The thin line

Someone told me recently that it is a thin line between grief and self pity.  Frankly, I see them totally intertwined.  Am I supposed to feel guilty or ashamed that I pity myself for my loss?  Because, I really don't.  I am not embarrassed that I feel sorry for us that we lost our son.  I think we, as a species, have children for many reasons but there is a selfish aspect to having children.  We want a family.  Children make US happy.  We want to feel unselfish love.  We want to relive all of the good from our own childhood and undo all of the bad.  We want to continue our lineage and pass down traditions.  We want to be on the sidelines of the soccer games, in the back of the dance and karate studios.  We want to throw our children the best birthday parties, that make their eyes light up and sparkle.  We want our hearts to open up and let in enormous amounts of joy.  Parenthood is selfish.  When Max was born, I remember feeling an enormous sense of responsibility.  I was on the phone with my father and I asked him if he thought having children was selfish.  "Why?", he asked.  I told him that I suddenly felt like bringing a child into this world meant exposing them not only to all of the good stuff, but also to the bad - stuff that could hurt them emotionally or physically.  "Having you kids was the best thing I ever did in my life", he said.  A beautiful answer - but, let's be frank, the answer was about him.  I'm not putting down dear ol' dad (not that he is old either) but I just use the conversation to make the point that, indeed, parenthood is a selfish endeavor at some level.  So, when you lose a child (which most of you will not), how could you not feel an enormous sense of loss?  All of the hopes and dreams you had for this singular most important person in the world (sorry, but we love Max 100 times more than we love anyone else we know on this planet) are gone forever.  We feel the loss FOR HIM most acutely - that is where the sickening guilt comes in; though we feel the loss almost as severely for ourselves.  Not embarrassed, not ashamed, just honest.

1 comment

Tallie Fishburne said...

Oh Abs, your list of selfish reasons to become a parent are all the beautiful reasons you and Ted are such good grounded parents. And as I see it, show just how unselfish you are in being a parent. I am sorry that Maxie is not here and that you are navigating not only his loss but other people's reaction to your behavior after losing Max. I miss Max too, and especially all the time I'll never get to share with him. XOXOX