Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today, I took Claudia to her gym class and something that happened there has been haunting me ever since.

Another family was there watching their older boy who is in Claudia's class. I have seen them before but it had been awhile. Another mom was standing next to me and she asked this couple, "Where is your little one today?"

He died last week, they replied.

My heart sunk. SIDS they said. He was 5 months old. My eyes filled with tears. Her eyes filled with tears.

This is the first time I have experienced this. I have been on the other end numerous times. I was pregnant, then I wasn't. People in my life who knew me, but didn't KNOW me, asked "You had the baby! Where is he?" Their faces would fill with horror. They would stammer out some statement. It was horrible.

I didn't know what to do. Do I intrude on their grief and tell them I lost a son? I was catapulted back to June of 2006 when all I felt was overwhelming grief. Where living each day took so much strength and effort I could barely remember to take a breath.

I told them I lost my first. I told them he was stillborn when I was 40 weeks pregnant. I told them my situation was different but I understood grief. I said to find support, find a support group, find people who knew, people who would be willing to talk about their boy. Surround yourself with people who understand grief is a life long process and you will never be the same.  The mom asked me questions. Would she ever smile again. Would she have another baby. How did I get through my next pregnancies. She asked if I had miscarried, I said yes. She asked how I responded. I was honest. I told her I was mad as hell. I told her how my two subsequent pregnancies were horribly debilitating. She talked about his funeral and his little casket. She had been admitted to the hospital a few days ago because her grief was too overwhelming and she became dehydrated. I told her she will smile again and feel okay but the grief of losing her baby will never leave. She asked how to keep his memory alive.  I told her she will do so many things in his memory.... I told her about resources I know about to help them through this year.

Her husband eventually steered her away from me.I could tell he was uncomfortable with our conversation. I felt horrible about this. He obviously was trying to get his wife to focus on their little boy in his class, she obviously is in a rough place being that she just got out of the hospital. I felt bad, I probably overstepped my boundaries but I so badly wanted her to unload on me. He was trying to be polite, I could tell, but I had upset him. I told them my situation was different, but grief...I know grief.

Seeing a mother in SO much pain, so much raw pain, brings me back so quickly to my own pain. I feel a touch of survivor's guilt because I am over 4 years out from losing Curtis and I feel as normal as I can. I miss him, I grieve him, I write and talk about him...but I am past that first year where I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. I remember what it feels like to be her and I am so glad I am not there. It is a yucky feeling to watch someone feel the way she does and remember I felt like that once too.

I want to apologize if I said something or did something to further their pain....I just wanted so badly to talk with them and be someone who understands. I can't understand SIDS, I only know stillbirth but each is grief beyond measure. You can't compare the two, but you can look at two mothers who are grieving, four and a half years apart.


Sarah said...

I would have had the same conversation with her. How horrible and sad :(

A good friend of mine lost her son 5 months ago - he was stillborn at 28 weeks. We have known each other for more that 20 years so we have these conversations. I know what you mean about that time difference.

Hope's Mama said...

I had a few people put me in touch with mothers who had lost babies when I first lost Hope, but most of them were 4-5 years out and at that time, it was too much for me. I needed people who'd lived through it more recently than that. I also found it hard if the people had other living children. I guess we all have different needs and feelings when the grief is so raw and new.
So sorry to hear about this poor woman. I think you did the right thing talking to her the way you did. Absolutely. SIDS scares the hell out of me, despite knowing how much more uncommon it is than stillbirth. I send all my love to the family.

Rachel said...

sweetie you did the right thing, I know grief thru lat pg loss but again my Katy was different from Curtis but I still no the grief of losing a child...

she will look back and remember the conversation..she may seek you out when she is stronger, the husband as you know have a different way of dealing with grief their first thought is to protect their partner.. they forget they need to grieve too all they want is to see their partner smile again

dont beat yourself up you did the right thing


Ms. Kiki said...

I agree that you did the right thing. Maybe something you said will help this woman find the strength to carry on. I have a feeling that you speaking up to her meant a lot.


Missy said...

I would have done the same. I probably would have slipped her my number and said call me anytime. It is so heartbreaking that you had to experience this, but I'm glad you were able to talk to her and open up. Grief is grief, it's different yet the same. All my love~

loribeth said...

You absolutely did the right thing, & I'll bet she is so grateful to you for reaching out to her in that way (her husband notwithstanding). I had a few women tell me they had had stillborn babies, but they were mostly older women. I was grateful to them for sharing that part of themselves with me, but it would have meant a lot to have someone closer to my own age reach out to me. That's where support groups can be so, so helpful.

You did good!!

Ya Chun said...

I can't believe the husband had drug her to the class within a week and right after being at the hospital. It seems the family might be trying to avoid the grief, as the husband was dragging her away from some lady telling her to grieve?

Or maybe he thought she was starting to bug you? anyway, i think it was right to reach out to her...

Becky said...

I think it was a good thing that you talked to her. I wished desperately that I had someone to talk to about my grief right after I lost Liam, its hard talking to people that haven't been there. I hope she gets the love and support she needs through out her grieving and know that she is not alone.