Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Emotional highs and lows of parenting a grieving child

To my dismay, Facebook has taken me away from blogging as often I used to blog. It's so much easier to write a few sentences several times a day to update your friends on what's happening in your life. Recently, many of my friends probably got more information than they wanted to know. Some of my "friends" are virtual in nature...I never see them, they don't know what's truly going on in my life nor do I necessarily want to know them in those ways. However, the past month or so has been pretty emotional. Initially I had no idea what was going on with my baby girl. Yeah, I know she's almost nine and no longer a baby. But as my parents say about me, she'll always be my baby.

Much of what has taken place did so quickly. Although as life was occurring I felt a slow, stabbing pain in my heart every time Sofie was sad, crying or just plain checked out. Initially, I had no idea what was happening. It could have been a number of things. She didn't quite know what was going on for her, either. Her sadness was projected onto many "objects" including her new bed(that isn't even here yet!), her teacher, the cats, friends...you name it, something else often had misplaced sadness enveloping it. During this time, I felt so lost and alone. This aloneness created a Facebook monster who shared too much. Much of what I said was thinking outloud. Regretably, my loving friends who, try as they might, couldn't advise me and I couldn't take one sad little girls pain away.

My previous post answers the "why" to all the sadness. Simply missing Debra was the culprit. This week post Mother's Day has been very emotional. Sofie is now responding to what seems like "permission" she was given to grieve out loud. I want her pain to subside. Apparently, Mother's Day may be a trigger for her. It certainly was this year. I'll be more prepared next year...yeah, right! At least I'll be aware that there may be more heightened grieving in early May!

What's this last month been like for me? A mixture of heaven and hell. Disrupted sleep night after night does not make for a kind Mama. Constant requests for cuddles makes a swollen heart, bursting with love, Mama. Emotions all over the map. Often feeling so out of control and lost I wanted to (and sometimes did) scream! We've made it to the other side for now. The cries are farther apart. The mentions of missing Debra are less frequent. I know we'll come out of this okay. Unfortunately, the ride to the good side can be bumpy, lumpy and make Mama grumpy!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day - 2009

Last year on Mother's Day, Sofie and I were coasting through life, exisiting on pure love, bliss and ignorance. I'm grateful for this blog because, to be honest, I don't even remember last Mother's Day. We were definitely on autopilot.

This year has been quite different. Don't get me wrong, it's been a great weekend. The weekend just hasn't gone without some notable sadness on Sofie's part. Many emotions are leaking out of her soul that's punctured with so much loss. I had a friend recently tell me that for kids, the first year of grief/loss can be the easiest because many just sail through not quite realizing what's really taken place. Only after they feel safe and secure do they really let it all hang out and the emotions become real. That's our life right now. Much sadness, clingy-ness and filled with grief.

The couple of weeks leading up to this weekend have been somewhat torturous while all the while overflowing with love. Sofie is a very "feeling" child. That's much of what I truly love about her. I envy her ability to show her emotions at such a young age. I never could and sometimes still struggle with showing appropriate emotions.

There have been many theories about what's going on with her. From separation anxiety about the impending "loss" of her 2nd grade teacher to the fact she's finally settling into our lives and feels comfortable expressing her sadness, loneliness and fears, she's settling into her own existence and life without Debra...and this morning she actually brought up for the first time, her birth mother. The bandage on her psyche was ripped off and I think Mother's Day may have been the underlying culprit.

The discussion about her birthmother, although unexpected, went basically the way I expected it might. During breakfast she asked if Mother's Day was meant for *all* mothers. By the way she asked that, I clarified with, "Do you mean Mama Debra, too?" She said yes but her body language told me there was a "but" or something to add to that. So I asked what she meant. "You know" was her answer. I thought a minute and said, "Do you mean your birth mother?" She nodded and said, "Why did she give me up for adoption?" And there it was...the question all adoptive parents anticipate, practice answering over and over in their minds and dread for life...was I going to answer it right?

Without missing a beat I mentioned the economic environment in Ukraine and the fact that her birth mother did exactly what was right in her situation. And of course I added that I'd be really lonely and sad if she weren't in my life. She had questions about Ukraine and why it was a poor country. Try explaining that to 2nd grader!! She had great questions that I sometime felt I was pulling the answers from the air, but I think the conversation went well. I can say one thing changed...she slept like a log last night. No sadness or clingy-ness. She actually had a reason not to sleep well last night. She had a pretty bad scooter accident last night, complete with several patches of road rash and a nice flesh wound on the palm of her hand.

Suffice to say, the girls alright. Here's a picture from Saturday just after her new haircut...which is perfect for her!