My baby died.
Our lives entered some state of suspension, bits of grief floating in gelatin, still, timeless.
Everyone else, though, rushed -- and rushes -- on. Breathless. And there is news.
I suppose in the old state, there was good news and bad news, but filtered through the prism of Maddy, the news onslaught all seems painfully blinding. The good reminds me of what I am not, what I lack, what I was. The bad piles on, pours salt in the wound, kicks me while down. All news hurts because it means time progresses, the earth continues it's orbit, while ours sits stagnant. Others actually have news while our news remains the same, day after day, week after week, month after month. My baby died. Our child died. There is nothing else to report.
Anonymous events filter in: typhoons, random accidents turned fatal, economic shit storms, another soldier killed by a roadside bomb. This celebrity is pregnant, that celebrity had twins, yet another lost all her pregnancy weight in two months. A great new movie, a shiny new car, a championship won, a true love uncovered. Headlines can be scanned and papers recycled, televisions muted, and websites clicked off.
But the news of family and friends is not so easily negated with a remote. There are pregnancies and births, weddings and divorces. Someone discovers cancer, someone wins a three-week vacation. An elderly relative dies, a friend adopts a puppy. Someone loses a job, someone crashes a car, and lo! Someone lands on their feet -- walks away unscathed, and starts the employment of a lifetime with a corner office a week later.
Somehow, it's all a punch in the gut.
Herein lies the conundrum: if all news hurts to some extent, do I want to hear about it? And if so, how exactly do I want to hear about it? And what does my current state of griefdom mean to the messenger?
Because unlike black and white type on paper or a stately correspondent talking in a flat voice, this type of news is typically told to us, orally or in writing, directly from someone else -- someone with a link to us, someone who knows. I wonder, how hard is it for someone else, someone not in our immediate situation, to tell us their news? To tell us of someone else's news? Because we're not the same anymore -- we're different. There's a fine line somewhere in there between "Please don't forget my child, please be gentle when you tell me" and "Please don't treat me like I'm fucking batshit." And perhaps I should give people more slack in the line when they're hemming and hawing and running through how exactly to word what it is they're about to say given our new status, but part of me thinks . . . is it really so hard?
Because sometimes instead of just coming out with it, people decide it's easier not to tell you at all. It's easier for them. There is no awkward moment, no watching you break down into tears. No need to remember that horrible awful thing that happened or even bring it up peripherally. And I suppose to convince themselves of their righteousness on this point, they assume that you're fragile, weak, sensitive, outright crazyloco. Can't handle it. Maybe they think they're doing you a favor by not saying anything! This is helpful! Aren't they being wonderfully in touch with your needs!
What news are you being deprived of? Are you sure you know everything that's going on? Are you being apprised?
Because in the end, we found out. And discovered that everyone had run circles around us for the better part of a year. And now it's not the news itself that hurts me -- oh no. It's the realization that everyone thinks I'm bananas, and can't deal with other people's lives. It's also the realization that people around me don't care enough about me or the reason behind the new me to be uncomfortable for a few minutes. To take a risk that I might sniffle and need a kleenex. That I won't heed the warning not to harm the messenger. It's the understanding that Maddy is an inconvenience to them -- that I am an inconvenience to them, and why would I want to continue in their presence if they feel they can't freely speak about their news? The way their time is flying by and events are occurring at breakneck speed? None of it is possible if I'm in the room with my big technicolor elephant at my side.
How hard is it really, to just begin a sentence: "I need to tell you something. It may hurt to hear it, and for that I'm sorry, and I understand how it could -- but I didn't want you not to know."
We found out about the pregnancy, after the birth. And truth be told, the idea of a healthy newborn doesn't hit me nearly as hard (if it does at all, anymore) as the idea that I am a pariah, a leper, a fragile freak. Maddy is nothing more than an annoyance, my grief a nuisance in the daily ongoing of hands moving around the clock. It is easier, not to speak with me, not to bring It (capital I) up. Two and half years later, I am once again alone, sitting arms akimbo in my still pool of gelatin, while time whizzes by -- this time laughing, pointing, and gawking at me.
Have you discovered family and friends hiding news from you after your loss? How did it make you feel, and how did you deal with it? When family and friends delivered significant news that might effect you differently now, how did they do it? How and what do you want to be told -- if at all?