I have been touched recently by several posts from those still in the trenches with me, posts that are sad and honest but that also reveal each writer’s strength and determination moving forward: to not give in to despair. To find some joy in the holidays despite everything. Ladies, you have my admiration.
Several times over the last several weeks I have thought to post, but it seems as though my outlook upends itself many times every day. I start out the morning thinking that I will write something about how none of us can avoid grief when a cycle fails or a pregnancy doesn’t stick, so perhaps shielding ourselves from hope as a protective measure no longer makes sense. Perhaps it’s okay to feel hope and joy after all.
Then by noon I can only think of my own bafflement and despair at my own situation, and I wonder at the difference between all the people who want me to have hope, and the doctors, who say that even with two top-grade embryos on day 3 last time, my chances of success are low.
In the afternoon I think of useful things to say to my fellow DOR ladies, things that might help someone out. But is it my place?
And by evening I’m back to wondering how it is I am even in this situation: apparently otherwise healthy. How ironic is it that the one part of my body that is failing are my ovaries, and for no detectable reason – and having children is the one thing in my life that I have wanted more than anything else, ever?
Between all this, I might convince myself that I have the courage to check my own blog reader and see what others are up to. Some days, I see that yet another person has gotten a positive test, and I feel okay. Others, I see more positives and it hurts. It hurts to see all my fellows from my first IVF cohort finding out their baby’s gender this month.
So what to write?
Throughout the day, every day, a phrase bubbles to the surface of my awareness, and I find myself muttering, “I want to go home.”
This is curious to me. We recently spent a few days with my parents, in the house where I grew up. I felt the same longing for “home” while I was there as I do in the house that my husband and I bought 2.5 years ago. I feel it at work, outside, in nature, on concrete. I’m a habitual mutterer by nature, but this phrase more than any other keeps dropping quietly, almost silently, from my lips: “I want to go home.”
I am not sure what it means, or where “home” is.
My best guess is that I am longing for some time and some place in which this hurt did not impact me every minute of the day.
Perhaps I’m also longing for that vision I had when R. and I first got engaged, or when we were first married: that someday, we’d have a couple kids who looked a little like him and a little like me. They’d raise hell and we’d love them. We’d be a family of more than two.
Perhaps my inner being just wants the peace of innocence, of the worst thing that can happen in a day might be finding out that the grocery store is out of my favorite breakfast cereal.
There’s a classic play, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. If you haven’t seen or read it, it’s an impossibly beautiful thing when done well. And like the ability to see a Thestral, I think it requires a first-person knowledge of grief to even begin to grasp fully. The play demonstrates that there is no way for us to appreciate fully the most beautiful parts of our lives – the average day, the regular meal with the family, the simple beauty of being with loved ones on an unspecial afternoon – while we are in them. It’s only later, upon experiencing loss, that we begin to fathom what was there.
I feel like the Stage Manager of Our Town is walking me through the scenes of my life as he escorts me away from the dreams I once had.
I have made a commitment to myself to step away from abject pessimism and strive toward the peace of neutrality, so I will try to refrain from mourning those dreams here and now. I will also try to take comfort in the Our Town comparison. If I really am being escorted away from the life for which I have always longed, then perhaps, like in the play, my destination is not permanent grief, but a distant peace.
This is a terrifically moody post, just like most of my days. I will leave you with this: you other WordPress bloggers will probably have also received your year-end report, which included a list of things people were searching for when they found your post. One of the searches that brought people here was, “I’m high like a sloth.”
Whoever you are, however you got here, and whatever bizarre accident of language and search-engine algorithms connected us (high schoolers reading Our Town, I’m looking at you), I hope you have found a little bit worth reading. Thank you for not giving up on me, at least not yet.
I can’t bring myself to say “Happy New Year.” Not right now. Instead, I will say, “Godspeed.” It’s what I can offer.