Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Introducing our loss to new people ... a how-to

Over the weekend, we were talking with our new neighbors while everyone was enjoying being outside. They moved in over the winter, and then it snowed a bunch and no one was out being social. Lee held their infant son, about 8 months old, and was all melty and nuzzly and kind of glassy eyed, so I looked at him squarely and said, "Do you want another baby?" to which he emphatically said, "No." The parents in the circle joked about babies being awesome and then once mobility and communication start it's a slog to get to bedtime each day. One of the new neighbors quietly joked to us, "Third times the charm..." I don't know if anyone else noticed, but I did, and I quietly said back, "Actually, Tucker is the third time..." which most likely means that he now thinks I am an oversharer and that he didn't need to know that I lost a baby. Which wasn't my point.

I did lose a baby. In 2007 I became pregnant, but miscarried before I even made it to the doctor for my appointment to confirm the pregnancy. We knew at the emergency room that the likelihood was that this baby who had barely begun to grow must have had problems at the deepest level, which can be a cause of an early-term miscarriage. We knew what impact special needs babies and children have in families. We knew that while we had survived the first special needs child, we didn't know how we would have managed to incorporate a new set of special needs, and so we set our jaws and nodded, and explained to the perplexed staff at the ER that our reasonable reaction to the whole thing stemmed from our deep knowledge of life as a special needs family already. It was an opening salvo for Lee and I - how to cope with terribly sad things. I think we passed with flying colors. It is sad, and will always be sad.

More importantly, though, and what my new neighbors don't know, is that I lost a child. We will operate peripherally in each other's spheres, a weird Venn diagram of location only. But we love our neighborhood, and our street especially, and our neighbors on that street have been stalwart in their support, and shared our sadness with us through all of our mourning for Connor. We owe them forever for the donations, the support, the taking of our kids when we cannot or could not cope, their remembrances, their sweet and kind children who got to experience Connor and understand him. And somehow, we have to find a way to let people know without making ourselves pariahs. Because we can't live 40 or more years alienating people or making them so uncomfortable being around us that we end up isolated.  One of the greatest compliments we received as parents is how "normal" we made our abnormal lives seem with our family. Time to find how to make people think how life progressed as "normal," too.

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