You carry so much grief, he said

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And I do. I just don't know how not to.

Some of you know it all. You heard the whole story as my world was coming down around me. For you who haven't been around that long; it feels weird to list stuff because it's like I'm fishing for sympathy, and I don't feel like someone to feel sorry for.

This evening I walked around in my garden. The green grass tickled my feet, butterflies flapped around the violets in the golden light. I smelled the apple blossom and watched the bees buzz around its crown in the setting sun. I'm so fucking lucky. Just a few hours ago I got to spend some time with my dad. I live in a beautiful little house with a wonderful man and two great kids. I have so many friends and family that I cherish. Wonderful people that have given me so much, welcoming me back with open arms after being gone for so long.

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But the wounds stay open, and I don't know how to close them back up again.

I spend late nights searching for information, trying to get clues on where to go from here. How to handle grief in a constructive way. Most of the articles I find are about how to forgive someone. They tell me how to write letters asking for forgiveness, but I have no one to apologize to. They tell me how to write a letter to those who cannot beg for forgiveness, but I have no one to pardon. No one was at fault for what happened during those years. It just happened. It was nature, chaos, entropy. No one is to blame, no one to address liberating letters to, no one to turn my back to before I enter the path of salvation. How do I find relief from something that was entirely beyond my control?

I've tried finding comfort in just that; that I could do nothing to spare myself from the sorrow, but it's been fruitless. I still feel the burden on my shoulders. I'm stuck.

It hasn't stopped me from living life. Far from it. The last three years have been a flurry of positive experiences and wonderful events, side by side with the darker sides of life. I go all in but keep a little distance at the same time to protect myself from further suffering, and that's not what I want. I'm afraid of being dependent on someone else. I'm afraid of getting sucked up into another person's world, a world that I would have to abandon in case of a separation, just like four years ago. To make friends that I would lose, just like I did four years ago. To love something so deeply and then lose it again. I could have tried to regain my footing where I had loved living for six years, but I would have been forced to sell my home either way. In hindsight, I made the right decision by leaving.

While there's no regret in moving back home, it's harshly bittersweet having left such a big part of my heart among the open fields, 400 kilometers from where I now sit in a chair across from the man I love. It pains me that my heart irreversibly lies in a place that I will never again call home. That the whole process of losing my home, my planned future, my marriage, and my job intermingles with the loss of my mom just after I moved back home. It's a mess, sincere gratitude mixed with deep sorrow. Confusing and hard to deal with.

We went back there a few weeks ago, for Easter. A friend of mine is currently living just a few kilometers from my beloved ex-house, so we took the opportunity to drive around and visit my favourite historical sites that A wanted to see for himself. I didn't tell anyone I was visiting because, honestly, I didn't know how I would handle being back. I wasn't ready to see anyone that I held dear. Almost four years ago, I just upped and left. I never said goodbye to my co-workers (I was on sick leave due to chronic pain when my ex and I split up and I realized I wouldn't be returning to work), and never hugged my friends that last time. It hurt a lot to see my old home again and traveling the same old roads, there's no need in hiding that. I didn't cry as much as I thought I would, and it was sort of nice to see the old haunts again, but I didn't find relief afterward. The pain persists.

I'm almost ashamed to talk about my grief, having received so much love throughout the years since I moved back home as if I'm an ungrateful failure that can't just let the past be the past and move on. But when I look back on what I've gone through with factual eyes, I don't feel like a failure. I've been supported by my close ones, but I have fought on under my own steam. In just a few years I experienced some of life's most painful events, and I still stand even if my knees are buckling sometimes. Maybe I should be proud, but I'm not.

I can't put my finger on what I'm stuck on. It's like stasis. I'm so incredibly happy for everything I've been gifted but still carrying a thinly veiled sadness. Like living in my home town again is just a reminder of what I've lost instead of it being a new start, even though I'm so grateful for it all. All of it has been so acutely apparent in all aspects of my life, making me feel like I am my loss, not just the one having experienced it.

Maybe writing this post is a sign that I'm going in the right direction. A hint that I've grown tired of the grief, and that I'm ready to move on. Let’s hope it’s that way. I just don't know how to.

