Sunday, July 29, 2012

A brighter hope in a dark time

I figured that it is time for a deeper update.  You may have been wondering how myself, Solara and Brent are doing.

When Anaya died at the BC Children's in Vancouver we were pretty much homeless.  The motor home that we were using to take Anaya south had died in Oregon and all of our stuff was in storage.  We were at a cross roads.  What do we do?  Where do we go?  We were uncertain and decided to stay in Vancouver, get jobs, and try to make a difference in the lives of others.

I started working at FundRazr (an online fundraising company) and on the side I helped to form Anaya's Angels Society.  A non-profit to help children and their families deal with Krabbe Leukodsytrophy.  I immersed myself in work.  I would go to work, and then come home and work more.  I had a strong sense of duty and a driving desire to help others.  I was feeling alright.  Weired that someone who just lost a baby can feel alright.

Several times I was called upon to go help other children with Krabbe.  I went to Italy in February to help Ginevra's family and Mexico in March and June to help Gabriel and Sam's families.  Each trip was fund raised and paid for by my giving friends and their friends who wanted to help.  It was amazing to be able to hold these beautiful children, and help them.  To be able to teach their parents how to comfort them and control the symptoms that are so similar to Anaya's.  The suctioning, the positioning, the oxygen....chest therapy...all the same.

I'm not certain what happened but when I returned from my last trip to help Sam in Mexico I was devastated.  He was so incredibly sick.  He was suffering badly and he needed much more than I could give him.  Suddenly I felt my grief for Anaya more than I ever had before.  I collapsed in tears, sobbing for hours alone.  My heart felt like an empty hole of agony.  The world seemed dark and lonely and terrifying.  I started having anxiety attacks.  I couldn't focus at work, my relationship with Brent seemed far away and everything in my life felt overwhelming and awful.

I started writing about my childhood trauma because I was having nightmares about it and I thought maybe it would be a good idea to write about it to try to get it out.  That was going well until my family got upset about me telling everyone about it.  I stopped writing.  The world felt even darker.  I felt even more alone.  No matter what I did I felt either numb or in pain.  Even when I try to logically tell myself that it is just grief....I feel alone and in pain that is beyond sadness.  I started having dreams about accidents where I would die - and in my dream I would be happy because I knew that I would be okay and I would be with Anaya and God.  

Each day I became worse.  My panic attacks were coming more and more often - leaving me breathless and wild-eyed, with my heart feeling like it was going to beat out of my chest and I couldn't breathe.  Brent started working nights and I was home alone often.

I don't have many close friends where we live right now.  All of the people I know are either in Nelson or Calgary.  I do "know" people in the lower mainland - but they don't call me to talk, or come over to visit and I feel awkward and imposing in their presence.  I feel so incredibly alone and the world seems pointless.  Living seemed pointless.

I got to the point where I was in a very very depressed state.  I realized that I needed help to overcome these feelings - to be strong for my family - to get to the point where I could again help others.  I decided to take a few days off work to go home to Nelson and see the "family" of friends and neighbors who loved us and helped us when Anaya was alive.  Every one of them was glad to see me.  Every one of them cared and wanted to see more of us.  I spent time with my close friends and for the first time in months I was happy and at peace.  I babysat my friends daughter (who is the same age as Anaya would be) and instead of feeling pain and sadness I felt joy and appreciated her beauty.  Another time I sat with my friend Amanda and looked over the lake and told stories of when I was pregnant and sitting on the same beach the day before I gave birth.  We laughed.  I stayed at my friend Dave's house for many nights in his guest room, and I always felt welcome and safe.  It was almost like a dream.  

I decided I wanted to move back to Nelson and started trying to think of a way to make it a reality.  I picked up Solara in Kamloops (her godfather Grant gave her a ride from Calgary) and we spent a few days in the okanagon on our way back to Vancouver.  But knowing I was heading back to Vancouver kindled my anxiety and depression and Brent and I started fighting.  I felt hopeless and lost, even in Solara's presence.  I couldn't feel fun or happiness.  I felt like a zombie, like a dead rotting corpse that somehow wasn't a corpse at all.

I was supposed to return to work when we got back, but I couldn't.  I was still feeling awful, beyond awful.  I was crying so hard that I couldn't breathe.  Worried about finances, stressed over decisions I had made in the past and unable to focus on any specific tast except to worry.

I went to see a doctor, talked to a counsellor and asked for help with my anxiety and grief.  They said they weren't surprised that I'm like this.  They said they are surprised that I was functioning at all for the past eight months.  They recommended that I take some time off work to heal, and that with the trauma from my childhood - that it may take a while.  So now I'm on medical leave.  Seeing a counsellor every few days and spending time with Solara.

Then something amazing happened.  Our old landlord in Nelson called me and asked us if we'd like to move back into the house in September.  I started crying.  I'd like that more than anything in the world.  To be home with my friends that are my family, to be would mean everything to me.  I told Solara and she was ecstatic.  She started begging me  "Please! Please! Please!  I want to be in Nelson!  Please!"

So Brent and I talked it over and decided that we are going home.  Somehow we will make it work.  Solara has started selling lemonade and rainbow bracelets to help cover the moving costs, and Brent has started looking for work in Nelson.  I feel hope on the horizon.  I will work on firmly establishing Anaya's Angels as soon as we get settled back at home.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the very honest update Camara. I hope and pray you are able to take the time you need to even begin to process your entirely understandable grief and that even as a house in Nelson has become available, that the finances will follow.


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