Lucas – One Year On

Lucas – One Year On

I have no idea where to begin.

I wrote pieces of this whenever my heart felt like writing over the last year. Some of my writing I have shared and most of it I have not. In the depths of some of my worst months over the past year, I turned to writing. I found that the things I write are much more powerful and raw when I’m in a really bad state of mind, and when I feel really REALLY sad and lost.

I write whatever I’m feeling. When I start writing I usually feel really angry, and I don’t feel like it’s doing me any good. I’ll stop and then the next day or a few days later I’ll re read what I wrote and it makes so much sense to me. It’s kind of like an epiphany.

My first ever piece of writing I did was very real, it was brutally honest and I strongly believe that was my first step towards seeing a little light.

My journey has been far from easy. This may sound strange to hear. It feels strange for me to write. Nevertheless, I am so immensely thankful for it. I am still the same person as I was a year ago, however I have let my struggles leave me a little better than I was when they found me.

The day Lucas passed away I still remember every single little fraction of that day. I will forever. I’m okay with this.

The first week was the easiest (weird right?). So much had to be done and I was in shock. My brain had convinced my mind that this wasn’t actually happening.

See, your brain, and your mind are two separate things. Keeping busy is the easiest way a human can go into survival mode and get stuff done. It’s actually easier to do something, rather than nothing when you’re having a hard time.

I had no control over anything else, so having control over planning a funeral kept me going. Making everything perfect for that day was the last thing that I was going to be able to do for my baby as a mother.

I used to feel guilty because as I started writing more, I started to steer away from this topic due to the fact that I feel I have written a lot about it and dealt with it head on. Therefore, I have accepted it, and I no longer feel my breath catch when I think about it. I feel light and happy when I think about Lucas now. It feels good to remember him.

Of course on days like his birthday, special holidays, or the date of the anniversary of his death, it is really really hard. I love that I can remember him now nearly all of the time in such a positive happy way. I don’t want to dwell on that topic too much in this.

The weeks following that were a blur; everybody expects it to get easier as the time goes on, when in actual fact it got a lot worse for me.

I remember we went on a holiday to Queenstown a month afterwards. Everything up to that point was kind of okay. It was hard, but I was coping little by little. Taking each day as it came. I was okay.

A week in Queenstown was amazing, I felt like my old self, and I didn’t think about anything.

Oh. Wait. I have to go back, I have to go back to my reality!

This is where my downhill ride started. It came slowly, I could feel it, and it was as if it were saying. Jess, you didn’t expect it to be this easy did you. You have to face me sooner or later, it’s either now, or next month, or next year or in 10 years. Well there it was…

What is rock bottom?

Well, I used to hear this term more often than not. I always used to think; you can get out. Everyone can get out. It’s your choice; it’s your life. You’re never stuck. Blah blah. Wow!

I had no idea what rock bottom was and compassion, apparently. I was about to find out though. Rock bottom for me was a number of things.

It was my relationship coming to an end; it was being heavily reliant on medication and sleeping tablets. It was not being able to leave my bed. It was not eating and losing about 10 kilos in probably about 2 weeks. It was not going into work; it was cancelling appointments with my counsellor and psychologist. It was needing someone to come over and clean my house for me; it was convincing myself that everyone, including Ollie, was better off without me in their life and it was not wanting to be alive. Yes, I said it. I didn’t want to be alive.

In the midst of all of that, there were little peaks of light shining through. I didn’t see them at the time though. They came in small doses. Looking back now I realise how much I was actually paying attention without even realising.

I knew that I was relying on ‘things’ for a while. That being sleeping tablets everyday and night. My body had become so tolerant of them I would need to take one in the morning if I was going anywhere, because it wasn’t making me sleepy anymore, it just relaxed me.

This was terrible, and I knew it at the time. I did it though; it was whatever got me through at the time.

I remember having a mind shift. I said to myself everyday. “Okay, you can get away with doing this for 3 months max.” This was a moment where I was choosing the light, without even knowing at the time.

“You can keep ruining your health, you can keep ignoring everyone, you can keep cancelling plans, you can keep not showing up to work, you can keep sleeping all day and not eating, you can keep feeling sorry for yourself and expecting to magically feel better without doing any hard work. After 3 months though, you’ve gotta sort your crap out. After 3 months you’ll end up worse than you are now if this doesn’t stop.

That’s what I did. It took me less than 3 months. I carried on doing that for quite some time, but without that mindset, I can almost guarantee I’d be pulling the same old cards.

I had always been someone who could see the good in almost any situation. I handled my stress pretty well and I had my feet planted pretty firmly on the ground. I’ve always written things down, I’ve always had a gratitude journal, I’ve always loved reading things about the law of attraction, and how your thoughts control your life. Blah blah I know. I thought this made me positive.

