Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Huge purple should-have-beens

OK, so it wasn't officially Take Your Kid to Work Day, but Sam asked to visit where his Daddy works, so I took him up there for lunch and a visit today. It was nice. And I tried to smile and introduce myself appropriately to people. But I knew they were all feeling the should be just as much as I was. I should be there showing off Sam AND Alex.

It wasn't too bad because I've never met a lot of Steve's co-workers since he changed departments. But I could all feel them giving me the look that said they were all thinking, "Poor woman"...and would most likely talk about how sad it was we lost Alex as soon as we walked away. I know I shouldn't care much about what other people think or say...but it was hanging in the air there, like a balloon about to pop.

And then we saw John. I remember John from the Christmas party where Steve caught hell for introducing me as Cathy, his wife, who was pregnant. I remember yelling that I was an assistant prosecutor, for God's sake, and he didn't need to invite comments on my uterus from complete strangers. lol I remember the Christmas party because when we had accepted the invitation, I was under the impression I would be meeting Steve's boss and partaking of some of the wine bar that was available. Two promises that didn't materialize.

John couldn't look at me as much as I couldn't look at him. We both looked at Sam and smiled extra big smiles to deflect the obvious discomfort. Thankfully, we were able to escape with my suggesting that we go seek out our lunch.

After lunch, Steve wanted to introduce Sam to Chad. I remember Chad from the Christmas party as well. He was the only person at our table to make an effort to talk to me (the only one not affiliated with the company or the other wives in some way). He took an active interest in Sam and Alex and me. I liked him for trying. Today, I felt like seeing him might make me throw up. So I hid in the bathroom, only to return and find Steve had taken Sam down to Chad's office to say hi. I walked up and saw Chad through the doorway, but couldn't bring myself to say hi or anything. I stood there and looked overly interested in Sam's goofball antics to get attention. Again, making my getaway as quickly as I could by suggesting it was time Daddy get back to work.

I felt there was a sign on my forehead that announced my sadness and my sense of failure. I felt contagious. I felt like there was a window on my uterus and everyone could see that it was empty...that it had served as a tomb for my beautiful baby boy. These people were prefectly nice to me. Normal people with normal conversation. But it was there like some giant purple elephant in the middle of the room that everyone was talking around.

Will I ever NOT carry this around with me? Will there ever be a time when I won't think of THIS whenever I meet someone? I'm either relieved that they don't know what happened, or I'm nervous that they do know what happened and I'm uncertain what they will say/how they will react. I'm so tired of carrying around this huge purple elephant and trying to find the appropriate place to set it so it's out of my way. I just want my life back.

I can't have my baby. Is it too much to ask that I get myself back?


Julie said...

{{{Cathy}}} I'm so sorry. Sometimes even the simplest of actions take a turn for misery. It was nice of you take Sam for a visit.

lauralu said...

i doubt your self, at least your old self, will ever be back, because it probably doesn't exist any more. but it will get easier.

MB said...

I'm still trying to et used to the new (but not improved) me. I have realized that I won't ever be who I was again. It's not possible. Maybe part of the mouring process is mourning the loss of our old selves too... I wish I had fabulous answers that would bring you all the comfort you are looking for. I just don't. I'm sorry.

Jill said...

I think that maybe you deserve some credit for actually wanting exist outside the bounds of your grief. Your son's death is still very recent and yet you recognise that there is a need to move through it and live for other reasons than to remember him. Many people don't do that.

As for all the rest - whenever you are around people who know what happened and who have not experienced anything remotely similar(or worse have had a baby successfully), there is nothing else to feel except different. But with the way people put time limits on grief, it won't be long before Alex is no longer their first thought when they see you. It'll be yours still, but not theirs and that might allow you to get on with redefining yourself:(


Bronwyn said...

It's weird having this new skin, isn't it? The question I dread the most from new people that I meet is "Do you have any children?". If I answer "no", I feel like I'm betraying my daughter, but if I answer "yes, but she was stillborn", then I open this whole can of worms that isn't usually appropriate. Appropriate? What does that mean, anyway? Sometimes I'm sick of tiptoeing around it just for the sake of politeness. I suppose one day this new skin will feel so natural that we won't notice it anymore, but it's been 15 months for me and it still feels pretty raw sometimes. (((Big hug))) At least all of us other "mutants" can understand how it feels...

deadbabymama said...

You will always carry this around with you, but how it feels to do that will change. There will be a time when you don't think about "THIS" whenever you meet someone. You may learn to care less about what people think, or maybe just to care less that you care. (did that make sense?) You will have your life back, a different life, but a life just the same and I can already see you building it. You will have you back, again a different you but it will be you, I can see that taking shape as well. I think that mb is right about mourning our old selves, we are mourning our old lives, our senses of hope and wonder, our comfortable ignorance and all kinds of things that are gone from us. But after awhile the mourning does end (unless we hang on and cultivate it beyond what we should do, and you are not there) and we find our new selves and our new lives and new hopes and comforts. The purple elephant gets smaller and becomes able to carry itself, it stands more politely at the edge of the room and sometimes it leaves and goes to a different room. I'm not sure if it leaves the house yet, I kind of doubt it, but I can live with that.

NervousKitty said...

I'm sorry, Catherine. I can relate so much to what you're saying. For me, I hate the idea of people talking about it when I'm not there - I don't know why. I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me, for some reason.

I hope we can all find some remnants of who we used to be, someday.