I’ve always been a pretty positive person, easily excitable over even the littlest of things. I grew up a Cubs fan after all, so I learned early on that you have to take advantage of each moment. And like a Cubs fan lamenting another losing season, after each miscarriage, I would think well, this is the worst it can get, next time will be the one. And yet, sadly, time after time after time after time, I have been wrong. So as you can imagine, since all of this has happened, there’s been very little that gets me excited anymore. Now don’t get me wrong, in the grand scheme of things, I know I have a lot to be thankful for: an amazing husband, loving family and friends, a great house, adoring and annoying cats (who, sorry, but I won’t call my furr babies), job, etc., etc., etc. Its just that its easy these days, to let the pain and let-down that comes with grief overshadow it all. Thankfully, my husband is good, on most days, in reminding me of all that we have, and all that’s still to come.
But back to the whole, not getting excited about things, these days, I just didn’t care about a lot of things. But then there was the upcoming release of the new Muppet movie. Anticipation grew in the weeks leading up to it. You see, I grew up in a Muppets family. I remember as kids, there was, of course Sesame Street, and my older sister and I would watch The Muppet Show each week, hysterically laughing at whichever guest star they were joking with, and singing along to every tune. Then as we got older, we shared the experience with our little cousins through the movies. The thought that they were coming back to the big screen had me actually excited. Add to that, that it was coming out Thanksgiving weekend, when my whole family would be in town and we could go to the movie together, well, that was just perfect.
So off to the theater 11 of us went. It was time to start the music. Time to light the lights. Time for the tears to start streaming down my face? Seriously? The MUPPETS are going to make me sad? The cute, loveable, furry, happy-go-lucky Muppets?!? Come on. I spent the movie laughing and smiling while choking back tears and trying to hide my out-of-the-blue sadness from those around me. I didn’t want to be the person who ruined the Muppets for everyone else. I mean really, who cries at stuff like that? Well, apparently I do. I hadn’t expected something that made me so happy as a child (and yes, as an adult) to make me so sad for not having the children to share it with. As Kermit and crew were belting out The Rainbow Connection, I was taking deep breaths, trying to remind myself that yes, someday we’ll find it, the baby connection, my husband, our babies and me. Corny? Yes, but I was trying anything that I could to keep it together. It really made me sad that such a great movie (and it was great) was yet another thing in my life that was marred by miscarriage.
As we left the theater, my family beaming with post-Muppet bliss, my mom asking what I thought. I fake smiled my way through answering that I thought it was great as I rushed to the bathroom. Keep it together, I told myself. Keep. It. Together. After all, from here we were heading to my aunt and uncle’s for Thanksgiving dinner and the first full family gathering since we lost the baby. Twenty-four family members, including two kids, all of who we’d been pretty much avoiding for the past 7 months. But I was ok with it. Until now. And now there was no choice but to go. I reluctantly walked out of the bathroom and found my husband looking a bit out of sorts. “That movie made me really sad,” he told me. “Didn’t see that one coming.” Whew, I thought. I’m not crazy.
I was already dreading the drive to my aunt and uncle’s because I knew it would involve passing the cemetery where the baby is buried. And while I don’t believe in cemeteries, it was still the first time we’d pass it since that awful day. And so we drove to dinner with my in-laws and brother in-law happily chatting in the back seat and I tightly grabbed my husband’s hand as each of us felt the turn of the knife as we past Shalom. In that ten-minute drive, my Thanksgiving spirit went deep into negative territory. When we arrived and my dad asked me what had happened since we saw him at the movie, and I just lost it. And then felt as if I moped my way through Thanksgiving. I didn’t want to BE that person on Thanksgiving. I don’t want to be that person every single time I see, or talk to others.
F*ck. When is this going to get easier? When are we going to be able to identify what will be a trigger…what will set us off? When are we going to feel truly normal again? Oh right, never. I think the secret, if there really is one, is to keep persevering and not let the setbacks stop us. Feel what you feel and know it is ok to be sad. Its ok to be mad. Even ok to feel sorry for yourself from time to time. What’s not ok is to just leave it at that. Continue to look for the little things that do get you excited and try. Sure, sometimes they are going to turn around and bite you in the butt, but you may also find yourself days later singing Life’s a Happy Song with all of your Muppet friends by your side.