Saturday, June 14, 2014

There Is No "At Least....."

Everyone's path is different. People come in and out of our lives at various times for various reasons. Some remain lifelong friends and some are only there for a short time, and every once in a while a lifelong friend will become someone we don't know anymore. Yesterday was one of those days. Someone who has been a friend off and on throughout the years chose to walk away from me for reasons I don't understand, and probably never will. I do know that it was related to my daughter's death and how I am choosing to deal with it on a very public scale. I have never been one to sit alone and stew quietly in my mourning, pain, or emotions. I have always needed a support system and people I can count on. I feel that is a basic human need. Some only need a few, and some need as many as they can get. I have always been so open about Charlotte, her condition, and her death that it never occurred to me that someone would be offended by anything that I would say regarding her. I have never once lashed out in bitterness and anger at those who have supported and loved me, and feel that people (even when it may seem insensitive) only give what they can. They do their best to show sympathy, empathy, and compassion towards me and my family. They mourn WITH us and hate to see that we are hurting and miss our sweet angel so much.

Death is an emotional experience for anyone who has faced it in one way or another; whether that emotion is grief, anger, heartache, regret, emptiness, or just feeling numb. We ALL walk a different path when mourning the loss of a loved one. We all process and cope in the best (and sometimes worst) ways we know how to. No one, save Christ alone, truly knows what we are going through and what is in our heart of hearts. This can cause us to look and judge in ways that we don't expect. We may wonder why someone does what they do, or why someone would post something on Facebook, or why they may say the things they do, or act a certain way. It's not easy to understand what to say to someone who has lost a child. It's dang near impossible. The words of condolence and shows of support can be like walking through uncharted territory. I know that when my friend lost her baby days before her due date to a cord accident, I didn't know what to do or say other than to tell her that I loved her, my heart was broken for her, and that I was there for her if she needed me. Sometimes that's all we need; is to know that we are not alone, and that we won't be judged for how we grieve.

Yesterday was the 2 month mark of my sweet little Charlotte's tiny life and her unfortunate death. I knew that it was going to be hard day. I could feel it from the moment I woke up, not for reasons relating to her, but I had a lot on my plate and wanted to get it all accomplished. My husband had been out of town for 3 days for work and I had errands to run and a house to clean, and I was watching 2 little ones for a dear sweet friend while she tried to run her errands as well. It was to be a very full day. I was thinking of my girl and how the past 2 months and flown by, and felt like slow motion all at the same time. It felt so surreal. I was feeling good and looking forward to having my hubby home after being gone for so long. I was focused. Keyword WAS. It all came crashing down in 2 seconds flat. 

I posted a picture that said "My baby died. There is no 'At least...'". I felt that I related, yet expressed that we were so grateful that we had those precious 17 minutes with her. The comments that followed were something I never expected. A lifelong friend brought me to my knees with cruel, judgmental, and bitter comments. They were so filled with anger and hate that I couldn't even read them aloud. I handed my phone to my friend as my pulse raced and my hands started to shake. I watched her face as she read them. Her eyes filled with shock and disgust. I was told by this man (Yes! A man said all this!) to be grateful that my friends cared enough to say anything, that if I had peace them why the stick up my bum?, that I was just looking for a fight, and to get the eff over myself. I was stunned that someone who had literally watched me grow up could turn spew so much poison in my direction. I left my friend to watch our kids and went for a drive. I found myself standing in the rain at a park just watching the river roll by, tears streaming down my face asking God what the heck just happened. Comments from friends poured in defending me, appalled at this man's behavior. I was hurt and betrayed. My stomach turned and I felt sick. I didn't know what to do. It took me all day to decide, but I knew there was only one choice I could make.

Forgiveness. I'm not by any means a superhero, and have people in my life that I have struggled to forgive, and still feel like I haven't quite got there with. This was different. I knew that whatever was fueling his fire had nothing to do with me, yet after communication with him, knew that there was nothing I could do to make the situation better. His bitterness and resentment were driven by things from his life, and his family's past and I was just the girl who got the sharp end of the stick. He judged my grief process based on how public I was, saying that it was more courageous to be quiet about it. Let me tell you right now, how "quiet" you are has nothing to do with courage. Courage is handing your infant's lifeless body over to a funeral director. Courage is watching your daughter die in the arms or your spouse knowing you never got the chance to hold her while she was alive. Courage is carrying a child to term knowing you may have mere minutes with her. Courage is knowing that the journey ahead will change you completely and still facing every day life with the hope that maybe the Doctors are wrong. Courage is having faith that life will be beautiful again, that you will smile and laugh and feel happy. For someone to judge how you walk through your journey, how you survive without the child you love so dearly, how you manage to breathe when you feel like your world is collapsing in around you is not only shocking, but sickening. The only way I knew how to get rid of that feeling was to forgive him and let him walk away, knowing it was out of my hands.

Saying something supportive or sweet is better than saying nothing at all. You can only do what you know how to do when you have a friend that loses a child, and remember....everyone walks a different path. Grief has no time limit or handbook. It's like an ocean, and every day feels like you're learning to swim for the first time. We're all just trying to keep our heads above water.

1 comment:

  1. Jami, you are so loved. I love the path that you have chosen. Some are quiet at one moment and grieving with a stranger the next. Everyone responds to the mourner differently too. Some will avoid out of fear that it may happen to them or they do not know what to say. Some share in your process by coming into your space and feelings. Your Heavenly Father loves you and is proud of the way you are walking this path. It is not an easy or short one though the path does become less rocky over time, sometimes a very long time. I love you. My heart and soul ache for you and long to hold you in my arms to giving the comfort and strength that I can. Keep holding on to your Savior and Father. You will shine! All my love, K