I also like what Brooke wrote about attempting to pull some thread of meaning from the loss of your child, whether it means your child will bring you closer to your husband, appreciating future babes even more, and knowing who your friends are.
And of course there are all of you, the lovely ladies who walk this path with me. I'm so thankful for having met you, though I wish with all my heart it had been under different circumstances.
Anyway, onto my run-in of the day.
I went for my first post-baby haircut. I decided to try somewhere new. My regular place is fine, but I don't really feel a loyalty to any one hairdresser and I kinda think I'm getting to a point in my life I should have a dedicated hair stylist. ha. :) A month or so ago, I bought a Groupon-type deal for a haircut & style, and today, I redeemed it.
|That's my girl|
My hair was getting really long, like Laura Ingalls Wilder (here's some trivia for you- she's my namesake!!!) long- not quite the look I was going for when I wanted to grow it. I wanted long and luxurious, but with mile long split-ends, it was anything but. So, I got it cut.
Trying to talk me up, the stylist, Joe asked me whether I had children. After swallowing the lump in my throat, I answered yes. I had hoped this would be all he needed to know... But no, he inevitably asked me how old, and then I told of Jack's passing (what is it with me and doing this? I feel like I have to say yes and would feel guilty if I said no. But it really, truly would be easier to say no and then not have to worry about the follow up. Gah, one day, hopefully I'll figure out the best response). Obviously this wasn't what he was expecting, so he announced "God has another Angel", and we are really lucky to have "our own angel" to watch out for us. He then continued by saying maybe the baby didn't want to be born into a world where "it's all crazy" and he's better off where he is. He told me I could "have more babies because [I'm] young", "my husband and I can try again". "It will get better and one day I won't even think of it"... Basically, any stereotypical thing he could have said, he did.
At first, I was angry (and when I'm angry, I cry). Then I kinda figured wtf, he has no idea what he's talking about. Then I realized he was just trying to help, and failing miserably.
Then, he asked me to think about how much worse it must be to lose a child after several years when you loved him or her. ::cue music screeching to a halt:: At this point, I decided to set him straight, letting him know I wish very much to have had several years with Jack. I informed him I very much loved Jack from the very get go- when he was a single cell, and will continue to do so until my very last breath. I told him that this wasn't the life I had planned, that THAT life included a smiley, chubby little boy, and that indeed losing a child at an older age would be awful, but this was too.
I saw a light bulb go off in his head. He apologized for what he was saying, he actually stopped cutting my hair at this point. He told me his sister in law (his brother's wife) lost a baby at birth more than 7 years ago. He said she went through hell and back, and is now the mother of 4 more babes (including a set of twins). He explained that he thinks she copes now because she is so busy she has no time to think about it (which I can't imagine being the case, no matter how many McBabes I might have). He has a child (despite the fact he's quite openly gay) with his ex-wife, and he couldn't imagine losing his daughter.
As he resumed cutting my hair, we spoke for a while about children in general, and what life with them would be like. He asked me if my husband and I intended to have more, he asked me how my husband deals with this stuff, how our families feel. He actually was every bit the stereotypical hair stylist/therapist I had hoped he might be.
By the end of my appointment I actually liked him. I honestly think he is a genuinely nice guy who was at a loss for words for what to say to a clearly grieving mother. He meant well, and so he spewed out every token phrase he has ever heard in an attempt to comfort me. I get that. I didn't know what to say to someone like me, I'm still not sure what to say or what it is I'm waiting to hear.
Sometimes, when I comment in other blogger's posts, I worry I'm not saying the right things, or that what I'm writing might not come across the way I intend it to. I worry that my blatant optimism might be misconstrued for ignorance or naivety. Unfortunately, I know all too well what losing feels like, what hurting to the core is. And knowing that even I don't know what to say, having been there, and experienced this, how could anyone else? I've decided I'm going to try my best to give people who say silly things to me (except that wench at work) the benefit of the doubt. I'm going to assume they mean well, that they are just struggling with what the say. I'm going to attempt to ignore the ignorant.
What do you say when people say these cliche things to you? Do you tell them yes when they ask if you have children, or do you say no to avoid the awkwardness?