Saturday, August 13, 2011

On Moving On.

I broke down and told my boss that I want to put in an early separation. It didn't go so well.

He wanted to talk about it because he wanted to understand, or try to, why my job depresses me so much. Somewhere in the conversation, that horrible, nails on a chalkboard phrase came out: "You eventually have to move on."

Move on.

My entire body tightens and cringes, and my skin gets all tingly when I hear those words. I'm shuddering just thinking about it right now. There are very few things that piss me off as much.

I don't think a lot of people even understand the concept of "moving on" as much as they'd like to think they do. Especially people who have never had to do so themselves.

Yes, I lost my babies. Two of them. Yes, I still have bad days. I still have nightmares. I'm still afraid of my bathroom. I still randomly cry for no apparent reason. Yes, I think about them, but not all day. Not even most of the day. Yes, events and conversations make those awful nights replay in my head. Yes, it depresses me. Especially when it involves things at work, like being reminded that I'm behind in my qualifications because of what happened.

But none of that means that I am dwelling on the past, on my loss, on any of it. None of that means that I am not moving forward with my life, one day at a time, as best as I can.

There is something about traumatic events that doesn't quite leave you, no matter how well you are "getting over it." The brain doesn't process that stuff so well, and it gets stuck in there somewhere. Sometimes you might react to the memories and flashbacks a little better than others, but it's still there.

I'm no stranger to traumatic events. I was raped when I was four. I watched my cousin get hit by a car when I was eight. I have smelled human flesh burning. Losing my babies was by far the worst trauma of my life. There is no way to explain the loss of a child to someone. It's just not possible to comprehend until it's your child.

When I worked at the nursing home, one of the ladies, G, was missing her right leg. She used to tell me stories about her adventures. Her motorcycle. Her Navy husband. Her kids. Her dancing. She also used to tell me about losing her leg. Life doesn't stop when you lose a limb. You just learn a new normal, a new routine, a new way of doing things. Life keeps going, and so do you. But you're going differently. And no matter how strong you are, no matter how well you adapt, no matter how many great things life throws at you, there will always be something that reminds you. That rears its ugly head and smacks you in the face. That says "You are not the same anymore". That screams "You can't dance like that anymore because you don't have a leg." That makes you relive that day, that loss, that pain of learning a new life. You can move forward, you can do great things, you can be happy. But it's always going to be there, lurking, waiting, just like the devil.

I thought of that conversation when I thought about this "moving on" stuff. Losing a leg and losing a baby are two completely different things. But the way she explained it, it's actually not so different.


Nerissa said...

Nika, I'd like to punch your boss too. Moving on is actually impossible. IMPOSSIBLE. You move on from a house fire, you move on from an unfaithful lover, you move on from a shitty boss at a dead end job. You DO NOT move on from your child, flesh of your flesh, blood of your blood. I'm now following your blog.

Jill said...

So sorry you had to be put through that. People just do not get it. We will never move on. They will always be our children.

Catherine W said...

Well said Nika. It is nowhere near as simple as your boss suggested. I think you're right, traumatic events somehow seem to leave a permanent mark? I'm sorry that you have had so many difficult times in your life and that you lost your two precious babies. x

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