Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I haven't learned anything

I found out a friend had a miscarriage in late May. She didn't tell me until now because she was worried about me. I think part of it was that she wasn't ready to tell either...but that's neither here nor there. The more fascinating thing to come out of this is that I am STILL completely clueless. You'd think I'd have the right words by now. But nooooo...I'm still a bumbling idiot. I hope I haven't said the wrong things to her. God knows I don't want to make her feel any worse.

There is so much I WANT to say to her. Like how you don't have to weigh your loss against other people. Like how it's ok to feel sad about the lost should-have-beens. Like how it's ok to not feel sad too. Like how I wish so much that this hadn't happened to her. But I don't want to overstep and cross that line into 'none of your damn business.'

Maybe she'd rather pretend it never happened. Maybe she'd like to analyze it to death. I don't know. So I say the things I think I should say and leave her to take the lead on what she wants to talk about. And then I worry that I'm making her think I don't want to talk about it because I'm not talking about it. But I don't want to talk about it if she doesn't and make her think I'm forcing her to talk about it.

Jesus Christ! This SUCKS! There are no right answers. For the first time, I'm really seeing it from my friends' point of view. What can they say to me? When should they say it? How should they say it? Do they say anything at all?

I know I've been difficult to figure out, but I never truly appreciated the no-win nature of this horrible thing that happens WAY.TOO.OFTEN. We shouldn't have to do this...this figuring out this horrible path.

And what's the deal? I mean...I have far more experience on this path of grief and I still don't know a damn thing. So what was the point of it all? Just to suffer? Must stop that train of thought there...before it runs me over...again.

I love my friend. I think she knows that. I hope she knows that. I would do anything to make this not have happened to her. To make it all go away. The sadness. The fear. The sense that things will never be quite "right" again. But the most I can do is struggle to figure out what to say. I hope she doesn't mind that I haven't learned anything. I hope she forgives me when I say or do the wrong thing.


Lisa P. said...

Oh, Catherine... you are *definitely* not doing the wrong thing. There's no way you can - you may think you can but having heard from people who have no clue I can say with all truthfulness that you are probably not doing the wrong thing. First of all, you care enough to wonder whether you are -- that right there is more than most people even consider.

Secondly, I can only speak for myself (obviously) but *I* personally was a talker... but not all people are. Some people just deal with this differently. I probably told my co-workers more than they wanted to hear in a lot of cases, but that's me. The sad truth is there are no right words. "I'm really sorry" sounds trite (to me) when I say it, but it sounded good when people said it to me. You know more than to say the things that most people say ("it'll be ok" - yeah, how do you know? "all in God's time" - well sorry, I'm living in my time and it sucks) etc.

G has a cousin who just had their third child, and we didn't even know they were pregnant. I don't understand why they wouldn't tell us at all -- it seems like maybe they'd realize that "oh, so-and-so just gave birth" is more of a shock, in the long term, than "so-and-so is pregnant again" -- but that to me is an example of doing the wrong thing under the guise of doing the right thing. Talking to your friend shows her that you care, and while you don't think you know what to say, I know you know how to listen, and that is important too. Don't forget that.

Sweet Coalminer said...

I agree with Lisa. Listening is key.

I have a friend that lost a baby at 24ish weeks, and her due date was a day that we spent together, and I kept thinking, should I bring it up or not?

We all were having a really happy day, with lots of laughter and chatting, and then in a quiet moment, I asked her how she was doing, and she exploded into tears and went home.

I think everyone is different. I keep being afraid to bring up her loss, and also a friend that lost her 18yo daughter almost two years ago because I don't want to make them feel worse. But I don't want them to think I don't feel badly and think about them and their losses. I just don't know. It's different for everyone and that's all. I figure I'll mention it quickly, so at least they'll know I care and then let them decide to change the subject or not.

I think the fact that you addressed it at all shows what a wonderful caring person you are.