Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Explaining my pain to people

I don't regret anything I did in the days, weeks, and months following Toby's death. I don't regret anything I said or did and, if I went back, I would do it again. I'm not sorry for fighting back when my family was attacked and I'm not sorry for not letting things go when people continued to push my buttons.

If I could change something, though, it would be this: I would not waste my time explaining my pain to people.

That doesn't mean that I wouldn't talk about my pain and write about it here-I'd just stop trying to explain it to people in hopes that they would be more compassionate. For that first year, I dedicated a lot of blog entries to explaining my pain and why I was hurting so badly. It didn't stop in my blog, though, because I had to do it in "real life", too. The people who just didn't understand why we didn't move on, why we were still sad or angry, why our word was falling apart...I spent a lot of time talking to these people. I tried to explain a mother's love, how horrible it was to wake up and find your baby dead, the guilt, the sadness, the overwhelming urge to not want to live anymore...I did my best to put all of these things into words for these people so that they could understand and stop being so hurtful.

I wouldn't do that again.

Here's what I have learned: those that "get it", get it; those that don't, won't.

I used to think that one day, when some of these people grow up, get married, and have families of their own they might look back at what we went through and maybe have some semblance of understanding. Maybe then they'll understand that this thing that happened to us is indescribable and horrible and they'll know that they should have been a little easier on us.

I no longer believe that.

Even if those people had their own babies and, God forbid, lost theirs, they'd probably still look back on us and judge.

My energy was completely wasted on these folks. I am sorry for that. I wish I'd figured out a lot sooner that spending so much energy trying to explain to them a pain that they either had no concern really trying to understand or never would anyway was a lost cause because I might have devoted it to something else.

I'm not sorry about writing my feelings down in my blog. That's been helpful. I'm not sorry for having those feelings. I'm just sorry that so much of my time seemed to have been spent educating people as to why I was sad and upset.


4 comments:

Groves said...

Here's what I have learned: those that "get it", get it; those that don't, won't.

I'm not sorry about writing my feelings down in my blog. That's been helpful. I'm not sorry for having those feelings. I'm just sorry that so much of my time seemed to have been spent educating people as to why I was sad and upset.

*****

Again, you have hit it on the head. I have been ten years learning the truths you described above.

And people wonder why, largely, I am so silent (IRL) now.

Some things, there is no point trying to explain.

Thank you for what you write - very much.

I continue to marvel that there are humans in this world who don't understand why you feel as you do about Toby's death. It really makes me wonder. Do they have hearts? At all?

Cathy in Missouri

Susan said...

I think I disagree. I think (unfortunately) trying to explain how you feel to others is part of the process of coming to terms with what has happened. I think it is probably necessary, as you need to tell it over and over, before it sinks in that other people don't get it, and won't get it. Gradually, I think you come to terms with the fact that your persecptive has shifted - and that is part of what it means to be a bereaved parent. It is very isolating.

In the beginning I started blogging to explain to others how I felt. Eventually I began to realise that it was a thankless task, but that the blog served its purpose as it allowed me to connect with other bereaved parents. Actually, I wonder if we're in furious agreement - but just expressing the same sentiment slightly differently.

So sorry to read of your terrible loss. My daughter died in April 2010 just before her 4th birthday. I also had a baby last July.

Rebecca said...

Susan, I think you and I are agreeing, but in different ways.

In the beginning, there were people that were very, very cruel to me and my husband. They accused us of everything from being selfish to murder. They pushed us and yelled at us and a couple of times I even cut myself.

Instead of being gentle to myself and ignoring them and focusing on me and my family, I spent a LOT of energy trying to explain to them that I was sad and that, as a parent, I had that right. Looking back, I wish I had just let it go. Talking about my feelings to others who were actually interested in my feelings and thoughts, talking to other parents who had lost their children, blogging...those were all GOOD things. Explaining my feelings over and over and over again to people who just didn't care and weren't hearing me-that's kind of what this particular entry was about. It wasn't worth it.

Susan said...

I'm sorry. That sounds terrible.

Yes, I agree. Explaining your feelings over and over to people who either can't or won't get it is a exercise in futility and saps precious resources. My mother couldn't/wouldn't get it for me - in the end I broke all contact. I think the desire to keep explaining is complaining though - it just seems impossible to believe that anyone can be so lacking in empathy - You keep thinking - if only I explained it better! X x