Monday, October 17, 2011

The Ugly Guilt Monster

I had a pretty good weekend. I dared to click the "happy" emotion in my period tracker app for my iPhone. It sounds silly but until I did this I had not realized how much I have been pushing the few happy times I am given away.  The period tracker application is a neat little tool that keeps track of your cycle among other things like ovulation, days you are intimate, physical symptoms, emotions and weight.

As you can see there are little faces for different emotions you are having on any particular day. The only emotions that have been imputed to date have been things like tired, weepy, nervous, sleepy, sensitive, gloomy, depressed, fatigued, stressed, spacey, and sad.
I have been working on a mural and creating beautiful things always lifts my spirits a bit and so by the weekend I was in a pretty good mood. Saturday I slept in and woke up to my husband making me breakfast. The weather was cool and I relaxed with him in the morning and went to paint the mural in the afternoon. I had a really good day. I felt hope. I felt refreshed. I felt like I could handle this.
Saturday night I was messing with my new iPhone 4s and I went to track my emotions for the day. I had no problem clicking refreshed and in love however, I saw the happy face and paused. Should I click it?
Marc and I have had many talks about how we need to allow ourselves to be happy. I logically know that feeling happiness does not take away from my love for my sweet baby. Maybe a part of me is afraid that if I feel a little happiness people will think I am done grieving. I am not sure exactly what it was but it was so hard to click that stupid little smiley face.
Then...I just did it. I clicked it!
Immediately I felt a pang of guilt.
Guilt is not a new feeling for me lately. I broke down and admitted to our support group that I felt like if I pushed harder or got him out faster maybe things would have turned out differently.  If I had been at the hospital, would have turned out differently?  I have been told that the outcome would have been the same but were they just saying that to make me feel better?
The synonyms for guilt are things like condemned, criminal, damned, evil, felonious, responsible, rueful,  sinful, and wicked. Wow! I don't feel evil or wicked.
Again, logically I know that Marc and I made our decisions based on the information we had at the time and we did not make those decisions lightly. I know that whatever we did, we did with our best intentions and we did what we thought was best for our baby. Still as a parent we are supposed to protect our children and in this case there was nothing Marc and I could do to protect him. Guilt is just another stage of grief I have to wrestle with.
By clicking happy, I felt like I was doing Marcus wrong by being happy without having him here. I had to step back and think...would Marcus want me to be miserable for the rest of my life? Do I really want to focus on my son's death and let it ruin my life? That is the easy way out. To give in. To let the grief take over.
I love my son but I realize I have to live for us both since he cannot live for himself. I have to focus on his life, as short as it was. I have to focus on the things he has given me not the things that have been taken away from me. Doing this will only cause more pain.
He has already given me so many gifts. His life is truly making me a better person. One of these gifts is a strong, deep empathy for the suffering of others. I used to think I was a fairly empathetic person but now I realize that I was just a sympathetic person. I would hear a sad story on the news and think "oh that is so sad"  Now when I hear a story of another persons loss I can really feel it with my whole heart and this in turn makes me a more generous and loving person. What a gift!

But this morning I could feel the strength slowly being sucked out of me. I tried so hard to hold onto the happy, refreshed feeling from the weekend but it is now almost 10pm and my strength and happy stores have been depleted. Probably because I am missing Marc at work and I just realized I haven't had dinner but sometimes it just hits all at once. It also does not help that there was a new stack of bills waiting for me when I got home. The hospital bills are so stressful and we are left paying thousands of dollars for what? I don't have my baby to hold, why should I still have to pay? I spend so much time fighting bad thoughts or emotions and sometimes I just have to let them come.
I really wish I did not have to work and I could just spend every second with Marc doing things that made us feel good.

So I had two whole days where I felt pretty good. I see people posting that they had a GREAT weekend and wonder if I will ever be able to say I had a GREAT day again. I cannot fathom ever saying I had a GREAT day right now.
I guess three months ago I never thought I would have a pretty good day again, let alone two in a row! GREAT days are most likely in our future. I just wish I knew when they were coming so I could have a date on the calendar to look forward to.

"I was always fraught with guilt, and it's such a waste of an emotion. It keeps you out of the moment of being where you are."-KYRA SEDGWICK

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