I've been debating whether to write about this. Debating whether it's too personal, or too "much", or just plain TOO. It is a lot, what I am about to write. It might be a lot to read. I hope, however, that it can give some insight into the processes of grieving and healing...into what it's like to live through something to which few people can relate.
Six months ago today I almost died. Within the span of a few short hours I went into shock (due to internal hemorrhaging), found out that I was pregnant, that my baby was dead, and that I would die too if I didn't have surgery immediately. I signed consent forms and kissed my husband goodbye, because we really didn't know if I would come through surgery.
That's a lot.
Sometimes it feels like little bits and pieces, rather than one giant, traumatic event. The little pieces are easier to swallow, and to share: "I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy." It sounds so clinical, so unemotional. Or this: "I had a salpingectomy." With that statement I can reduce the experience to the removal of a body part. It doesn't even seem as if another life was involved, or that mine was at risk.
Today, however, all of the pieces came together and the full reality of the experience knocked me over.
The grieving process is unique to each person, but the common thread is that it takes as long as it takes. And then, the process may be done, but like a scar the grief remains part of you...a part that rises up again sometimes - perhaps to remind you of your own strength. I'd like to think so.
Because that's the thing about grief - it doesn't go away, exactly, it changes quality over time. At first mine was raw and huge like a force of nature. My body ached with grief. Feeling as if I would burst, I wanted to roar. Sometimes I did roar. I came to understand the stories of women tearing their hair, their flesh. The grief was consuming.
Now it's like an irregular geyser, it springs up from my depths with no warning, refusing to be contained for another minute. It is still consuming, but only when it rises. I have learned to give it my full attention, even though every fiber in my being just wants it to go away, be over, be quiet, stop harassing me.
Some people like to say that life events such as these are "blessings in disguise". If that's the case, then all I can say is that the Universal Costumer should be fired.
Pain like this may, in fact, redirect our lives. Faced with such shock, one is likely to reevaluate a great deal. That still doesn't make it a "good" thing to have experienced. Calling it a blessing "in disguise" belittles the fullness of the experience and the complexity of human emotions. There is no kernel of good that was wrapped up in my fallopian tube bursting open because my baby didn't implant in the right place.
HOWEVER, like a wounded bird who flies once more, I know that good decisions have been made since going through this experience. And of course there's still good. I am alive, for one thing. My husband is not a widower. I am thankful to be alive.
There are many wonderful things happening in my life right now, but they are not because of my ordeal this summer, they are in addition to it. They do not erase the pain, they live alongside it.