Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Kindness of Others

I used to be a total cynic. There was hardly a way for me to believe anyone cared about anyone else in this world. Close family and friends aside, I thought myself to be inconsequential to another human. As quick as a wink I learned just how deeply we are all intertwined.

The recent loss of our baby daughter, Calla, has left me an intellectual zombie. Going on emotional autopilot for days has given me a temporary reprieve from reality. But all around me are amazing people who hold me and my family up when all I want to do is collapse.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law stayed nearly an entire weekend, with their your girls, at our house with our toddler Eliot. A huge disruption of their lives was endured without a blink of an eye. Our parents, my brother and sister-in-law, spending nearly an entire weekend in the hospital, waiting, watching, crying, consoling us and one another. My sister-in-law racing to get to the hospital to be with us--all these people who love us, pressing the "pause" button right along with us, telling us how much they love us. How can I ever say enough "thank yous?"

Our dear, beloved Reverend Joel Miller spent the night with us when Calla was born. He blessed her, dedicated her, named her with and for us. A man with a family and obligations of his own--at a moment's notice with us, comforting us. "Thank you" can't quite cut it.

Again, our wonderful families--feeding us, keeping the house running, entertaining Eliot and playing endless rounds of the "HIDE!" game. My conservative, stoic father-in-law heading to Wegmans for--of all things he never thought he'd buy for his son's wife--maxi pads. All this done as though it were a regular day of the week. Really, "thank you" is all I can think of?

Through the miracles of modern social networking I have received so many messages of condolences and comfort. I posted our experience as an end to my frequent pregnancy updates, and what I received as a response has been nothing short of astounding. People I haven't spoken to in many, many years, new friends, old friends, acquaintences, even strangers have offered words of comfort, shared sadness and hope. It amazes me that so many people would even care enough to write a simple "I'm sorry" or a long note--what have I done in my life to deserve such kindness?

I know time will pass and our pain will soften around the edges. The solid core of hurt will never fully fade, but all the kindness of others will help us see our way through.


  1. I am so thankful that you are feeling the support of many!! It helps so much to know you are not alone in your pain.

  2. MB--You have had an unbelievably open, caring, empathetic spirit since the day I met you.

    If anyone deserves a thank you, it's you. Thank you for sharing Calla with us.

  3. MaryBeth and Chris,
    I've never blogged.
    Today, I am compelled to do so.

    I know how you feel...Willye and I shed some great tears on Monday. I remember hating the word, being so sad, confused and mad. That was our fact then...It took years to undertsand that every so often, I hear the slighest sound; the tiniest drift of smell and it brings me right back to my son... You will feel that too.
    Calla Valentina is now a beautiful Angel. We don't know why, and perhaps will never know why these great sacrifices are asked of us mothers and fathers. A pain so large it's indescribable....As my children have awoke telling me about a fabulous dream they had of a brother they never knew, perhaps it will be Calla Valentina who will keep Eliot smiling in his sleep and entertainted in his dreams. I beleive that, it brought peace to my heart and someday you too will feel this.
    You and Chris are amazing beautiful people.
    I pray that you both find the strengh to endure, what should not be asked of any parent.

  4. MB, why wouldn't people do that for you? You would do that for them. You are amazing.

  5. MaryBeth - Mary and I are so sorry for your loss.

    I'm glad that a community that I am connected with is treating you with love and support - I'd help too if I knew what would help. It reinforces my faith in the good hearts and generous spirits of the beautiful people who surround us.

    To answer your question, we don't receive love and support in proportion to anything we might have done to deserve it (although I have no doubt that you *do* deserve it). No, love and support are graces just as surely as are faith and hope and sunny days, peaceful nights and laughter and long-awaited children. We receive these things and appreciate them because we are open to them and cherish them. May your heart remain as open to love and beauty as it obviously has been so far.

    Kirsten Anderson