October 23, 2015, the day I found out I was pregnant. It was quite a journey to get to that point and I was ecstatic. December 3 I had my first ultrasound and we got to see our little Doodlebug, pure JOY. December 22 was the last ultrasound, which also became the day our life began to unravel. I don't think I have truly felt happiness or a sense of joy since that day, or had an authentic smile that wasn't simply a front to how I really feel inside.
Even on the days I don't feel intensely sad, I just feel empty. A shell of the person I once was, a body carrying through with the motions of daily living, but not fully present or engaged with the world around me. Most of the time I don't want to be around people, because I feel like a ball of negative energy and who wants to spread that? The energy it takes to be around people and pretend that life has just carried on is exhausting. It's been over a year and a half and I 'should' be in a better place, at least that's how you feel you are being perceived by others, regardless of whether it's true or not.
I think about Amy every single day. Sometimes with gratitude that I got to feel what it was like to be a mother even if only for a brief moment in time. Other times I wish I had never known what that felt like because then I would not know what a gaping hole she has left. People share of their experience with loss, and often those stories include another child after the loss. But that isn't always the journey.
I understand that one can live a fulfilled life without children even if it is not by choice. Right now I am just trying to live so I can't even wrap my head around the fulfilled part. I don't even know what I want for my life moving forward. Actually I know what I want it just doesn't seem to be lining up with the path my life is going to take. If I am honest what I really want to do it run away as fast and far as I can, but I know that will not help. The emptiness inside me and in my arms will just follow me wherever I go. All I can do is continue to move forward, whatever that looks like.
I feel guilt and shame for feeling this way, because I have so much to be grateful for, an amazing spouse, a beautiful home, etc, etc... yet I feel no sense of gratitude. I remember feeling like one lifetime wouldn't be enough, and now I just can't wait for this life time to have run it's course. I live each day going through the motions, with nothing I am excited about or looking forward to. Adding to that my Mom is back in the hospital for the fourth time since I moved back. I can't make any plans because when I do I just end up having to cancel them. So one day at a time, one breath at a time. This simply doesn't feel like living.
I try to be gentle with myself. I need others to be gentle with me, and most of the time others don't even know I need them to be gentle with me, and if they do they don't know how to be. It's awkward, I get it. How can other's know what I need, if I don't even know?
Despite the seemingly never ending bump in the road life around me has carried on as it does. I try to distract myself with searching for new recipes and little meaningless mindless tasks. The only time I have a clear head is when I am running. This is the only moment I am fully present, and it's because I am so focused on what is going on with my body, and pushing through it so I can complete my run for the day. I think this is why I have been able to stick with the running. I am on week 9 of the Couch to 5k app, which happens to be the final week of the program. It's not because I enjoy running, because I don't. It's because it's the only time I am not thinking. Here are some shots of my recent running route. Jogging and taking pictures is tricky, but I managed to snap a couple.
Me sweaty and hot after a run, smiling because it's done:P
Another distraction has been canning peaches, 80 pounds done over 3 days. I was planning on getting peaches when my Grams and I went on our annual road trip but due to my mother's hospitalization over most of the summer all of my plans ended up having to be cancelled. Luckily Thrifty's had a sale 10 pounds for 10 dollars, and the peaches came from where I would have picked them up anyway, so that worked out.
On the stove I have stockpot which I use to make the syrup, and another pot with boiling water for the skinning process.
My sweetie helped with peeling the skin (which is my least favourite part), and keeping an eye on the canner, which was very helpful and made for a much quicker process.
I use my pressure canner and borrow my dad's outdoor burner. This system works great because it keeps some of the heat out of the house. When I do fish this is awesome because it also keep the fishy smell out of the house.
With a major heat wave the past few days (our heat pump packed it in over a week ago and we are waiting for a part, because the wrong part came last week so our house is pretty hot) I stocked up on some cool treats to help beat the heat. These salted caramel are my fav and my sweetie loves the dark chocolate ones. First world problems buying ice cream to manage the heat...
Last weekend we went to a lovely wedding and I took this vegetable orzo salad. It started off with orzo, grilled corn & zucchini, & cherry tomatoes with a balsamic vinegar & olive oil dressing, and fresh basil. This felt like it was rather boring so I decided to just add whatever I had on hand, including black olives, feta, and Italian seasoning. In hindsight probably a bit weird to add to grilled corn, but it added colour and texture. I'd probably just leave out the corn & maybe add chickpeas next time. or leave the corn & add blackbeans instead of olives.
I made ground chicken soft shell tacos which are a fairly regular dinner around here. I like to add mushrooms (because I add mushrooms to everything) to the cooked chicken and use homemade taco seasoning. I sprinkle some white cheddar, cashew cream & guac. I finish it off with some fresh lettuce. My sweetie adds tomato & salsa to his.
This was a super quick 'crap, oh yeah dinner' throw together meal. I cooked some gluten free rotini and tossed it n the delicious herb infused olive oil I shared previously. I added steamed fresh shelled peas, asparagus, carrots, and sauteed mushrooms, I added a generous helping of fresh chopped basil and parmesan cheese. I added a handful of sliced tomato to my sweetie's plate. A bit of a hodgepodge but delicious!
We have been eating a lot of barbecued corn on the cob and portabello mushrooms this summer. I toss them in olive oil, sea salt & pepper before putting it on the grill. I also steamed beets and broccolini.
An Imperfect Girl original Enchilada Casserole. My Sweetie LOVED this one and I am sure we will be adding this to our rotation. I set the oven to 400 degrees and roasted cubes of yam tossed in olive oil, sea salt & pepper and cooked until tender. While the yam cooked, I sprayed a rectangular pyrex dish with cooking oil. I spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce. This time I used canned enchilada sauce, but you can make your own easily, I used 2 cans in total. After the sauce I arranged a layer of soft taco shells. When the yams were done I tossed them in the enchilada sauce and added a can of black beans and an equal part of frozen corn. I put this layer on the soft taco shell layer.
I then added another layer of taco shells.
I set this aside and cooked 2 cubed chicken breasts. Once cooked through I put it in a bowl and added enchilada sauce coating the chicken. I then sauteed mushrooms and sliced zucchini, and once cooked added it to the chicken coating it in the enchilada sauce. Once coated I put this layer on top of the soft taco shells.
I finished it off with a layer of white cheddar and popped it in the oven at 375 degrees, just to warm it all up.
After 20 minutes I set the oven to broil to brown the top. MMMMMMM bubbley cheese!
We served it with a handful of fresh cilantro, cashew cream guac, and my sweetie had salsa on his too.
When you get stranded, the way to tart moving again is not to search for an answer but to find a new question to which your life can be the answer. ~ Jennifer Kraus