The past few days have been about detaching.
Detaching is my made-up term for part of grieving.
I only know my grief, and I am rather inexperienced with the subject on the whole. But I imagine that what I’ve been experiencing is shared by others in their own way.
So what I have been calling ‘detaching’ is the process of letting things that have become symbolic go back to being just things again.
This isn’t the same as the ‘purge and hide’ process. Equally important, more urgent really, that was when we shut down our Facebook walls, put all the books, sonogram photos, and tiny socks in one room and shut the door, and unsubscribed from every bump.com or maternity store email list.
(And by way, bump.com, you really want to ask ‘Why are you unsubscribing?’ Really?!? I can’t stop getting your emails telling me what size fruit my babies would be without having to write something in this box? Because the reason I’m unsubscribing, bump.com, is that those babies are gone now and your cute emails make me cry. As does having to write all this to you in your unsubscribe box. And I know I could just write something else, but now I’m hurt, so I’m telling you the truth and I hope you feel a little bad.)
But detaching is something totally different. There are all these things that have become symbolic of pregnancy and the life we thought we were moving towards. In just a few months, regular old stuff took on an extra layer of meaning beyond its original one.
Example 1: Coffee used to mean morning was here. Coffee went along with quiet reading and always came after exercise, meaning exercise was done. (Yay!)
But then, coffee didn’t sound good at all. So for months the french press has been collecting dust.
Example 2: Being someone who hates to be cold as much as I hate anything on earth, baths and hot tubs are my eternal friends. What a great way to get very warm very fast. And they’re relaxing and a great place to daydream.
But then, anything that could heat up core body temperature is on the no-no list. Never mind the lovely steamy jacuzzi by our house. The best it can do is heat my feet.
And the list of things goes on. Little behaviors that changed to accommodate the pregnancy or things that we bought with the expectation that our new family would need them. The larger floor rug that would be great for crawling on. The super-nice camera I’ve wanted for ten years but could never justify buying. And then my in-laws were so nice and got it for us to take pictures of the kiddos.
Now, none of those things, none of those behaviors mean what they did for the past 5 months. I can order Diet Coke at lunch again.
Except that it’s really hard to order Diet Coke at lunch again. Because ordering Diet Coke means I am not pregnant.
Sitting in a jacuzzi means I am not pregnant.
Making morning coffee means I am not pregnant.
So detaching is what I’ve named the slow process of getting back to a place where coffee is just coffee, a camera is just a camera, and Diet Coke is just Diet Coke.
Eventually, those things have to just be things, and not representations of what would have been.