2010. A new year. I have such complicated feelings about moving to a new year. Obviously 2010 was the worst year I can imagine. I buried my baby girl. Our family went through and continues to go through intense trauma. How much worse can it get? But, it was also the year I met my sweet, sensitive Eli, the year I started a journey to adoption, and also the last year I held my baby girl. 2011 is a "new year." A year that she will never see. It is a year where I don't get to hold her, touch her, smell her. It is a year that will be completely empty of her physically. Yes, I have memories, but I want her. A move to a new year represents separation and distance for me. It felt this way moving out of April last year, and it is intensified moving into a new year now. It seems wrong that time continues, that life continues when your child is no longer here. A "new year" after the loss of a child isn't a fresh start--I want no such thing. I want a reset button. I want to start 2010 again and change it somehow.
My sweet Eli did not want to sleep last night and thought that I shouldn't get to either. In the many minutes of last night that I sat holding him and battling my nighttime demons, that familiar feeling of dread took over my body again. You know the feeling right? When you just know something bad is going to happen or has just happened. The feeling of your blood running cold and a physical numbness. I live with that feeling on a constant basis now. I try to remind myself that the thing I dread has already happened. It is done and can't be changed, but my body rebels so thoroughly at that thought and continuously waits in this state of dread and horror. Last night was one of the worst in a long time. We got through Christmas, but as I said before, that doesn't feel like accomplishment. We had a very emotional morning yesterday trying to wrap up some of the business side of death. And now I am facing a new year. All of that compiled into a night of anxiety while my Eli woke me up again and again with screams. I wonder if he can sense my mood? I wonder if my emotion was affecting him?
Night is so hard anyway. When I am drifting off to sleep, my mind wonders with little control. In daytime, I can keep my thoughts focused most of the time, but in those just falling asleep moments, and those just waking up moments, I have no control. I can't tell you how much those moments terrify me. The places my mind goes. The moments and feelings I relive are like being stuck in a nightmare so often. Typically now I fall asleep with the tv on and that keeps my thoughts on ancient India or traveling to Mongolia, or whatever late night PBS is showing. Last night though, as I was up again and again with baby boy, I didn't have the distraction of tv and my gut reactions took over. Sleep deprived, alone and in the dark, and dealing with massively stressful events, I suffered through last night like I haven't in a long time.
I know I am not alone walking through this valley, but it is the darkest depths of pain and despair I can imagine. Abigail, even though I feel like this new year is just one more step away from you, I also know that it is one more step toward you again. I know that even with all the dread and horror I feel now, I wouldn't change one single minute of the time I did have with you. I am greedy for more. I am hungry for reunion. I am praying for dreams of you when I sleep even though they leave me shattered when I wake up and you are gone.
I guess what I am trying to say to anyone reading this, through my foggy brain with no sleep is this--in your celebration, remember those hurting around you. People are dealing with loss and grieving. Death is real and all around you. Children are suffering alone around the world--hungry and afraid. In this new year, do something about it. Make a difference in the lives of those hurting around you. Don't make this year about stuff. Make it about people. That knowledge, of those around me hurting as deeply and even more than I am drives me right now. I want to pull in grieving parents and abandoned children. Whatever it is that drives you, do something. Make a difference. Help someone through the long nights like I just had. It is far too easy to put blinders on and isolate ourselves from reality. The night I just had is every night for some of these children around the world.