"All I can say is, it's a sort of kinshp, as though there is a family tree of grief. On this branch the lost children, on this the suicided parents, and here the beloved mentally ill siblings. When something terrible happens, you discover all of a sudden that you have a new set of relatives, people with whom you can speak in the shorthand of cousins." (An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination, McCracken p.136)
This journey of sorrow has brought with it a whole new set of friends, people with whom I feel a deep connection even though I've known them only a short time...some of them only online, even. Some people are offended when, in the wake of something terrible, someone says, "Well, it happened to me too," as if to say, it's not such a big deal. I got over it and you will too. I felt this at times in the early days. But now,to the contrary, I feel an instant connection, gratitude even, toward anyone who shares with me their story of loss (and there have been many since Jesse died, so many that I'm shocked at how common it actually is to lose a child in-utero,and at a later stage of pregnancy.)As though to say, it's okay, you're not a failure, you didn't cause it and it does happen.
It also seems as though people who have lost a child tend to have a bitterness, an overpowering jealousy toward others who have their happy, healthy babies, or who are having a good pregnancy, or especially toward those who have unplanned and even unwanted pregnancies or are careless in their prenatal regimens. They can have babies (often one after another) without complication, and here I am, wanting this baby with all my heart and worrying and trying to do all the right things, and I don't get a baby. And I have those moments too, of course,and it's raw and it's real. But I would far rather have people feel that they can still be joyful and not have to walk on eggshells around me. I want to hear about my friends' babies and pregnancies, even though it's difficult. I far more loathe the feeling that people aren't comfortable speaking freely around me about their children and are worrying about upsetting me. Maybe that's just me. I hate to inconvenience anyone. And my grief often does feel like an inconvenience.I do appreciate when someone acknowledges it by asking if I want to hear it first, or by inviting me to a shower and honestly saying "I didn't know how you'd feel and I understand whatever you decide." I have to remind myself to feel it and travel through it rather than avoiding it. There are so many uncertain and conflicting feelings coursing through me all the time.