Tuesday, November 22, 2005

She said

Death, or the possibility thereof, makes people uncomfortable. It makes them stutter and stumble and study the scuff marks on the toes of their shoes. What does one say when speaking to someone facing death when you aren't - hell, maybe you never have, so you feel awkward, maybe even guilty, right? But definitely speachless. Do yourself (and the other person) a favor at that point, don't try to force out something, and god damn it don't start flipping through the rolodex-o-platitudes for just that right little saying.

Now don't get me wrong, if there's something you want or need to say, something heart-felt and sincere, wonderful, say it. But not stuff like "everything happens for a reason" or some religious thing about how they're in a better place or whatever, ok? Someone said to me the other day, "God gives special children to special mothers" followed shortly by, "Well, He must know you're very strong, to have given you not one but TWO children with these defects!" As if this was a badge of honor I should wear. Know what's sad? I was talking to a therapist, a THERAPIST for fuck's sake. Where'd she get her little therapist license? K-mart?! Christ.

Yes, I'm angry tonight. I don't know why tonight more than last night or this afternoon, but I'm seriously just pissed off. Probably because I go to see the new doctor tomorrow and find out a definite date on the induction, which terrifies me. My reaction to fear is anger, always ha been. Never never jump out of a dark corner and scream "boo!" at me, because I will punch you in the mouth, cuss you out, and not speak to you for a month, because that shit just ain't funny!

Damned adrenaline or some such thing I guess.

Anyway, my point is that you folks, most of whom have never even met me, have been more intelligent and caring than that stupid woman. A therapist said 2 of the worst things I can think of in regards to my son's heart defects.

Let's be honest people, ok?
My son might die.

That has no bearing on whether I'm special or not, it doesn't make me strong, it makes me what? ...unlucky? cursed maybe? but not strong. And I refuse to believe that, if there even IS a god, that he goes flipping through the big book of people looking at the "S" section (s, for strong and special) deciding who he's going to drop the bomb on.

The truth is, I'm doing whatever I'm doing because there isn't much other choice, because I don't know any other way to do it. If I could stop it all right here and right now, I would. I'd hold my breath and stomp my feet and refuse. I'd stop the sun from rising if it meant my son would be ok, and the hell with how it affected anyone else. But there's nothing to be done. This isn't a sign of strength or specialness, it's resignation, or, well, as I like to call it:


  1. Anonymous7:00 AM

    Well, I finally wrote to my friend who has a seriously, quickly growing cancer. She's in her 40's. One of those people who LIVES her life with vigor, good humor, and an unparalleled generosity of spirit. I told her I simply did not know what to say, but I knew I wanted to be in touch as long as possible. Suggested that in her spare time she could write a book (!) of things not to say. I wouldn't want a book of things to say, because I would never want to limit what some caring person might come up with, you know? But a book of what not to say could be helpful. She suggested it was ok to say, "this sucks!". 'Cuzz it does. Her situation, your situation, the situations of so many innocent, well-intended people. So, just know that you are touching people's lives with your sharing, maybe someone will bite their tongue in the future in some other place, that you know nothing about, because of reading your comments. And know that as we celebrate a holiday of giving thanks, someone, somewhere is counting knowing you as a blessing in their lives.

  2. Erin, Truth be told, I'm terrible at offering my sympathy/support. It's not that I don't feel it, it's just that words have never been easy for me. At least not in the verbal sense.

    I do, however, have the sense to keep my mouth shut when something stupid is about to issue forth.

    I have a friend whose son was born with heart defects, the way the rationalizes why it is that parents who are loving and deserving of children seem to always get the heartbreak is that God only gives them to people who have enough love in their hearts to handle it.

    I think that's a total load of bullshit, myself. I mean, why would god go giving all the perfect healthy kids away to morons and drug addicts? That's a skewed logic that just doesn't fit with me.

    I think it's a total random screwing from the cosmos, and I think it's unfair, cruel even, to make any mother have to go through the loss of a child, much less the very real possibility of two. And yes, I think mad is a perfectly valid emotion. Be mad! Stomp your feet, pound your fists, curse the sky. You deserve every bit of that, and more. If I could, I'd stop the world from turning for your little one, just as I would for my own.

    I love you, E. I love you and I wish there was some way I could be useful.

  3. Oh my god, how awful. I'll be thinking about you often and with all the good energy I can muster up.

    Your post also reminded me of the other thing that people say that makes me want to snatch out their tongues and stuff them down their throats - "life isn't fair," like I ever thought it was. No fucking kidding, life ain't fair.

  4. "anonymous"
    I'm glad you wrote to her, and were just honest about your lack of words and the fact that despite that, you care and want to be there for her. I'd bet it made more difference to her than you'll ever know - and you'll certainly never regret that the way you would if you'd just not written!

    Just being there is "useful" - many people sort of turn away because of the discomfort level, you know? It's easier to pretend it isn't there. I suck at offering sympathy too, I don't know if anyone is really good at it. It's just hard, and the fact tht you make the effort makes all the difference in the world.

    lol, exactly! And that particular phrase just sort of rubs your nose in it too, and feels sort of like it should be followed by "so get over it" - as if life's unfairness negates the validity of whatever you're feeling.

    Personally, I much prefer the honesty of "I don't know what to say" to anything else. Even silence is better than the platitudes - most of which are just full of shit anyway.

  5. I'm sending my sympathetic silence (can't you tell?).

  6. The truth is, I'm doing whatever I'm doing because there isn't much other choice, because I don't know any other way to do it.'

    Exactly! There is no 'manual on life' to follow so you do what you can. Nobody will know how they will cope in any given situation and most are afraid of that silence not realizing that that very silence needs to be embraced. Sometimes a hug can express so much more.