Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thinking About Forgiveness

I’ve been keeping up with Abby’s blog ( and feel like I could have written most of her entries myself. The last few entries have got me to thinking and reevaluating some of my own thoughts and feelings. That can never be a bad thing, right?

I just can’t forgive some of the things that happened after Toby died. I know that forgiveness is more for me and the other person and that holding onto anger is a bad thing. Logically, I KNOW these things. But it’s very, very hard to accept that on an emotional level.

Lately, I have spent a good amount of time reflecting and trying to put myself in other people’s shoes. I’m sure that people got tired me complaining during my pregnancy. Hell, I got tired of my complaining during my pregnancy. (I’m trying to figure out why, 5 months after Toby died, some of my best friends deleted me and blocked me.) When my friend L was pregnant and complained about every single little thing it got annoying. After all, it was her own fault she got pregnant and once she decided to keep the baby some people would argue she lost the right to complain about the symptoms. I know that more than once I rolled my eyes and ignored her posts.

So I can definitely see how people would feel the same way about mine.

Of course, I justify it. I wasn’t complaining about heart burn or being uncomfortable, I was talking about losing muscle mass and having such nutritional deficiencies that they had to be fed to me through an IV. About being so malnourished that my hair was falling out. All of that aside, even if it had been a happy pregnancy that I sailed through, there are still a LOT of emotional issues that go along with a pregnancy that immediately follows losing a child. You can intentionally try to have another baby and really, really want to have another one and then the minute it becomes a reality your feelings change. You start dealing with things that you didn’t know were there. There’s the saying of “Well, you should have thought of that before…” but there are some things that you just can’t anticipate. I talked to a woman who lost a baby to SIDS and she said that if she had known the toll it was going to take on her emotional health she wouldn’t have done it.

Still, I can understand how friends wouldn’t want to hear it. After all, they’d just been through a similar pregnancy with me. I don’t think that people really understood that for the most part I was really unable to leave the house. Most days, I wasn’t even able to come down the stairs. I honestly think that to most people the idea of hyperemesis was a myth and that some people just never got past the throwing up part, assuming that I had a bad case of morning sickness and was too much of a baby to deal with it. (Because, obviously, one of the best hospitals in the country is going to keep me for a week for a little bit of morning sickness.) Heck, even Mom would moan about how she had to go to the movies by herself and complain that she hadn’t seen me all day because I’d been upstairs. So it’s not a condition that’s well-understood. That’s one of the reasons I spend time on the hyperemesis board, trying to offer support to people who are going through it.

But, I can see where it would get old. Nobody likes a whiner.

Then, of course, there was the English drama. People got sick of that, too. Heck, I got sick of it. Everyone agreed that the other people were in the wrong but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t get sick of hearing about it. If it had been limited to my blog that would have been one thing, but it wasn’t. People were making comments on my FB page and other people could read it so it was very public. And then there was the Halloween party we had for Sam and some of my friends were subjected to the rudeness and such that was present in our houseguests. I won’t get into that again, but some of the name-calling by my own friends and accurate unflattering descriptions would have been really funny had it not been such a stressful time.

So that probably just added to it. I know I talked about it a lot to our friends B&R and that probably took a toll as well.

There’s a girl who posts on a website that I belong to every day about being in pain. Every day. Most just flat-out tell her to go to the hospital. For various reasons (they all sound like excuses) she refuses. Now, people are just ignoring her. Frankly, I think she’s a hypochondriac. This is the same one that pretended to be pregnant and have a baby and got everyone all riled up about that. Obviously, she has problems but I don’t think they’re physical. Anyway, I get that the more you complain about something the less people want to hear about it.

I can also understand how people could get upset that I seemed to complain about not seeing anyone. The ones who did things in the beginning probably felt slighted. Like I didn’t recognize the fact that they were being helpful and there for us. But we DID appreciate those people. But that doesn’t erase the fact that some of my best friends, heck my BEST friends, were never seen or heard from again. And I am being literal here. Not even two months later and they completely dropped off the face of the earth. My best friend of more than 20 years didn’t even come to the visitation, funeral, or the gathering at our house afterwards. She just sent me an email.

I really feel like I tried my best. It was extremely hard for me to get out of the house in those first few months, though. (I know that at least one other blogger has had trouble with this after losing her son.) In the beginning, a few people invited us out, but leaving was very difficult. When I tried to explain this, it was met with indifference and anger on some occasions and then the invitations stopped. (Except, I might add, for my friend Bonnie. On a visit from Alabama we were supposed to go to Olive Garden. We literally got ready to leave and I couldn’t get out the door. I was so embarrassed. I called her and explained it her. Instead, she brought Olive Garden to us and didn’t make me feel bad about it at all.)

But on a subjective level, I can understand that. It would get annoying to have to go to the other person’s house all the time. And we lived out in the country, not exactly convenient. A lot of people lacked gas money to come out there. Once we were feeling able to get out more, the invitations had stopped. I tried to send out some feelers-“We should go to the movies” or “Let’s do lunch one day” but either the receivers didn’t think I was serious or just didn’t want to because in most cases I never even got a reply and I was ignored.

I am trying to be subjective about this without being passive-aggressive and it’s really, REALLY hard.
Taking a cue from Abby’s blog, and what her therapist said, everyone else moved on from Toby’s death. It wasn’t their loss. They might feel bad for us and even sympathize but their sadness was brief. That’s understandable. Again, it wasn’t their loss. They were affected indirectly and for some that indirectness was several degrees away. I get that.

As parents who lose children, we want our children to be remembered. The fact that people move on from our loss is hard to deal with. We know it happens and it’s not like we want people to dwell on it, but it’s still hard to accept sometimes. Couple that on top of the overwhelming isolation and loneliness that can accompany it and it’s even worse. One of the reasons I started this blog was to explore all the feelings I was experiencing since losing Toby. Not all the things that you deal with come from the actual sadness that come from losing a child. Some also come from anger, sense of abandonment, loneliness, and hopelessness.

With that being said, although I can look at everything from a subjective manner and try to make sense out of a lot of it that doesn’t mean that sadness and even a little anger still isn’t there.

I’ve also been accused of being angry online. The reason my friend’s comment the other day about beckoning bad things to happen because I wasn’t being positive enough (see blog entry here) made me so upset is because what people see of me online is a very small part of my day. I can’t vent to my doctors, my family, or anyone else so occasionally I do a small blurb online. It’s not like I’m walking around in this complete ball of negativity energy. I have a different way of dealing with things. When I get bad news, like about Iris’ genetic condition, I don’t become Pollyanna and bury my head in the sand. I research, ask questions, and find out everything I can. I don’t believe in “everything will be fine.” I figure out what can be done to MAKE everything fine. (If there is anything.)

Anyway, still trying to figure things out. I think relying less on other people in this situation has been a good thing, all in all. There comes a point when you’re trying to move forward that you realize you’re the only one accountable for what you’re going to do and feel. Everyone else is more or less on their own path. 

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