the pressure

You've read those stories. Those people who had near-death experiences and how they became changed people: gave up smoking, went overseas to volunteer, building houses for the poor, holding sick children. They finally find a job and get sober, go to church, become a shining member of the community.

When you've expereienced a life-altering experience, usually you come out stronger, and become a much more positive contribution to your family, society, the world, the Universe.

For me, Ferdinand's death was a near-death experience as well. (Actually, I died.) It is without a doubt life-altering. But I did not emerge a better person with a lot to give to this world. I will say though I feel more awake in some sense.

I will admit that I almost felt the pressure to become better. To start serving food at the soup kitchen, run marathons to raise funds for various causes, perhaps donate a kidney, half a lung, maybe an eyeball even.

Do you think this? -- Something's good gotta come out of this.

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. It depends on the day I am having. Some days it makes me more compassionate and I can actually reach out and be genuinely nice to (grouchy) strangers. Some days I spit on the dirt, slam my door and slither under a rock, wrapping my rattling tail around my neck.

I have not done anything major after my son died. Sure, I made a few donations and I made great efforts in being an even more present mother. I worked harder at being compassionate, calm and patient. Other than that, I have just been trying to live, trying to figure out how to live the life of a bereaved without making a laughing-stock of myself. (And all the while fending off insensitive remarks and some clueless people who makes the already-bad life-after even worse.)

Now, two years out less a day (tomorrow is Ferdinand's birth/death day. I don't know what is a good word to call it. Anniversary? Birth and death day? Usually we call it birthday in our house...), I feel I am slowly coming out from the shadow.

I am not ready to do big things yet. (Though sometimes I wish I do. I wish I am announcing here a new foundation I am setting up, a baby-related research that I am throwing money into, a charity that I will be sponsoring for life, the name of the soup kitchen where you are going to be seeing me... but NO. Not today.) Just small tiny steps. Like trying to walk again with new feet.

Just trying to live better. For myself, my children, my family. Doing things I can for the community, when I can. Living more eco-consciously. Listening better to strangers. Not curse so much when driving on the highway, sending compassion the way of errant drivers (of course I am a perfect driver. Don't you ever doubt that).

A part of that entails stepping away from the internet and spending more time and attention on making our house more like a home, not the war-zone it has been the past two years. More time with the children I have earthside, creating memories that will buoy them and strengthen and empower them and make them better citizens of the world (hopefully). More time thinking about what am I here to do, what potential is within me that needs nurturing, perhaps?

So, this is a farewell post on this wonderful website. I am sad to go (and honestly, even afraid... but I will still have my blog), but I also think it's time for new blood. I feel I have said a lot and it is time to listen instead. I also just wanted to explore this issue of the pressure to be "better" and to do grand things after our babies died, wondering if I am the only moron who thinks that way. Will you share your thoughts?