I find it hard to know when and how to share bad news - especially while in the midst of grief. At moments I feel like shouting to the rooftops, just hoping to hear an echo back from my own anger and disappointment. Sometimes I crave empathy or even just acknowledgement. I want someone to commiserate with, to hear my story, to tell me that my pain is real and valid.
Other times I just want to crawl under my blankets and never come out. I dread seeing other people, having to make small talk, or to hide my pain with a mask of normalcy. What's even more frightening is that mask slipping. I mean, nobody likes crying in public, do they?
My current situation is even more awkward from a social standpoint. On one hand, I have a tragedy to report, and on the other a pregnancy to announce. I don't envy the recipients of this news. I have no idea what I would say to someone else in my position.
In fact, the memory of failing other friends during their own losses is something that haunts me pretty often. I had a friend lose a twin once. Did I say the right thing? Did I understand what she was going through? Did I treat her with the compassion that she deserved in that moment? I really don't think so. How can anybody understand what losing a baby feels like until they have experienced it themselves, much less losing a twin during a pregnancy that you had already gone through so much to get to.
The fact that so very few people can understand how I feel right now almost makes sharing the news feel pointless. It's like I'm asking my friends and family for something that they just can not give - empathy and understanding for a situation that I hope none of them ever ever have to deal with. And asking for hopes and prayers and good juju doesn't appeal much to me either. If prayers made babies I feel like I'd have a house-full by now.
But then today a friend from CC's school offered to watch him for me this afternoon, and that little gesture actually did make me feel acknowledged, and cared for, and supported after all. Even coming from a woman with three beautiful healthy kids. I found myself admitting to her that I hadn't showered in a week, or eaten anything but potato chips for the past two days. I found myself crying when she gave me a hug, and feeling thankful for such kindness from someone who I have only known for a little while.
When I went home after dropping him off I felt obligated to make use of that time. I took a shower. I ate a hot meal. I took some time to think and to write and to cry a little. The time was a gift - and I felt like I shouldn't waste it. It's funny how an imagined obligation can motivate me more than my own actual needs. That's depression for you, right?
My friend's gesture ended up making me think that maybe I should share this news after all. Just because I've lost faith in prayers and happy thoughts it doesn't mean that I need to lose faith in the kindness of the people I love. I'll be sharing the news on Facebook today or tomorrow. I'm not sure what I expect, but at least I know I won't be alone in my grief and in my hope. It's kind of a shitty gift for me to give right before Christmas, but what can you do?
Big hugs to the folks reading. I'm thankful to have had you to talk to along the way.