Guilt is an ugly nasty word. It's a parasite, a leech that grabs on and sucks the life from your very being. It's something that will eat a hole through the center of your soul. Guilt is a black hole of pain, misery, intolerable heartache, and leaves questions and blame open season to anger. I would be lying to myself if I said I didn't have any guilt. Truth be told, I am filled to the rim with it along with all of the other emotions and feelings that continuously claw their way through my pores. Most of those feelings I want to keep trapped and shut away into the forbidden closet stored at the back of my mind. As the minutes trickle by, hours draw on, and days dwindle by... I am forced to release these monsters from their hiding place. The 'grief' becomes comfortable, a safe place to feel. It becomes a new home in a way, because as long as I can hold onto it, I'm somehow holding onto Savanna, I'm somehow still living with her and not moving on without her.
It seems a constant theme when I read the words of others who have lost, talk to our families who grieve with us, friends whose hearts break with ours, strangers that try to imagine the pain... guilt. As much as I fight the guilty battle, it always seems to peek out amongst the other emotions. I feel guilt that I didn't stay home with her, I could have had more time. Guilt that the babysitter spent more time with her during the weeks than I did. I know in my heart it wouldn't have changed the outcome... but if only I would have had a little more time. Another moment that I can put into my memory bank of a day I held her more, or another diaper I changed. I even feel the guilt over the smallest of scenarios. I didn't get her 6 month pictures taken (she wasn't quite sitting up yet) in hopes that by 9 months she would be sitting up. She died when she was 7 1/2 months. I felt such a connection with her pictures. It's my last link to her, a reminder of how wonderfully blessed our lives were. It is also the way that rekindles my memories. Days where I try to remember her little toes, or the way she would shape her little fingers over her paci--I can look back at those pictures, those snapshots of her life and be brought back to that moment.
When she was still here I would look back at pictures and say 'oh she was 3 months, or hours old, or that was just this morning.' Now when I look back at pictures a new perspective takes place, that one was the day before she died, this one was taken the weekend before it happened, this one over here was a month before she passed. A different kind of milestone has transpired, a milestone that burns and angers, a milestone that shouldn't even be.
I remember in the weeks after her passing, arranging her funeral, organizing the memorial service, I remember being so angry with her. Angry that she left me to make these decisions, she should be making these decisions about me for my funeral (many years down the road). And than in the same slice of thought that I was angry with her, I would be overcome by guilt. The guilt of being angry with her, it's not her fault, and yet here I was day in and day out angry that she left me, hurt that my heart was empty, saddened by the tornado that twisted and turned down my life as its path. I was angry with God for giving her to me and than taking her back. Than the guilt again would settle in, He knew we were strong that we were able to handle this, that's why she picked us. But I don't want to be strong, I don't want to be the one to handle it.
It's a back and forth struggle trying to make sense of it all. I'm beginning to get to a point where I have just stopped trying, trying is so exhausting. So I go through the motions and lock those feelings back into the forbidden closet. They don't jump out at me as much as they did in the beginning, I seem to have better control over them, the movie doesn't seem to play as often. Is that just me refusing to see, to deal? I don't know...
This 'process' of 'grief'... I don't like it. I am not a process.. I am a lost mommy who has empty arms and spinning thoughts. I am a heartbroken woman with an emptiness that can never be fulfilled. There is no process about it.. processes have endings, they have a conclusion and solution; a beginning, middle and end. I'm stuck somewhere between beginning and middle, and whether or not I'll ever make it to somewhere in between middle and end I don't know. I do know that there is no end though, I will always hurt for her, ache for her, feel empty without her. Yet I know there is a continuation. Life goes on, the world keeps spinning. I know I don't have to feel guilty anymore, I know that I will 'grieve' for her for the rest of my life. I'm trying to move forward and manage without feeling guilty. I want to smile and laugh and feel fulfilled. I want to be whole again. But with those wants comes the guilt and the regret.
So I am here to say. There are no labels, no processes. I am a mother who is lost, and has suffered loss.. but I am not a process... I am a mommy who was once whole and is now broken, I am a wife who cries with her husband, laughs with her husband, recalls memories of their beloved daughter. I am a daughter who falls back into her mom and dads never judging embrace, I am a friend who will listen and be listened to. I am Tabatha. I am not a label--I am not a process. I am mother to Savanna-Wife to J-Daughter to B&R-Friend to all. That is what I am.