Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Time Keeps on Tickin'

Wegmans. The tailor shop. Perfectly mundane errands. Except I am no longer my same old self. Who is this crazy person performing these pedestrian chores?

I had to get out of my house. Yesterday we took Eliot and Cosmo for a walk--an abbreviated version of our neighborhood travels. And damn, was it strange. Believe it or not, the outside world HAS NOT STOPPED FOR US! Same old at the coffee shop, same old at the bookstore, ditto at ETS and the bank and the bus stop. Huh.

I really don't believe myself to be the center of the universe. But for the past week or so I've not left the walls of my house, have watched the news without listening, haven't so much as glanced at a newspaper. So you can understand how I felt as though I was emerging from a cave into a strange new world. (Earthquake in Haiti? How terrible! Does anyone know about this yet?)

The last time I was out there, I was blissfully unaware of the future in which I'd soon be existing. I was a big bellied mama, loud and proud. That's the thing about being 8 months pregnant--it's out there for all to see, a billboard of fertility and possibility.

Who the heck have I become? What do I do now? I am at a bit of a loss as to where I fit in out in the real world. I do not want to become that preachy, "Kiss your kids because you never know . . ." type. Nor do I want to be the person who can't be invited to a baby shower or meet new members of families, or someone who cries at Pampers commercials. Ugh. I am afraid of becoming a pariah because I make people sad.

So I just decided to jump in with two feet. Do I WANT to go out an face all this crap? Hell,no. I want to go back to bed and get up in about 50 years. But that's crazy (tempting, but crazy). I went for a walk. I looked at people as best I could. I went to Wegmans. I bought the groceries.

I went to the tailor shop. The last time I was there they were fitting me for a dress for Tim--my brother's--wedding. A giant dress to accommodate my growing self. Today the kind Italian lady asked how my holidays were and I told her about our recent sadness. She was sad, too. But then she told me how her family from Palermo had been in for Christmas, and how they got to see snow for the first time. And the moment came and went.

Ahh. It will be a challenge, for awhile. But time will go on, we will go on, life will resume it mundaneness. And underneath it all there will still be sadness, grief, wondering, remembering. But the memory of Calla, our special, secret life together, will be there, too. And that will help make it OK.


  1. Mary Beth, Chris told me everything today. I hadn't seen the email and had called to invite you all over on Saturday for dinner. I don't know what to say, because everything sounds so damn stupid. I am angry and sad and devastated for you. I suppose, that just as Eliot changed you from who and what you were before him, so will Calla, you just can't yet be sure how. You are probably hearing so many people saying, "I have a friend...", but I do. With the "same" story, a year and a half ago. When you are ready we can open the line of communication if you would like. I know she would be more than willing. I must say, I agree with your husband. There is no rushing this. There is only allowing yourself to emerge at some point and then looking back over time and saying, "Oh, I think I am beginning to understand". As a friend, I am willing to share the burden in anyway I can. If you want to drop Eliot for a time and go do something, anything, you can. I make a mean meatloaf. And, it's just me and the 2 1/2 year old over here-so come whenever. -Heather

  2. Mary Beth-
    I so relate to that shocked feeling of the world not stopping because of my huge loss....it's bizarre, right? I would be in line at Lord & Taylor and think "I can't believe I have to wait. Don't they know my young mother just died?" or being incredulous that I had to wait at a red light. Didn't they see? Didn't they know?? I couldn't WAIT! If I waited, I might begin to think and then to cry...yes, "Who is this person?" is exactly how I felt. I KNOW that a mom and a daughter are not the same loss. I did not mean to suggest that. And grief has common threads that bind all of us that have gone through a significant loss in varying and horrible degrees. All of the cliches are true - time healing and all of that crap. But the important NOW suggestion I have is this...sob in the shower, scream in the car and drink at least half a glass of your favorite indulgent wine a night. Thinking of you.