First, please let me sincerely and honestly say "Thank you," for your comment. I truly believe that you are right, in that most people are just trying to do their best. I also agree that there probably aren't any words that would make me "feel better." Further, I'm very sorry that you have had people get angry with you when you told them you were sorry for their loss. You are right, perhaps that may be only comforting to me. Just remember that in their grieving, they too are only trying to do their best, and words that are meant to comfort someone sometimes just don't. I've often said that lots of times; I don't even know what would hurt my feelings until it's actually spoken and my feelings have been hurt. You are also right in that I doubt that lady was purposely trying to hurt me, but casually talking about my son as if he was that replaceable (I left out many other parts of the conversation--like where she's laughing and joking and telling me I can have hers, but they are in college and would be pretty expensive right now--because you know, that's certainly going to comfort me, right?)---well, I guess I just give common sense too much credit. To me, common sense says that when you have learned someone lost their child, you don't try to make them feel better by jokingly offering yours. Just saying.
Thank yous aside, I have to tell you that I'm saddened by this line:
"When you toss out your son died at pass and ID what do you EXPECT people to say or do?" (Emphasis added, yours)
I'm saddened not so much because it hurt my feelings, though I admit, it stung a bit. I'm saddened because you act as if I am just roaming around at any old place trying to purposely make people feel uncomfortable by telling them I have a dead son. Which, for the record, I'm not. In fact, again, the entire conversation was not listed--I really had no intention of mentioning my son died. I merely made note of the fact that I looked as if I had gone through hell and back to John, and that it showed in my picture. She kept pushing, telling me I looked great and we always feel like our situations are worst-scenario but they really aren't. So sue me. I cracked and told her mine was. Because it was. Matthew dying was and will always be worst-case scenario.
And Anonymous, why CAN'T I tell her my son died? He did. Why do *I* have to walk around this earth worrying about what other people think or feel when I am barely making it through each day without collapsing in his nursery and staying there forever. Trust me, I don't casually 'toss out' those words because they HURT. I CRY. I feel stabbed in the heart over and over again EVERY . SINGLE . TIME . I . UTTER . THOSE . WORDS.
I'm so heartbroken that this attitude (don't want to make others uncomfortable) is so pervasive in this world. What about my uncomfortability? What about every time someone asks me if I have any children and I bite my lip so I don't cry? What about every time someone tells me that I'm young (ha!) and can have more children (which instantly devalues my son's brief little life as interchangeable with a child who may live)?
And I'm a LUCKY one! I have support! I have people who have enveloped me with their offers of support and help. My son was born and lived and died. We were smothered with meals and cards and gifts and offers of just about anything you can imagine. Most people give his life validation because he was full-term, lived, breathed and died. But what of women who miscarry? Where are their casseroles or memorial services? What of women who give birth to children born still? In 23 states, those women can't even get a stupid piece of paper that validates their little one's life because a breath was never taken-regardless of the fact that so many stillbirths are babies who are between 38-40 weeks. They STILL have to give birth--it's not like a baby's heart stops beating at 39 weeks and then just disappears. Where is their validation????
Why should ANY of these women have to worry about 'tossing out' information that not only changed their lives forever, but completely stole their identity and forced them into a new one that no woman should ever have to bear--a mother without her child.
They shouldn't. And I'm not ONE . BIT . SORRY if someone gets 'sad' because I 'toss out' heartbreaking news. IT IS HEARTBREAKING. IT IS TRAGIC. And friend, IT IS MY LIFE.
For the rest of my life.
So, what do I expect people to do or say? As I said in my post: Nothing.
I don't expect a single, solitary thing from anyone.
I appreciate and am grateful for every hug I am given, every card, letter, email or phone call I get, every tear shed for my son, every "I'm sorry" spoken, every thoughtful remembrance of Matthew and every silence given, every amazing insight shared...I'm thankful for so much.
And I guess I do expect something...I expect that a woman who has three children of her own (though she was trying to give them away, I concede) would realize that MY SON IS NOT REPLACEABLE and would not insinuate in any way that he was. I would be considered insensitive and ignorant if one of her college-aged children were to die in a car accident and I said, "Oh, that's gonna make me sad. You know what? You have another. You just have another."
And I would never have said that before Matthew died, either.
Like I said, I guess I give common sense too much credit. People are not interchangeable. Thought that was an easy one.
Anonymous, you end your comment with "I think that's all we can ask for," which leads me to believe that you (as part of we) have suffered some sort of loss in your life. I pray that it was not the loss of your child, but if it was, I am so, so sorry for your pain. I know that there is absolutely no pain like it, and perhaps you are finding your way in a world that is so foreign to you that you feel like you have entered and will never leave hell. If so, again, I am so very sorry.
Thank you again for your comment, but if you feel as though I 'toss out' information about Matthew too casually, you may find yourself uncomfortable many, many times if you continue to read this blog. It is the story of my family, which includes and always will, my precious first-born son. His place in my life, every day of it, is permanent and unchanging.