Sunday, September 26, 2010

Head, Meet Wall

This is why I dread social situations, where the crowd is out of my control.

I love our church. We are members of the Unitarian Universalist church in our city, and I absolutely feel welcome and loved there. For a long time I was a member of the choir, until my life took a turn for the insane.  But we still attend, sporadically, and we're trying to teach E how to sit quietly . . . which, as you can imagine, is a challenge. Anyway.

C and I were married in that church. E was dedicated there, and we had Calla's memorial service there. Our pastor is about the kindest person on earth, and was there in the hospital to name, dedicate and bless Calla before we had to say goodbye.

But still, you never know who's going to say what to completely shit on your cereal. As we waited for the service to begin today, an old friend came up to me to say hello. She was surprised by my giant belly, and I said, "Yeah, uh, about six more weeks of holding my breath."

To which she replied, "Well, everything happens for a reason. You're young enough to have all the children you want."

I'd rather she'd smiled and punched me as hard as she could in the face.

I just would like to know how to take these things politely--I mean, REALLY?! What kind of person do I need to be to hear that my child, my daughter, died for "a reason," and that I'm still "young enough" to--what? make my child come back from the dead? I WANTED my daughter--so I guess being young won't solve that one. There is no good "reason"why she died--it's not the same as, oh, not getting a job I wanted, or not winning a prize, or anything else I may have wanted but didn't get. I DO NOT HAVE THE EMOTIONAL WHEREWITHAL to go through another pregnancy--I barely have my shit together going through this one--so being young really, I guess, is a slap in the face.

Ooh, ooh, think of all the babies I COULD have, if only it wasn't such a goddamn MINDFUCK to gestate!!!


So I'm left to sit and be mad and cry silently. AND SHE WAS TRYING TO BE NICE.


Oh, and tra la la la la, this baby I'm carrying does not erase my dead daughter. So get that shit right out of your head, folks. (No, not you. I know you get it. The rest of everyone else. Them.)

Thanks for listening, I feel much a little bit better. I'm only a little bit not even mad at this person, it just caught me off guard, at the wrong place at the wrong time.



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  2. "Everything happens for a reason," that meaningless, well-intended but cruel mindfuck of a platitude, is near the top of my long list of why belief just does deliver on its promises of comfort in the face of difficulty, notwithstanding the fact that I've never confronted anything remotely like what you're dealing with. Well-intended or not, people who say these things need it driven into their heads that it is, more often than not, an incredibly hurtful thing that only makes the grieving person feel worse.

    Certainly, everyone is entitled to reach their own conclusions about what is comforting in the face of tragedy and the incomprehensible turns and twists of life. The problem with this platitude is that, when faced with the normal loss of words at conveying sorrow for another's sadness, people fall back on it because "it's the thing you say," but they never actually think about how it will be received by the other person, which would be the essence of offering comforting words in the first place. It's a mindless blurb that relies on the assumption you believe exactly as they do in terms of some "divine plan," and it somehow reeks of a piousness and evangelism (whether intended or not) that is just downright offensive, not to mention somehow dismissive of your very real pain.

    I can still only imagine what you're going through, but I'd want to punch her in the face too. The clarity with which you verbalize how and why this rote recitation of "comforting words" makes you feel demonstrates exactly how courageous you are being in managing the grief and pain with an emotionally honest, upfront process. That's something that a lot of people wouldn't be capable of - they'd rather just believe in some inscrutable "reason" and call it a repressed day. Yours is an incredibly difficult, brave, and healthy way to work through, and not deny, what you are feeling.

    Love and thinking of you always (and reading every blog, even if I don't comment),

  3. oh goodness. I've determined that we BLM's need business cards with already established comments on them for situations such as this. Questions about how many children we have, we have a business card. Comments about being able to have more children and our child dying for some god awful good card. Some could be snarky for the snarky people. Some could be educational for the people who have no clue that what they said was completely miserable and just ruined our day. Not that we need to carry around a briefcase of business cards...but just more of an idea of hope in a notion that there could be an "easier" way to deal with the shit that we get sometimes.
    Sorry for your experience. Thinking of you and sending love.

  4. This is why on the little blurb part of my facebook, I have the line "everything DOESN'T happen for a reason". There is no good reason for this bullshit of baby death, not even if you are an axe murdering, pot smoking, whiskey guzzling no hoper.

  5. This is truly awful. I shake my head and think - REALLY? REALLY? People REALLY think that's an OK thing to say? I don't understand the logic, or lack thereof. I know people don't know what to say sometimes - but I angry and think there's a difference between not knowing, and saying something just plain stupid. Sorry - this is my own rant. I'm angry this was said. I'm sure this could have been the nicest woman in the world, and I'll never let her be that because of my reaction to her silly comment.

    Sounds like you handled the situation gracefully!

  6. The one person who told me that "happens for a reason" bull shit followed it up quickly with "thats what I have to beleive about Greg [her husband who died from avoidable causes due to medical negligence just last July] otherwise I would just cry all the time." I still felt she was wrong, but what do you say to that?

    I said "I DO cry all the time...."

  7. The only explanation is that some people are just STUPID. It's not a good excuse, in my opinion. But I think we have all run into this some time or another. I am sorry you just got suckerpunched like that. I am sorry you didn't hit her back:)