*cross-posted with my infertility blog*
The day after I received news about my Dad's death, I felt this urge to tell the whole world about it. One reason was probably 'coz it felt surreal to me. I mean, I didn't see his body and I wasn't there at the funeral home. I wasn't there at all to help out and my life here in Finland continued as if nothing had happened. I think telling the world (well, mostly through FB announcement) about it has helped me remember that my Dad no longer lives on earth.
Another reason was probably because my world will never be the same anymore and I want other people to know that. Funny thing was that if I compared my grief with my infertility grief, I accepted my Dad's death MUCH better than my infertility grief.
First of all, I had had time to prepare for my Dad's death and also opportunities to let him know how much I appreciated him. Secondly, his death was a natural one and he didn't have to suffer long. Thirdly, other people readily acknowledged his death and my grief and thus I got the kind of warm support that I needed.
When tragedy strikes, it feels like your universe is going on a different pace and rhythm. You notice that there are cracks and perhaps even holes all around you. Your whole world has changed. Perhaps you've even stopped living your life for a while though other people don't even realize that. Anyhow, the trouble with infertility is that it's an ambiguous loss that sparks off disenfranchise grief (click on the link to read what it means) and it took us by surprise (a hit below the belt so to speak). When I first realized that (gasp!) we could be infertile, I felt that my whole universe started cracking...and then with each month appeared one hole after another, each with different size and depth.
At that time around our journey, I also felt the urge to let the world know about the changes in our universe. It didn't help when I tried telling some people about the cracks and holes created by infertility 'coz they made me feel like I was delusional. In their eyes, those cracks and holes were invisible. And the "wrong" things they said felt like they were poking the holes (involuntarily making them bigger) or even ripping off the cracks, making me feel defensive or even angry. Or both.
But at that time, I couldn't help feeling that I was really making such a big deal out of my cracks and holes 'coz if they are blind to them, there must be other invisible cracks and holes in other people's universes as well that I may have involuntarily poked and prodded and ripped off and that made me feel guilty for lashing out on them or for being defensive. That realization also made me feel guilty for all the past wrong things I may have said to them.
However, this thought in turn made me feel angrier and frustrated 'coz I felt that I had valid reasons to be grieving in the first place and I was denied the support that a grieving person needed. Thus the cycle of doom continued...Anger, jealousy, frustration, guilt, grief, sorrow, despair, self-hate, self-loathe, self-blame, doubt, depression...you name it...one by one tumbling one after another and sometimes many of them bursting out all at once and becoming a concoction from hell.
To be fair, there were some people who did acknowledge there were holes and cracks, but more often than not, the things they said made me feel like they were suggesting band-Aids to cover them up to "heal" my universe. After some time, I felt like giving up in "educating" the world about our universe and what it may entail. (FYI, every once in a while I still try to do this, but not with the same concoction from hell like before).
Side note: For those of you who want to know the list on what not to say to an infertile, here are some links:
What Not To Say to An Infertile
What helped the most was probably - after a long and twisted journey before coming to the decision so trust me, it wasn't easy to make a decision like this - surrendering ourselves to a future without kids (thanks to all the prayers - I specifically asked some friends to pray The Serenity Prayer for us - and the fact that God has answered those prayers by giving us both a united voice in terms of what to do or not do and in time we could let go of that particular dream).
Our universe will never be the same, but we've stopped focusing on the cracks and holes and focusing more on looking at each other and trying to find ways to make each other happy and spending time together. We try our best to cherish every moment 'coz nobody knows when death is coming to get us...what would be the sweetest ending for our story is if God chooses to take us from earth together at the same time. :-D