Okay, now that that's out of the way.
After Elijah was born, my friends really thinned out. It is probably fair to say this was for many reasons. Like, for one, nobody in their intellectual or empathic mind could possibly understand, unless they were living it, what it was like to be parenting a child who had special needs - not dealing with the child so much as the diagnosis...or lack thereof...and the endless parade of doctors...and the membership of this new parenting club you never voluntarily joined. And that can be quite isolating in itself. Then there is just the basic reality of the fact that you have no more time to socialize, what with all the OT and PT and EI appointments... And then there are the other ones. The ones who just don't call - well, they didn't know what to say...as they tell you this apologetically when they finally do call or run into you at the farmers market.
After Elijah died, my friends really thinned out. I guess it would be fair to say that this was also for many reasons, but-
hey - fuck that. Fuck FAIR. My child died. So fuck off with the fair.
Oh. Sorry - got carried away.
Anyway, rest assured, the good friends were there for me, supporting me and calling me every day to make sure I was still breathing. Which is why I am still alive. Really. But today is not their day. (sorry, good ones.)
I have a friend; a friend I still love, a dear soulmate-at-one-point-in-your-life type of friend, and I am sad for the great distance between us. I mean that in all ways possible.
About four months after Elijah died, I heard from this friend. I'll call her AJ.
I had been back from our fleeing-to-maui trip just about long enough for me to have run into every single person I knew in town who asked me where my baby was. And long enough for Supergirl to have begun preschool, where again I dreaded each well-intentioned platitude that was stuttered in my direction. But handled with
But once home, oh did these platitudes make me seethe. What stupidity! You would not even believe what people say to a bereaved mother. Or maybe you would because I now realize that people only say these things because they are parroting what they think is appropriate to say in the awful situation (which means that death is handled very poorly in our culture, in my opinion), and do so without thinking a whit about it.
But I would spend my time coming up with nasty little comebacks in my head for each of the most abused platitudes, some to be used, but most were not.
For instance, the 'He's in god's arms now' used to set me off on a 'what about MY arms? what about MY EMPTY ARMS' tyrade. And the whole 'God never gives you more than you can handle' - well, 'How the hell do YOU know what I can handle? Did you see me on the edge of the cliff last Tuesday?'
And you wouldn't even believe the crap I endured (involving 'better places' and 'angels') from FAMILY. Well-intentioned, but really. 'Better place'?? 'FOR THE BEST'?? Just because he was 'DIFFERENT'???
Don't get me started. That's another Tuesday - there are many to come.
ANYWAY, this friend, Oh yeah -AJ- called me. Months later. Which is fine. She was a good friend - it would be okay and we would pick up where we left off - just like always, right?
We were talking for a few minutes before I lapsed into my 'can I just tell you what is SO LAME about people' shpiel. A theme that had been batted back and forth between us and repeated for years (nearly decades), but now taking the 'can I tell you what crap I hear about my son's death' twist. A conversation that can never really be anticipated in any relationship, you know? I went on for a while...and a while longer....and longer...and there was very little response on the other end. I felt awkward. I felt lost. Umm..AJ? Don't you think this is crazy? Weird, huh? Can you believe that?
Finally, she responded. Maybe it was a fair response. Maybe I really was going off.
She said, "Well, I just don't really know what to say to you. I mean, you are going off about how stupid things are said to you all the time by other people. And I just don't want to say something stupid. Something that you'll tell someone else is stupid."
I was really surprised.
I tried to come up with a way to tell her that I wasn't talking about my friends, I was talking about other random people. And acquaintances. Why would I talk to my friend about dissing my friend? Or some fumbling thing like that.
But the conversation ended soon after that. I couldn't say anything without her worrying about how I might take her response, so it wasn't really a conversation then.
Ironically, this is a person who demands a very high standard of political-correctness in the people that surround her and work with her.
I haven't really made sense of it all. It just bothered me.