The hot yoga is helping. My sweet shaggy Ferdinand is helping. My boys and darling husband are helping. Writing is helping.
But it isn't enough.
It doesn't make it stop hurting.
I keep making the movements. I keep working hard to smile. But isn't it such a strange thing to say that I'm working "hard" to smile? I have to think it first--- "Smile Sara!" and I do....because I want "them" to know or at least, think, that I'm doing better; That my daily yoga, miles of walking and reams of typing...are helping. And they really ARE. But...when I note the presence of relief in the fact that I'm "doing better", it's a co-occurring unspoken statement that I'm not allowed to fall back into my tears. Not allowed. Not allowed....to feel the pain.
Yet, it isn't about being ABLE to NOT feel that pain. I'm just trying to live in SPITE of the pain.
But some days are easier than others...much, much easier.
I kissed the boys goodbye yesterday as I went to hot yoga. They screamed the scream they always scream when I go--- "BYE MOM! YOUR THE BEST MOM IN THE WORLD!!!"--- and ran off to play the Wii while I was absent. With the age range of children I have, I can leave Mr. 14-year-old-going-on-30 in charge without any inner qualms while I go to hot yoga for a few hours. I admit it...it's nice to have a kid you can trust to be so mature and loving to the younger kids...who, in fact, get older every day. I hopped on the bus and settled into my seat. We cruised down the mountain....and as I watched out the front mirror...a precious baby dear with little soft white spots darted in front of the bus. I screamed internally as his mother rushed to him and he squirmed in agony on the side of the road....dieing....in pain....the bus driver didn't even slow for a second. He had a schedule to keep...nothing a baby deer would alter. In my mind...he had just hit a child...it was a hit and run. To the unflinching bus driver....it was just a stupid deer. In his way.
Then, a woman got on the bus. She had a neck brace and bruising on her face. She looked at me for a minute and then started to tell me about the man that had beaten her to a bloody pulp only 6 weeks ago putting her in ICU. He got five months in jail...for almost killing her because she broke up with him. Five months. Only five. She has (very possibly permanent) brain damage from being beaten repeatedly with a lead pipe. He got five months of jail time. I reached over to her and took her hand. We sat there holding hands while I tried to convey some places that might be able to help her. And then, she got off the bus. I had never seen her before and she told me that because of her memory problems, even if she saw me again, she wouldn't know me, even though she wanted to remember...I wished I had thought to give her my phone number, but I didn't. She walked off the bus in a daze and looked like she wondered where she was going. And the guy that did that to that 23 year old girl...got five months in jail.
I got off the bus downtown and walked to the Hot Yoga House that is my sanctuary. My wrist has been hurting so I couldn't wait for the soothing infrared heat to help heal it. Yoga....was good. It was healing...I could breathe...I tried to empty my mind of the image of the dieing deer and the battered woman...not because I didn't care, but because I cared SO much that it hurt.
I knew my husband would be a little late picking me up, so I took a stroll to "The Big Dipper". I walked over the famous river that runs through "it"...and enjoyed the cool breeze on my face that was wafting up from the river. As I walked off the bridge, I saw a homeless man. He asked if I had any change with a smile. He wasn't drunk or scary...just homeless. I would have helped him if I'd had anything more than my debit card in my bag, but I replied "I'm so sorry sir...I don't have any cash on me." I felt badly that I couldn't help, and that even if I had change in my pocket, it wouldn't have been enough "change" to give him a home. He smiled again and tipped his hat at me. "It's o.k. miss...it's a pleasure to be in the presence of an Angel...you KNOW your an Angel don't you?" I shook my head and laughed uncomfortably a little and waved goodbye. I could hear him calling after me..."I'm not kidding miss...your an Angel...didn't anyone ever tell you WHO you were before?" I felt a lump in my throat...and I didn't understand why. I keep encountering strangers that tell me I'm an angel. It's happened again and again. I always feel like crying when they say it. Now that my twins are gone...I wonder if what they are seeing now is that I am the mother of angels. I wonder... even though it doesn't explain years of being told randomly that I'm an angel. That's just....odd; and it makes me choke back tears.
As I walked into the ice cream stores lot, I saw a couple with their ice cream faced 2 year old that I had seen only a week or so before our loss. They had no idea that we'd lost that pregnancy. No idea. The woman came up to me with a smile and said "GAWD Sara! You look beautiful...but weird without babies! Aren't you supposed to have a baby or something?? Where's your little one?....Are you O.k.? you look sad...."
I froze inside. "Our twins died....last year...stillbirth..."
A horror struck look appeared on her face, joined by a deep sadness on her husbands. They know us as the care free family with tons of happy kids. When they were expecting, I remember the calls for advice and emotional support. Parenting had always been....my gift. It's something I love. It's something I've been doing for 20 years, and doing it beautifully in all honesty. I was a birth goddess.... a parenting diva.... whole... beautiful... and wonderfully patient... wonderfully confident.
There it was. She was right... I'm the mama that ALWAYS has a little one... or at least, I used to. All my boys were independent at home with a fun-loving big brother watching them. No babies... no one wanting to be with mama more than a video game. No one needing me every moment of every day.
She tried to brush it away by complaining about how her son kept wanting to run mindlessly into traffic... and the truth is that all I wanted in the world was to be like her again, chasing a little silly walker around to prevent him from running into traffic. Maybe it sounds crazy, but I preferred the stress of parenting a toddler to pleasurably walking down the road without any responsibility to ANYONE else with a yoga mat in tow. All I wanted in the world was to eat an ice cream cone with nursing twins in tandem while on lookers gasped in shock or admired my ability to "Just DO it!"
The husband hugged me goodbye, insisting that he owed Ty and I a favor and that he wanted us to call him on it. What was the favor? Ty was there to listen to him when he needed a shoulder to lean on in the earlier days of parenting...and I'd been kind enough to get his son a gift when he was born. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary for us, and we didn't feel that we'd done anything exceptional. He clearly wanted to give us something....anything...to ease the pain. So, he said "he owed us". They waved good bye and I waved back, longing to scoop that little huckleberry creamed face 2 year old into my arms to just smell his hair......but instead...I had a double scooper....for "them."
Because I should have had them with me....and instead...I only had ice cream, and the clear understanding that I don't look like ME without THEM. I chose a scoop of eggnog and a scoop of Mexican chocolate. I went over and sat on the side walk licking my homemade ice-cream cone thoughtfully. It was yummy....but it wasn't the only reason I chose a double. I needed double....I needed yin and yang....I needed my twins. The ice cream soothed the lump in my throat...the memory of hot yoga only a half hour before reminded me to breathe...and I AM doing better. But...I'm not me. Not the me I wish I was anyway. Not the me my hopeful friends wish I will be. Not the me I show everyone I am trying to be. Not really.
And...I think I understand that I never will be. Not without them.
I brought two hand packed containers home with me. Huckleberry and Eggnog. Purple and Yellow.
My 8 year old noticed..."You got purple and yellow for Simon and Alexander mom...that's really cool!"
I was suddenly surrounded by my boys hugging me.
Because they understand that I never will be the same.
Even with them.
It's part of the whole of being alive.
You can't erase it's mark.
Even with ice cream.
Even with hot yoga.
Even with a kick ass Old English Sheepdog that rocks the world.
Even with a beautiful family of amazing kids and a loving, even phenomenal, husband.