I have been struggling for a while with guilt. Not guilt over our daughter’s death because I know (even though it’s a difficult thing to know and understand) that there is nothing I could have done differently that would have saved her. But I feel guilt when I’m happy. Friday marked 8 weeks post-op (it’s easier to think about my surgery than to think about it in terms of 8 weeks since our daughter was born or died or how old she would have been), and although I still break down in tears almost every day and rub the side of her urn almost every day and look at her picture a million times every day, I feel guilty when I’m happy.
I made it to Oklahoma and Jim will join me here next week (2 DAYS!) and I have really enjoyed getting to see my family, spend time with my niece and nephew, and see the house that Jim and I are buying. I have spent a lot of time with my dad, which is a rare treat because we have traditionally stayed with my mom when we are in town visiting and my dad works a lot and really hard and so generally we see him rather sporadically on evenings and weekends while we’re here and spend the majority of our time with my mom and stepdad or sister and her family. I have had a great opportunity to spend a lot of time with one of my little brothers, who is at the peak of his college social life and working full-time, but is, just by happenstance, staying with my dad, also. I got to see the house we are buying and I loved it and although looking at the two bedrooms that will more than likely be turned into kids rooms I pictured kid stuff, I never once thought of either of them in terms of how one of them should have been Angel’s room. I ate at T@co Buen0 and went to happy hour at $onic. I got takeout from one of my favorite Mexican restaurants and made plans with some lovely friends from high school to go to our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant on Monday. I signed up for cell phone service and love love love my new Bl@ckberry. I got our beautiful car out of storage and, though 5 years old now, it still runs like the day we bought it when it was only 2 years old, and though driving in miles per hour instead of kilometers per hour is a lot faster and quite frightening, our little hybrid Hond@ drives so well that it makes me forget how much I hate driving. I am so happy to have our cat back (she was living with a “foster family” in Japan because of pet restrictions in our apartment building) with me, even though she and one of my dad’s dogs don’t exactly see eye to eye – the dog wants to play, the cat doesn’t. There are so many things about being here and away from Japan that make me smile.
But then, when I have time to sit and think, I feel guilty for being happy. I feel guilty that I’m here – away from the hurt and pain that being in Japan brought. I feel guilty for being glad that I’m gone from the only place she ever was, the only place she ever really lived, the only place I got to hold her and touch her and kiss her. I feel guilty for being relieved that I never have to see the hospital again where she was born and died. I feel guilty for starting this new chapter of our lives without our little girl. I feel guilty for being relieved that we are starting this new chapter at all – because this is not a chapter I thought I’d have to open. I feel guilty when I go a day without crying for her. I feel guilty when my family members tell me they are glad I’m here and glad that Jim’s coming and I don’t acknowledge that while we’re glad we’re here we hate the circumstances behind our early return to the States. I feel like a bad mom and a terrible person.
I hope the guilt ends soon, because I know our little girl wouldn’t want me to be sad for being happy…
Thank you to my wonderful readers for sticking with me, even though this blog has become an outlet for my sadness. I so appreciate your love and support and know that you know it won’t be this way forever. Prayers and/or positive thoughts, as always, appreciated.