I was chatting with a close friend of mine the other day and she said she remembers coming to my house and seeing me sitting on the floor with a box of baby wipes cleaning my baseboards. (That was shortly after we moved into our new house after Matthew passed away.)
Well... I sure did that ALL of the time! I was still too weak to stand and clean, so I would sit and drag myself to each room cleaning the baseboards.
Why baby wipes? Well, let's see, I had no baby to use them on so this was my weapon of retaliation against the dust on my baseboards.
I can boldly admit that when I lost Matthew, I lost every sense of not being able to control anything... not one thing! So for me, cleaning was a way to focus my loss of control over anything and be productive at something.
I was going to win over the dust...
I was going to control the dirt by wiping it away if it took me ALL day and four boxes of baby wipes! Yes, I had many boxes, so I wasn't worried about wasting one single baby wipe.
I think that many moms who have experienced the loss of a child will be able to relate to this. Maybe it is exercising, cleaning, or something that we are able to control doing, that gives us a fix at that moment.
I am not sure if there is a greater feeling of being out of control when you lose a child. No matter what the circumstance surrounding you is, was or will be.
I know we cannot control many, many things... most everything! But as a mama, you always want to protect your baby. And when that is taken from you and you can no longer control being a mother to him or her, something is going to get that energy, that aggression, that frustration of feeling so helpless after loss. There are days I channel that through my words and days I channel that through housecleaning.
I am still a bit of a freaker-outer (my school teacher sis, I know that is totally not appropriate English but it was the only word that fit for me!) when there is dust on the baseboards.
But I am out of baby wipes.
Now, I vaccuum like CRAZY!!!
If I am having an emotional low moment, or feeling overwhelmed with grief or pain, I organize. I clean. I throw stuff out and rearrange... I try to fix something to make it better, to make it prettier and to make it cleaner. I can walk in my closet and freak out if it is a mess on days like the above. I will clean it and for a brief moment I will feel better and like I can breathe a while longer.
Obsessive? Maybe. Maybe not. It is what it is. And if I sit on the floor to clean the dust or straighten my shoe rack five hundred times to get through that day, then so be it.
This is how I have to roll. This is how I have learned to survive when all else is so out of my hands!
I don't even take the time to roll the cord back nicely on the vacuum anymore... I know I will be using it too often for that! ;)
I am going to go and vacuum now!
Wishing you all a happy day!
Love to all,