New Friend

I have made some new friends over this past year: through this blog, through reading other people's blogs, through my search for Maxie, and through friends who connected me to friends who have also been through this journey of grief.  I wish I'd never had any reason to meet any of them.  But, I have had good reason and I have been uplifted by their support.

This week, I met in person the very first stranger to reach out to me after Max passed.  She read about Maxie after Bianca posted that I was donating my saved breastmilk on a popular yahoo user site.  She is the one that put me in touch with my neighbor who also lost a baby to SIDS.  She sent many, many emails through my early months of grief.  She read my blog daily and sent along deep thoughts about life and loss and life after death and life's meaning.  She never backed away or sent me platitudes.  I suppose she didn't need to feel like she needed to make me happy again.  Afterall, she didn't even know me.  She even sent me a children's book about reincarnation (which could have just as easily been written for an adult), that I can't wait to read to Baby M.  Through all of our various emails, we discovered we'd even worked for the same organization (The Shoah Foundation - Spielberg's foundation dedicated to collecting and archiving the testimonies of Holocaust survivors) - just not at the same time.  But we were able to talk about who we both knew from those days and how the job profoundly affected our lives.  Turns out that wasn't the only non-profit that she had worked for in the Jewish community either.  So, we had that in common as well.  She offered many times to come over with coffees or just come hang out and keep me company.  But, I worried too much about the kind of impression I would make - on anyone - in the very earliest days.  I couldn't see a soul.  All I could do was cry.  She was very clear to tell me that she hoped I didn't think she was being "stalker-ish".  I didn't think she was being stalkerish, though it got me wondering why some people who you've known all your life simply disappear when something so terrible happens, and other people, who you don't know at all, show up.  There were definitely those people who gravitated towards me in the very early days.  Those people are a strange breed of tragedy monger.  They want to be able to say "My good friend lost her baby"...even though we aren't good friends.  I could and can sense them from a mile away.  I have never feel that with her.

I hadn't heard from her in a while and was actually thinking about her a week or two ago and then the next morning, I got an email from her - telling me she was still reading and thinking about us.  I told her I had just been thinking about her.  We decided it was time to meet.  So we set up a date for lunch.  First of all, I should say, I've been getting out of the house with greater frequency.  It helps my weeks go by quicker.  I was happy to have an excuse to get out on Monday because the weekend was so hard.  Meeting Kim was like meeting up with someone I actually knew.  We had an immediate rapport (or, at least, I like to think we did).  She asked all sorts of questions, which led me to feel like I was possibly talking too much but, again, I don't get out much.  I tend to talk too much when I do.  I found out she is from Greenwich, CT, near Fairfield, where Ted is from.  Both towns are in Fairfield County actually and she is a Giants fan!  I asked her what made her continue to reach out to me, a complete stranger.  I told her that it has been stunning in light of the fact that so many I know can't go there with me.  She said that she read about what happened and it affected her, so she wrote me, and then I wrote she kept writing.  She said that she wasn't the type of person to not follow through on an emotion, even if it is a hard one.  She didn't just cut her expression short because the sorrow was too deep.  She said it much more eloquently than that though.  I have seen this rare quality in a few people since Max died.  It is really special.  So much empathy must be hard to handle though.  I admire the strength it takes to really go deep with another person.

Meeting Kim for lunch was sort of liberating, if that is the right word to use.  She has no expectations of me at all.  How could she? She didn't even know me before I lost Max.  It gives me hope that there will be people in the future that just accept me for this new person that I am, because I am different, there is no two ways about it.  I didn't feel tremendous pressure about our meeting either - if she likes this person, she likes me; if not, not.  I know that I like her.  I would have liked her "before" too.  She is likeable.


Susan said...

I have always thought it is a profound priviledge to be in the position to help someone for whom things are desperate - and immediately after C's death, desperate would cover it. I suppose it is obvious that many people will find it daunting and run for the hills, yet like you, I also have a small number of people who are better friends now than they were.

I like you too by the way. I probably would have liked you before as well :)

Sarah P. said...

This is such a sweet post. It makes me feel like much less of a crazy stalker because heck I don't know you either, but I have come here to this blog every single day for months and months to read about your journey. I think of you so often and I think of little Maxie often, too. I even yelled at some girls in line behind me at Starbucks a few months ago because they were complaining INCESSANTLY about how their babies didn’t yet sleep through the night and they were exhausted and frustrated and blah blah blah. All I could hear in my mind was you and your deep and unending sorrow and how you would (probably?) kill to have just 10 minutes of Maxie at his absolute worst and here are these two girls who have healthy babies (who are just being normal babies, btw!) and they are complaining and blowing it so far out of proportion. It was like a knife in my heart to hear it. And something about it just set me off and I turned around and went totally batsh*t on them about you and how people who’ve lost babies would give their right arm for a simple sleepless night and to be exhausted the next day. Since I am a complete stranger, I should give you some context -- I am definitely not the type to go batsh*t on complete strangers unless REALLY provoked. I don’t even know you and I am really protective of you! And angry on your behalf!

Anyway, I tell you this because I want you to know that I am here, too. Quietly visiting "Missing Maxie" every day, thinking about you and your family, sending love and good energy, and bitching people out when they do or say things that are stupid and offensive. Just another stranger observing your journey from afar and rooting for you and your family. I am glad that you had a nice time with your new friend earlier this week. You deserve it.

maxiesmommy said...

I love it Sarah!

maxiesmommy said...

Ditto! We will have to introduce M and M in the future!