but alive.

This woman is still immersed in her grief. Four weeks ago today she and her husband (both doctors) made the decision to take their son off of life support. She is still bewildered by her emotions and grief. It seems so long ago when I was in that place. Yet I can take myself back there so quickly that it astounds me.

Hindsight being 20:20, I can see that the stupidest thing that I did after Gabriel died is that I went back to work. I should have taken at least three months off from work. I wasn't ready to work. I couldn't concentrate on my job. I was not effective. It would have helped me to not work. Eight months out, I'm still not in the same place I was before Gabe died.

As I teared up tonight thinking about my son, my heart just cries out to have him back. I think about how he would be five months old right now. I think about the dreams of the future that I had while he was still growing in Mrs. Spit's womb. I hear men talk about how the birth of their child changed them for the better. I've changed, but not because of the need to raise of child. I've changed because I had to cremate a child and because this still weighs me down.

I realize tonight that as much as I'm interacting in the world, doing my job, continuing on with the business of being a human in this society - I'm still carrying my grief with me wherever I go. My grief is a hot air balloon. When Gabe died, I was carrying the gondola on my shoulders, with the balloon bundled in the basket, completely deflated. Over time, I've been able to inflate the balloon so that the weight I bear is reduced. Of late, I've been holding onto a line to the balloon, just keeping it from drifting away. But there are times when the air in the balloon cools off, and the basket drops back onto my shoulders. Often I can fire the burners and the load lightens. And then there are times, like tonight, when the balloon is almost completely deflated and I feel like I'm being crushed its weight.

I want to set it free, but I cannot. I want to put it down, but I cannot. I want to be in the basket, showing Gabriel a new view of the world that is new and magical. I cannot do any of these things. I can only grieve. Times like this, when the weight is most on my shoulders, I hate this damned balloon.

I just want my son.


Ya Chun said...

That is a fitting analogy. And so true. Hope the burden lessens again soon

Martha said...

I am so sorry so much was denied all three of you. Wishing you lighter times ahead in your balloon, where the pain is less but your joy for your son, Gabriel is no less intense. ((Hugs))