Saturday, April 29, 2006

My perfect angel

It's amazing how the grief can really kick you in the butt, even after all of this time. I was just downstairs watching "The Name of the Rose" with my husband and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I just started thinking about holding my dead daughter in my arms. I relived the whole surreal scene in the hospital when the nurse placed her in my arms and left the room and I was left alone with this tiny, silent creature. And once again I had tears streaming down my face. Why did this happen, why couldn't I protect her? Why did she have to die? I have asked these questions so often over the past couple of years (almost), that I am surprised at the intensity at which they still haunt me. I guess there is no timespan to grief. I guess I will always carry this with me and that from time to time it will continue to kick me in the butt. Maybe that's how I will stay connected to Lydia. Maybe the sadness keeps her real to me. I just wish so much that it weren't so; I wish she were here and I didn't have to live with this grief. No words can describe how much I miss her. I will always treasure that one first and final moment I had with her in the hospital. I just with that it had been the first of many.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 9:20 PM | link | 6 comments |

Monday, April 24, 2006

Turn, turn, turn

In June I will have been living in this house for 10 years. Which means that it will also be 10 years since I started trying to have children. Now, there was a divorce and a 3 year hiatus in there, but it has certainly been on my mind since then. It is odd to think that person I started out trying to have children with is not the person that I ended up having my first child with. And the person that I had my first child with will most likely not be the person with whom I have any subsequent children. I never thought that my life would get this complicated.

Ten years ago I was settling down with the wrong man. We had been married for 3 years and I had just started my first "real" job. We had plans about children, travel, home renovations, basically the whole "adult" package. What we didn't have any plans for were the real essentials like intellectual, spiritual and creative development. There was this chasm between us which couldn't be filled by the trappings of suburban life. So, when things fell apart a few years later it wasn't a huge surprise.

When I met my current husband, I really thought that I had learned some lessons and knew what I wanted and needed from a partner. Unfortunately, the same wasn't true for him. I guess I'm not terribly surprised that this relationship has gone down in flames, too, but I am surprised at how spectacularly it failed. I am surprised at how gullible and naive I could have been and how duplicitous and cold my partner could be. Given all of the loss and tragedy I've been through in the past few years, I guess it will take a lot to surprise me from now on.

The gears of the next phase of my life are starting to turn. By this fall I plan to be far away from here, starting out on a new chapter. I'm terrified of taking the leap, but I think I'm more terrified at the prospect of staying where I am, and that fact makes me more sure that I'm doing the right thing.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 7:51 AM | link | 6 comments |

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Happiness is... a healthy new baby for Anam!

Many congratulations to Anam and her family on the safe arrival of her new son! My eyes are full of tears of happiness right now... Give him a big kiss from all of us here in blogland!
:: posted by Ann Howell, 12:49 PM | link | 1 comments |

Monday, April 17, 2006

Dream therapy

I know a lot of us in this sad circle are often deeply affected by our dreams. We dream of seeing the children that we've lost or reliving the horror of losing them all over again. The dreams are sometimes comforting, sometimes disturbing and they sometimes have the power to affect our mood for many days. I had such a dream last night. It didn't seem to have a narrative, rather it was this patchwork quilt of scenes. At one point I was working in an office and it was either late at night or the weekend, because there were only a few of us around trying to finish an urgent project. It was mostly men in the group and as we were working and chatting they started talking about their children. They passed around photos and told anecdotes of the cute antics their kids got up to. At one point one of them turned to me and said how lucky I was not to be tied down with a family, that it must be a great feeling being able to do whatever I wanted. My first instinct was to escape this uncomfortable conversation, which I did. I ran to the bathroom and hid in a stall, but instead of breaking down in tears, I started thinking about what my co-worker had just said. He was right -- I could do whatever I wanted. I didn't have to sleep-walk my way around life just waiting and hoping that someday I would have another child so that everything could be okay again. Because if I'm honest with myself I have to respect the fact that that may never happen. I may not get a chance to have another child. And I have to find someway to be okay with that. By the same token, things with my husband might not work out and I have to resolve my feelings about that.

My dream went on with a variety of incongruous scenes. At one point I was at a (flower) nursery where a florist was walking through the gardens with a bride, pointing out possible selections for her bouquet. Only the bride was wearing this ridiculous Elizabethan-style gown with four foot wide hip bustles. I couldn't believe that no one told her how silly she looked, but her bridesmaids trailed behind her in lavender tulle completely oblivious. Then I was on a small beach and there were these two men in tuxedos sitting at the water's edge and talking about life. One of them picked up a dead seagull that was lying beside him and told his friend to rip it open. His friend did and inside there was this beautiful irridescent black feather with a white tip. Somehow this was supposed to provide some mystical insight into the meaning of life, but I didn't quite grasp it. Then this man, who I obviously had some kind of history with, came up to me on the beach and asked me if I was ready to make a decision. I think he wanted me to run away with him, but I wasn't sure if that was what I was supposed to do. So I turned away and started walking down the beach where I saw a bunch of suburban couples having a bonfire party. They were playing volley-ball and getting really drunk and all of the men were making passes at their friends' wives. It all seemed so Bacchinalian (in a bad way) and I knew I didn't want that life, whatever it was.

This dream doesn't have an ending. It flitted around for a little while longer and then I just woke up, feeling -- I don't know, feeling like there were many possibilities for the next stage in my life and that I need to keep an open mind about which path I take. So today I'm in a very contemplative mood and I have a feeling that this dream and all of its bizarre uncertainty will stay with me for a while. It's comforting in an odd way to know that my subconscious desires, fears and motivations are able to make themselves known when I need to understand them most. What I'm going to do about them at this point, though, is still anyone's guess...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 8:08 AM | link | 1 comments |

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy (belated) Birthday, Strummer!

