Jamie said to me last night..."I'm not blind anymore."
He meant that we don't live in the world that we used to...we don't live blindly, assuming that nothing bad will happen. We live in a different world than many people...which a lot of people don't really understand. I will tell people, "I don't live in your world," and they often look at me like they don't know what I mean.
I mean, that nearly two years later, we miss our daughter every single day. We look at a room unused, a crib never slept in, a house empty of toys and sippy cups and bottles...eyes wide open. We spend time with friends - and their kids - often feeling as though we're left out of a club.
It's no one's fault...no one intentionally makes us feel left out. Our life makes us feel a bit left out. After all, how do you contribute to a conversation about when kids walked and talked, and who's potty trained, and what summer camps they're attending...when your child isn't there? It just becomes a painful reminder of all that you are missing out on. How do you contribute to a conversation about preschools and school shopping and day care costs when the only thing you can think of to say is, "I wish I had something to say...I wish I knew."
Sometimes, my frustrations are warranted and valid...like listening to a complaining parent who does so without gratitude for what they have been blessed with. Sometimes those frustrations are less rational - mind you, they don't feel less frustrating, but my brain knows that they aren't rational...they're just emotions, and emotions aren't always rational.
I certainly don't pretend parenting is easy, or that I understand the day-to-day grind of it, but I can't stand listening to parents who go on and on about how hard and how miserable things are...or listening to pregnant women that do nothing but complain about being pregnant. I often want to scream at them to count their blessings. And it's only the people who can't see the good through the bad that bother me the most. The average parent, who gets frustrated with their strong-willed 3-year old telling them "no" doesn't phase me, as long as what I see is a parent who loves their child and knows, "This too shall pass." Like Jamie has often pointed out, people just assume that you get pregnant, wait nine months, and get to bring a baby home. When your story doesn't work out like that, it changes everything about you...it cuts deep, it affects every part of your life.
People who know us will probably tell you, if you ask, "They're good...they're fine." And we are. We get up, live our lives, and go forward. We go to work, the bills are paid on time, the lawn gets mowed. We cook dinner, go on vacations, laugh at ridiculous things that happen and cherish our time with the people we love. But, below the surface sits something that isn't visible...something that other people don't see, but something that Jamie and I feel everyday.
So, while we're "fine" most days, there are still those moments that feel a lot harder than they should. Hearing the news of a pregnancy from an acquaintance...sometimes that hits hard, though it often depends on who it is. I don't wish anyone ill, but there is a part of me that so frequently wishes one thing...
I wish so much that someone would truly get this without ever having to truly experience it. I want people to know that while we're "fine," we're not the same. I just never, never, never want anyone we love to truly know what we feel every day of our lives. Because that would mean that they, too, buried their child. And no one should ever have to do that.
Though I wish for this, I have found some friends and family whose sensitivity and compassion has gone far beyond what I ever expected. The friends - a word that can't begin to describe this relationship - that show up for every walk, every anniverary, every remembrance, every event for Faith. Who bring us a plant on Mother's Day, call Jamie on Father's Day, and ask about Faith's birthday before I ever bring it up. Those people that aren't afraid to say her name in conversation, to tell me that they stopped at her grave...those are the people where we don't feel left out, where we feel included in every part of life, despite the fact that they are busy raising two boys. Because, there, with them...we feel like we aren't the only ones who aren't blind. These are the friends that walked our journey with Faith, side by side with us, who held us up in our darkest days.
For us, sometimes the greatest comfort comes in knowing that they, too, don't go through life blind. And as always, simply knowing you're not alone is the greatest comfort of all.
2018 Speaking Calendar
4 weeks ago