I made a big mistake.
I did not tend to my anger
…and it has come back to bite me.
I was so terrified of having Postpartum Depression that I chose not to camp out on anger. I was thinking (in my jumbled up grief, postpartum brain) that if I wasn’t angry, maybe I could avoid PPD. Just another situation I was trying to control when I felt completely out of control. I have known people who had PPD and it turned into Postpartum Psychosis and they took their life. I didn’t want that to happen. In that time, I chose to see the silver lining and did not acknowledge my anger. Of course I’m angry that my son died but I felt like it wasn’t going to serve me well to focus on it. Well, what I didn’t realize was that I didn’t need to focus on it but I did need to acknowledge it.
Now that I am forced to sit with my emotions, I have no choice. I don’t want to be angry with Ivan but the truth is, he makes it hard for me to grieve. He is VERY needy, and with good right. His brother was here and then he was gone. That must be terrifying for a little 3.5 year old child. He was very angry when this first happened and I had no freaken clue how to help him. I was barely surviving myself, let alone being able to understand what was going through his mind.
When Jackson first died, we were obsessively looking at pictures and videos of Jackson, bawling our faces off. Ivan did not want us to be sad, he wanted his happy, silly family back. He would get so frustrated with us crying that he would hit our faces and say, “STOP CRYING!” But I couldn’t stop. I could not control my emotions at all. He was so confused and it was and is heartbreaking to watch. While I will always be so thankful that I have another child who needs constant care, it has made grieving properly next to impossible.
Ivan did not want to be away from me. I became his security and he can hardly stand to be more than 5 feet from me. THIS IS SO HARD!! Sometimes, I need space!! At first, he didn’t want to go anywhere without me. Getting him to school twice a week was difficult to say the least. He needed so much reassurance. It took several months for him to be able to go to my mom’s even for a few hours. After a while, he was able to go to certain friends houses that he felt comfortable with.
When he was gone, I should have been taking that time to do what my grief therapist calls, “cave work.” This is when you do your heavy grieving; looking at pictures, thinking of memories, feeling all the feels. In time, you learn how to go in to the “cave” and come out. Sometimes, you get stuck in the “cave.” Sometimes you avoid the “cave” at all costs because it is too painful.
Doing projects and activities that honor Jackson seemed like “cave work” but in all reality, it was just a distraction. I am very proud of what we’ve done and I will continue to do these things but I can’t get back to them until I tend to my grief. I wanted to hurry up and do it and get it over with so I could move on. Well guess what I found out, it doesn’t work like that.