I don’t have the energy

to think of a title today.

Warning: long long post

I’m getting really frightened. Last week I was so excited, certain that this really could work out – that I really could bring home a real live baby. Today, though, I feel terrified, and teary. And I’ve had awful dreams. One where I dreamt about the baby dying and then going to sleep afterwards, so that when I really woke up, I had this terrifying moment of thinking it had been real. I feel like that encapsulates every day – even as every day means we get closer to safety, it’s paired with a heightening terror as we get closer and closer to the time Natan died.

Tuesday will be 6 months. It’s hard for me to think of January 3 as his birthday because I wish he hadn’t been born that day. I’m so sad I can’t even bring myself to write about my feelings surrounding him.

I know that I’m angry because even as we have wonderful people around us, supporting us, there are people who should be who are not just absent, but making things worse for us. Every day I wake up with an emptiness that not even having the best husband, mom, mother-in-law, friends, brother-in-law, sister, can get rid of. And I’m so angry that there are people who expect so much from us despite the fact that our son is dead, buried.

A relative visited yesterday. While he was here, he insisted that we take pictures and I complied even though honestly I felt like such a fake, a liar smiling for photos. He told us he was the one responsible for telling the rest of (that side) of the family how we’re doing, how we’ve “fallen off the radar,” how when they ask he tells them we’re “doing great.” I responded tensely that we do have a phone number, it’s not as if any of them have been calling us and not getting their phone calls returned. Thing is, I know how that side of the family works – the younger relatives are responsible for calling the older. But I don’t care. We’re not living in the regular order of things right now. And we’re not “doing great” and it pisses me off to think that they can comfort themselves with that thought because they won’t pick up the damn phone and figure it out for themselves, and that somehow we’re to blame for being “off the radar.” I later slipped when talking with Josh about how much this comment annoyed me by saying he’d said we’d “fallen off the totem pole.” Anyone else think of Freud at that? And now Josh is depressed about it and I’m even angrier at them than I was before.

I spend a lot of my time calling back the people who’ve cared enough to call me, or emailing those who’ve emailed. And it seems that in the past two weeks I’ve spent a lot of time defending us to those same people who’ve heard from others that we’re out of touch. All I have to say to that is what kind of an ass tries to make two grieving parents look like the negligent ones?

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12 responses to “I don’t have the energy

  1. Some of these people sound like they just aren’t worth the energy even to me and I’m not feeling this as freshly as you are. Some of these older people make me tired with their inability to show basic courtesy to grieving people.

    They grew up knowing that a full year of grief was considered an official bereavement period. Sure, we don’t wear black anymore, but it would kill them to treat us nicely and check in on us for a year?

    As for S? She’s not your friend, and if anyone asks why you aren’t speaking to her, tell the truth, just like you have here. She has an obligation to do the right thing, even if makes her feel uncomfortable. If her mother asks, tell the truth. She made her bed, let her lie in it.

    But don’t torture yourself by being near her.

  2. It totally seems like these folks aren’t worth the energy or guilt, as aurelia says. Is it that they’ve never experienced a loss or a similar loss? Even people that do know what it’s like to lose someone seem to act petty and stupid. It’s selfish, really.

    Don’t feel like you have to contact people just to make them feel better – that you’re “okay.” First, it’s okay not to be “okay.” Second, only do the things you want to do now. Take care of yourself.

    I understand that panicky feeling, like maybe things won’t work out this time either. I was just at Target and was on the verge of buying some onesies – I am feeling that hopeful lately. Of course I couldn’t buy them. Not yet. I’m still unsure.

  3. What’s her phone number? I am in a fighting mood right now.

    As for the “pecking order” side of the family, is there a way to send them all an email saying pretty much what you said here? Because if all they hear is that you are “doing great,” in their warped world it makes sense that you should be calling them. Maybe all they need is a nice doze of reality. No, we are not doing great. We buried a son not six months ago. How do you think you would be doing? Please don’t hesitate to call us if you would like to check in on us– we’ll be glad to hear your voices. But there are many things we just don’t have the energy for right now, and initiating contact is one of them.

    I am sorry this is scary again. I wish you nothing but reassuring things all the way to a smooth delivery in December.