I will talk about my experience with IVF

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Redan innan jag och min ex-man startade själva IVFen, när jag plötsligt insåg att jag befann mig i ett snöskred av undersökningar, sjukhusbesök och en fertilitetsutredning som det var försent att dra sig ur, började jag skriva om det. Skriften har alltid varit ett sätt för mig att processa saker, men ingenting har varit så svårt att skriva om som IVF. Jag kan välla ur mig text om en bussresa, om mammas död, sorg och vadsomhelst, men när vi kommer till IVF.. Då sitter jag där. Antingen med ett tomt blinkande ark framför mig eller fem sidor av nattsvarta känslor, svart på vitt, som jag inte vill dela med mig av. Min rådande sjukhusrädsla har ju spelat in en hel del också, det får ju sägas.

Men jag kan inte släppa det riktigt. En kik i kalendern påminner mig varje år, på Unos namnsdag. Det blev ju arbetsnamnet för barnet vi skulle få.

Det kanske är dags. Även om jag inte kan göra det med humor som jag har velat göra, för att väga upp det mörker som råder. Söker man på IVF får man upp lugnande, försäkrande hemsidor från institutioner och bloggar med själavridande inlägg från kvinnor som kämpar för att få barn men som har insett att de inte kan för egen hand.

Jag har ju ingen solskenshistoria, inga uppmuntrande ord om att jag kämpar vidare, att ”vi” bara blev starkare tillsammans. Jag har ett missfall, ett äktenskap i kras och en slutlig konkret insikt att jag inte vill ha barn. Min tveksamhet är också en aspekt i det. Många har frågat mig varför jag gjorde det om jag nu inte ville ha barn? Det är ju en rimlig fråga. Det bästa jag kan svara på det är att man gör saker för varandra. Jag var alltid klar med honom angående min brist på längtan, men att skaffa barn är ju något ”alla” gör och de flesta ångrar sig inte. Den jag älskade sen flera år tillbaka och ville leva mitt liv med ville ha en familj mer än något annat, och då försökte vi. Det var det eller att gå vidare, och det ville jag inte. Är helt övertygad om att jag hade älskat det barnet och aldrig ångrat mig, men nu när utgångsläget ser annorlunda ut så kan jag ju i fortsättningen säga att jag inte vill eller kommer (eller kan, för den delen) skaffa barn.

Ett tag där tänkte jag att jag inte skulle skriva om det eftersom det är så svårt, och har en tendens att bli mörkt. Men det något som vältrar sig runt i min hjärnas eviga tvättmaskin, pressar sig då och då mot rutan och markerar att jag nog ändå inte är riktigt klar med alltihopa, särskilt framåt hösten när vi faktiskt gjorde det. Det är tre år sen nu.

Jag ska nog försöka få ut något. Titta igenom det jag har och se om det inte gör för ont fortfarande. Det kommer ta tid, uppenbarligen. Men det kanske kan vara bra ändå. Det kanske blir terapeutiskt för mig, och vem vet, det kanske tillochmed hjälper någon annan.

It's August. You know what that means

För er som hängt med ett tag så är det ju uppenbart vad jag fiskar efter: 

HÖSTEN ÄR PÅ VÄG! 

Åh. Hösten. Som jag längtar varje år. Vissa år blir man besviken för hösten liksom bara pyser bort i ett brunt slabbigt moln av regn som pickar på rutan och evighetens gråa skyar som tynger. och plötsligt är alla träden nakna utan att en annan liksom hann förstå vad som hände. Vissa år brister naturen ut i brand, badandes i hösteftermiddagens guldgula ljus, med friska vindar som uppmanar till promenad på platser man knappt känner igen längre. 

Utan att vara för uppenbar, så är det ju version nummer två som har mitt stora intresse varje år. 

För ynka två år sen var bilden ovan mitt hem. Hösten tog med sig hasselnötter, äpplen, rönnbär, plommon, krusbär, och den sista skörden av tomaterna, chilin, rödbetorna och paprikan som vi odlade. Jag matade årets kull av fåglar som precis flyttat ifrån sitt hem under taksprånget på torpet, såg på när vinden krattade löv åt mig. Kokade rönnbärsgelé medan jag tittade ut över vyerna, med en sprakande brasa tänd i vardagsrumsdelen. Sorterade ut höstkläder och höstfärger.

