So once, when some (!!) people said and acted really insensitive and stupid to me, I cried. Not right in-front of them. I was hypocritical, weak, and dumb. So I acted like it was ok but once home I burst into tears. And so poor R had to comfort me and he told me, "In times like this, you really get to see the true mettle of people. You know what they are really made of."
Whoa. That made me tilt my chin up. Huh! Now I have been placed in a position where I can judge and evaluate people, woo-hoo! So, based on what they said or did not say; did or did not do, I get to grade them, yes?? I get to tick off what they are made of. Heck, if they appear in-front of me wearing a shirt the wrong hue or a pair of sandals I just hate, I can give them a thumbs-down and put them on a black list with skull-bones and hissing snakes as border. Wow. It's like getting a new toy.
Except, very soon, a small little voice in me asked, "So you think you can judge them because your baby died?" I have flashbacks of soap operas or movie scenes wherein one accused the other, "Don't think you can judge me just because you are blond/taller/bigger/fair-skinned/older/skinnier/younger/drive a fancy car/have a PhD, etc!!!" There was not one that said, "Don't think that you have a right to judge me because your baby died!"
No, I have no right. Sure, there are dumb ones, clueless ones, obnoxious ones, whatever ones, but I am sure at one point or other in my life I was also dumb/clueless/irritating/annoying/obnoxious/crappy, etc.
So, I was deflated. Chin down to chest. I slumped back down into my little corner to ponder life after a loss.
BUT. I was not left alone.
There are people who think they can judge me because my baby died. Grade me even. You know, how well, or how awful I am coping? How slow I am getting out of my grief. How bad I am mothering my two living daughters. How I could have done more. How the house could have been neater, since I do not have three, but only two kids to handle. How I must be in self-denial. How I am ruining my children's lives. How I should be over it already, and quick! have another new baby! How I think too much. How I am thinking the wrong way. How I am blah-blah-blah or how I am not blah-blah-blah. I am either too blah-blah or not blah-blah enough.
I don't need all these evaluations, judgments, or advice. Unless I ask. And sometimes, I do like to know, like if I totally am beyond salvation; if I should just go jump off a cliff already, or if i have a halo above my head. If the cake I baked is out-of-this-world or awful-inedible. If I really should get some hot-pink lacy underwear, or if my face resembles a prune by now. But, often I get unasked for judgments and evaluations, and even more harassments, without my asking. I just need to stand there and whoosh--- watch out! there they come.
Why? Is it just an expression of the overwhelming need to be of help? And thus, they have to give an opinion of how I am doing? Is it an art of conversation? To tell the other where they are on a certain scale? (Good/not bad/ failure/ try again)
How do they know? What makes them the expert? What makes them think that they know? But really, if they wanna help... come and clean my house. Come and cook my meals and do the dishes and scrub out the kitchen grout. Buy me a good supply of expensive chocolates and/or truffles (dark ones ONLY, please). But really, if you cannot bring me back my baby, just sit there. Just hold my space.
Sigh. I just want to be a human being. That means, I am not static, even though it may look that way. But bear in mind that you are not in my skin, and looks are deceiving. Being means to be, and that -ing part means ongoing. To me it means constant change of the state of what one is. From one second to the next; from one breath to the next. Even if I choose to remain in a state for a longer period, it is my decision. It is my journey to walk. (If you tell me everything happens for a reason, then maybe there is also a reason why I need to freakin' dwell.) The best you can do is walk alongside with your mouth shut, unless I am stepping right off the cliff; or a bear is breathing down my neck already or you can run and get me water when I run out; or keep watch for me when I need to sleep. And you know what, journeys are not necessarily made in a straight line. Not every journey is a straight line between destination A and B. Sometimes it is a circular path that needs to fold over and revisit some places. I sometimes think it is a spiral, always coming back to some same points, but passing with a distance, and it is never static. Although sometimes I do need to sit down. Or lay across the road. (If you come across me like that, step over. Please do not try to evaluate if I am dead or alive.)
But please, let me be. Just like I have no right to judge you because I lost my baby; you have no right to judge me because you have not lost a baby. Especially if you do not get it. Don't tell me what to do.
I know, the line between being concerned and being intrusive is very fine. Sometimes it takes intrusion, a gentle one, to express concern. It truly is not easy being a friend to one who walks the grieving/healing path. So I thank all those who have done so and for being so patient and wonderful. And those who have stuck around despite my sour face the last months? Precious.
What about you? Do you feel judged and evaluated? Do you feel concern is sometimes intrusive? What are the best ways someone can express concern without making you feel evaluated or judged?