I’m not a very big fan of Thanksgiving…the food isn’t my favorite (aside from the mashed potatoes of course), I can’t really get behind the whole backstory of the holiday (I don’t really believe the pilgrims were kicking it with the Indians), it’s really just the day I need to get past in order for it to be socially acceptable for me to only listen to Christmas carols and put up all my holiday decorations. But I do make an effort every year to think about what I’m thankful for…most years my list is long and my heart is happy… This year my list is still long (I do have A LOT to be thankful for this year)…my heart though- not happy.
It was a rough week leading up to the holiday. Dan and I tried valiantly to celebrate our Warrior on Sunday. We took a train into New York City on Saturday morning, it was a beautiful day so we spent the afternoon exploring then saw a show that evening. The next day we met his younger brother who lives in the city now for brunch. Dan wanted to ‘celebrate’ the baby we’ll never have on their due date, as if it was a birthday, but I just could not seem to get past that pain in my heart… Dan’s better at this grief thing than I am. He manages to compartmentalize- it’s like there is a box in his brain for all the sadness, but there’s a million other boxes with a million happy things. I am not that way…my grief finds its way into every other box.
My sadness, like me, is a work in progress.
The whole week I felt drained- just emotionally and physically exhausted. I woke up Thursday in a mood. I argued with Dan in the morning, I snapped at my little sister who was spending the weekend, I was slow to get ready (something I never do: I pride myself on being punctual). And then right before we left the house to go to my aunts I had a full-blown breakdown. I saw myself walking into a room filled with people who love Dan and me, but who were fully aware that this year there was supposed to be a baby present…and there wouldn’t be. And I was hysterical…sobbing in Dan’s arms…I just kept repeating “this is not my life.” I would like say I stopped crying, washed my face and smiled through the rest of my day… but that would be a lie. I smiled with my family, I laughed at their terrible jokes, I enjoyed my time with them…but the ache in my heart didn’t go away. It seems every wonderful thing in my life is overshadowed by my sadness (grief in all my boxes if you will).
BUT…I’ve been thinking. Maybe I need to stop looking at our loss as this terribly tragic thing that happened to us. Maybe when making my list of things I’m thankful for I should include our loss, because I’ve learned so much from our grief and it has truly changed my life.
-I have been amazed almost every single day by the kindness of humans. My parents, my siblings, my friends, my co-workers…they have shown me more love and compassion than I knew most of them were capable of. My heart has been so filled with gratitude for these amazing people in my life.
-I have been overwhelmed by my husband’s goodness. His ability to hold my sobbing body without saying a word. His willingness to accept the bad days with the good. His positivity, his encouragement, his unwavering faith in the success of our next cycle. He never doubts the process.
-and for my own growth. For the perspective I’ve gained, for the strength I’ve acquired, for the kindness I’m more apt to give. Grief has made me more patient and more understanding. A co-worker asked me the other day why I was always so positive at work, even when things are a genuine nightmare, and I answered her as honestly as I could… “A few months ago I had one of the worst days of my life at work (the day I started to physically miscarry) and only a few people knew. I just try, every day, to remind myself that someone I’m dealing with might also be having one of the worst days of their life.” *That, my friends, is a lesson I never would have learned if it were not for grief and it is one that has truly, completely changed my life*
So here’s a bit of my thankful list:
Dan, my family, my friends, our dog Rory, my health, our home, my job, the fact that AHS: My Roanoke Nightmare didn’t suck, my book club, Tostito’s restaurant style salsa , Hallmark movie channel, my parents having a home in Florida, my nephew Cam and his daily photos which are the highlight of most days, the amazing blog community I’ve spent the past 11 months becoming part of, my new short haircut which saves me a fortune on shampoo, Instagram, Amazon Prime (mostly for the free Amazon music app), Billy Joel and the magic that is Miami 2017, my nurse Marsha at our fertility center, Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc for being as cheap as it is delicious, HomeGoods, my grief, our Warrior and Cycle 2.