I can't believe that I last held my baby 6 months ago. 6 months ago today was the last time I got to be "Mommy". It was the last time I rocked him, the last time I sang to him, the last time I kissed his face and still felt the warmth from his cheeks. Those are the things I miss the most.
So many "lasts". In my last post, I wrote about how I typically keep it together in front of people. Apparently, when I write something on the blog, I then become the opposite! This week I have been a weepy mess. I have sobbed everyday, in all sorts of awkward situations. The times that I haven't actually started crying, I have bit my cheek so hard it bled to keep it together. (I know most of you will say let it out, but there are times when it is completely inappropriate for me to cry- like at work! So I'm trying to come up with a better way than to make myself bleed).
This is just a hard weekend for me. It symbolizes a bunch of different things over the last year, with the culmination point being that James has been gone 6 months. It's crazy how much can change in 6 months. My sweet friends and I got together Friday night with their husbands and kids. All the kids were lined up watching "Curious George" while we ate. They were so adorable. But in that moment, I wondered where James would have sat. Or would he have sat still to watch the movie at all? These were all his friends from playgroup. They have gotten so big! (This isn't my first time to see them. It was just my first time to see them all together as a group). They are talking more, walking faster, playing with bigger toys and their personalities are shining through. And so watching them makes me wonder even more what my life should be like.
Sometimes it's hard for me to even identify as a mother anymore. I see my friends who are parenting 1, 2 3 year olds and I have no concept of that. I have no earthly idea what its like to even parent a toddler. Just like they have no idea what it's like to hold their child as they take their last breath. Sometimes I feel like I don't know what my identity is anymore. None of the "roles" seem to fit completely. I don't see myself as a Mother. I don't identify with being a student, even though I am one. I don't picture myself as a professor, but in 2 days I will be. So what is my identity? Right now it feels like I'm just floating by...an hour as this....2 hours as that. But none of them really sticking.
I still feel really guilty. I'm working on not feeling that all of the time, but it's still there. I read an article probably a month or two ago about pediatricians not dispensing enough pain medication to infants. The study suggested that since infants can't tell you if they are in pain, doctors err on the side on not over medicating them. I got to thinking about how James was discharged from the hospital 3 days after major brain surgery. They sent us home with liquid pain medication that he subsequently continued to throw up. So during those times, he really wasn't on pain medication. His head must have been hurting- it had just been cut open 3 days before. Was he in terrible pain and I just didn't know it? Why did I not insist that he be sent home on IV pain meds? It continues to haunt me that he could have been hurting and I didn't do enough. My therapist and I have gone over and over those days, and he assures me that I've done everything that I knew that I could do at the time. (Yes, for those of you wondering, I do see a therapist to try to help me with these issues).
Some days I still feel very overwhelmed. Sometimes it's overwhelmed in a good way because there are so many lovely people in the world who are just kind-hearted people. I'm overwhelmed that people care enough about me to check on me, even when I don't respond. I'm overwhelmed because I understand why some of you would care about James- because he was the most beautiful baby in the world, but to care so much about me is overwhelming.
I'm trying to figure out a balance between honoring James with the life I have left to live and feeling guilty that this new life is drastically different because he isn't here anymore. Does that make sense? I feel like by trying to go to medical school I'm honoring him. But at the same time, I wouldn't be trying to go to med school if he was still alive. I know it's not healthy to stay home and sulk in bed- and so doing so doesn't honor him. But if he were alive I wouldn't be meeting friends for drinks after work. I've created my own Catch-22 I guess.
Ok, so much for my rambling thoughts. I've added a photo shoot of James from last January. In the middle of it Maggie decided that she need to protect James from the camera. My camera is sitting in the closet, and hasn't been touched since he died. I guess I decided that there was no point for pictures anymore. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures of my precious boy.