Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wearing a Second Face

If you haven’t read Pete’s latest blog entry then you should. He doesn’t talk about his feelings often so reading them is always interesting-even for me!

A conversation that he and I had tonight left me wanting to write a blog entry again. He said that going to work every day, having to deal with people on a regular basis, and basically getting out of the house not only forced him to get back into a “normal” routine but also made him have to wear a “second face.” Because obviously he couldn’t go to class and teach looking all depressed and stuff.

 I have not had this problem since I don’t get out much. I do understand about the need to don a “second face” though. When I haven’t worn won I just seem to piss people off and sometimes run them off altogether.

He said tonight that he didn’t want medication or counseling: He just wants a couple of months to go by without something terrible happening or somebody dying. Seriously. Just a little let-up would nice. He gets tired of people trying to get us to be optimistic, happy, and “fixed.” I tell him that in these cases it’s usually about them and not actually about us. But it’s still difficult.

My feelings are really hurt over our couple friends,  B&R. Another friend of mine blocked me on Facebook and that bothers me less. I’ll call her “E.” She was always a little strange to begin with and talking to her was making me feel worse because almost everything I did, from re-reading the sympathy cards that people sent me to visiting Toby’s grave was met by disapproval from her. Less than a week after he died I told her that I was still crying every day and she met that with a, “Really? There must be something wrong, then.” So with friends like that…

B&R, though, that hurts. We liked them a lot. Pete especially liked R. I think he looked up to him. We had made plans with them. Camping and even going on vacation with them. In fact, sometimes the thought of their friendship was soothing because it was the only piece of normalcy we had when we felt like everything was falling apart. When we “lost” them it felt like even that was taken away from us.

The first thing that Mom said to me when I told her was, “What did you do?” And that seems to be the thing with us. What did we do? Well, obviously they think that we did something. But since there was no argument, no confrontation, and no communication whatsoever it’s hard to say. Mom says that she is disappointed because she thought that they were a better caliber of people than that. I am disappointed because I feel let down. And I am particularly disappointed for Pete.

But like I have said before, you would think that this would be the one time in your life that you could be honest with your emotions, feelings, and be able to feel sad and depressed. It’s not. Not even six months out and we’ve lost more than half of our friends. We’ve been accused of having “too much drama.” Yeah, how guilty does that make us feel? We’re sorry that having our son die, Pete’s mom die, and Dad having a heart attack has been so hard on everyone else, so much so that they felt like they needed a break from us.

I continue to be shocked by people’s actions. Yes, I know that I have offended some people. And there are some that I am really sorry about offending. But oh my God, the things that people have said to us that we (namely me) HAVEN’T reacted to, and the things that we have endured to save friendships…I don’t write about everything.

I had one friend tell me that they considered ignoring me and not coming around because they were afraid of saying the wrong thing to me and they thought more of our friendship than that. Yes, because ignoring me and Pete is an excellent way of saving the friendship. But I can kind of understand that. Conversations with me should probably come with a warning sign.

It amazes me, too, at how some people don’t think that things apply to them. This extends over into the pregnancy mostly. Like, they understand that I am supposed to be on bed rest but yet they don’t understand why I can’t have 10 people over at once or go out to eat with them. Or they don’t like it when people say mean things to us, but they feel entitled to say whatever they want because they’re our “friends.”

I actually had someone write me the other day and apologize for saying that she was praying for me but that she did really mean it. I felt bad because a) we’ve been friends for a very long time and b) I know that she does mean it. It’s not the “I’ll pray for you” that bothers me specifically. It’s the fact that it often just feels like words.

On Friday my friend Melissa came over while Sam and I were still sleeping. She let herself in and proceeded to fix us a homemade lunch. (Chicken pot pie, yummy!) She played with Sam, talked to me, and then hung out with Pete when he got here. She’s also probably the most religious person I know. Ironically, she hardly ever brings up her religion to me, even though she probably thinks that I am a heathen.

It reminds me of the movie “Saved!” when MacCauley Culkin’s character is talking about falling out of the tree. His sister, Hilary Faye, found him and said that she was the “miracle that had saved [his] life.” His friend replies, “Sounds to me like that miracle that you could have used was not falling out of the tree to start with.” I guess that’s how I feel.

And sometimes I wonder, too, about praying. What if the person that is praying is praying for something that I don’t want? Praying for strength I get. Praying for things to get better I get. But I had someone tell me that they were praying that Iris would be born at 25 weeks instead of now so that she had a better chance of surviving. Hell, don’t do that! Pray that she makes it to at least 32! I don’t want her to be born at 25, either.

Sometimes, people write me and call me and say, “I’m so worried about you!” or “I wish there was something I could do!” But you don’t actually see those people. And then someone (like my friend Ashley) will call and say, “I’m bringing over some flowers for Sam to plant outside and some dinner. Six o’clock fine?” Or my other friend Ashley will write and say, “What day this week you want me to come over?” Those are things I can deal with. When my 75 year old aunt calls me and tells me she’s worried and that she loves me, I know it’s real. When someone down the road does it yet I haven’t seen them in months and it kind of ends there, I wonder. 

But then I think, well, do I really need anyone other than Pete and Sam? (And Mom, of course.) Does anyone else really matter at this point? But I think they do because I like having friends. 

Mom went up to Aunt Ruby’s this weekend to attend Uncle Willis’s funeral. My Aunt Jane told Aunt Ruby that she could either come up for the funeral or wait until afterwards when she could stay a week. Aunt Ruby told her to come up later and stay longer, that was more important. I agree. There tends to be a lot of people around when tragedy first strikes. So many people that you lose track of who’s doing what and what’s going on. But when all of that stops is really when you need someone the most.

That was a ramble, I know. But the second face that I have to wear from time to time is falling. I don’t feel optimistic about Iris. I am scared to death. I am worried sick about Sam’s tonsillectomy. I worry about my marriage because sometimes I feel like Pete is shutting down. I’m depressed because it’s a pretty day and I can’t get out and play with my son. And I am entitled to feel these things. Telling us to be optimistic, that things will get better, and that everything will be okay does not actually make them so. Sometimes, you just need to be worried and sad. Sometimes, you just need someone to make you chicken pot pie and bring you éclairs because that’s really all anyone can do.

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