I've been thinking a lot about what you, my reader, get from my writing, how do you understand and interpret it? I wonder how do I sound to a person who never walked in my shoes? How can a few words, selected either in the heat of the moment, or after long and careful consideration, convey the reality I live in?
First of all, I hope you understand that what makes it onto this blog is such a small piece of the puzzle. My postings are missing many thoughts, events, and ideas I omit for the sake of saving time, space, and heartache (except for that rambling post about "bad apples," that felt good! :) I rarely mention all the little things that hurt me or give me strength every day. It is hard to keep up with the pace of life as it is right now, the littlest things like house chores can be exhausting. Mostly because of constant reminders of what we lost, like a coffee shop full of babies and toddlers I walked into today. The lady behind the counter proudly told me they hold mom and toddler groups on Tuesday mornings, the ones I was supposed to be a part of. Instead, I told her my daughter passed away. She either didn't hear me or pretended that she didn't. I walked out with a crappy coffee and a heavy heart.
Second, there is each persons' individual life perception. Your lifetime memories, events, trials, and tribulations make you who you are. You might be going through your own heartache right now, or you might be living the happy life (if you are, savour every moment of it!). The joys and sorrows we get to experience help us understand others, be compassionate towards each other.
Third, I wonder at what point do people gain a better, deeper understanding of each other? Until I lost Amelia, I lived in a world of what I now call "regular" life: good and bad relationships, school and work deadlines, family matters, relocation and immigration. You get the idea. I did not have the easiest life, but it was good and I remained optimistic. When I saw people hurting, I genuinely felt for them and tried to help the best I could. I wanted to see everyone healthy and happy. I was not naive, but I was shielded.
Now, I feel like a veil has been lifted. I understand now that it was impossible for me to comprehend and for others to explain the pain they were going through. It saddens me that the sight of me, happily pregnant, made other women hurt. I understand I did nothing wrong then, and now what I feel is not wrong either. It is just life.
So as I try to explain something that can only be understood by being where I am, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, let me ask you this:
How long did it take you to heal from a bad breakup, or a divorce?
How much did you cry when your pet cat or dog die?
How hard was it to pick yourself up when your parent died?
I hope most of you would say you haven't experienced these things. If you did, I'm sorry for your loss. It really sucks.
But to get back to my point, if either of the things I mentioned above is one of your worst points of reference on the $hit-scale (pardon my English), please try to put it into perspective:
People can be hurt for years by a bad break-up, a nasty divorce. How long does it take them to trust again? After being hurt by someone when I was only 17, it took me over 8 years to really trust someone else.
After losing a pet, the emptiness of your house can be unbearable, the atmosphere forever changed. When my mom and I immigrated to Canada, we had to leave our 14 y.o. cat behind. Knowing that she lived the remainder of her life with someone else, not understanding why we left her, not knowing that we still loved her, still saddens me and makes me tear up (thankfully they are great people and I am forever grateful to them for taking care of our kitty!).
I am lucky that my parents are both alive and well, so thankfully I can't compare there. But I know for sure that when you lose a parent, people never say to you: "You're young, you'll have another one."
What I'm trying to say is that please know that I was where most of you are now: I did not know what it was like to lose a child, I never wanted to find out. All I can ask of you is to have an open mind and don't assume anything. Don't assume that your are going to hurt me or help me by doing or not doing something, don't assume that you can imagine how I feel and know how to make it better. I am not saying this in anger or resentment, I am just saying what I hear many bereaved parents repeat over and over: people assume, but they have no idea. That's what makes people the worst and the best part of grief.
I guess the reason I keep putting myself out there, baring my heart and my soul, is to give you some food for thought, an image of a different point of reference, an explanation why a total stranger might run away from you in tears or give you a helping hand.