The Cartoon says it Better

One of the most awful things that I experienced after losing Maxie was going back to my office for the first time.  I've only been back twice since two and a half years.  I am not sure why, but my colleagues were told to pretend that nothing happened, to treat me as they had every day until Maxie died.  Nobody mentioned a thing.  People came into my office to talk about upcoming events and things I'd missed while I was out.  There were no "We are here for you"s or "I'm so sorry"s.  Nothing at all.  I felt so alone and all I could think for months afterwards was - "Is this how it is going to be?  Do I have to spend the rest of my life pretending that he was never here?"  I'd honestly rather die than pretend Maxie never lived.  Being his mother is something that I miss deep deep deep in my soul and to deny that it ever happened to save other people from feeling uncomfortable was more than I could bear.  I still think about that experience at my work every day.  I worry that other parents will have to feel that.  I envy parents who feel uplifted by their community and workplace.  Thank goodness - I have a boss who saved my life in some ways by getting into the dark hole with me, listening to my cries and truly walking parts of this journey with me.  I'm not sure what would have happened without him. 

Today is my 1000th blog post and I realized yesterday, after being sent this short video, that I have used 1,000,000 words to say what this cartoon says in less than 3 minutes.  (Except for that the cartoon can't tell you all about my beautiful, wonderful, spectacular baby boys or my amazing husband).  I posted it on Facebook yesterday so forgive me for the repeat if you already saw it there.

Most of the people in my life have stayed comfortably in the "sympathy zone" and that is fine.  I have known that they cared but that they couldn't connect to me and that we probably won't be able to connect again for a long time.  It has been the empaths that have saved me though....and I mean, REALLY saved me.  Maxie's death has been the most isolating, lonely experience I could have ever imagined.  It's been the human contact and connections that have gotten me through. 


natalie said...

I have been reading your blog for about 5 months now but I've never commented. I instantly felt a connection to you because when I started reading, my daughter was the same age as Maxie when he passed. I thought about how that just as easily could have been me. I can't imagine what you have been through and I commend you for continuing to share your feelings and experiences here.

Your blog has taught me a lot about grief and how I can help others who are experiencing loss. Things to say and what not to say. You have taught me that instead of starting in on the "at leasts..." (what I think many well intentioned people say because they simply don't know what else to say) I should say how sorry I am and how unfair the situation is and then I should just shut my mouth and be present to offer support. A girlfriend of mine lost her mother recently and I felt much more equipped to help her thanks to what you have taught me. I ask her how she's feeling, even almost a year later, and talk about her mom to let her know she is not forgotten. I really try not to be "scared" to bring it up because I know it helps her. Thank you for helping me understand what I need to do to help my friend. You have made a difference.

Yesterday I can across the cartoon and I instantly thought of you. Not just with grief, but in my day to day life I am striving to be a more empathetic person rather than sympathetic. You have really opened my eyes.

I keep you, Ted, Maxie and Mo in my thoughts. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season together.

GrahamForeverInMyHeart said...

This is very good and so true. And I remember one time as someone started to say "At least..." to me, I immediately cut her off and said "There is no 'at least'! There is nothing redeeming or positive about the death of my son. Period."

Jayden's Mommy said...

This is genius. Thanks Abby.

Sarah P. said...

I saw this video somewhere else and immediately thought of you. Haven't commented in a while, but you and your family are always in my heart.