Monday, August 16, 2010


I can't figure out how to be around other people.

I recognize that I'm not like them any more. Even the ones with some sort of personal tragedy generally have something less bizarre.

I know they have questions. I know they have feelings. I know that they want to share these things with me.

I am a clenched fist.

A birthday celebration, bouncy castles and bubble machines in my yard--I dash from one thing to another, reluctant to get pinned down and examined.

They watch me flutter around, spinning the plates and keeping the balls aloft. They are impressed/troubled/relieved.

I watch C jostle across the yard amidst a cloud of pink dresses and hair bows. I see a second set of bouncing honey-blond pigtails and I know I'm not the only one. Their collective will can almost conjure another freshly minted three-year-old. But they still can't understand.

I'm not the self-appointed keeper of misery, never have been. I'm an easy one, a good listener. It was touch and go for a while there. The old complainers braced themselves for the arrival of a new sheriff in town but I collapsed halfway through the campaign. My scars are not up for a vote.

They wait patiently to see if I want a turn and then, in the absence of any airing of my troubles, they bound into the void with their discomforts, disorders, disappointing diagnoses. I nod and express sympathy. I wish I could take a pill to fix my problem. I want to tell them that I would endure everything they have described to have R back but I know they wouldn't believe me because they can't understand.

And I'm glad they can't understand because I love all of them and nobody should ever have to feel like this.

So I leave them to draw their own conclusions and quietly take my place in the family lore.

C falls asleep on the couch all dirty feet and sweat-plastered hair. The guests exit, smiling. The party is a success. I am satisfied.

But in the quiet solitude of our room, T and I hold hands and shed tears for our other birthday girl, wherever she may be. And my heart breaks all over again because next to C and R, T is the one I love the most and he is the only other one who understands.


  1. You have been in my thoughts Tracy. It sounds as though C had a lovely party, bouncy castles, bubble machines and all.

    I am glad that T is there to hold your hand. I am glad that you are there to hold his. But I wish it could be some other way. Nobody should ever have to feel like this. I wish your other birthday girl could have been there too. With all my heart.

    Thinking of you, T and your daughters over the coming days and on another birthday especially.

    I can't figure out how to be around other people either x

  2. Hugs. My DH had his birthday on Sunday and after he said he'd had a good day he stood there and cried and said he wished Matilda was here to share it with him. It breaks my heart watching him cry.

    Maddie x

  3. Hugs, Tracy. I just wanted you to know I am out here thinking of you and wishing desperately that it didn't have to be like this.

  4. Thinking of you and your girls. Yes, it is like that-- others do not understand, you don't want them to, because the pain is not something you wish on anyone, but you still kinda at least want them to try. But then you don't want to have to explain, you don't want to give the walking tour. (Though I do often wish that they would at least learn that it is not in any way up to them to define what I should be feeling or how I should be reacting to anything at all.) And so what you have, in the end, is only other person who knows, who was there, and you are reassured and heartbroken at the same time by what's in their eyes in those moments.

    Happy birthday. And may R's memory be for a blessing.

  5. You write beautifully. My heart aches for you that both of your girls couldn't be there to enjoy the party. Hugs to you.

  6. You capture our painful reality so well.
    Much love to you.