Warning: this is a no-edit zone…
Today, I received a very lovely note from a very gentle woman who sent her condolences on the loss of my future grandchild. I appreciated the note, I appreciated the thought and concern behind it. But at the end of that note, she said, “Don’t worry, Vic. She’s young. She’ll have other babies.”
I was grateful that it was email. This gentle woman could not hear me scream. I know that her intentions were good. I know that the dozens of times I’ve heard this in the past two weeks, the intentions have all been good. But if I hear that again, I might just come unglued.
One child never replaces another. Trust me on this. I watched my mother bury two sons. I’ve watched countless friends suffer miscarriages and the deaths of their children. NO other child replaces the one lost. And while the intentions are to comfort, they don’t. They infuriate. It’s as if this child, this life, doesn’t matter. Is insignificant.
I KNOW that isn’t the case. But I’m grieving THIS child. THIS loss. And to me it’s extremely significant.
I guess the whole point of this post is to share with you the pain that can be transferred even in gentleness by a kind woman attempting to be compassionate. And you let you know that “another child” comment to someone grieving this child negates the value of the life of this child.
I guess the whole point is warn you not to do it, to let you know that it doesn’t have the desired, comforting effect.
God, I read this and I feel like a total bitch because I know she meant well. I know it. But my throat is raw from the silent scream, anyway. And my heart shattered again, anyway. And my mind and logic fall to grief, anyway.
And I am so grateful that I was not on the phone. That this sweet soul will not know the impact of her words, though I hope she does somehow gain the understanding shared in this note.
Grief is a tough master. It’s merciless and it taints everything. You can rail against it, demand it ease up on the wrenching of your heart. You can ask, beg, pray for relief. But it still demands its due. I know that’s a good thing because the depth of that kind of pain can’t be touched otherwise, and to know oneself, one must know all of oneself. One must also treasure that outside itself. And there is no more forceful teacher than loss.
As I close now, I trust that tomorrow will be a better day. That light will again find its way into the darkness. I know it will; I’ve grieved and lost many times before. And if not tomorrow, then perhaps the next day. In its time. In its time…