Grief 101

They should offer a course in high school about Grief.  There were plenty of subjects I studied in school whose basic principals I don't even remember because I have never had to use them.  But Grief is universally important to know about.  There is no common language, there is hardly even a real recognition of another person's grief.  It wouldn't only be useful for those people who are interested in comforting the grieving, it would be useful to those of us who have to grieve.  Maybe it would prepare you for the severe trauma, discomfort, agony, anger and pain that you might experience, if you were ever so unfortunate to have to grieve (which I think everyone will eventually have to do in one way or another, even if just for a family pet).  It would teach those who want to comfort the grieving that it is ok if you can't make a grieving mother laugh.  It is ok to just say, "This is terrible and should have never happened to you two and your families".  It would teach people not to say, "I hope you two are doing well" (though we understand that you say that because you don't know what else to say....because you didn't have to take Grieving 101).  I think if everyone took a course in grieving, it would be easier for us to say "yes" to friends that want to visit and it would be easier for those friends once they actually got here.  In the meantime, we are all confused.  Nobody knows what to say.

I want to mention my boss, who must have taken this course.  I guess when you are the CEO of a 110 year old non-profit organization supporting projects in Israel , you spend enough time with the grieving to know what to say to them.  Still, this man is a mensch and I am forever grateful for what he said to me, which was, "Let me walk beside you".  Simple really.  He didn't urge me to pull it together or to put one foot in front of the other or to think of all the good things in my life.  He just admitted that he didn't know what I must be feeling but that he can only imagine how terrible it must be and then he repeated, "Let me walk beside you."  Russell, you know that I love you.  Know also that my family is grateful.  I am so honored that you would offer to walk beside me.  I barely even want to walk beside myself.

When I think about the fact that Ted and I had a baby that died unexpectedly, it almost seems tolerable...barely.  If I try to remove myself and Ted and Max from the equation and just say it the way it must sound to strangers:  Did you hear about that nice couple that lost their nine month tragic.  That sounds tolerable.  Then, when I think about Maxie - his beautiful face, his funny baby movements, his happy disposition, his wonderful personality, I feel sick.  It was this unique human person who we loved so much that we lost.  This person who made my heart flutter, who caused a permanent smile on my face when I was around him, who had his whole life ahead of him, who brought me even closer to my gone.  That is what kills me.  I can think about it the second way all day long.  I DO think about it the second way all day long.  At night, when I am lying down to sleep, I force myself to think about it the first way.  If one ounce of Maxie's personality finds its way into my brain, I am doomed to nightmares and sleeplessness.  My hope is that, even though it is hard, you will think of him the second way.  That you will know something of the Maxie that Ted and I love.  Our wonderful little boy with the world's biggest smile.

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