On My Terms

You are wondering why I choose not to share Max with people anymore.  And, I don't want to be repetitive because I've explained it before.  It isn't that I am trying to protect anyone.  Or, I should say - I am not trying to protect anyone other than me.  It hurts me to say that my son died out loud.  It literally HURTS.  And, it's easy for you to say "screw them if they can't handle it!".  The truth is that it isn't easy to be the owner of the dark cloud life story.  I want to be liked just like you do.  I want to have easy social encounters and pieces of my life that aren't drenched in pain.  I want to run to the market without having to disclose my most personal information to the random checker making small talk with me (who doesn't really care how many kids I have anyway).  I want to take Mo to Mommy and Me without having to deal with the anxiety of other people.  And not only do I want those things - I deserve those things.  If you know me, you know I am approachable.  It has been really hard making the transition from being a person that people enjoy hanging out with to a person that people avoid.  And, quite honestly, I don't want to share Max because he and I both deserve more.

I share him here....because here I control the conversation (except for when strange bereaved parent-haters "stop by" to pick fights with me).  I get to share with you when I am in the mood to share and I get to keep it light when I choose to keep it light.  When you come here, you know you are going to read the thoughts of a mother who lost her beautiful child (which is probably why not many people come here anymore).  When you meet for the first time at a business meeting or party and ask me how many kids I have - you are expecting a straight forward answer; not the one I give.

Does this make more sense?  I already live day in and day out with the constant noise in my head saying "Did this really happen?  Did my delicious and wonderful baby boy really die?"  I don't like saying it out loud.  There are times when I feel I have to but I don't like it.  And when I feel like saying it - I do.  There ARE times when I feel the need to knock the inappropriate smile right off the face of someone in my life chooses to pretend he never existed.  There are times when I want to shake people who should have been affected by his death and scream in their face, "He was here and you said you loved him!  So why the hell won't you talk about him?"  But, for the most part, I am not looking for that kind of interaction.

I appreciate your acknowledging.  It means a lot when you tell me that you've spent time thinking about us.  I am humbled when you tell me that you still read my blog.  But, we don't really need to get into it if it isn't organic.  I am not usually one to force Max into the conversation anymore.  And I don't like feeling like I am expected to cry with everyone who brings it up to me.  I cry enough.  You can get emotional - and I appreciate that - but I am not cold just because I don't break down with you.  I've worked long and hard to build this wall.  Please respect that.

I cry when I want to cry.  I share when and with those I choose to share with.  The best thing you can do for someone in grief is to let them know you haven't forgotten.  If they want to talk, they will.  If they don't, they will appreciate what you've said (honestly appreciate) and they will leave it there.  We don't always want to talk - we just want to know that we could if we wanted to.

9 comments

Kimberly Berger said...

I'm here. I'm reading everyday. I'm looking at every picture you post of both of your adorable boys. And even though we haven't seen each other in 20 years, I really wish I lived in L.A. and could drop by or make plans to just be with you. This is your site and your life and you shouldn't have to explain it or make any excuses. The people reading this are choosing to do so and at least for me, I will read anything you post with no judgement. I have no idea what it would feel like to walk in your shoes and therefore, it is my job to meet you where you are, not where I want or wish you to be.

Abby Leviss said...

Wow! My Kimby! Thank you for your comment. It means the world to me.

Chantel said...

I read every day but don't comment much because I'm usually reading while I feed the baby and he inevitably bumps the phone and my comment comes out as some rambled mess of words after autocorrect gets to it and then it's no good to anybody. I bet you have more lurkers than you know.

TamaraL said...

Your blog is one of the few I read consistently. I don't know you, and I don't even remember how I stumbled upon your blog. I haven't been through what you have been through, so I really cannot relate to you. Yet, for some reason I still always read your blog. Your way with words, and your honesty appeals to me. I appreciate that you share both of your sons, on your terms. They are both precious little guys. Thank you for being you!

jessica said...

I love what Kimberly said, "It is my job to meet you where you are, not where I want or wish you to be". Incredible. I wish that everyone you know (be it well, hardly at all or not at all) could adopt that same approach. This is your life, your journey. It is terrible and incredibly unfair that it has gone this way and that Maxie is not here with you. I wish that you didn't have to justify yourself or explain yourself to people all of the time. While it kills me that you have to grieve the loss of your son, I do wish that people could let you do it in your own way and on your own terms. It is not for us to dictate or judge. I'm with Kimberly, I'll meet you where you are. Any time. I love you all very, very much. xoxo

GrahamForeverInMyHeart said...

I really like the way you put it,
"We don't always want to talk - we just want to know that we could if we wanted to." So true.

Anonymous said...

I am also another lurker. I read your blog everyday- all the way from England. My sister in Africa introduced me to it last year (all my {3 other} sisters are your avid readers). She stumbled upon it and was moved by Maxie. I have since then read every entry from the beginning (and I believe I have become a better person for it). Something draws me to you and your lovely family. I think about Maxie everyday. I lit a candle for him. My sisters and her friends in Africa did too. But we are too humbled and too shy to post. But today I post so that you know you've touched more people than you know and that Maxie's memory lives on even in the hearts of strangers in other continents. I probably won't post again (I am really really shy and I fear to intrude) but I want you to know that I read your blog every day. I think about Maxie everyday. And I rejoice about Mo's milestones everyday. I am right beside you on your journey, always reading, always listening.
Chebet

Abby Leviss said...

Thank you for lurking :)

Ben Chadney said...

Well stated Abby. Think about you often.