It’s a bit of a rambly old post today, I can’t quite separate my thoughts the way I’d like to and so even though this is probably really two posts, it’s all smushed in together. Anyway,
Confession: I’ve been so tired lately that last Thursday night when Tom told me that they’d arrested the blue jumper guy seen in the CCTV footage the night of Jill Meagher’s disappearance, and were charging him with rape and murder I said ‘oh that’s awful’. I was SO tired, SO in my head and unable to focus on, let alone care about, anyone or anything else that if you’d heard my ‘Oh dear that’s awful’ out of context you probably would have thought I was referring to our chook of 5 days dying, or the dogs eating the kid next door’s favourite ball. Captain sincerity.
When the CCTV footage of Jill walking past was initially released I held about the same level of interest. Tom said ‘watch this with me Jenn,’ while we waited for it to load, ‘it’ll be chilling’. While he was clearly moved by the footage I thought it was pretty tragic, but was otherwise unaffected.
So far up my own arse my head was. So far under a wave of fatigue was I drowning.
You see, we’d had a couple of terrible nights with Charlotte, and whilst I know they were self inflicted, I was in struggle city. The advent of Charlotte’s 8 month earthly anniversary has had me thinking about my return to work. A LOT. I’m thinking about the fact that she still wakes at least twice overnight for a feed. About the fact that she doesn’t actually NEED feeding overnight. About the fact that I am a great nurse, until I am overtired, and then quite often my brain ceases to function.
Tom and I started playing around with how we deal with Charlotte’s overnight wake ups. I decided that one feed after midnight was sufficient and so depending on when she woke, sometimes Tom would get up to her and other times I would. So for a few nights Tom got up and gave her some water, cuddled her, whatever it took to resettle her back to sleep, and then when she woke around 4am I’d get up and feed her. It worked a treat until we had visitors. I didn’t want to disturb our visitors so instead of leaving Charlotte to grizzle for a bit and try to resettle, and instead of leaving her with Thomas cuddling her to cry out her woes, I just got up and fed her. Of course when the visitors left and I tried to go back to where we were before I was spending up to 90 minutes with her doing everything BUT feeding her until we were both utterly exhausted.
One morning I caved after 40 minutes and gave her a second feed. I felt like SUCH a failure, but I was so tired that as I sat there crying with Charlotte, trying to rock her to sleep at 4am, I just couldn’t bear it anymore. She fell asleep and I went back to bed and cried some more. The next day I was a total write-off… so overcast, so disappointed, so disillusioned, so hopeless.
The following day was better. We had decided that one or both of us would try to settle her for 20 minutes and if after that time she was still awake, I would feed her. Needless to say I fed her twice overnight, but at least I woke with a lighter heart and better frame of mind.
It was early that morning when I was feeding Charlotte that I checked my tweet stream and saw many tweets regarding Jill Meagher. So many people expressing their grief, their disbelief, their support for her husband Tom. All of a sudden I realised the magnitude of what had happened to her. All of a sudden something flicked a switch in my brain and I was shocked, and mortified, and haunted, and saddened by her disappearance and (at that time) likely murder.
Charlotte woke again at 6am that morning and I decided that rather than try and resettle her I’d just take her for a walk. As I walked around my small town streets I recalled the times when I was younger, working in a bar, walking a few hundred metres up a quietish street from my pub to my carpark. I recalled the times that cars had slowed down and driven beside me for a few metres before driving off again. I recalled the times I had been drunk and had little recollection of the night before. I imagined it was me being stalked and kidnapped and I thanked the greater powers that nothing had actually ever happened to me. All the same, I suddenly felt very vulnerable walking around before 7am. Sure it was light, sure I had a pram, surely noone would attack someone with a baby… would they?
And then I mentally slapped myself across the face. We cannot live in fear. We cannot let an isolated terrible, tragic incident stop us from living our lives.
I cannot fathom how Tom Meagher must be feeling. I cannot bring myself to imagine Jill’s last hours. I cannot believe I didn’t feel or understand the magnitude of her disappearance as the story was unfolding. How much in my head was I?? Seriously?
But that said, I cannot dwell on my past actions and I cannot let her death make me fear for my safety as I go about my day to day activities.
On Sunday I was moved to tears by this photograph. Look how many people marched in Jill’s honour! And look at the posters many of them carry: ‘I will not close with fear, I will open up with love’.
I read a quote last Friday that seemed really relevant, and that really resonated with me.
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” -Kurt Vonnegut.
Today I am grateful that my biggest worries are chronic sleep deprivation and going back to work in four months. I am grateful that I have never known rape, nor abuse, nor the heartache of such tragedy.