Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Lonesome Traveler

I have traveled about 900 kilometers in the last 2 days. I had a family function to attend. I went most of the way by myself, since my husband had family commitments to attend to here.

This journey reminded me, for the eight millionth time, that I do okay in my own little safe niche that I have carved for myself, and that it hurts to leave it. And for some reason, it is the functions with the extended family that hurt the most. I guess because one of my most important family members isn't there, was never there, and will never be there. And then there is the incessant (seems to me, but probably not) conversation about the hundreds of other people that we are related to or know that are pregnant, have new kids, have old kids, are getting marred, etc. It all upsets me, to a small degree, because so few of these people actually have a clue about how lucky they are.

I think what these gatherings do is remind me that I am different now. That I say "if the baby is here" not "when the baby is here". That I know that there is no guarantees in life, and that your sense of self, happiness, and purpose can be ripped away in the blink of an eye.

Though we shared our happy news with our parents and grandparents last weekend, we have asked them not to share with anyone else (extended family or friends) until the end of the month. That tactic was to get me through this weekend without any "helpful" comments and advice. I soooooo want my privacy away from these people that I love, but that drive me crazy. I don't know if that promise of secrecy was kept, but no one said anything to me about being pregnant. I guess that was the point of it all, so I am glad that, if they all do already know, they had the brains to keep to themselves.

We have another extended family gathering of importance coming in 3 weeks. However, I am part of the planning group for this event, and will not be available to sit and shoot the breeze with my relatives. I will be much too busy. I just simply will not have more than a few seconds to breeze by and say "Hi, glad to see you, hope you are well" before I am on to my next very important task.

However, of the few people that do know, I have learned that these two phrases get under my skin:
  1. "Everything will be okay" or "this is going to work out" or some variation on that theme. I think I know well enough that the speaker cannot promise such a thing. And I would prefer if they, in the words of Def Leppard, did not "make promises that I can't keep". It feels condescending.
  2. "I am praying for you". Now this one is loaded. I feel like I should be grateful that someone is praying for me and for this baby. But, honestly, it enrages me. I can't really explain why. Perhaps because I think "well didn't you pray for me with my son, and is that the reason why he died, because you didn't care enough that time to pray?" Or perhaps it is the shaky relationship between God and I that makes prayers feel small and useless. Again, this phrase feels condescending. But part of my response may be related to who said that to me. Maybe if someone else had said this to me, I would have been touched...

In other news, the hip pain that seems to pervade pregnancy for me has returned with a vengeance. Thank goodness that I have found my maternity support belt that pulls things together and rids me of the better part of the pain.

I am pretty certain I am feeling the little one move, but considering the mountainous volumes of gas my distressed gastrointestinal system is producing, I could be attributing movement of Babe to movement of other things...


Sherry said...

Family functions are so difficult; no one ever says or does the right thing, no matter how hard they try. But, none of us are ever prepared to have to know what to say when a person's baby dies. One knows to send best wishes to a newly married couple or congratulations to a recent graduate, but one never knows what's proper or "right" to say or do for parents in mourning.
We're in an unfortunate league of our own.

Aussie Kate said...

Good for you for having the strength to even attend family gatherings. You are one strong woman.

I had the same icky feeling about comments like "It will all be ok this time". How do they know??? What do they know that I dont??? In the end, I would mentally translate these comments into "I hope it will all be ok this time". I just assumed that these kind people didnt quite know how to phrase it, so I would change it myself.

Hugs to you, and I hope the hip pain eases up. No fun :(

Lorem ipsum said...

The ones who say 'I'm praying for you'... well, pray all you want, because evidently I'm not doing it enough. Those are the ones who say, 'You know, So-and-so in the Bible offered their child to God if only God would give them that, and they got a baby even though they were barren.' To which I say, 'Yeah, I offered my child to God three times. God didn't want it.'

Welcome home.