Thursday, January 7, 2010

grief and time

I've been on a bit of a bloggy break lately, which seems to be the norm for me, so not sure I can call it 'breaks' anymore. I actually have a ton of things bookmarked and ideas for various posts. So here's one catch up.

The day after Christmas, CLC posted a thoughtful musing about life and loss - and life long loss. And what defines you. I'm a categorizer. I used to keep lists of the worst things that happened to me, or the worst things one of my someday-to-be-blogged about exes said to me, and so on - on the positive side, too.

Here in blog-land, it's not the loss nor the infertility that defines me, it's the subsequent marriage collapse. In real life, neither define me to anyone, really. I used to think the most defining thing about me was my hometown, having been raised in a classic small town of less than 3000 people. And when my parents moved away when I was in college, away from lifelong friends and family, and I lost that permanence, that anchor, I thought that defined me. My mom's sister, who was extremely important to me, died from breast cancer in 1997, and that's marked me in many ways - including my daughter's name. Losing my life-defining job in 2004 was a shock, and it might sound odd but I still grieve. My marriage and its ups and downs makes the list. My pregnancy loss is my secret mark. Like CLC, I can't even type potential losses too terrible to contemplate.

Around the same time, I ran across this blog post about that lifetime accumulation of losses and summed it up:

One of the lies we always tell ourselves is that the pain will go away with time, that we'll get over it, that time heals all wounds, and it's not true. Every loss is forever raw, and we can feel it all again with just a thought or a reminder, like a Christmas phone call to the family. The older you get, the more of these moments of grief you accumulate, and they never leave you.

Does loss define you? In real life or in blog life? How many moments of grief have you accumulated?

4 comments:

Emmy said...

De-lurking...

Grief is a subject that hits really close to home for me. I do define myself by my grief, in real life and online. But, it is not solely grief that I let define me- it is just a big part. I think what defines me depends on who I am with and the situation at hand. Sometimes my accomplishments define me.

I have too many moments to count. Those that stand out are watching my father die when I was 14, finding out my husband has a 0 sperm count, and my 25 year old brother dying last March.

I love that quote on the accumulation of losses. It really says it well.

Elisabeth said...

Hello!

My name is Elisabeth, and I am an infertility / repeated pregnancy loss "veteran". You can read a little bit about me and my experiences in my blog: drhousewife.blogspot.com . I am completing a PhD in Counseling Psychology, and my dissertation is focused upon the impact of infertility on marriage. I believe strongly that there is a need for better support services for men and women who are undergoing IF diagnosis and treatment, and my hope is that this study will aid in the development of such services.

I am contacting you after stumbling across your blog. I am recruiting participants for my study, and wanted to invite you and your husband to take part. All that would be involved would be the completion of an online survey, that would take approximately 20 minutes. All couples who complete the surveys will receive a voucher good for a pair of free movie tickets at a Regal Cinemas.

Please let me know if you are interested by emailing me at UTInfertilityResearch@gmail.com .

Best,
Elisabeth

CLC said...

That is a great quote you have at the end. Whoever said it hit the nail on the head.

And I wish I could count accomplishments on my defining list, but I guess I am a "glass is half empty" kind of gal. This often frustrates my husband about me, but I don't know how to be the half full kind of gal. Maybe I would have been if I hadn't dealt with loss at such an early age. Maybe not.

Astarte said...

I have been very much defined by the loss of my father, who left me when I was 3. It took a long time for me to realize that I was living in the shadow of that one momentous event. The subconscious feeling that I was forever someone else's trash completely shaped my life, and I think led directly to the abuse and rape that I allowed myself to suffer until I was an adult.

My other great loss was, of course, my nephew, who died almost three years ago now. I am a different person since his death, and all it takes is seeing a kid who would be about his age to send me back into pretty conscious grief.