Monday, January 6, 2014


I have a few journal entries started, not yet finished, that aren't me being a grump or a downer.  I swear, I'm not all that unhappy.  It just happens that when something hurtful happens to me it fuels me to blog, to journal it out.  And the good times present with less urgency for me to do so.  But it doesn't mean they are less important, or less frequent.  I assure you.  As an aside, I was playing around (my first mistake there) with the settings on my blog the other day.  And now these silly ads are on my blog and I cannot figure out how to remove them successfully.  Just X out of them for now, bear with me.  I've got skills, what can I say.  With that said, here's one of those entries that presses with urgency on my heart.

There's this concept.  One where tragedy presents itself and shines a light on those around you.  This light highlights the beauty in so many of them.  And those beautiful relationships, whether old or new, are the ones you hold onto during the storm.  Those are the ones that assure you that you aren't a giant turd the world wants to avoid because your son died and you grieve openly.  I've written about these beautiful relationships before in What Love Is, and intend to write another post about them soon.

Then there is the other side.  There is the friend fallout.  I've lost 3 friends, close ones at that, since Ethan died.  My son dying sucks.  A lot.  Beyond description.  The nuances are countless.  But the idea of losing relationships that have brought me such laughter, love and support sucks too.  And I fought for these friendships too.  Relationships are a two-way street.  I see my role in them.  I get that I'm a loaded friend right now.  That I was even more so last year.  But the truth is, if you can only be a fair weather friend what good is that?  Perhaps such relationships were more acquaintances all along, guised as a true friendship.  And when that light shined on them, the truth came out.  Not saying that they are bad people, but they are not people who I can call my friends right now.  So tonight I am sad.  Sad that I've lost friends.  And that I think they were lost because they couldn't handle all of me, bereaved mom included.

The first friend I lost sent me a letter, intentionally having it delivered on the first anniversary of Ethan's death.  The letter was quite nice, and then it told me that the sender was pregnant again.  And could I hopefully come around and feel comfortable enough to call her again so she can tell me over the phone.  As she wanted to "tell the world."  How nice for you...  Now go away, it's the first anniversary of the hardest day of my life.

The second friend I lost was someone who called me family.  And vice versa.  During the Christmas week she mailed me a letter that said the following: "We hope and pray you are soon able to find Peace with Ethan's life everlasting and trust in the Lord that Ethan is not on Appledore.  We hope - for the Love of your understanding husband and your three beautiful living children - that you can do this soon - as they too must be suffering by your continued great sadness and continued grief..."  Ah - she hasn't been in touch with me since I moved a year ago.  By her choice.  So she cannot possibly know what my grief looks like right now.  Does she think I'm still a puddle on the floor?  Well, I'm not.  Even if I were, it's none of her business.  And to say that my family is suffering from my grief - that's bullshit.  They aren't suffering from their son and brother being included in the day to day discussions of our family.  It's not unhealthy to say that Ethan is part of our family.  I'm not the one causing suffering.  Any suffering that is experienced is caused by his death.  And just because I believe his spirit lives on after his death, it doesn't erase the grief here in the physical world.  And lastly, I know he's not on fucking Appledore Island.  You don't have to remind me that my son is not hiding away in some other part of the physical world.  And it's not wrong of me to desire to visit, one day, the place we spread his ashes.  

The third friend I lost was just today.  The history here is that this friend and I were quite close.  I supported her while her son had multiple surgeries over the course of a year.  The same year I first grieved Ethan.  And she supported me.  It was filled with lots of love, laughs, swears and tears.  But then things just stopped.  Little reciprocal communication from her.  She had not returned any calls, messages, texts, etc. for a few months.  I had asked her to do so - thinking it's reasonable to have some effort made, to no avail.  So, I chose to "unfriend" her on facebook.  (I had prayed for a long time about focusing my energies on relationships that were going to offer healing.)  For a few months she never called, emailed or messaged me to ask why I did so.  Though she did notice I had unfriended her right away - evidenced by a simple sent friend request right after.  To which I declined.  And then today, she chose to reach out.  But not with intentions to see what happened.  To see if we could salvage the friendship.  Instead she told me she was pregnant again.  How nice for her...and now it's that same old trigger.  If I have set boundaries why does she think I care for them to be disregarded only to share news that remains my largest grief trigger?  Which she acknowledged in the message.  We have few mutual friends, and those who are, know not to talk with me about other's pregnancies and babies yet.  We no longer live near each other, and are not in each others' lives.  I could have very well be ignorant to her pregnancy (though I am happy for her) and that would have been much gentler on me.  More things were said, few of which felt good.  It's sad though...  I'm pretty sure she still loves me, and I know I still love her.  But some relationships just aren't a healthy focus for my energy.  

With some distance I can see the friend fallout.  As if a baby dying wasn't sad enough, now friendships end as well.  It is what it is.  Trying to forgive discretions while moving forward.  Some days that's hard for me though.  But I'll keep trying.  


  1. Dear Annie, I am a reader of your blog, I like to know of your Ethan, I like to hear your perceptive, honest voice, and if I wasn't in a country on the other side of the planet from you but in the same town, I would be honoured to be a replacement friend to you. I have fallout too - professional fallout, sister fallout... and lots and lots of ongoing friend/acquaintance fallout that pains me and makes me cry and then withdraw from human contact. I'm sorry that your friends have written such hurtful things and disqualify themselves when you need them to be good friends.

  2. ruby - i wish we could sit on a couch together and be friends. maybe we could find a way to still do so despite being so far apart. i'm sorry about your fallout. it's very real. and very crappy. my email is if you ever feel like it.

  3. Oh my goodness. She had that letter delivered on Ethan's first anniversary? What a complete and utter asshat.

    #2, wow, really? Blaming a grieving mother for causing pain to her family? As you say, they have lost a son, a brother, and have grief of their own. And your children are your children, always.

    #3 sounds like it's particularly hurting. I'm sorry.