I had a roommate in college who was moody.  She's still one of my closest friends and I'm sure that what I'm about to say, she'll agree with.  Sometimes she'd come home or wake up in a bad mood and my "Good Morning!" or "What's Up?" would be met with a no-eye contact grunt.  It was her way of saying "You probably oughta back the eff off"...which I always then did.  Most of my college friends have lived with her at one point or another over the years and we all had the same experience.  And, truth is that even though at first it was hard not to take personally, we all learned that it was NOTHING to take personally.  She's just moody.  That is all there is to it.  She is the first to admit that she can be tough (and I am sorry, my friend - you know who you are, for using you as an example know I love you....winkie face!;))

Not long after we lost Maxie, I heard from another bereaved mommy.  She gave me some advice to apply to my marriage, something that really applies to most of our relationships.  She told me that no matter how distant the other one seems or how angry they act, it isn't about is about the circumstances of our loss.  I actually can't remember if I shared this advice with Ted...I know I sent him that email because there was a lot of other stuff in there worth sharing as well.  I feel very lucky that he just seems to know, but sometimes it is easier than other times.

There are days when I cannot muster a smile, days when I can hardly make eye contact because I am so beaten down, so crushed.  He has those days too, though they are less frequent than mine.  It can be hard to not take it personally.  Sometimes one of us needs to remind the other one that it isn't about them - that we are just in a bad mood.  We don't then need to explain WHY, we both know why the other one feels down.  It is obvious.  I can see where this communication barrier alone could ruin a marriage.  I am grateful that my marriage has not suffered because of our loss.  I think we have given one another the space to grieve, each in our own way.  It hasn't been easy for either of us.  Another bereaved mother asked me the other day how I comfort Ted when he is down.  I told her that I don't.  That doesn't mean I don't often means he won't let me in to do so....and that's ok.

The truth is that this isn't only something that exists in a marriage..because I don't miraculously perk up when someone else comes around.  I will never forget Maxie's first birthday - a day we "celebrated" with friends and family - a day we celebrated without Maxie.  I could not lift my head to make eye contact with anyone there.  I didn't want to see their pitying looks, their cocked heads, their uncomfortable smiles.  I wasn't sure what kind of a face I could muster up once my eyes met theirs.  Would I smile?  I couldn't do it.  I remember my dad pulled me into my bedroom and asked me, "What's wrong?"  "Max died", I replied.  I have had that same exchange with many - many times - as I've cried and cried - "What's wrong?", they ask.  Max died.  The whole world is wrong as far as I am concerned.

In the past year a lot of people have left my house thinking I was mad at them.  I am sorry for that.  Well, let me rephrase - I am sorry that they took my agony personally.  I am not sorry that I am in agony.  It has been beyond my control.  But, I have felt guilty that every time Ted's family has come to visit in the past year, I haven't been a good hostess (and THAT is the understatement of the year.  I can hardly get off the couch.)  I can only hope that they understand that my sorrow is not a reflection of them.  In fact, it has nothing at all to do with them.  Every single time my mother has spent any time with me over the past year, she has left wondering why I am mad at her and no matter how many times I explain that I am mad that Max is gone, she's not buying it.  She is convinced that I am angry at her, that my complete devastation has something to do with her.  How do I convince her that my bad mood has nothing to do with her?  I guess I can't.  I sometimes try to fake "better" and that seems to work, but I haven't got it in me to keep it up.  The LITERAL worst thing I could ever imagine happening in my life DID.

I wonder every day how I will go on without my sweet Max.  Since Mo arrived, it has felt easier.  I can see a future, even though I am living with deep feelings and looping flashes of fear.  Still, I am moody.  I am so so moody.  And, I whereas I used to only have one mood - DARK - I now vacillate between feelings of horror, devastation and trauma and THEN pure, exuberant joy for my little Mo. I AM Moody.  Try to keep in mind - it's not a reflection of how I feel about you - it's just how I feel.


Susan Ireland said...

The LITERAL worst thing I could ever imagine happening in my life DID. Amen

Be as fucked off you like Abby. Me too x

greg said...

I never found Audrey to be that moody? j/k

And you don't owe me - or anyone - even the slightest apology. You were/are suffering through something none of us can fathom. The onus has always been on your friends to understand that. Expecting the old Abby was someone else's issue...not yours.