Friday, February 5, 2010

The Cold Hand

My friend Jenny who blogs at The Fisch Tank recently linked to this well written post on Grief at Hopeful Parents.  It accurately describes how as a specials needs mum you have to be prepared to have a certain amount of grief in your life.  It is always there to some degree - sometimes its way, way in the background.  Other times it comes and smacks you in the face.

Like today.

Audrey had swimming this morning.  As we were waiting for her lesson to start Grief came to visit in the form of a pair of identical twin girls.  I have seen twins before - plenty of times - but this is the first time I have been up close with identical twin girls.  Blond identical twin girls.  The same age as mine.  A little glimpse of what could have been...

At the moment the 'twin thing' seems to be the biggest trigger for my grief.  As Audrey gets older and more independent, and because of Ashlea's recent regression and increased dependence, I have been really aware of 'what could have been'.  Usually I don't let myself think "If only...", but I have caught myself doing it lately.

If only all my children could walk it would be so much easier to do school drop offs.

If only Ashlea didn't need all these appointments I wouldn't have to run all over town and end up exhausted by the end of the day.

If only my twins were like 'real' twins.

I think Emma starting school has highlighted this feeling of difference too.  We stand out from the other families.  We have a wheelchair.  We rush off to appointments after the school drop off.  We don't have time to get involved in school activities.

At swimming this morning I tried to focus on watching Audrey, but I was mesmerised by these twins.  It was like poking at a bruise - it really hurt but I couldn't stop watching.  Eventually I had to force myself to look away otherwise a few tears would have turned into a flood of tears on the pool deck.

Its funny because I don't feel bitter at all about our situation, or angry.  But that doesn't mean I don't feel sad over what could have been.  Sometimes I even let myself fantasize about what it would be like to have healthy twins.  Usually I try and not to do that as I know its a slippery slope, but I also wonder if it is a normal part of the grieving process.  When the girls were younger the grief was so overwhelming that I felt like I had no skin.  Things are a lot better now, to the point where I mostly just accept that this is how things are.  It has taken me a few years to develop this thicker skin - but I obviously still have some soft spots.  Like blond identical twin girls.

Anyone else have a soft spot?


Sarah said...

I sorry to hear today's swimming was so upsetting for you. I of course have no idea what it is like to have twins (only married to one) but I do know that I feel that way just having one child and seeing other children around the same age and younger that can do everything and are healthy, it makes me upset, angry and other times I stare in amazement at what they can do!

So my soft spot would have to be any child same age or younger that do everything with such ease.

Thinking of you xx

ferfischer said...

Oh, how I understand this. This exact thing actually. Like little brown haired identical twin girls. Or even blond ones for that matter. I wonder if some day I will stop wondering "what if" - it just feels so far away for me (and you too). You know what's funny, is that at our swim lessons for Max last summer - there were a pair of identical twin boys - and I couldn't help but watch them too - they also had an older brother. Like a bruise indeed.

Anna said...

I really needed to read this post today and the post on grief on the other blog. I feel a bit like old mate grief is hanging around me at the moment.
I often have little glimpses of what a "normal" 8 year old is like and it breaks my heart sometimes that my Ryley isn't like them.
It is so normal to feel like this though. I know I have written about chronic sorrow before on my blog, and I will write about it again soon (given I need to write a workshop on it for parents).
That sadness is always going to come and go. It is ok for us to feel that twinge every now and then.
I couldn't pick just one soft spot. I have many.

Susan, Mum to Molly said...

I definitely find Lady Grief to be a cantankerous old b*tch, who taps me on the shoulder at unexpected moments (especially four years on, when we're less 'deep' in it).

Like when eldest daughter had clay-day in art class last year, and chose to make (rather than anything else in the world, an animal, a person, a tree, any darn thing): an electric wheelchair.

Broke my frigg'n heart all over again... I find the surprise grief visits harder to manage than the expected triggers (anniversaries, places...).

Take care of you and have a good weekend after a tough day. Its also been a big week with the girls starting school in preschool.
(((Hugs))) Susan

Alison said...

Sarah - I am often amazed at the achievements of younger children too - and the ease with which they do things!

Jenny - no surprises for guessing you and I have similar soft spots. I hope Cici is doing well.

Anna - the term 'chronic sorrow' describes it perfectly. I will be interested to read your thoughts on it.

Susan - you are right about the surprise visits being hardest to manage - that is why the (unexpected) sight of those twins today upset me. How did Miss Molly go at preschool?

Ally said...

Oh Alison, I can only imagine how hard it must be. xx

Kim said...

How hard that must be. I think for me it would be much harder if Mattie had a twin. I've heard of quite a few parents that have one typical child and one with Down syndrome. There is a daily reminder of the differences. 99% of the time I don't really think about Mattie's differences with her peers. Once in awhile I'll see her playing with other children. I just stop and think about her future. Then I just think about how lucky I really am to be a part of her life.

SoCo mom said...

I hear you. Oh, I so totally hear you on the "what if"s and the schedules that do not seem to belong to anyone else. And not being bitter, but sighing (and tearing up) from time to time.

Hang in there, and take care!