Accept it

Yesterday I again found myself justifying my grief to someone who was busy trying to convince me that my life is good.  It suddenly occurred to me during the course of the conversation that we were actually having two different conversations.  She is hoping that I will be happy again someday....sooner rather than later I she is listing off things I should be happy about (things that I AM happy about: Ted, Mo, my family etc...).  I am trying to explain that in the post traumatic distress and heartbreak of having my baby die in an instant, the world is a different place for me where I have to figure out what happiness is again.  And while she believes that she is helping me to see the light, she is unintentionally minimizing my grief.  Because after 14 months, she believes I should be "happy" again or that brief moments of joy should make me happy....whereas I feel like I am still in shock that my former (actual) happy life that consisted of almost entirely happy moments is gone.  We are still trying to absorb that.  You see, everyone else has been in the acceptance phase with our loss for some time.  But that is precisely the is OUR loss.  I understand that YOU are over it (you make that clear)...and I suppose I would be too...if it were YOUR loss.  But, it is ours and we are very much still getting used to it.  To have relative happiness and joy for 37 years and then have the rug pulled out from under you takes some getting used to.  That's why we keep hearing and reading that we need to find "a new normal".  We haven't found it yet.   But, what you also imply, whether you mean to or not, is that we are grieving too hard or too long.  And for me,what that sounds like is that you believe who we are grieving for (Max) doesn't deserve THIS MUCH grief.  The expectation that my colleagues had that I would just come to work a week after my baby's funeral and then conduct business as usual...and that I should be treated like nothing had happened still knocks me over whenever I think about it.  Their motive (I guess) was to make me feel normal, which is not humanly impossible to do for a person after their baby has died.  My loss was catastrophic.  If you refuse to acknowledge that....if you keep pushing for me to be who I was.....if you truly believe that this loss does not define are discounting the importance of Max and I just will not have that.  He is worth all of this grief and more.  We deserve to cry our eyes out for how ever long it takes.  To us, he was the most special person that ever lived and life without him isn't the same anymore.  It isn't even the same as it was before we had him (as some have implied) because back then, we anticipated him.  I anticipated having a child since I was a child.  Ted and I anticipated and planned for a family as soon as our relationship became serious.  You want me to choose life...but I've already chosen it.  Now, let me work through my pain.  Don't try to lighten my can't.  A complicated loss like ours is known to take up to seven years to integrate.  This happened for us 14 months ago.  You mean well but it comes across as dismissive and insensitive.  Max is more than enough to grieve for, so stop trying to convince me otherwise.  In fact, I can't imagine that there is anyone I know (other than Mo) who is quite as deserving of my devoted grief.  I will miss him for my entire lifetime.  I think it is probably just time to accept it.  And, though you may not see progress in my daily grief, trust that progress is there.  It is happening ever so slowly...totally by day, minute by minute.  But, the pain will never be gone.  The other implication, that I am SURE you don't mean, is that we should just be happy with what life has given us....that we somehow deserved this.  I know that can't be what you mean, but that's how it comes across.

Every time I explain all of this, I think "this is the last time I will explain this" and then I explain it again.  The language does not exist to help you understand.  And, I am not sure if it matters to me anymore whether you understand.  It is becoming too hard and I am feeling repetitive and it doesn't matter at all whether it makes sense to you or not.  When you lose a child (and I sincerely hope that you never do), you can model a better grieving process for me, ok?  Perhaps then I will smack myself in the head with the realization that I have been doing it all wrong.  Anyway, let's just leave it there.  I know you mean well.


Jayden's Mommy said...

Abby, at grandmas funeral, I met one of her friends that I only see once a year or so and she share how she had loss her 4 month old to SIDS 55 years ago, as she talked she tear non-stop. I could see and feel the pain. My sister in law was shocked and said "wow its been 55 years", she seem to have a better understanding of the pain that is suppose to dissapear. This old timer told me take it slow and dont just give in to the expectation of others because they will never understand. The expectation of others is unrealistic. Our boys will always be part of our present.

Chantel said...

I think I've mentioned this before... but my Grandma lost two children, one when he was five from a brain tumor and the other at 19 in a car accident while on her honeymoon. Grandma never got over it. She talked about those children until the day she died. I felt like I knew them even though I had never met them. It was important to her that we did. I imagine someday you'll be telling your grand kids all about Max.

Fiona said...

I think you've nailed it Abby. Once people get used to our loss they think we should be over it too. You are still so early on your grief and I agree it's not something to get over but something to accept and come to terms with. We are all forever changed.
Lots of love to you, Mo and Ted.xx

Tiffany said...

:( i'm sorry. i hate when people try to minimize our grief and our pain. this precious child who passed away was not theirs, and i know that our children deserve all the grief and pain we are feeling because they ARE that important. our hearts are broken forever with no way to ever completely heal. sometimes people really suck.

Seeing Each Day said...

Brilliantly written and said.

jessica said...

I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you are, once again, explaining your grief and your pain and that some people still can't accept it or hear you. It is your loss (it's so heartbreaking to even have to write that), it it your process and your journey. I wish people would stop expecting you to be "here" or "there" and telling you what YOU should be feeling and doing. I am so sorry that for some reason people are finding that difficult. Today is today and you are exactly where YOU are and where YOU should be. You have made and are continuing to make incredible progress. But I am oh so sorry that you are in a situation where you have to be making progress in complicated grief. It sucks and is devastating. Most of all, I am sorry that your sweet, beautiful, smiley boy is not here with you. It is the worst thing. I know there is nothing we can do to lighten the load but please know that Maxie is loved, remembered and thought of daily. I am sending all of my love and strength to you, Teddy, Maxie and Mo. xoxo

Bianca said...

Uggh, I'm so so sorry. You deserve to be heard and to be able to navigate this complicated, painful path without anyone trying to push you in another direction. Of course the loss of your beloved Maxie, your precious and perfect baby boy, is entirely heartbreaking and world-shattering, how could it be any different? I am so sorry with everything that he is not here with you and Ted and Mo.

Susan said...

Exhausting, isn't it?

Tamar said...

I'm so sorry. I wish that everyone you encountered had the perspective to understand that where you are is where you need to be, and that the loss of a child is not something that you get over - ever. And, of course, I wish that Max was here on earth and about to celebrate his 2nd birthday with his loving mommy, daddy and brother. It's so beyond unfair that he isn't.

Suz said...

Today I was thankful that I live in an age where i have access to the Internet and can read blogs and join forums to know that I am not alone in dealing with the loss of my baby, as opposed to only having the option of leaving my house and seek out people who understand. Our lives are forever changed we think of things others likely never will.

Cathy in Missouri said...

If you refuse
to acknowledge that....if you keep pushing for me to be who I
was.....if you truly believe that this loss does not define
are discounting the importance of Max and I just will not have that. He
is worth all of this grief and more.

Yes, he IS.

You are right. Right. Right. Right.

What is wrong with all these people??!? I'm sorry, but the "misunderstanding" seems, after a while, intentional. More like, THEY can't handle it. They can't handle the grief. They can't handle the truth. They prefer to think of "it" as over.

It isn't. At all.

You still have to live every single moment of every single day of every single year without your Max.

The irony is, they make it worse. Their efforts to erase him and erase the real you and erase the truth just. make. it. worse.

Maybe it *is* a giant conspiracy. It sure feels that way. No wonder you wonder.

Cathy in Missouri