For as long as I have remembered I have always written down the same thing consistently. ‘I’m so grateful I’m positive, understanding and grateful’. I wrote this all the time without putting much thought into it. I mean everyone wants to be those things, especially POSITIVE! Everyone wants to be positive. I wasn’t always positive. I told myself I was but I wasn’t.

I realised being positive ALL the time is literally not humanly possible. If you think you’re positive all the time, you’re full of it. Sorry for putting it bluntly.

Being positive is ALLOWING YOURSELF TO FEEL LIKE A PIECE OF SHIT FOR AS LONG AS NECESSARY, without crossing the line. YUP! Contradicting isn’t it?

In order to be positive, you must be able to feel negative. I don’t mean just negative, I mean your life falling to absolute pieces negative. I mean soul crushing negative. I’m not saying you have to lose a child to be positive but put it this way, the depth of your struggle can most definitely predict the height of your future depending on which way you go about it and how closely you pay attention.

In order to understand, you must first know how it feels to be misunderstood. In order to feel grateful, you must first know how it feels to be ungrateful and wish your life away.

When you have experienced these feelings and comprehend them without trying to push them away, it will feel SO intense, that you won’t even recognize who you used to be.

My situation made me look at my life. It made me look pretty damn hard at what the hell had happened to me and chose to see positives in it.

I know that probably doesn’t make much sense. How can your baby dying bring you any positives? It has taught me lessons. Sad lessons that I shouldn’t have had to be taught, but they were taught anyway. I was able to convert those lessons into something positive.

When you’re dealt with that card you do have a choice. It’s a hard one. It doesn’t feel right making it at first. It’s easy to sit in it for the rest of your life and be so deeply disconnected to anything else,. You attach yourself to that pain because then you have an excuse for everything.

Don’t want to show up for work? Well it’s because my baby die. Don’t want to be nice today? Well it’s because my baby died? Don’t want to pay your bills? Well it’s because my baby died.

No; make a choice and push yourself to be happy again like your life depends on it, because it does depend on it.

Take accountability for your own pain, feel it, observe it, and then let it go when it no longer serves you. It will never fully go away, but only grab hold of it again in moderation. There is a peace inside us all. Let it be your friend, it will help you carry on.

You cannot expect to be strong mentally without putting work in. When people are physically strong you know they have put in work. Hard work. They have put in the time and consistency in more ways than one.

You have to incorporate exercise and diet and also work it around your work schedule, around your plans on the weekend, make sacrifices, like not going out to party with your friends sometimes, not eating like a pig, getting up early. It wouldn’t have been easy; it would have hurt your body as well, your muscles, your willpower. It is the exact same as mentally. It hurts getting strong. It’s hard!

If you’ve experienced trauma in any way, shape or form, it becomes a wound. And if you don’t heal it properly, it’s going to continue to cause you grief.

If you put a bandage on it without letting it air out, if it’s bad enough it WILL get infected and start to bleed. It will take you longer to get rid of it as time goes on right? It will take longer to heal. If you use the Band-Aid effect you will, and I promise you this, carry it into every area of your life.

You are strong if you live through your trauma. You are ADMIRABLE if you heal it. You are much stronger if you can look at that and let it leave you better than you were before. Let it leave you with more kindness and love; not bitter.

You can’t keep pulling the ‘don’t you know what happened to me!? The least you could do is be understanding’ or the ‘this is the last thing I need, I’ve been through enough’.

You owe it to yourself, nobody else. Yourself. To let it leave you better than you were before. Don’t take that path, don’t allow yourself to keep making excuses as to why you think you deserve better than anyone else because something bad happened to you. If you don’t heal your own wounds, they will only bleed on other people around you, and they will get angry, and eventually probably leave to some place cleaner.

I have a lot of people who I love dearly; I often get the same thing said to me though. In the middle of me listening to them tell me something they are unhappy about, they stop themselves, mid conversation, and they say. ‘Oh god, I don’t have anything to complain about, look at what you’ve been through’. I really don’t like this.

I meet people all the time who are in the early stages of losing their child. It would be like me saying to them ‘well, your child was only two days old when he or she passed away, and mine was four and a-half months old. I have it worse than you. Feel sorry for me. Your pain is invalid. Please stop talking!

Everybody is fighting their own battle. Just because somebody has it worse than you or me, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter. It always matters.

Selling yourself short, or selling other people short is not allowing yourself to be the best person you can possibly be. Let yourself voice what you’re unhappy about, tell a friend, tell your dog, tell the universe. Say it and don’t feel bad about it. It’s so important.

In order to help people heal their wounds you cannot leave yours open.

You will not be able to change your past. However, you will be able to change what your past is doing to your present. Your own self-awareness can either be crippling or set you unbelievably free. You cannot teach compassion, you can only learn it from experience.

Thank you Lucas, for teaching me. And Oliver for being here to remind me to carry on.

 

Jessica Pisarek 

https://infantbereavment.wordpress.com

 

In memory of my sweet Lucas

 

 

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