A thicker skin

You may have noticed that I signed back into Facebook yesterday.  I figured it was probably the best way to spread the word about Maxie's Benefit.  I think I was right.  I got a couple of new registrations and a new silent auction donation from the jeweler that did Ted's wedding band.  So, I am very glad that I signed on.  And, though I am not Facebook's biggest fan - I did not find myself losing my mind simply looking through the feed like I used to.  I even "friended" a few bereaved parents and others that I have met since the time I last used my account.

I was telling another more newly bereaved parent the other day that I think that what has really changed most for me over these last two + years is that I've developed a thicker skin.  I was so effing mad for so long - and here is the real truth - I was mad at everyone I knew whose lives just kept on exactly as they had been before Max died.  EVERYONE.  Even if you think I wasn't mad at you, you should know - I was.  There, I said it!  I hated seeing their carefree updates about what they ate for brunch, and the funny thing their kid said, and what concert they were seeing at the Bowl.  I know it isn't logical - but emotions aren't always logical.  I felt like I would be destroyed if a friend lost a child.  I have felt destroyed by the death or victimization of many people throughout my life whom I haven't even known.  So, I figure that a friend losing a child would probably wipe me out.  And, maybe that is easy to for me to say.  I'll never know how I would feel about a friend's child dying outside of the context of having Maxie die first - because I am first person in the circle of people I know to have lost a child.  But, I was mad that they weren't destroyed.  I am not anymore.  I get it that just because my life ended that day doesn't mean that the same is true for everyone or really anyone else.

Anger was the prevailing emotion that I felt, mostly outweighing heartbreak, for MONTHS.  I was so ANGRY that god took Max, so angry that nobody involved with any part of it even questioned whether they should take more responsibility for their actions, so angry that it was MY Max and not some other kid, so angry that I would never see him again in my life, so angry that my life as I knew it had ended - that I was no longer a mother, that I could no longer live naively thinking that I had a blessed life, that I wouldn't really be able to continue doing my job, and that given what we'd been through, I would probably never feel safe again.

I still feel anger - from time to time.  My feelings still get hurt, but not that often.  My skin is still pretty thin....but it is so much thicker than it was.  When people used to say thoughtless or insensitive things to me, I would brood about them for DAYS.  Now, I mostly think, "How thoughtless!" and then I move on.  I don't usually waste anymore energy on it (of course there are always exceptions for the REALLY thoughtless insensitive comments - they can bring me right back into that angry hell I lived in).

In early grief, there is no barrier between you and the mean world.  All of your defenses are stripped away and you are left completely exposed and unable to manage any of it.  Time doesn't heal all wounds.  I am still JUST AS devastated today as I was on July 19, 2011 that Maxie is gone - in some ways, even more...but I have developed some coping skills...and if you've recently (or not so recently) lost someone you love also, I know you will too.

1 comment

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog for a long time now - over a year. I don't know what compelled me to start following it, but I did. Little did I know I might learn things that would help me cope with what was to come in my own life . . . I lost my baby a month ago to pre-term labor. My son was conceived randomly after eight years of futile fertility treatments and multiple early miscarriages. I am 41 so this was my last chance. That baby meant the *world* to me, and then some. He was perfectly healthy, but I killed him. I know there was nothing I could have done - I did the best I could . . . but still, the fact remains . . . I couldn't do the most basic thing a mother should do for her child, which was to keep him safe inside of her for 7-9 months. To have lost him has destroyed me - I will never recover. The anger I feel is unparalleled in my own life . . . The injustice is monumental and I have no words to describe how helpless I feel in the shadow of my own fate . . . and I know you felt and probably still do feel the same. I also am incredulous that people's lives just go on like nothing happened. There is constant screaming in my head, MY BABY IS DEAD, DOESN'T ANYBODY CARE?!?!? I know the answer . . . yes a few do insomuch as they think it's tragic and sad and are sad that I am sad, but most of them figure I will survive intact and move on eventually (especially if I get therapy - they all love to suggest that). Others I know really don't give a rat's behind - they are the ones who ask me casually how I am doing . . . What thinking person who has any size heart could possibly not know the answer to that??? It's mindboggling. I hope in a long time I am able to get to a better place . . . and not be so angry anymore. I hope I could overcome the post traumatic stress I experience all the time . . . Just wanted to say that your pouring out your feelings has helped me . . . You are still standing, so while my knees are weak now, I know I will be too in the years to come.