Thursday, December 15, 2005

My favorite words...and my favorite people (very angry post warning)



Feel sorry for yourself

Has the world lost its capacity for compassion? empathy? just plain kindness? When did it become "bad" to mourn the loss of a loved one? When did it become taboo to feel sad? Why do we all have to be freakin' Mary Poppins on speed?

Don't dwell on the bad! Yeah, you lost your mom this year, but hey, little Jimmy scored three goals in soccer. Your loved one is suffering from painful cancer and will most likely die? How 'bout the upside? That overpriced must-have toy is on sale at the local department store. Your baby died? Well you still have another...and you can always try again. I mean...geez! Focus on the positive already! (not that the bad shouldn't be mentioned...just don't make it the focus.

I'm sitting her shaking my head at the utter lack of sensitivity of people I thought I knew. I have heard and seen so many things in the past seven months that I'll be surprised if I ever rejoin the human race in anything close to the capacity I once did. Or maybe I just need to rethink the human race that I am rejoining. Time to reconsider and reconfigure friendships perhaps.

How did I choose so wrong in the first place? These were people I thought I knew...I thought I enjoyed their company. I was willing to overlook faults for their friendship. Maybe I was just too desperate for friends. I was so very wrong.

I was going to send out a Christmas letter and then I changed my mind because of people like this. These kind of people don't want to hear what I have to say. They don't really care about how I'm doing...not really. And these are the same people who, when faced with their own crisis, will ask for thoughts and prayers...and EXPECT that people will give them.

I just don't understand. Have we, as a race of creatures, become so self-involved that we measure the appropriateness of what other people say by our own comfort level? Why is it so hard for people to recognize that this one big thing happened in my life this year and I'm going to talk about it? I would do the same for them...whether it be the loss of someone they love or Jimmy's soccer goals. How can you sit and judge what the person should or shouldn't be feeling. Don't dwell. Are you kidding me?

And I KNOW there are people, some I already know and some yet to be encountered, who feel as though I got what I deserved. I somehow contributed to my son's death. I somehow wasn't good enough. I wasn't faithful enough. I wasn't loving enough. I wasn't perfect enough. It was my fault. They're just too chicken shit to say it out loud. To say it to me. Do they think I don't think these things all the time? Don't they think I would give ANYTHING to fix what I did? I would MOVE INTO a church if it would bring my baby back.

We all know the whole idea of "God's plan" is that I deserved what I got. It'll all make sense in the're part of the plan...we're all part of the plan. But other peoples' children get to live because they somehow earned extra points. See, you weren't good enough to land on the good side of the plan. The implicit assumption is that the plan somehow rewards and punishes those who deserve it. And God wouldn't give us more than we can handle. BULLSHIT! God doesn't know a freakin' thing about what I can handle if he thinks I can handle this! I'm falling apart! I'm lost and confused and angry...and I could very well end up completely crazy like my grandmother. Is THAT what I can handle? A complete break from reality? Is that the plan? That I become nuts and a complete burden to my family? ARE YOU LISTENING?!?!?

But the season of love and peace...don't'll spoil it for me.


Please note, this is not directed at anyone who reads this blog. Also please note that I am strong enough to tell you to your "face" that you've annoyed me (I think you got the brunt of that one day Dana, for which I AM sorry). This post is about someone entirely different and distinct from any of you. Someone I will be delivering a lecture to...and ending my friendship if she doesn't apologize.


Heather said...

I can't believe someone would tell you not to dwell on the loss of your son. How could you not?

As for the whole "Everything happens for a reason, God wouldn't give you anything you can't handle." philosophy....Well, you already know I don't buy into that either. I will never understand why things like this happen, and I find it hard to believe that any loving God would plan something like what happened to you. What good can possibly come out of it? I truly believe though, that through this whole mess--who your TRUE friends are will become increasingly clearer to you.

I am sorry, Kate.

Dana said...

I am so sorry Kate. :( You absolutely didn't deserve what happened to you. It wasn't YOUR fault. It makes me so sad that you think it is.

