Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nope, he's not our dog.

When Ethan died in my left arm, my world stopped.

The world where gravity exists and babies live are givens - well that was no longer my world.  And could never be again.  My naivete is gone.

I am not exaggerating, you should know, when I say that I thought of Ethan with every single breath.  Still do many days.  That there was a loop replaying in my mind endlessly shouting to the world that something unnatural had happened.  That my baby boy had died.  That life was not the way it was supposed to be.

It was amazing, wildly so, that others still live in my old world.  Part of me gets it actually.  Ethan was my son, not everyone else's.

In the days that followed Ethan's death I have walked through this old world of mine, but breathed and existed in another.  I witnessed my neighbors drive off to work daily.  Stood next to the parents at t-ball who were gloriously cuddling their babies or rubbing their swollen bellies in the naive expectation of pregnancy.  Three days after Ethan died I went grocery shopping for goodness sake.  (Rather I gingerly walked around the store and pointed to items for my amazing sister-in-law to put in the cart for me - since I wasn't allowed to lift anything, least of all Ryan)

Several babyloss mothers share how difficult it can be to venture out of the home.  To wade into the waters of their old world.  Where they no longer breathe the same air as those around them.  I can see that - though seclusion hasn't always been my preference.  Can't tell you why, it just hasn't been my road.

But today I think of this idea - that the world just keeps moving, the same as it always has, for most people around us.  Yet our world, for babyloss parents, has stopped.  Rather I got booted out of this common world and forced to simultaneously function in it (to take my children to soccer, to do the preschool drop off and pick up) while breathing air of my new world.  It's quite tricky actually.  The key to success is that we have no option.

I think of this idea today because something happened this week.  I stood up during announcements at Church on Sunday and briefly spoke of the March for Babies fundraiser that I am participating in to honor Ethan & raise funds for The March of Dimes.  Then Josh spoke of grieving Ethan's death in his sermon.  Remember that we are new to this church as we just moved here a month ago when Josh was called to this new congregation.  Well, last night someone mentioned to him at a meeting that some people in the church had no idea that we had a son who died.  They had heard of Ethan somehow, but then never saw him.  So some of the members had thought Ethan was our dog.  Really.  The dog.  The bio on Josh referenced his family as something like Josh, Annie, Caroline, Jackson, Ryan and Ethan.  (I fully love that Ethan is included just as any normal child, because he is that - he just happens to have died already)  But Ethan never showed up for church.  We all know that some families include their pets when they list their family members individually.  I can see why people would think that.  But it is sad, poor E.  Nope, he's not our dog.  He's our son.

I hold no anger or hurtful feelings about this simple mistake, truthfully.  I get it.  But it does reinforce that it was just my world, and the world of those closest to us, who's world stopped when Ethan died.  Clearly.

Ethan being mistaken as a family pet.  That's a new one.

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