Wednesday, June 28, 2006
I got an email today through one of the grief support groups I belong to. It was from a woman who lost her son on May 20th. The message was painful and angry, and reminded me very much of me after Alexis died. The sarcasm, the vehemence, the sense of shock and outrage. I remember all of it so clearly. I remember cussing the neighbor's preacher and chasing him out of my yard when he came with his wife to offer their sympathies. While Alexis was in the hospital, there were hundreds of people praying for her, several churches, prayer groups and online prayer chains. And still, she was dead, so when that preacher said he'd pray for me, I was so
pissed off. I remember just screaming at him and telling him not to do me any effing favors.
She died 3 weeks before the 9/11 attacks. Remember the way they showed the people flinging themselves out of the windows? I envied them. Remember how they would show the family members in tears, talking about the family members that were dead or missing? I was so angry at them - I remember yelling at the television, asking them what the hell they were talking about, that at least their family members had come home, grown up: lived
. All I kept thinking was 'how dare
they think their pain even came close
to what I felt!' As if the whole thing was intended as a personal affront, like it was some sort of competition, in which I had proclaimed myself the winner, no matter what.
It was after Terra was born before 9/11 sunk in for me, and I sat here a few months before Terra was born, reading one of the memorial books that came out about it, and read, and cried and realized what a huge loss, what an astounding mind-blowing loss of life occurred that day, and what the victims and their families must have been going through back then. I felt so badly for saying and thinking and feeling the things I did when it happened!
I had parents try to tell me about their children who'd died, talked to one girl whose brother had died of a CHD years back. My eyes would glaze over and I'd sit there nodding at the appropriate times, thinking, "So what?! So friggin' what? This is about me
not about something you
dealt with at some time in the past!" I didn't care, I was just too wrapped up in my grief to even consider that anyone else could possibly understand. That's pretty much where I stayed for years. So vehemently, hatefully, sarcastically, angry.
So I tried to reply to her as if I'd been replying to myself 5 years ago. I wanted to say it in a way that maybe she could hear it. I don't think I did a very good job. I wanted to say something that made her understand that she's not the only one who felt it, that "she's not alone" but the only thing that ever did that for me was for someone to listen and let me rant... In real life, you can sit on the couch with someone and nod and hug and hold their hand, and never say a word, but still be supportive. That's impossible in an online situation. You have to say something
in order to validate the fact that they posted.
So, I probably said all the wrong things, but I had to say something. I had to reach out to her somehow. I sincerely hope that she feels the intent of my message, but if she's anything like I was 5 years ago, she's cussing the screen right about now. And that's ok too I guess, I mean, I "get" that.
So what am I trying to say anyway? I just wish I were closer geographically to her. I'd make some coffee, sit on her couch, and just listen, without having to insert any of my own experiences into the conversation.
I'd just listen, because it's probably what she needs most right now. My heart aches for her, and I wish so badly that there was something I could do for her to help.
posted by Erin @ 1:05 PM