Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Confessions of a SIDS Parent

As I've been contemplating what I should do on Friday to remember Gus, my mind and body seem to be working against me. Once I give myself permission to think about him openly and remember that miserable day last year, my entire body locks up and seems to hold me hostage inside myself. It's a bad feeling.

This whole summer, I've been able to bring my thoughts forward at appropriate times and in appropriate measures. It's been refreshing and comforting to feel like I have a handle on this whole awful situation. I must have gotten too sure of myself and needed to be re-humbled because I have been crying all week for small, unnecessary reasons. Then, all I have to do is turn my mind toward my heavenly baby and I can forget function for the rest of the day. I'm so lucky to have Robby and the fact that he is able to leave work on occasion to help me out is nothing short of a miracle.

Now, here is a true confession that I've thought repeatedly over the past year but have not said, aloud or to myself. Every well wish, prayer, kind word, and virtual hugs I've received over the past year do not feel deserved but I know I would not have survived this past year without them. I'm so grateful for you all, I shed tears thinking about each of you and your ability to love someone you don't know so honestly and openly. But I still do not feel I deserve everything you've given me.

This, in itself, it a frustrating concept. I will not deny you your dutifully earned blessings for the kindness and love you've shown a complete stranger, but I can hardly find it in myself to feel like the kind of person to merit such an amazing support group. My months in Utah had to do with this and my self-esteem and I've had none my entire life. (My spectacularly low self-esteem was brought to you by selfish and evil men.) Up until I started working on being selfish a little, I thought I was a worthless person, undeserving of every ounce of happiness that ever came my way and that everyone around me should be better off without me (although I knew they would not be). That kind of hate for yourself can be damaging at any rate, especially the million miles per hour I was riding that train.

Learning that self-hatred can be as damaging to your soul as drugs and alcohol really makes you think differently about it. Not to say I did a complete 180 and praised myself to anyone who would listen an hour after my realization, but it did help me view myself differently and I had to force myself to be selfish. It's the best thing I could have done. When you spend years and years ignoring your needs and happiness and focusing all your attention on other people and what they need most, it's gonna take a toll on you, no matter how strong you think you are.

All the praise and love that flowed from all you wonderful close friends and family and compete strangers felt so unwarranted, even though I was truly going through something I thought would be impossible to come out the other side sanely. I needed the help and strength and was completely enveloped in it, but I could not deal with that problem at that particular point. I wanted everyone else around me well taken care of. After all, I was not there to find Gus in his crib so I don't know that pain, I did not perform CPR on him until the EMTs arrived so I don't know that pain, and I wasn't the one who had to call 911 and plead for them to save my baby so I don't know that pain. My two wonderful sisters and mother all had to do that. For them and their amazing abilities and love for me, I know I never would have survived. But I still felt guilty because as he was my son, I felt he was my responsibility and it was weak of me to pass him off to my mom (however, the official reason was for my PPD and it really was for the happiness of my kids).

So this summer I've achieved what I was hoping to achieve last summer when Gracie and Gus were in San Diego. I've found my self-worth. I had to dig through a lot of years of crap to find it but it's here and getting a little better every day. I have decided as far as Friday goes, it won't be anything fancy. But when the temple opens on August 4th, I'll be going that day.

I just really miss my baby boy and wish I knew what he would have been like as a one-year old boy.

And I wish I could better express my appreciate for all your love and support. Please know that I feel it and couldn't live without it.


mom holmes said...

Just to have it in writing: We all face internal pain that others are unaware of, to some degree or another. I am grateful for and proud of the progress you have made this past year. I adore you deeply and know that the flow of events last year happened as they were meant to. Good luck with the continuing process, for that is what this life is. Mom

Tia Langston said...

I just want to tell you that you truly help me to know that I can also deal with the internal struggles and frustrations that I have. Thanks for your strength and openness and realness. Also, Teagan just saw Gus' picture and said he is such a cute and funny baby. Love you Mel.

The Rogers said...

I'm glad you have a great support really do deserve it Mel. Thanks for the email you sent me, sorry I haven't gotten back to you yet. It is hard to find words sometimes. I know you understand. You'll get where you want to be, you just have to keep going, and I know you will. I'll be saying extra prayers for you on Friday. I like to think that maybe Janie and Gus hang out up there. Maybe they are missionary companions, who knows. No doubt they are doing great things! We just have to keep up over here and try to be as great as they are.

Love you Mel.

AmyK said...

All I can say is .. I love you!

Tina said...

Perfectly said... You've come a long way, Baby! You're making your way over this huge bump in your road... love you!

Diane said...

Hello, I stumbled onto your blog almost a year ago and have silently loved you ever since. We just had our first grandchild a few months ago. As she was developing and preparing to come to earth I thought of her new spirit and of Gus's pure one. And then of you and your spirit. My children and I have talked in the past about when we were in the pre-earth life we were all so excited to come to earth and get a body. Woo-hoo! We couldn't wait to excerience this mortal life. Perhaps some of us might have said, "Me, me! I want to. Let me be that mother. I know I can do it, please." Or, "It will be alright with me if I only get to be there a little while." Perhaps the most valiant and strong were given these 'blessings' that are disguised as challenges. And what growth. I think you are quite amazing. Have a peaceful weekend with your family. I'll be thinking of you.

hillary said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Mel. I love you and am so grateful you are my sister. I truly admire you.

I want you to know, Mary and I were just talking about this and both agree, we are grateful that we were able to go through what we went through in order to take on some part of this difficult experience for you. What we went through was difficult, but we see it as being so small compared to the burden you have.

We really see it as a blessing that both of us and Mom were all together caring for Gus when he died because we had each other to strengthen one other and could carry the burden together. We see it especially as a blessing that it was us three caring for him at the time instead of you because we know how difficult that would have been for you to experience in addition to the burden you have of losing a son. I'm so sorry for that burden you have and wish there were even more we could do to take some of that on for you.

We both want you to know that we are glad to have been able to go through what we did for you. Thank you for your concern for us, but let us take that on ourselves and don't dwell on it. We really are both doing fine and much better now that time has passed, and we are more concerned about you than anything. So just focus on what you're trying to work through and keep moving forward like you're doing. We all love you and care so much about you, no matter how you feel about yourself on any given day. There's nothing you can do about - we love you and care about you and want you to know that you're worth so much to all of us, always. Love, Hill

Amber said...

Mel, you've certainly come a long way. Thank you for being so honest and open about your feelings and your experiences. You can help so many simply by sharing the truth. Thank you.