I went to my parents’ house this afternoon, because that’s the house at which I’m registered to vote, and because I like free dinner, and because I felt like I needed to spend some time with my family in the wake of losing Simon.
It’s strange how, when something that’s always been there suddenly isn’t, our bodies and routines aren’t so sudden in accommodating the loss. When I arrived at the house, juggling my laundry basket, purse, and bag of stuff I’d borrowed for Halloween, I was conscientious about shutting the back gate behind me, so the dog wouldn’t get out. Then I realized there was no dog to worry about.
My mom said that the last few mornings, she’s woken up and said to the nothingness around her, “Just let me go pee first, Simon; then we’ll go [for a walk].” And then, realizing her mistake, she’d opted not to go for a walk at all. Which is silly, because those walks were as much for her as they were for the dog, even if she does enjoy the comforts of indoor plumbing. She also said she’s been telling the critters (a turtle and a chinchilla) to “stay here and watch the house,” when this was always the line we delivered to the dog, along with a peanut-butter-filled Kong, when we were leaving him home alone.
It’s sad – Mom’s stilted routine nearly bringing her to tears, the emptiness of the kitchen counter where multiple jars of treats used to be, the lack of a wagging tail greeting me at that back gate. It all points to the fact that, when you lose something, everything changes.
When you lose nothing, on the other hand, nothing changes. And this is precisely what’s so damn frustrating.
I wasn’t pregnant, and then I was, and then I wasn’t. It all happened in a matter of weeks. My routine should have remained unaltered, and, from the outside perspective, it did. I didn’t have to accommodate another being, and I didn’t have to accommodate the absence of another being, as my mom is doing now.
But internally, when I lost “nothing,” everything changed. The things that had once seemed so important – sex comes to mind – lost their shine. Even though nothing about my life was different than it had been pre-pregnancy, I had been changed by the magnitude of my experience.
It isn’t sad in the way my mom talking to the missing dog is sad. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating to know that eventually, my mom and her habits will adapt to there not being a dog in the house, whereas I, two years later, have failed to adapt to… To what?
When I say that I want things to go back to how they were, it’s because it seems like that should be so easy. It seems like things never should have changed in the first place, because my situation did not change. I will not wake up tomorrow thinking that I have to feed the baby – there never was a baby. My grief over my miscarriage isn’t as simple and organic and present as my mom’s is over the dog, and this makes it hard to tap into, hard to confront, hard to articulate.
Much like I feel I’m having trouble articulating all this right now. My therapist told me this afternoon that when I start trying to explain things, she “loses me,” loses her connection with me. But I’ll go into that tomorrow. For now, here’s another photo of Simon (because I have no photos of the baby that wasn’t, see?):