Turn on your television during the days between Christmas and New Year’s, and you’ll quickly notice all of the “best of the year” lists – 100 funniest reality TV moments, 25 most dramatic plays in sports, 10 best songs, etc., etc., etc. So, as we conclude 2015, I’m posting a similar list – the 16 shittiest things people said this year, to me or others, regarding Matthew’s death.
To those who are like, “OMG – that’s SO negative,” I’m sorry. I’ll point out that, on the bright side, I could make a super-long list featuring all I’ve experienced highlighting the best humanity has to offer, and I probably will, eventually, though this isn’t what I’m doing today. Because sometimes it’s nice to vent about horrible things people say.
DISCLAIMER – Since I have no idea who reads my blog, if you recognize yourself in here, I’m sorry. But not really, because what you said either sucked balls or was exceptionally unintelligent, or both. And I didn’t use your name. So get over yourself, and go work that bunch out of your panties. And know I’m (maybe) not angry with you, that is, if I’m referring to you as a “friend”. If I’m not, well, I might be angry with you.
NOTE – I’m lucky to have good support and that people don’t say awful things to me 24/7. So, while I’ve heard more than 16 shitty things, I also realize it could be worse. And, unfortunately, almost six months into this, I know my stories aren’t especially uncommon or unique, so feel free to one-up me in the comments with some terrible things people said to you this year. And we’ll all feel less alone.
Here’s my list (I’ve italicized my fantasy responses for fun).
#16 – Whispered to Mark (about me) outside our hospital room door (~24 hours after Matthew died) by a concerned nurse aware of our situation, “Why is she freaking out? Why is she crying so hard?”
I don’t know. Is this your first day on the job? Or your first day here – on this planet? Because, on planet Earth, it’s expected that one might “cry so hard” shortly after losing her child.
#15 – Spoken by a hospital-visitor-turned-prophet, “This will be the worst thing that ever happens to you. It’s horrible. But now you know what your worst thing in life will be. It’s this. Life only gets better from here.”
Whew. Thank God. As horrendous as this is, the mystery’s gone – this is my tragedy, and all I have to do now is process it. And then I’ll live happily ever after… Wait. What about those who experience multiple tragedies? Damn. Though, I’ll hope and pray your words prove prophetic.
#14 – Said to one of Matthew’s grandparents (~two days after Matthew died) by a more distant relative concerned over her dilemma, “Did he breathe? Did he live at all? I need to know if I should add him to the family tree.”
Do whatever you want with your stinking family tree. You can even remove me from it if it’s too confusing.
#13 – Emailed by a low-on-listening-skills friend and attendee of Matthew’s memorial service immediately following the service (where our pastor preached, “Do not let ANYONE tell you this was God’s plan.”), “As hard as it may be to hear, it was God’s plan.” And, for good measure, he concluded with, “You never know what is possible. Good luck.”
So God kills babies as a means of executing his plan? Isn’t God supposed to be loving? Don’t some believe tragedy happens because of sin in the world? How do you know this was God’s plan? Did He tell you? Would you be as accepting of “God’s plan” if we were talking about your child? There are so many questions for you to ponder. Good luck.
#12 – Uttered by the first therapist I fired, “You’re the only one in the history of this hospital to lose a child in this way.”
Thank you – I feel so much better and so much less alone now. I’m so glad we PAID you for the privilege of hearing your GARBAGE.
#11 – Texted by a friend (just a couple weeks after we’d returned home from the hospital), “So, have you been watching Big Brother?”
The first thing I did when I arrived home from the hospital was catch up on Big Brother. I’m so glad life’s back to normal now! Or maybe I haven’t watched any shows, or even left my bed, because I’m so grief-stricken, I’m barely functioning. I’ll let you decide which sounds more reasonable, though it seems you don’t understand the magnitude of what’s happened.
#10 – Spoken to a mutual friend on August 13 (the one-month anniversary of Matthew’s death) by birth-announcement-friend, “Should I include Christine on my group text to let her know my baby’s here?”
Yes. Yes, you should. Especially if you’d enjoy a flurry of angry text messages. And if you’d enjoy me blaming you for damage sustained by my property from me throwing my phone through my window.
#9 – Offered by a well-meaning co-worker (~five weeks after Matthew died), “Sally’s adopted baby is really cute. Maybe you should consider that route? Since this didn’t work out for you?”
Thanks, but I’m not looking for ideas. Only support.
#8 – Said by our home energy efficiency auditor (don’t ask) in response to me telling him I had a horrible summer, because my first-born child died, “Oh… I’m so sorry. Well, better luck next time.”
I’m sorry I didn’t lie about my summer, and, instead, burdened you, a stranger, with my sad news. But what a bizarre way to respond. Well, better luck next time. With your social skills.
#7 – Offered by a relative regarding my post-partum weight loss journey, “But losing weight is so much easier when you’re breastfeeding.”
But I didn’t need you to tell me this. Because the benefits of breastfeeding are so obnoxiously touted that I’d have to reside under a rock to NOT know this. And because of other OBVIOUS reasons.
#6 – Said to Mark over a business breakfast (and said frequently to those loss moms on Instagram with large followings), “I can relate. My baby almost died. But he’s fine now. It was terrifying. I’m so traumatized.”
Your baby ALMOST died? How horrifying. But my baby ACTUALLY died. So you can’t relate. At all. So go commiserate with another whose baby ALMOST died. And then you can rejoice in your happy outcomes and thankfulness. Believe me, as great as many of us bereaved parents seem, you don’t want to join our club. I promise.
#5 – Noted by a friend who apparently doesn’t connect the dots very easily, “I didn’t know this (infant death) still happened in modern times.” Noted two minutes later by this same friend, “Two years ago my other friend lost her baby at 25 weeks.”
To borrow the words of Survivor’s Jeff Probst – I’ve got nothing for you. Head back to camp.
#4 – Spoken to one of Matthew’s grandparents (after viewing Matthew’s picture) by a man with four children of his own, “Ohhhhh… Wow. I didn’t really understand your loss before. But now I do. I’m so sorry.”
Ohhhhh… Wow. I didn’t really understand your idiocy before. But now I do. I’m so sorry. I guess you’re one who needs visuals to process EVERYTHING, including the trauma surrounding the loss of a near-full-term baby.
#3 – Spoken recently by an OB nurse, “Just remember, everything happens for a reason.”
Just remember, you probably shouldn’t say this to patients. And, just remember, if you take a few minutes to turn on the news or read something or observe your surroundings, you’ll realize many horrific things (and good things) happen for no effing reason at all. And, just remember, no “reason” will ever be good enough (for me) to justify losing Matthew.
#2 – Said by a more recently bereaved parent (with living children) after learning Matthew is my first and only child, “Oh my gosh. At least I have a reason to wake up every morning.”
I guess my husband and family and friends and dog and job and desire to honor Matthew’s memory and promote awareness and potentially give Matthew a sibling someday are not good enough reasons to continue on. Excuse me while I go off myself.
#1 – Said to one of Matthew’s grandparents by a business acquaintance at a meeting (upon learning Matthew died), “Well, at least they can just jump back in the sack – hahahaha!”
And at least you just said this before an audience. So people will see you for the worthless asshole you are – hahahaha!
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and all the love and light and hope and peace you deserve (a helluva LOT). And may you hear fewer shitty things next year.
See you in 2016. ❤