This is a post I could only ever really write for Still Standing Magazine. The reason being that I can dispense here, to some degree, with explaining. I am always careful when I write to do so in a way that is inclusive. I don’t want to abandon myself on that spit of land the baby bereaved know well. Here, I am safe and understood.
I want to talk about the secondary losses that so often occur– in the form of friendships.
There, I said it.
The secondary losses break my heart too.
Since the death of my baby, I have lost so many friends. I miss them. I miss that rich knowledge of me – my old friends. This is something of a traumatic life change in and of itself.
When a baby dies, certainly that is the molten lava trauma. The thing that for years out steals your breath and stops you in your tracks.
But gosh, how I do also miss these people who knew before I lost him.
I was recently at a gathering where I saw one of these people – someone whom I considered to be a very close friend. Now that I can look back with more objectivity than I could have at the time of my loss, I can see that there is a case to be made that I hurt people. She was probably among them. I wish there was a way to restart our friendship.
I wish that the responsibility I may bear in part could be forgiven.
Because the magnitude of my loss was just so great. I could not see clearly. I was so sad. I was so mad. I wish that people could meet me halfway – or walk it back as it were.
Standing on that lawn at this party – I said to my old friend – something along the lines of how nice it would be to get together. She instantly looked away. She spoke about how busy she was. I knew that she did not mean to brush me off. I had to look away as well because I missed her still.
I knew that she was hurt at what she perceived to be my rebuffing of her efforts to help me.I wish I had the strength to see efforts to support me then with the intention that backed them. I simply was trying to breathe, and being gracious in the process of doing so was so difficult then.”
I wish, though, that those who love the bereaved would try to stay longer and listen harder…to know that grief makes people lash out. I never meant to hurt anyone and I know that no one meant to hurt me.
And yet there is some secret place of myself – standing on this spit of land. Between here and there. I wish we could fix what collapsed. I wish I had more friends who knew me before the seismic shift of loss took place.
Some would say perhaps that they were not really my friends after all.
But they were.
I know they were.
And I miss them.