Letting you off the hook

I think I am easier to be around these days.  (*I think*...I don't know).  There are a few reasons for this as I see it:
1) Mo is here.  I love him.  I love that you want to talk about him.  I could talk about Mo all day long.  You are probably more comfortable talking about Mo than you are talking about Maxie.  I have become more accepting of that.
2) I have finally accepted that you don't get it.  You just don't.  I can't make you get it.  I can't talk you into getting it.  I don't really care anymore if you get it or not.
3) I started talking a low dosage of Zoloft.  Now that I am not pregnant anymore, I felt it was important that I make my life as manageable as possible.  I checked with the hepatologist, the pediatrician and the geneticist.  Everyone agreed it was fine.  I plan on going off of it when I get pregnant again.  It hasn't helped my grief one bit...it isn't supposed to....but it has helped me to stop the constant looping in my brain about Mo's future.  It has helped me to cope.  I am grateful that it has put a floor at the bottom of this deep dark pit.  I have much. much more to say about this in a future post but today, I am just putting it out there.  Maybe you think it is crazy for me to announce on my blog that I am on antidepressants, but considering how many people I know on antidepressants who haven't lost a child, I don't think it is crazy at all.  I'm taking care of my mental health.

I'd say that it is a combination of these three things in equal parts that make it easier for you to be around me (and for me to be around you too).  I will never be able to describe trauma and unexpected loss to those of you who haven't experienced it.  I have tried all year long and been totally unsuccessful.  I just don't have the words.  I was trapped in the hell of my own mind...still am from time to time.  I'm not sure why it was important for me that you understand that I was barely functional.  I am only now slowly developing the thick skin needed to walk around this planet interacting with other human beings.

All year I would ask Ted if any of his friends and family were talking to him about Maxie.  I wanted to know if he was being supported.  He told me that, in part, he didn't even want them to say anything.  He knew that they didn't get it.  He was happy to let people off the hook because it was better than having expectations and then being disappointed.  I didn't get that at all.  I thought - if they care about us, they will want to tell us.  When they said nothing.  When they avoided the topic completely or said something hurtful, my mind would be blown to pieces.  But, I get it now.  It has taken a whole year for me to realize that most people cannot handle being uncomfortable for the few minutes it might take to say "I'm sorry".  I realize that people have shortcomings and that empathy is a very common one.  So, I am letting everyone (well, most everyone) off the hook.  Chances are that if you mostly cut contact with me after Max died, our relationship is over anyway.  But, for those of you who are still around, you don't have to feel like you need to talk about Maxie to me.  You can talk about Mo, or your job, or your boyfriend, or your lack of boyfriend.  It's fine.  I'm starting to get a better sense of who can handle it anyway.  I won't bring him up to those of you who can't.

And, for those of you who have gone out of your way to show us love and support all year long - Please know that you have saved my life in some way.  Know that you are incredibly special.  I hope I've told you many many times.  I know I haven't been easy to be around.  I'm sorry and forever grateful.  There are amazing people in this world.  There are amazing people in my life...some who have always been my closest companions, some who were on the fringes of my life and stepped out of the shadows when Max died, and some who were complete strangers to me before.  I am amazed and blessed by profoundly empathetic people who have supported us in countless ways.  One only needs to look at the comments that have been left on this blog, at the candles that were lit for Maxie, and at the thousands of trees planted in his memory to know it.  We are so lucky to have you in our lives.


Carly Vazana said...

I will never be uncomfortable mentioning Maxie. He was a beautiful blessing and a bright light to all those who knew him. His memory will continue to live on in those of us who are comfortable speaking about him and in the heart of everyone. You, Ted, Mo and Maxie are in my thoughts and prayers everyday.

Rebecca Patrick-Howard said...

Today, I ran into an old friend. I had not seen her in three years. She knew that Toby had died. We were Facebook friends when I made the announcement and we have several friends in common. I never heard from her, though, after his death and today she didn't mention it at all-like he never even existed. It kind of hurt my feelings, but I let it go and I didn't bring him up myself. Instead, I made small talk and walked away. What is she to me, anyway? I think I am growing as a person.

Susan said...

Hi Abbie

I get
this post - I think you r right in everything you say - people would rather
avoid their discomfort and run the risk of adding to ours... I just can’t
believe it. It is my experience. Worse, we r always being asked to make
allowances for other people...

hope this doesn’t sound uncharitable - but if you can really accept this now
and lay it to rest, I think I might consider the Zoloft. Cos, I keep
figuring this out intellectually, and whilst I know it rationally, I can’t
really accept it. Every so often, I'm back in the same emotional place

heather said...

Abby, While it is true that those of us who have not walked in your shoes will never fully be able to get it, to really know the extent of the hell you and Ted have been through, please know that this blog has been anything but unsuccessful in helping us all understand the profound loss and pain you live with after losing your beautiful boy. Maxie will never be forgotten, and I for one am grateful for this blog for honoring his memory and keeping his beautiful spirit alive.