Monday, August 27, 2012

five years...and one day...later



Hell is other people.

Isn't that what the author said?

I've heard it expanded--hell is other people at breakfast.  Now, there's a sentiment I can get behind.! Last week Seth Mc.Farlane tweeted that, in the ninth circle of hell, you have to watch other people eat cereal for all eternity.  All of the hair on my back is standing on end just thinking about the slurping and crunching.  I might join twitter just to get more insight on this issue.

I started off the month thinking that I needed my own version.  Hell is other people...in August.

 Other people getting riled up about memos and grammar, treating work like life, acting like we can only prove we're something more than random collections of cells floating through space on a rock by pushing each other around.

My skin is thinner this time of year.  The accumulation of coping and accepting stretches me into an overinflated balloon of memory, regret, and knowledge.  Beware...other people...beware.  I might explode if you try to cram anything else into my brain place.  Not to mention my heart place...oh, my poor, sore heart...how it hates having to deal with other peoples' issues with bullet formats and passive voice.  In weak moments it urges me to say things like, "You've clearly never had a real problem if you can get so upset about subject-verb agreement."

I stifle it and feel myself swelling further--the balloon pushed ever closer to bursting as I suck down the anger and focus on love for my fellow humans.

I don't say anything smartassy.  I don't say anything at all. And the other people thank me for my patience.

I want to tell the other people that I am only patient with them because of R.

"When my daughter died," I want to say, "I decided that I was through with getting upset about small things. I realized how precious every life is and I celebrate her by not punching appreciating you. My daughter taught me about love...and patience.  My tiny baby--whom you've forgotten  you probably don't know about--is the person you should thank."

But dead daughters are not discussed in the office.  If you bring them up, you minimize other peoples' stupid shit valid concerns and make them feel bad.  And, for R, I want to make other people feel heard and accepted no matter how pointless their issues are and how much they piss me off.

****

Five years ago, during most of August, she was still alive and we thought she had a chance.

I review the12 sacred days between August 14 and 26 carefully every year.  Was she wearing pajamas yet on day 6? Did I get to hold her? Is this the day that T took off from work to sit by her bedside?

And the questions that sneak in unbidden and unwelcome. How didn't I notice? Why didn't I do something?

Other people everywhere and I just want to sit still and remember.  Just for 12 days.  Surely I can have 12 days.  It's hardly any time at all.  Believe me, I know.

****

Other people take up my time with conversations about women who flirt with their husbands and complain about being too busy with their 100% alive set of children.  Other people put things up on their FB walls in August like pictures of bumper stickers that say "falling down doesn't make you a failure.  staying down does."

I think other people ought to try staying down every once in a while.  The view is something from here.

****

Then we inch closer to August 26 and I change my mind.  A door-to-door salesman takes the time to ask about my MISS Foundation t-shirt and turned out to have two second trimester medical terminations.  My uncle posts an FB status about supporting people who have experienced stillbirth, infant loss, and pregnancy loss.  Parents volunteer to help me with my insane plan to coach C's soccer team.

The other mothers just trying to make it through August.

My friend, Catherine, plants some rosemary in her yard on the other side of the ocean.

Other people can be alright.  They can be part of the swirling wonder that is my daughter. Five years after we said good-bye to her. Miss you, always, R.







15 comments:

  1. It is a nice trick, isn't it, how bringing up your dead daughter minimizes *other people's* problems. And I feel like I am practicing enormous restraint by not commenting on all the 'inspirational bumper stickers' on FB. It's been seven months since my daughter was stillborn and I am finding other people really, really difficult right now. I am glad that by the 26th you were feeling better about other people.- it was good to read this. Remembering R.

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    1. You know, I couldn't even string two words together about how I felt at 7 months. Back then, I also had no qualms about talking about R at work because, quite frankly, you can't minimize a problem that's already minimal. I eased up on people over the years but, at seven months, I think you should just give yourself a pass.

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  2. Hell is other people in August. That's exactly right. Thank you for putting that thought of mine perfectly and succintly into words.

    The 26th was hard for us this year too. Eva died on August 15th but we cremated her on the 26th. August 26th hit me like a mack truck and I am still reeling.

    I can't believe I've lived through so many Augusts so oblivious of how awful a month August is.

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    1. I can't even remember the date that R was cremated...it's all such a jumble. But I know that my first two years of Augusts (and all of the various associated events) were grueling.

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  3. I needed this today, getting riled about small people when I should know better. Thank you. And strength to you as August closes. I hate April, but now I hate it more when it ends.

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    1. Well, I still don't succeed at not getting riled but, I do try to remember that other people are all so grating--sometimes they're even sort of great. I just don't feel like having to work so hard.

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  4. Thanks for this post. There's so much here that I think I really needed to read - the humor and hope of it, your love for your girls running through all your words like a vein of gold.

    I am thinking of you and R and C, and sending love, and wishing you'd had more (much more) than 12 days. And I'm laughing as you write about work because, my goodness, you've nailed all of that so very well. I think, sometimes, of all the tongue-biting I do in August and wonder that my tongue doesn't have a big old callus on it.

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    1. Thanks. And, hey, just one more August day left. I think we may all make it to the end without exploding from the strange of maintaining social niceties.

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  5. I love your strike through sentences. Oh how I would love to say it all to the faces that need to her it.

    August has become a symbol of loss for so many I know through the blog world. I'm thinking of all the babies gone too soon. To your R, sending love.

    For me, it is 27. And come Feb, i'll stop counting 27's and start counting years.

    Love to you

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    1. Back in the early days, I probably would have said the struck-thru parts aloud...just saying. As far as I can tell, my friends have forgiven me for it.

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  6. This post has just summed it all up for me. Turns out I don't need to do a post birthday wrap up on my poor old blog after all.
    For that, thank you Tracy OC. xo

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    1. Oh, but I hope you'll do it anyway...

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  7. Your view of life makes me feel so validated, Tracy! I am so sorry I'm so very late, I've been thinking of my August friends and have commented on virtually nothing yet.

    Other people can be so demanding and dense and obtuse. Yet sometimes they can surprise us, too, which really is lovely.

    Missing R with you, friend. Those 12 days, five years ago . . . if wishing could only make it so, no?

    Much love to you and your beautiful family.
    xo

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  8. Strange, how you and Em come to mention it, I'm really not at all sure when Georgina was cremated. Must have been early September and I'm sure I have the paperwork. Perhaps I just don't want to know.

    My dead daughter isn't discussed in my office either. A few people are probably vaguely aware of her, some will have forgotten entirely, some never knew anything of her at all. But she is there. She is always there, she puts little hand into so many of my interactions, so many instances when I bite my tongue and try to be kind. Because bringing her up isn't fair, in many instances.

    And I'm only reviewing three sacred days but I'm still patchy. Some of that time I was asleep. Damnit. Asleep! I wish I could give you those twelve days. It isn't much to ask.

    I don't mind the fact that I'm still sitting on my butt in the mud. Staying down here isn't actually so bad and I don't mind it most of the time. I don't feel like a failure. The view and the company is good.

    Tracy, I never met your R. Heck, I've never even met C. or, indeed, you! Perhaps I never, ever will. But I've seen that swirling wonder. I'm so very sure.

    Remembering R. So very beloved. So very missed.

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  9. I think other people ought to try staying down every once in a while. The view is something from here.

    *****

    Just so.

    Remembering R and you and August babies and all the babies,

    CiM

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