This morning, I was feeling a little anxiety about taking two of my boys to the library. You see, I always take my kids to Wednesday Story Time. There are two fellow moms there who befriended me during my pregnancy with Delia Grace. After Story Time, we’d chat while the kids played. We don’t see each other outside of the library. I guess I would call them my “library friends”.
The first time I saw one of them after the baby died, she was talking to my husband at the library while I looked for something with my youngest son. I could see them and hear them. She did not see me. She asked my husband, “How is your wife doing?” He replied, “She’s not doing too well. We lost our baby.” She looked shocked. I can’t remember what she said next, but I know Damon told her that I was right over there and gestured to where I was standing. She saw me and smiled. I walked toward her, she said, “I haven’t seen you in awhile.” I said, “No, we haven’t been out in awhile.” Then, she grabbed her son, turned and walked away.
Every time I’ve seen her since then, she does the same thing. She sees me, turns and walks away. Turns and walks away. Turns and walks away. Her friend might smile at me, but she says nothing. No small talk. No kids playing together. I think I know what it feels like to be a leper. They’re not the only ones who don’t know what to say. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones who turn and walk away.
So, I have a bit of anxiety when I go anywhere that people may know me or know that my child died. I don’t want to walk around ruining people’s day or making them uncomfortable. However, I am alive. My children are alive. I can’t hide in my house because I might make someone feel awkward. Guess what? My child, whom I loved with my entire being, has died and gone to Heaven. The fact that I can even leave my house means I’m doing something courageous. I look back at where I was a few months ago, and I can hardly believe what I’m capable of now.
Before I get too ahead of myself, no. No, I still can’t do everything I would like to. I can’t go to the grocery by myself. I still often cry at the gym and have to go home. There are things I can’t do, but I will keep trying. I have to find the courage to do something normal.
Looking Back …
Journal Entry – February 4, 2016
Normal things give me a lot of anxiety. It’s like an elephant is standing on my heart just to go to the grocery store. Everyone knows I had a baby.
Today, we went to a restaurant where we took Delia Grace two months ago. When seating Damon and I, the waitress said, “I remember you. You came here before with one of your children. Are they in school?” “Yes,” I replied. Not everyone needs to know she died, and I don’t need to tell everyone.
After, we went to the grocery store. I was terrified. I went straight into the bathroom. I thought I was going to be sick. Damon and I did minimal shopping. When we were done, I told Damon I needed to go the bakery. I didn’t plan this. I hadn’t asked or warned him. I just saw the bakery manager and felt that I needed to approach him.
I waited as everyone around completed their orders. Then, quietly said, “I need to tell you something.” He leaned in closer to the counter, with this puzzled look like, “Oh, no. What now?” Tears began pouring down my face as I told him, “A couple weeks ago, you made a cake and cupcakes for my daughter.” It took a long time to just get those words out, as my sentences were broken with emotion. Instantly, he knew who I was and asked another employee to come around to me. Damon put his arm around me and told them man, “She died, and we just want to thank you.” I kept talking, “It meant a lot to me. It was so nice to have a party for her.” Damon continued, “We celebrated her two month birthday in the hospital, and we just want to thank you.” I interjected, “I come here every week. I thank you so much.” He shook our hands, his face looked like he had never been so moved. The female employee had come around the corner. She was hugging me. In that moment, expressing our sincere appreciation for giving us some joy in the hospital was all I could think about.
People are good. People do rise to the occasion. Expressing our thanks will keep the kindness going.