Sunday, October 7, 2012

I'm finally angry.

I know that anger is one of the stages of grief, widely accepted as part of the healing process.  I've been waiting for it to come...occasionally wondering if God had granted me the grace to escape this phase.  But no, He had other plans.

Four-and-a-half months out from Ethan's death I am finally angry.  At who?  Unsure.  At what?  Sometimes that my son died...what the heck?  (those of you who know me well can substitute the words I was really thinking there)  Other times at the things that are said to me, often with good intentions I know.  Many of the comments offered my way are just not helpful...I know they are meant to be, but depending upon the day they just aren't.  And part of me is too exhausted to pretend they are any longer.

This is another one of those posts that isn't pretty.  Usually I edit myself, for fear of making others feel uncomfortable...but I am too exhausted to do that right now.  And, this is my journal - so read on at your own risk I guess.

During a conversation focused on how painful my grief is, please don't think that is a good time to tell me that you are expecting your first child.  And that your baby is due in the same month that Ethan was born and's just too close.  How could that make me feel "less pain?"  Just don't share that news in that way.  I can hear that people are having babies (of course it always stings a little, or a lot, that I am no longer in that position), but tell me in a conversation separate from you trying to be a support during my grief.  Do people think before they speak?  I'm not always sure they do.  But please start around me.

To the former friend who told me "you are better off financially" immediately after I told you that my son died...    Fuck you.  (I told you to read at your own risk and that this wasn't going to be pretty.  Clearly this is the sassy side of me coming out.  Not the minister's wife side of me.)  Now that I wrote that, I feel a little bit better.  I still find myself wishing you well, but I no longer consider you a friend.  There is no excuse for telling me that I am better off financially in the same breath that I said my beautiful son died.  And you are a parent...what is wrong with you?  I don't care that you have always been socially awkward.  It's no excuse.  I have always liked you, and given you the benefit of the doubt...but you crossed a line - I forgive you for it, but will remember it.  And by the way, you never told me you were sorry that my son died.

This next one is less upsetting to me - as I can see part of why people say this to me.  I am blessed with three young children at home, and I live a life of blessed chaos.  Several people have said to me something like "can you imagine how much harder/more difficult this would have been with four?"  Um, yes I can.  It's all I imagine...and that brings me so much pain.  What many don't see is that even though I am juggling the concrete needs of my 3 children on Earth, I am constantly juggling my grief for Ethan.  I am quite experienced at managing the needs of lots of littles - and I guarantee managing Caroline, Jackson, Ryan and my grief over Ethan is far more difficult than if I had Ethan here.  Those well-intentioned comments just are not helpful.  I don't blame you for thinking it...but don't say that out loud please.

I have more, but am running out of time right now.  This anger in me was sparked by an online program I am participating this month.  It is a month-long-process of photographing something each day in reference to your grief.  The other day the task was "what NOT to say."  So many lovely people shared their pictures of horrendous things said to them.  It's just not OK.  We are all suffering too much already, how can people honestly tell us that we are "better off financially" or that "it was your fault because you had a baby shower" - yup, one poor woman was told that by her mother-in-law.  And it gets worse, people forget that our babies died.  One person posted how painful it was that someone "forgot" their baby died...asking "where's your baby, asleep?"  Just 1 week after the funeral.  And you know what?  Multiple people had similar experiences - myself included.  A volunteer at work actually asked me how my "baby was?" on two separate occasions.  And she did not mean Ryan.  She FORGOT that I had told her my baby died.  The second time, I can't remember exactly what I said.  I think I may have said "actually, he's dead" with a look of horror on my face.

The sass in my has come out...and I am unsure how long it will stay that way.  Please tread carefully around me, as I am simultaneously strong and fragile.  I want nothing more than to talk with others about Ethan, yet please think before you speak.


  1. Good for you for getting Angry - those are some pretty clueless people in your life! Let the sass out all you need!!

  2. To repeat what someone else said on your fb...I love the sassy annie :) i miss u xoxo hugs