Even though this post is 2 days late, I was thinking of deadbabyparents on Wednesday and hoping they were getting through the day okay. Strummer should be entering her terrible twos right now, giving her parents lots of heck. Here's to your first born, guys -- I so wish she could be here with you.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 9:09 PM | link | 0 comments |

Easter dresses

On the way home from driving my husband to the office this morning, I started thinking about how we're not spending Easter with my family this year. We missed Thanksgiving and Christmas with them, too, so it's hard to let another holiday pass apart from them. But my husband and I both have to work and things are still rather fragile between us, so we're not quite ready for a family gathering yet. Then it occurred to me that we'd get to go the Easter service at my new church (well, it will be sort of "Easter-lite", since it's not really a Christian church), which would at least be something positive. This led to thinking about what I would wear (since I usually wear a lot of black, I'm going to have to dig out a wedding-guest dress from the back of the closet), which led to thinking about what I would have dressed Lydia in if she were here. A frilly dress with lots of flowers and lace, no doubt. And this made me start sobbing, right in the middle of traffic. I want her here so much sometimes it hurts...

On the Nelson-the-dog front, I contacted every no-kill shelter in the area and they're all full. I've put the word out to everyone that I can think of and no one will take him. If I can't find another home for him this week, I'm going to have no choice but to take him to the pound. He is too strong and aggressive for me and I worry all the time that he will get away from me and do somebody harm. I will miss him, but he really has to go. The people who had him before us were about to take him to the pound themselves, so if anything he's had a few extra, happy months on this planet. And who knows, maybe by some miracle he'll find new owners before it's too late.

And on that happy note, I'm off to read for a while and get an early night. I spent a couple of hours in the garden today and I feel pleasantly tired. Hopefully a good night's sleep awaits...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 8:37 PM | link | 3 comments |

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Quick post about nothing

This has to be quick, because I've got to get ready to go a client's, but I can't let so many days go by without posting! What's on my mind today is the mixed feelings I have about trying to find a new home for Nelson, the spastic dog. He just needs way more attention and space (we have a pretty small, non-fenced yard) than we can offer and I feel terrible about the amount of time he's been spending in his crate these days. It was a lousy time for us to get a dog and if I'd had any idea of the amount of emotional turmoil that had been about to hit the fan, I never would have taken him in. That being said, I have grown attached to the big guy and it will be sad to see him go.

Other than that, it's been a beautiful week weather-wise, but I've been so busy with work that I've spent zero time out in the garden. Maybe this afternoon when I get back from the office. If I think of it like a treat rather than a chore (right now the big job is clearing out the beds, which are full of winter debris), then maybe I'll be more enthusiastic about it.

And on that note, I've got to get ready. It's 8:30 already, where did the morning go???!!!
:: posted by Ann Howell, 8:32 AM | link | 4 comments |

Friday, April 07, 2006

Laugh for the day

Minimum Security
:: posted by Ann Howell, 6:09 PM | link | 1 comments |

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Happiness in blogland

So happy for Zarqa today!!! It's been such a hard road for her and even though this is just the first step, I can't help but feel so overjoyed for her! I hope this is the start of many happy milestones.

And thinking happy thoughts for Anam, as well. Baby #3 is due in two weeks and she and her family may be taking the plunge and buying a new house. In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say! A new house, a new baby... everything's coming up roses!

As for me, I'm still feeling relatively calm and centered. I'm trying to emanate as much love and optimism as I can muster and with any luck it will reflect back to me in the near future. Meanwhile, I'm just trying to enjoy every moment as best I can.

Right, well I've got a lot of work to do today, so no time to dilly-dally with labourious introspection right now. Take care, blogland, let's keep this positive roll going!
:: posted by Ann Howell, 10:48 AM | link | 2 comments |

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

What difference a day makes

Yesterday was the weirdest day emotionally that I've had in ages. I started off the morning sobbing in despair and ended the day laughing in bed with my husband at a silly Brit comedy. In between I went up and down at least a half dozen times. And despite my penchant for ineffectual ephiphanies, my resultant good mood at the end of the day was down to only one minor one: that I deserve to be happy. And on some level I do have control on how happy I can be.

I have more to say on all of this, but I have a lot of work today, so it'll have to keep for later. One other thing that really helped yesterday was going around and reading other blogs in our sad circle and seeing that many of us were actually feeling pretty good these days (or at least yesterday). That despite everything, there were still more things in life to be happy about than despair over. So this morning, even though my husband has to get rid of his car today because we can no longer afford the payments and debt threatens to strangle us slowly, I feel a sense of calm. Somehow we will get through this, somehow I will get through this.

And now, I've got to go reapply the rose paint on my glasses before it wears off...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 9:35 AM | link | 3 comments |

Monday, April 03, 2006

This too shall pass...

Every time I start to feel like I've got a foothold on my equilibrium, something happens and my mood takes a nosedive. This morning I took the dog outside and as we were walking around the backyard I started looking at all of the new growth sprouting up in the beds. Rather than being uplifting, this sight managed to depress me. It made me miss Lydia and all of the things we should be doing together, it made me miss the love that is slowly seeping out of my marriage, it made me miss happiness and optimism in general. I don't know where happiness is anymore, I don't know what to do to get it. After barely shedding a tear in the past month, I find myself sobbing uncontrollably this morning. Wailing once more for all of the losses and the sense of hopelessness that seems to have subsumed my life. I know that given the roller coaster that I'm on that soon this extreme sadness will end and somehow I will find a way to be productive and get through the day. And maybe tomorrow I'll have regained some small sense of purpose and I'll be able to smile and laugh, maybe even about this very post. For now, though, I'm back in the pit. And the view really sucks from here.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 10:59 AM | link | 4 comments |