I am as you know, a Christian. I feel very strongly about my faith. However, you have made me see how some of the "catch phrases" that are used by Christians may be annoying/offensive. I am sorry for that. Regardless of what I think and how I feel about God, I promise to try to be more sensitive to what you are feeling.

I love you.

holley said...


I'm not sure if I'm one of the offenders here. I reread my recent e-mail to you and none of the above messages were ever intended by me.

I'm really very, very sorry if you thought I was telling you not to think about Alex or type or talk about him. I was only trying to explain why I type about Angie.


Pam said...

A long time ago I learned the only thing you really can/should say to a grieving person is "I'm sorry". Just because it helps someone thinks of their baby as an angel watching over them doesn't mean that other people will feel the same way or appreciate hearing it. And I've never been able to understand people who think what a grief-stricken person needs is a lecture about what they "did wrong" or why they should "just get over it already". People are assholes sometime (much of the time).

I'm sorry. About your son. About your loss. About the idiots who don't understand. I'm so sorry and please know that there are people out here thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

(lurker delurking)

I'm a Christian, and those people who tell you that bullshit insult me. Life has given you a lot of suffering, and they have no right to say it is God's plan, or that you or someone deserves that, or...

They should read the book of Job (it's in the Bible). Job was suffering a lot (he was poor, ill and all his children died) and when he felt the pain was too much and questioned God, his "friends" gave him the same kind of bullshit "advice" you have received. And you know what? In the end, God is angry with those friends, because they were unfair both to God and to Job, who is considered by God a just man.

So, you are right. By any decent human standards, and by any decent Christian standards also, these are the wrong things to say.



deadbabymama said...

As you already know I have a lot of the same feelings about people, and have lost several friends and even a couple of family members since deadbaby died for some of the very reasons you outline. I think venting as you've just done and dealing with your friend openly is absolutely great, even if the reason you have to deal with all of this bullshit isn't.

I could give a couple or sixteen two hour lectures about why our culture avoids pain, death, any discomfort whatsoever. Hell, I actually teach University level courses that outline some of the reasons for this situation! And thank goodness I have that 'acceptable' outlet because when I talk about it from a personal place people look at me like I'm crazy and get away as soon as they can; on the 'up side' (since there is apparently supposed to be one) I can tell whose worth expending effort on and who isn't.

I'm sorry that Alex died. I'm sorry that our culture has infused you with ready-made guilt, and that other people do think that you 'deserve' this somehow (and I agree with you, some do; the phrase "we are only given what we can handle" made me see this in the depths of my grief). I'm sorry that some people are so shallow and scared that they can't be what you need them to be, and let's face it what they SHOULD be as human beings. I'm not sorry that you are aware and angry and feeling all of these things, even though they hurt and it all sucks, because it shows that you ARE the person you should be, that you are human in the fullest sense. Not that it erases, or even eases, your pain. It just is what it is.

Sherry said...

You deserved this? Are you kidding me? No one deserves this - least of all Alex. For people who truly feel that way - they are a$$holes. That just infuriates me that people think they are SO great that nothing bad will ever happy to them because they go to church, or pray, or whatever it is that makes them think they are 'safe' from bad things happening to them. Boy do they have a rude awakening coming when something bad happens to them.

You don't deserve this. Please know that there are people like me, who may not say much, but who think of Alex, and your family often. Especially with Christmas coming up. *hugs* Unfortunately death of a child can happen to anyone - and it scares the crap out of me. I still can't imagine how deep your pain is, but I know you will get through this holiday. And Sam is going to say and do things that will make you cry, make you smile, and you may feel guilty for those happy moments - but you will make it.

kate said...


IMHO people who say 'don't dwell' and 'move on' are people who are effectively saying 'i don't want to hear about your grief anymore'. So that's how i took it, and i shut up, and shut them out of my life or out of certain parts of my life. Good for you for planning to stand up to your friend and tell her to her face.