Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lessons Seeped In

A year now and most of the time my brain has been a bowl of pudding. But I think I have learned a couple of small things

1. A sure way to lose friends and alienate people is to mention your dead baby. Grief is inconvenient and unwieldy and you should really try to keep the cover on it. It's not that they don't care. They do, but they want you to get the whole thing over with so everyone can go back to the way things used to be. And didn't they show up for your service? Didn't they graciously accept your misery before you even understood enough about the situation to be miserable? Whose fault is it that you were so in shock for the first months that loss had not yet come to define you, settle into your very bones until long after all the friends and neighbors had packed up and left?

2. Loss is a menacing trickster. One day you may feel the weight lifting ever so slightly, but just as suddenly (and surprisingly) as that feeling appeared, the tractor of trailer of sorrow will hunt you down and level you at full speed.

3. Time is linear but grief is not. Time may heal most wounds but the death of a child is surprisingly immune to this form of treatment.

4. Right after Eva's death, a nurse told me that men and women grieve differently. At the time I thought, "she doesn't know us." Apparently, she does.

5. I thought I cared about my child's "quality of life." I don't. I care about her life period and know that I am no judge of its quality or lack thereof.

6. No matter what choices I made, I would have regrets. Regret is one way of pretending I had some real control or say in what happened. If I could go back and undo or redo, I would only replace my current list of regrets with new ones. This is seemingly the natural course of motherhood.

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