The Unknown War I Fight
Being the mother of a lost child I have noticed there is a war raging and because I am who I am, by default I find myself on one side of the fence. I don't want to be here. I don't want to belong. I didn't even notice the ragging war myself until just recently when someone pointed it out on my blog. Sure, I knew and understood people would say stupid things because I had been tossed my own fare share and I even have a mental list of "do not says" to a grieving mother I can quickly list off, but war?
Yes I seethe when I was told I could just have another. Even after what felt like my bazillionth miscarriage. I detested people throwing their yummy smelling newborns on me and watching my face for reactions for the great and exciting news that yet another friend was pregnant and then when the baby was born. I didn't appreciate the "she's in a better place" when my daughter died and the consoling that took place in the form of words that suddenly seemed empty, hollow when once they may have been hopeful. I didn't like being avoided, being watched from the other side of the room, or the conversation dropping in mid-air the second I appeared. And all this while I didn't know I was holding a gun on my side of the battle, pointing at the people facing us, the enemy, threatening them with the harsh reality of my life.
My roll in this battle was pointed out to me just the other day in a comment to a post I had recently written. It wasn't shocking to hear that people like me make others feel uncomfortable. The words baby and dead aren't meant to go together, but I was shocked that someone implied I needed more understanding to work on the delicate balance between those who speak to comfort and those of us who have lost. And the light turned on. I am most certainly at war, if only because someone else thinks I am.
I've always known one of the reasons I talk so openly about my daughter and her death is because I didn't the awkwardness that came with people as they wanted to share my grief. I wanted the world to know it is alright to ask, to bring up, to mention. But somewhere along the lines an experience I had and chose to share as an example of religion and the roll it plays to a mourning parent was taken the wrong way. I never said I was in the right or that she was in the wrong, I just shared a moment of my life, days after my world came crashing down.
Does there need to be more understanding and compassion on both sides of the fence? Oh heck yes. But, there also needs to be education. Perhaps that is the war I am fighting though it is commonly mistaken as a battle for "you siad ingorant things when my baby died" war. There can't be understanding or compassion until people are willing to stop hiding behind the "I don't want to talk about it" roll that is easily doned. I may be in the wrong, but I at least I have a small cause that I can do something for, and if one person knows a little more, understands a smidge, is willing to open his or her mouth and willing to take the chance that they most likely will say the wrong thing, but learn from experience and mistakes, I feel I've done my part.
As for the experience I share on my personal blog. That woman and I had a great talk afterwards and she said she never knew how it sounded until I put it into that light for her. She thanked me and said she would never say that to another parent who lost a child. Four years later we are still friends. We spoke about our little "run in" just a week or so ago and she mentioned how she's actually shared that exact same experience with other people. Am I winning my battle? I'd say so.
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