Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Answering Grief Questions + Embracing Inner Child

Lisa Manterfield asked very good questions on grief/loss in her blog that made me think hard. Here are my answers:

1. My grief has subdued over time. Lots of writing and grief work, getting support from people who get it, lots of letting go. My wounds have stopped bleeding for a while, though the scars are there, but I no longer operate on a daily basis with one eye on the bumpy scars. I’ve found more peace as time goes by and more purposes of the pain I’ve felt. I now firmly believe that my pain is not for nothing. 

2. My loss has helped me become kinder to myself. It has also helped me feel more connected to other people in general, because at the end of the day each of us has different struggles. My loss has also made me more aware of the possibility of other people’s silent struggles and losses (esp. those that people in general misunderstand).

3. My grief creeps up when I haven’t come to terms with a particular loss or when I haven’t grieved that particular loss at all or enough. It also creeps up when there’s something I know I’m missing in this childless life that I haven’t found ways to get around yet and then BAM I see the missing thing being shown so clearly in the lives of those people who have children. Example: some photos of a baby being mesmerized by his/her own foot/finger (the first time the baby realizes the existence of said foot/finger). That kind of thing may get to me because it’s difficult to replicate in my own life. It’s easier for me to embrace my inner child (without having my own child) and try to find joys in the smallest things by doing other stuff like making a snowman, for example.

Ever since we chose to walk along the childless-not-by-choice road, I've begun to feel even more acutely of the things that we miss by not having children and by not spending time with children, particularly the part where small children sees things with fresh eyes. How little things amaze them and in turn amuse the parents and remind them of the smallest joys in life.

I've tried my best in embracing my inner child over the past few years and also find joy in the smallest things. I've tried looking at my surroundings with fresh eyes (yes, even though I know it won't be the same) by taking photos from different angles and by really taking time to enjoy nature (stop and smell the roses kind of thing). 

Here is my latest attempt at creating a snowman. The weather was perfect and I had so much fun making it. :-D Mind you, all the snow has melted away by now (which is preferable compared to having icy surface everywhere), but I do hope I'll get more chances to make different kinds of snow creations later on. This one is my upside down, big-headed snowman.

The best of all that day was the fact that this cutiepie was watching me as I was making the body. No kidding! It was really curious and I couldn't help chuckling. I LOVE this place! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Waiver, The Childless Community, and Death

1. The Waiver.

A few months ago I wrote about signing a waiver in Indo, but after talking to some lawyers, I decided to postpone it. Considering the fact that the laws can change and everything can be so chaotic in Indo, I didn't like the idea of the possibility of having to pay twice to sign a waiver in case the law changes in the future and I have to sign a new waiver. So that has to be on hold, but I heard that in my aunt's case, it was possible for her to sign a waiver in her new country of residence, got it translated to Indonesian, and then have it sent to Indonesia. So that's also another option, but I'll deal with that when the time comes.

2. Voicing The Childless Community.

Prior to our trip, I had a chance to meet up the locals here along with some other expats to voice our needs so that they knew what more they could do to help new expats integrate better into society.

At one stage of the discussion, I chose a group that talked about spare time activities (another group was about daycare/schooling, something I couldn't participate in) and I had my opportunity to voice the childless community in general. I told them that as a childless person, it was hard for me to find friends and events that I could join that would enable me to find new friends. I didn't add the part that I was an introvert, but it seemed that they got the gist.

I was a bit worried of how the other people in the group would take my POV, but I was glad that they were positive about it. In fact, as I was discussing my problems of integrating into society and making new friends as a childless person, the event leader came by and she actually said, "Oh yes, a mother once told me that it was easier for mothers to meet up other mothers and arrange play dates and stuff like that because of their children. Plus there are many other social activities/events directed for those who have kids. This is a good discussion, keep talking about it!"

I was nicely surprised to hear that a mother actually said that to her. It was nice to feel heard, even though I was seriously anxious to share my stance as a minority. I think my voice trembled in the beginning, but it got steadier afterwards.

Growing up as a minority in my home country didn't really help me learn to open up about my needs or demand anything from the government. Instead, fearing for the security of my family and my fellow minority group made me learn how to lay low and not rock the boat as best as I could, even if I was right. God knows what has happened to a minority like us in the past who was targeted by some crooked individuals.

Infertility has taught me to be more open and to express my needs in a preferably effective way. First to my close friends, then to other people in general via FB, then to my family to let them know clearly what kind of support I needed. Practise makes perfect, eh? What really helped me to open up during that local event was also the knowledge that there was a group of women out there who got me and would be my soft landing in case the real world failed me. They're the wind beneath my wings. A working support group really helps one flourish in ways that one can't do on one's own.

3. Death.

Went to visit FIL's grave the other day because the headstone had just been delivered a few days ago. Death can be a pretty expensive affair. I told hubby that if I died first, I didn't want anything fancy and that I wanted it to be as practical and cheap as could be (I didn't want him to feel burdened to do anything fancy after my death). He shushed me, but at least I had gotten my point across juuuuusst in case.

Then I said, "Yeah, I know you don't like listening to this kind of talk, so let's just die together, OK?"

He agreed to that. :-D

One funny realization when I started thinking of the topic of death: if I'm old and alone and I die alone somewhere and other people find my body only much later, I've made peace with that possibility. I don't find it sad anymore even if I have no grave and nobody remembers me after I'm gone. It's kinda nice and freeing to feel this way. :-)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Surreal Experience: The Merging of the Two Universes

The other day when I was feeling better and I could focus more on reading, I started catching up on the blog posts that I had neglected during my holiday due to my internet break. In one post somebody wrote about how in a parallel universe, she'd have green fingers and she'd grow so many things in her garden and they'd all flourish.

You see, I had been thinking about parallel universes in my infertility journey and I had had some visualisations of myself in a parallel universe where we had children. You can say it's my wishful thinking, the ideal version of our life, my kind of escape from real life.

Anyway, as my eyes scanned the words "parallel universe", my mind started on its own journey. I have this clear, vivid image of my brain conjuring up a panel of my parallel universe from the back of my head and then all of a sudden from the other side came up this panel of real life and both of them just merged together smoothly and I gasped within, because at that exact second, there was no difference between my reality and my parallel universe. There was no need for the parallel universe anymore. It was breathtakingly beautiful and surreal at the same time. 

Image taken from here

No wonder I've felt the way I do after my Indo trip. More closure. The two universes have merged! I can't tell you how amazed I was, but then a question came knocking at the door, "Ummm...how long do you think this will last?"

I answered, "I have NO idea because it's the first time I've ever experienced this, but I'm going to cherish this moment and this memory and record it anyway."  

P.S. I've only started realizing lately how visual I can be LOL!!!!