My feelings get hurt easily.  They always have.  Not sure why but I am sensitive.  I've developed what I like to think looks like a tough exterior - but I don't think I am fooling anyone - especially because my sensitivity sometimes drives me to defensiveness.  It's not a winning combination.

I wasn't going to tell you this story - but it is eating me up inside.  I am going to be purposely vague here - as always.

A few months ago, I was asked to make a presentation to a smallish group - maybe 15 people were in the room.   This is not something I have done in a long time - since before Maxie stopped breathing.  But, ok, I figured it was something I should do....and I am not sure that I really had a choice anyway.  The topic of my presentation was not infant loss - but as an introduction of myself to the group, some of whom I knew well and some of whom I didn't know at all - I spoke about Maxie.

There was a purpose to my telling this particular group about what happened - even though in some ways it wasn't at all connected to the topic of the day - it was connected to the perspective that I was hoping to impart.  And, yes, I am being vague.  Suffice it to say, I really opened myself to this group.  It was a risk.  I was hoping that they would respond compassionately and that perhaps they would have a better understanding of me and my background.  I wept as I told them about my broken heart and about my staying indoors for a whole year after he died, and about how beautiful and sweet he was.  After I told them about Max, I pulled myself together and went on with my presentation.

Over the weekend, my friend called me to tell me that she met someone who knew people in common with me.  She mentioned my name to him and he asked if  I was "that girl who lost her baby?"  He went on to tell her that he's never actually met me.

Except he has.  He was sitting two people away from me around the table in the conference room where I gave my presentation (that lasted for about 40 minutes) and told my very personal story of losing Max.  He was sitting right there.  I remember him - and everyone else in the room.  How is it that he doesn't remember me?  That my story left no impression on him whatsoever?  That perhaps he remembers hearing about "that girl who lost her baby" but has no recollection of "that girl" sitting 5 feet away from him and telling her tragic story?

And, it isn't like I am "angry" at him.  I don't really know him.  But we HAVE met.  It's amazing to me how easy it is for people to just block out anything that makes them uncomfortable - that they don't want to see.  And, I am not sure why this would bother me any more than an old friend who doesn't talk to me anymore....and it DOESN'T.  But, I am horrified that I let myself be vulnerable to this group and that it left nothing at all.  He doesn't even remember it.  And it was only like 3 months ago.

I've often wondered whether or not I would share Maxie with new people, or groups, or in situations where a short personal bio would be appropriate.  Who really deserves to hear this sacred story of my sweet and beloved boy?  The longer this journey continues, the less people I really want to tell.  It feels like a disservice to Max.


The Blitz said...

Sorry if this seems stalkerish but I hope one day our paths do cross and you are able to honor Maxie by talking with me about him.

Susan said...

Friend of mine gets hassled to tell her story quite often to "raise awareness" of the illness that took her daughter. It cuts her in half. I don't know how they manage to persuade her to do it so often - well I do...

Anyway, we sat to watch it on together.. I don't see how they could have explained it better. Then the presenters moved on to the next item, which was "should guys wear lip gloss".

I think the thing is - our cultures minimise death - they are not interested in real grief. And when we do engage in it, the bereaved too often become the floor show. "How did it feel to walk out of the hospital without your child" "When did you first realise their was no hope". It exists as cheap titiliation for idiots to dabble in what it might feel like if something fucking awful happened to them.. then it is too uncomfortable and they turn the page.

It's not you - it's them. Shallow idiots. Hope his next poo is a hedgehog xx

Anonymous said...

I am very careful about who I tell about my daughter. I usually don't tell any strangers or person who I don't know well except she/he is a bereaved parent. I just know no one will completely understand this pain unless they have experienced themselves.For most people, there is always a huge difference between it is your pain/problem or mine. Everyone is selfish, more or less. People usually don't want to be bothered or worried too much untill something really bad happened to themselves.


TamaraL said...

Please know that the problem is HIS and not yours. I am sure that the majority of your audience was touched by your story and Maxie's life. But you can't reach everyone...and it's not your fault. I've never met you and your story has touched me greatly. I think of you and your family often.