  4. I have stopped speaking to lots of people from “before”, some through no fault of their own, and some because I ended up hating their guts and cowardliness and total lack of support. They include a friend whose first phone call in 14 weeks detailed how difficult it was juggling motherhood and work and my husband’s best man and his wife, who didn’t call, send a card or anything (well they sent an Xmas card with a picture of their family saying we must meet up soon!). F’ off is what I thought when I saw it.

    I think that unfortunately this is inevitable fall out from Natan’s death. It’s very hard and this is just one of the reasons why – people with zero empathy or zero ability to express empathy.

  5. Thanks all. You’re so right. Julia, I wish I could give you her phone number. As for the relatives, if I weren’t an in-law, I might very well take your advice. But they wouldn’t understand. Silence punctuated by the occasional aggravation seems to be the rule with them.

    And Rosepetal, you’re so right. I was saying to a friend yesterday that I feel like S~ and I ought to have had this out years ago, that the circumstances are so absurd. But I didn’t realize until now, when I needed her to step up and leave the pettiness behind, that I lost the energy to deal with it. That X-mas card you mention, that really was a kick in the face. What asses.

  6. I’m so disgusted that people treat bereaved parents this way. I used to have an S in my life. I wrote her off long ago due to her strange behavior toward me, but still have to see her at family functions. I had the misfortune of seeing her at the funeral (she drove her mom, who is my godmother). Outside of her obligatory hug she hasn’t made any contact, but I guess that’s better than lying about it.

  7. I’m sorry about these ‘friends’ and family. I don’t have any answers of course, but it all sucks.

  8. My husband’s family actually became angry with us because we didn’t grieve in the way they wanted (meaning call them and reach out to them for support). We weren’t close to them before so it wasn’t a horribly painful rift, but it was still frustrating. It was so hard to understand how someone could actually find fault with how we were managing to get through such a devastating tragedy.

    I am so sorry you are experiencing some similar judment from your family members. It actually sounds like you have been amazingly responsive and open, so that is all the more maddening that people are saying you are not.

    And I can’t tell you how much I wish I could make this pregnancy easier for you. The waiting is so long and so hard.

  9. Thinking of you today for Natan’s 6 months – the same day that I am exactly 34 and 6 months since I share my birthday with Natan

  10. This is going to sound stupid, or perhaps unduly cheerful (something that, in general, very few people accuse me of being), but in some strange way, it’s “good” that you feel this way towards people who have let you down, who’ve abandoned you, or who want you to pretend that you’re fine or to reach out to them when they should be reaching out to you.

    And what I mean by that is that it shows that you have reasonable expectations of how people should act, how they should treat someone who’s suffered a terrible loss and that you know that your feelings are legitimate and that they should be respected by others.

    This, of course, in no way justifies or excuses the way these people are acting. But it does show that you’re self-protective enough and self-assured enough to realize that you are being treated badly and that what these people are doing is wrong.

    For some people, like, uh, me, for example, it’s far to easy to let everyone else off the hook, thinking, well, if they’re not giving me the support I want, I must be acting unreasonably and am probably expecting too much. My instinct (which is a very bad one) is to think that other people are probably doing the right thing and that I’m the one in the wrong.

    I’m so sorry that you have to face this 6-month anniversary. I can only imagine how sad and difficult this kind of reminder must be.

  11. Thanks, Niobe. It doesn’t sound stupid or unduly cheerful at all. I think if my family hadn’t gone through a difficult time when I was a teenager but stuck together through it, I wouldn’t be as self-aware. And this kind of treatment would probably send me into a depression, rather than just putting me in a bad mood for a few days. The one decent therapist I managed to find in my life, twelve years ago now, really talked me through figuring out my own needs and how to communicate them. I’m still a mess at times, but I can usually think/talk/write myself through it.

  12. I am so sorry you have to deal with the loss of a friend, even one that probably was not that great a friend to begin with. Maybe someday she’ll see the error of her ways, but I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.

    Family is always weird. In addition to all you have to deal with, you’re being made responsible to keep them informed. They should be calling you to find out how you are instead of the reverse.

    Hang in there! I know this is a tough day for you. Sending out a big hug your way.

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