At a shiva this week it was very hard to not let a friend's grief become a springboard for me to look at my own. I mean, c'mon...how self absorbed could I be? My friend Sue, while mourning the loss of her mom and offering such beautiful memories to share, had me wondering the very thing we likely all wonder...can they hear us? I'd like to think they can. I'd like to think the times I stop to recall those who are no longer here, "know" I am pausing in their honor...or do they just really prefer I move on down the road, letting them be? It's nice to be thought of but how much is too much?
I lost three babies...one at six weeks and two at 22 and 23 weeks. Being a card carrying member of the miscarriage club isn't something I share often but it is a badge of courage for having survived it. Once you have delivered a baby you aren't bringing home, the fabric of who you are permanently changes. That baby takes a part of you with her and maybe at that moment, both of you agree to never speak of this again. It took me a very long time to embrace those losses...to wonder...to demand an explanation...to go toe to toe with Gd and frankly, I never could. I think he knows I'm still not speaking to him but on some level, I'm sure I will make my peace with it. I may never. I deserve to know why I was forced to give birth to two babies who were taken from me. I just deserve to know. But at the shiva, I couldn't help but wonder...
I lost a boy and a girl - the first baby was too early to tell. I later delivered a boy and a girl. Buddhist ideology would say they came back to me...I like that, it brings me some relief. It doesn't replace the pain - hardly - it just makes a nice, neat bow with which to wrap up the two most traumatizing events in our lives. If they aren't here with us and are somehow up, somewhere...maybe they will hear me when I say, I don't think of you because the pain is so immense I can't do it without losing my footing. Maybe that's selfish. Isn't that kind of what a shiva is? For the one left behind? Using my friend's grief as a way to reach out to my own losses felt wrong but as I go back over it in my mind, perhaps it gives me a way to reach my friend on a level playing field while also offering a backdoor window with which to peer in longingly at the souls who passed through my body and my life but left entirely too soon.
We aren't supposed to bury our children. It's wrong. Widows/ers are people who have lost their spouses, orphans are children who lost their parents...there are no words for parents who have lost their babies. It's so unnatural, words have yet to define it.
Perhaps I am touching upon the healing...perhaps I am still really angry...perhaps both. In grief, if you do it right, comes awareness. And through that awareness you embrace a newer model of you.