Paul Bone

Mental health day: Grief is weird

Content warning: Infertility, miscarriage, anxiety, mental health, bushfire & climate. Also some four letter words.

More info: This article is part of a series about my experience with IVF/Infertility as a man. All the articles can be found here along with a note about feedback.

(Additional content warning: also grief and death of adults).

I know I haven’t written here in a while but that’s because I’ve been feeling pretty well actually. Sure 2020 sucks but mostly it’s been better than 2019 was. Today is still better than 2019 but not a good day.

Yesterday was the due date for the baby we lost in late 2019, My wife remembered, she’s grieving all this week, it’s normal. I’ve always felt that I’ve had an abnormal relationship with grief, I always felt just a bit empty but also matter-of-fact.

Grief

When my paternal grandpa died when I was a child my parents told me, I understood and comprehended it, said "Oh, okay", then turned back to the television (maybe this is actually typical for a kid).

When my paternal grandma died I was an adult living by myself, and although I can’t remember the moment it would have been over the phone. I accepted it and kept on going.

I didn’t stop for grief for either of them, and maybe I’m weird? Maybe our relationship wasn’t that strong? I don’t know, grief is weird.

I also lost my maternal Grandfather "Pop". This was the first funeral in my family that I actually attended, I was a pallbearer and I wept so much I couldn’t see where we were walking with the coffin.

This loss

There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that never comes.

— David Platt

Anyway, my wife remembered this expecting date, and felt it. And I didn’t, I didn’t remember it, or feel it. And maybe it was like when I lost my paternal grandparents, that it was just the kind of grief that I never had, or was already "done with". And that fits, since last year I was "done with" IVF and infertility and just wanted to move on.

…​and then I did feel it, I think? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just empathy for my wife’s loss. Whatever the cause, my mood is low. I’m crying when I see the flowers our friend sent or the messages my wife’s friends are leaving for her.

Or maybe I’m grieving but not for the babies we didn’t have (there were two miscarriages), but instead grieving for the lost time spent in infertility treatments and planning. We haven’t put much on hold, but even so you put yourself into a frame of mind where you’re waiting, and then maybe you don’t take opportunities or miss stuff because you’re /busy/ waiting (not really busy, it’s hard to explain).

Or maybe I’m grieving for my son (5) who is very likely to grow up an only child. It’s not the end of the world being an only child, I know several who have become great adults. But he desperately wants a brother or sister and invents imaginary ones, last weekend we just got a new one and I think the count is at 10, although half of them are TV characters he likes to imagine are with him.

Or maybe it’s a combination of the above plus the general "watching the news and feeling isolated in 2020" feeling. Which is the other reason I haven’t done much writing. I don’t want to bring y’all down while 2020 is going on. Whoops.

Anyway, I don’t know the exact cause, and figuring it out doesn’t seem very practical (in this case), so I’ve chosen to accept that I don’t understand it beyond "grief is weird"

I didn’t see it coming but I’m taking a mental health day today and feel good about it. I’ll be doing some things that make me happy, supporting my wife, writing this and putting the olives in their final brine.

My thoughts are also with everyone else doing it (any level of) tough in 2020, take care.