Jul 28, 2009

The Patience Poem

A friend recently sent me a poem she'd written about her experience with grief in losing a child. I'd like to share it here (with her permission). Thanks, Robyn for putting into words what is so hard for people to understand about we parents with children who are no longer with us. It's the first thing, she says, she's ever written. I hope it's not the last.

Patience…………..Understanding


When a child dies a part of you dies with that child
A future you dreamed about no longer exists.
Everyone waits on the side for you to move on.
Everyone wonders why you still may grieve from time to time.
Have they ever lost a child?
Can they really know what we are feeling?
Everyone must understand this loss is a life long journey.
Patience…………Understanding - that’s all one can do.
Those of us who have had a child die don’t want the pain or want to dwell on the past.
The pain is just there.
It eases up and gets easier, but the pain will live with us forever.
Forever because it’s a future we will never know.
Only a dream we dreamed.
Only a prayer we prayed.
Only a wish we wished.
Only a hope we had hoped.
Not a day goes by that we don’t think of our child that is not with us.
It may not be an all day affair wondering what they would be doing right now.
But it may be a song we hear
A moment we feel
A smell we come across
A short simple thought of that child who is not with us.
Just give us Patience……………Understanding
Our emotion, whatever it may be, will forever be with us.

Robyn Lloyd
Mother of Hailey
Born still May 31, 2008
July 2009

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Jul 22, 2009

Another Dichotomy

I'm lucky. My interactions with the police - whether troopers or local officers - have always been polite and respectful on both sides. I have always found the people I have known - whether personally or in their professional capacity - to be professional, considerate, thoughtful folk who honestly care about people.

A post came across a listserv I'm on today that really appalled me and spat in the face of what my own experience has been of the police. (This is a listserv for people who have lost children and are either pregnant or trying to conceive afterward.) It just upset me so much that I have to relate it (in abbreviated fashion) here in the hopes that someone has some ideas on how this woman can keep other people from being treated this way or at least get an apology.

This woman lost her baby at 7 wks old. She called the ambulance when she went to check on her baby and the girl wasn't breathing. The paramedic told her she could ride in the ambulance. The police refused to let her, detaining her for hours. The baby was pronounced dead at 7:15 a.m., she wasn't even told for another 2 hours and 20 minutes. When she was finally allowed to see her baby, it was for less than a minute, the child was completely covered, and she wasn't allowed to hold her, touch her, or even uncover her to see her face or kiss her one last time.

They were demeaning and aggressive, tried to get her to say she did things she hadn't done and to confuse her statements. They wouldn't allow her husband to be with her. They made no bones about the fact that they thought she killed her baby. An autopsy showed no signs of any trauma and the cause of death was determined to be SIDS.

She accepts they had a job to do but, you know, that doesn't excuse cruelty. No apology was given. No expression of condolence. They never, even after the autopsy, returned any of the items with the baby at the time they took her from her parents - not even her pacifier. No wonder so many people don't trust the police!

In every field, there are good eggs and bad ones. It's that kind of police that give police a bad name - just as the sleazy attorneys that advertise on busses and cheesy TV ads give the honest ones a bad name. Just as there are far more honest attorneys than sleazy ones, I'm sure there are far more good and compassionate police than cruel ones but it's situations like this that just make my heart cry. I mean, for God's sake, they lost their baby - at very least have the courtesy to give back her pacifier and say "I'm so sorry for your loss."

As I said, I'm lucky. The police officers I know and have known are good people that go out of their way to be kind, even as they are professional - ones who take seriously the dictum "to protect and serve". I am grateful for them and, at one time, thought about becoming one (before my mother pointed out rather bluntly I was way too fat, way too clumsy, and way too blind). I think my rose-coloured glasses just got broken.

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The Only Good Thing About Morning

is that it means you survived the night before.

My 3-going-on-4-going-on-14 year old starts talking the minute she wakes up and keeps talking until she goes to sleep. Sometimes she even talks in her sleep. "Mommy," she pleads when asked to 'please dear God be quiet', "but I have to talk."

I need earplugs for the morning until I can have coffee again!!

In the meantime, in case anyone can answer this, I'd appreciate it..."who was the queen for baby Jesus?" Also, in case you're curious, she advised me that she straightened the pepper so it wasn't tipping (FYI, it wasn't tipping in the first place) and "what sound does pep make?"... and the list goes on... and on... and on...

"Mommy, I have something to tell you - why is the fan not on? Mom, I'm hot!!!" And, by the way, her "shoes are locked." No, I have no idea what that means either.

Definitely earplugs. Except then I couldn't hear if the baby needed me. Crap.

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Jul 13, 2009

Ideas Among the Missing

Ok, I've had about 8 things I've wanted to blog about in the last month but can I remember any of them when I actually sit down to write? No, of course not. Because that would be the hallmark of a practical, organized person with a calm and rational brain. Which, of course, would not be me. So I'll just babble for a while. You might as well tune out now!

Got taken to see the Goodspeed Opera House production of Camelot last Saturday and to dinner too! It was wonderful but sad - a dichotomy of an evening. The company I was in was superlative. Dinner was absolutely marvelous - mussels, clams, and shrimp over homemade wide noodle pasta with light bacon alfredo sauce. Absolutely spectacular. The production was, as Goodspeed productions typically are, excellent. Gorgeous sets, beautiful costuming, wonderful cast. It's, at its heart, though, a sad story. Lerner and Lowe did a wonderful job, as did the cast, of really portraying how heartbreaking the triangle is for each of the three. Love is a funny thing and catches us each in many ways. Humanity, also, at its heart, is a funny thing. The inevitable war that results from a king's attempt to maintain the civilized society they all so strived for is tragic.

The sense of dichotomy is heightened, for me, as the reason I got to go was that their traditional 4th for the dinner'n'show evening was direly ill and in the hospital and, indeed, 2 of my 3 hosts left at intermission to be with her. So, as thrilled as I was to be there, I couldn't help feeling somewhat guilty that my good fortune came only at the cost of another's misfortune.

~~~

I told my mother off two weekends ago. I just couldn't take constantly not being good enough. I find it very interesting that she told me it was all in my head and that no one else feels that way when I know, for a fact, that each of my siblings has had the same conversation with her.

My sister thinks my father is trying to eat himself to death. Of course, if I lived with my mother, I'd probably try too... or fall into the "candy's dandy but liquor's quicker" trap.

It's another dichotomy. She's my mother and I love her. I do my best to see her personal demons behind the vitriol and let things go. Still, one can't help but feel those barbs strike home.

~~~

Perhaps my life itself is simply a dichotomy. I don't feel like a boring person (to me) yet, when I examine what others must think... it's pretty obvious that I am. My mother termed me once, as I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before, her ornamental child. I am still torn as to whether it was said fondly or as a veiled slap.

Does it just come down to whether or not being ornamental does any good in the world? Maybe so. Do I, despite my protestations to the contrary, really believe underneath it that being the ornamental child is useless? Have I bought into the Puritan Work Ethic so sternly that I dismiss my own worth if indeed there is any? Yet, I struggle to make it through the "worthwhile" parts of my day - living for those times when I can create, whether art, music, words. And, if that is such a struggle for me and the other such a joy, where does that leave me in terms of worth? How can I truly be a useful, worthwhile sort of person when all I really want to do is be creative, when every scheme to make a little side money revolves not around a second (well, third... no, fourth) job but around music or art? Is it courage to keep slogging through my "worthwhile" tasks or cowardice... or both?

I simply don't know.
And,
because I don't,
I'll shut up
now.
Probably to your
eternal
gratitude.

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