Och grät. För jag visste att det var över. Jag hade fått allt jag någonsin kunnat vilja ha, och förlorat det igen. Jag kan fortfarande bli illamående av sorg när jag tänker på det, allt det där, även om livet känns bra där jag är nu. 

Tystnaden i huset har bytts ut mot ljudet av grannar som duschar och går med tunga steg i sina lägenheter. Altanen har bytts ut mot en (som tur är) inglasad balkong. Utsikten över vidderna med kyrkan och gravhögar i fonden har bytts ut mot hustak. Men jag tror att hösten, för mig, är läkandets tid. Jag har alltid varit nostalgisk på hösten, även när jag inte visste vad jag hade att vara nostalgisk över. Det är okej att saknaden biter. Jag promenerar genom skogar och läker.

För även om det gjort att det enda mål jag så definitivt formulerat i mitt liv som att jag en dag ska ha ett litet torp på landet att elda brasa i, så är jag tacksam för allt jag har. Min lilla etta, dekorerad i höstfärger som det är, tända ljus, kärleken från vänner och familj, en solros eller två som tittar upp. Jag kommer sitta i soffan i min lägenhet med balkongdörren på glänt, höstregnet trummandes mot plåttaket på min balkong, och mysa. Och surfa hemnet, förstås.

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The demons come at night

During the day the sun shines. I laugh a lot at work, with my colleagues and their oddities. Fart around the afternoons, hang out with friends, chat with my gurl squad, study during the nights. Then the darkness lowers itself over the city, the sky turning dark blue. A halo of lighter blue enhances the contours of the city and reminds me of the coming light season, the one where the flowers start to grow and the new little leaves carry the shade of yellowy green.

I got to bed. I dream. I dream about everything that has happened. I dream about being a teenager again and that both of my parents are alive and still married, how I try and make them find each other again. I dream about old loves, the ones that I can’t miss because they were never mine. I dream about my ex-husband and his new and the child they’re expecting together. I dream about the house, how I’ve been torn from there and have to collect the remainder of my things.

I dream about how I’m talking to J about how we’re gonna settle mom’s old house now that she’s dead. I dream that I have to tell mom that rummages around in the kitchen, that she’s dead. I dream that I get anxiety over having to have that conversation with her, to tell her that she’s no longer alive and that we need to give away all her things. I dream of her being in the hospital and that she knows she’s going to die. I dream about her waking up and realizing that she’s still alive and still has death in front of her, crying in sorrow. I dream about my divorce. How I lost my job and security at the same time. About how I need to face old ghosts. I dream about soon being without somewhere to live and have nowhere to go.

Night after night.

Then my sleep is disrupted by the sharp light of morning. I get up, ruffled feathers from the night. Try to drench the memories with a bath tub of coffee.

I know grief comes in waves, and I know the waves are shallower and more regular nowadays. More like the seasons storms than sudden tsunamis. And I know that in the long run, I have to handle the grief of everything, no matter how I chose to do it. But I still can’t help but long for calmer nights, stillness in my dreams. The boring but safe routines of everyday life. Not having to face my demons every night.

This too, shall pass.

With spring, comes the fear

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It’s already begun sneaking up on me. Circulating in the periphery. Slipped away and dwelled in the darkness of winter before it suddenly attacks like a cat that’s hidden under the couch and throws itself after your innocent toes when you least expect it. Because when spring comes, so does the longing for my old house.

Last spring was a battle field between gratitude over having somewhere to live at all, and the anger and sorrow over losing my house and home. In the grey February storms, tucking my coat close to my body, I’m a little bit thankful for not having to put pieces of a roof that was torn out by the winds, and the sense of loss is lessened. But the other changing seasons are harder to handle. Spring comes and it’s time to start putting down seeds, growing plants. And I can’t be bothered to try even.

