I've been thinking about dates lately. And time.
This past weekend it occurred to me that, give or take a few days, the Cub is now as old as how much time had passed between A’s birth and his. That length of time, which while lived through seemed torturously, treacherously long, personified. In such a small person.
Looking at him, I know it wasn’t that much time. Eighteen and a half months, that’s all. The Cub’s needs are no longer entirely physical, and no longer dependent on me almost exclusively to satisfy, but they are still a hell of a lot physical, and still a hell of a lot dependent on me. Which is to say, since this weekend, I have been thinking on and off about the time in between, about my grief in that in between time.
I’d had a baby, but I no longer had A, that baby, with me. I’d had a baby, but I didn’t have him. But I think looking back, that the grief then was surprisingly a lot like having a baby (only with booze allowed). All consuming, physical, exhausting at first. Ever so slightly less demanding as time went on. But oh boy, it could demand attention at oddest of moments with the best of them. In my imperfect analogy, a cold perhaps, a stomach bug, teething.
And then, separately, there was the terror of the new pregnancy, the complications, the bed rest, monitoring, pre-term labor. Through all that I didn’t physically have a baby, a toddler to take care of. But, looking at how small the Cub is now, damn it, grief that young still needed, and deserved a whole lot of attention.
When A first died, six months out seemed like a lot of time, time enough that I’d expected myself to at least reach some sort of a plateau by then, to have my shit together. When six months actually came, it whacked me good and strong. In a comment on my blog someone told me that my grief was still so very fresh—a revelation and a relief. By the time a year rolled around, I got enough of a clue to have realized myself that it wasn’t so much time either. And now, looking at eighteen and a half months in the flesh, I am relearning that lesson.
Holy shit. I’d had two babies in eighteen and a half months. Looking back, a feat not made significantly easier by the fact that the older of them wasn’t around to demand a diaper change. And wow—A has now been gone for two of the Cub’s lifetimes. Only two now.
My brain does that—sees numbers and patterns, and patterns in the numbers. And it makes it not so very easy to forget a date, to miss one. Monday is Monkey’s birthday. Coincidentally also her former due date. Tuesday is A’s due date. Because Monkey was born on hers, it’s been tough for me to relieve the date of its import in my head. This will be the fourth time it has rolled around since he died. The first three were tough, each in a slightly different way. I wonder how this one will play. I wonder who else will remember.
How have you percieved time since your baby's death? Have there been periods when it felt different than most? What are your significant dates? Have they changed over time? Do you think they might?