Thursday, July 25, 2013

Like me, please!

My husband and I spent time with some new(ish) friends the other day. When we got back home I said, "Gosh, this is the first time in years that we've actually seen people on a regular basis."

"Yeah," he answered. "It's bad, isn't it? I keep thinking that I am going to say something to screw it up."

He is right, of course. It is stressful having new friends.

I think of losing Toby in the terms of the before/after of my life. I am definitely not the person I used to be. I am actually okay with that. In some ways I think I am better. In other ways I am worse. My tolerance for bullshit is a lot lower these days and I believe I am able to cut people out and off more swiftly than I did in the past. On the other hand, I am also more sensitive and nervous.

I realize that by blogging and sharing my feelings after his death that I have run a lot of folks off. But some people up and left for reasons that didn't have anything to do with my blog. We were too depressing or too angry or to sad or just flat-out too much work. Being our friend was exhausting. People got tired of having to walk on eggshells around us, of not knowing what to say, of always having to listen to me talk about my dead son.

Then there is the fact that I have a tendency to tell completely inappropriate stories that are best left to be shared in moments when all present parties have knocked back a few shots of something strong.

When we meet people these days we try our best to be on our best behavior. It's like we're auditioning. We're so afraid of doing something wrong, making a misstep. That's exhausting in and of itself.

I can talk about Toby's death. I can talk about SIDS. But I rarely talk about my feelings toward him and my loss. I save that for my other infant loss friends.

To be clear, I don't actually miss anyone who is no longer in our lives. But finally, after almost three years, we're starting to feel social again. We'd like to not screw that up. Being in social settings is just so much work these days. Trying to appear likable and fun and witty when everyone in the room knows that your child is dead-that's not easy.

1 comment:

Susan HeadInMyHands said...

Hi, I remember not caring whether people liked me or not. I lost many acquaintances after my son died but those who stayed through my deepest grief are true friends. You're going to spend the rest of your life adjusting to your life after losing a child. We're blessed to have one person hang in there with us.