The contact with nature, that you were brought along the sun’s journey across the sky, how it’s path changed with the turning of the year. The big south facing window to baby pepper and chili plants in. The fact that the everlasting winds ripped the plants to shreds immediately when we put them outside that one time, well, that memory kind of fades away, and what remains is only the sun drenched patio with its mile wide views.

That one time when we had to abort a nice cup of coffee in order to run out and catch our green house before it blew right out over the fields a Saturday in April was something that just came along with the house. It was worth it. I know that the fierce January winds turned that green house into shrapnel before we even sold it but the new-old owner didn’t care. All he wanted was his house back. His house. My house.

The house where I could open the patio door and all that came in through it was sunshine and the sound of trees moving in the calm winds. The little coos of forest pigeons in the distance, the horny hoots of owls in mating season. The silence at night was deafening. When I moved back to my mom’s place I didn’t sleep properly for six weeks, disturbed by the sounds of the city.

Even my friends miss the house. There was something magical about it. Now in retrospect, I’m torn between the gratitude of getting the chance to live there for almost two years, and the sense that maybe I’d been happier now if I hadn’t experienced what it was like to feel that much at home somewhere, that I never had before.

For a year, I've said "It's fine"

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For a year now, I’ve said “it’s fine”. But deep inside, I know, and have known all along, that I haven’t really been able to keep up. It’s no secret. But I crawl along, push away, try to handle when it bubbles up, mourn, plan, study, enjoy the small things, hang out with beloved ones, and feel life just like it is right now.

But one day I sat on my bed. The gastritis had won. Stress symptoms that slowly break through the barrier. I’ve always been good on 6-7 hours of sleep, now need 10-11 and am still as tired the next day. I talk to people, turn around and can’t remember what we talked about. I zone out, disappear into nothing. I can’t understand easy instructions. Everlasting guilt over not doing what I should be doing. I have to study, but I can’t afford to study. I got a job and can afford to study but now don’t have the time to. The body gives in, sick leave from work. Stress builds up, feeling guilty for not being at work….

When I sat there on the bed last Tuesday, I realized.

I’m burning out.

Three days later my application for a year’s leave from my studies was printed, signed and posted to my school. After a few fast consultations in order to not make the wrong decision, I pulled the emergency break. I have to step back before it hits “for real”. Maybe it already has, but I’m hoping I’m good. I’m starting school again next fall, until then I’m gonna work, save some money, hang out with friends; argue with tattooers about recycling (Does this belong in the trash? Does it? Hm?) and keep a LOT of lists until my memory gets better.

Tonight, I’m just lying across my bed, with my laptop propped up in my lap. The orange whiff from a scented candle lingers around the room, and my roomie entered and gave me a bowl of extra-MSG cheese puffs from the American shelf at the store. From the living room, soft oriental music and the stories unfolding from the boys’ roleplay session keeps me perfectly entertained. This is the first weekend in a long time where I don’t have pressing things to do, and I just have to realize it so I can take a breath and relax.

Live in the now, and not the past or the future.

Different types of belonging

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My mom is gone. I’m not done with her death yet. Not any of it. Especially not the ten days that were spent at the hospital before she passed away. It was a shit fest. My siblings and I came out on the other side, one mom poorer and utterly confused and maybe a little traumatized. It didn’t go the way that it should have.

V has moved home. I, my roomie, V and my mom’s friend S sat in the living room last Thursday. I felt I needed to handle the time at the hospital. S was there the entire time. We did it together. And those ten days irks us both.

Heavy subjects and ponderings about how mom experienced it, what she was able to feel and how she handled it. Then we looked at my mom’s papers, proof of death and so on. While I was eyeing my mom’s certificate where my dad and my siblings father are listed because they’ve been married to my mom, I dryly said “It’s silly really, when I die M (my ex-husband) will be listed on my death certificate just because we’ve been married for two measly years, even though we don’t have any kids or anything”.

S perked up and exclaimed “What? He will? Will my ex-husbands too? BOTH OF THEM? FOREVER? UGH!”

Then we, three divorced women, laughed out loud together, the sound of community ringing through the apartment.

It was one of the best moments I’ve had in this whole process.