Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Crooked Line

I went back to the school district I spent most of my pregnancy at today. As soon as I walked in the door to the elementary school, I felt comfortable. I also felt sad because I was back when I should really be at home caring for my son. I felt relieved to be getting it over with-- this whole starting over process. Breaking the seal of silence is so hard to do. In a way, not returning was still an envelope unopened and an experience I knew would be coming with potential tears and uncomfortable silence and encounters. Immediately, the secretary welcomed me back and told me it was nice to see me there again.

I avoided certain hallways and headed straight for the library where I would be working for the afternoon. The first person to walk up was a woman who shared with me that 32 years ago, she also experienced stillbirth when her first daughter was born. She went on to have 3 more children. This is all too common. She told me that she's glad I came back and that the school is just full of loving people who care for one another-- and if I needed to talk, she would be available for me.

More people came by to hug me and offer condolences... some people I've never spoken to, but obviously knew who I was-- hard to miss that enormously pregnant woman there practically everyday. Then, a man came up. I'd talked with him a number of times before and this time was quite special. He walked up and put his hand on my shoulder and let me know he was thinking about me and offers his condolences. Then he asked if I had a son or daughter. Then he asked his name. Andrew. He knew it now and I was able to say it without crying. It was really special that he considered my son a real person enough to ask his name.

My job started when I read to a few first grade classes this book:
It's not the book I would've chosen, but it was chosen for me to read aloud. I was fine. It's funny how grief works. I wasn't bothered by this book... at least not right now. My grief goes in and out and is never linear. I consider it a crooked line but it's probably a series of circles, zig-zags, dots, etc. Some days I'm sad, some angry, some guilt ridden (I know... his death was not my fault but try and tell a woman who lost her child that!), some happy, some at peace (okay, not so many of those). Unfortunately, they don't go in order and I never know what will trigger the negative emotions and what won't. I'm sure those adults that walked by during the reading of Angelina's Baby Sister were probably shocked I could keep it together saying the word baby that many times without losing it. Or maybe I'm just overthinking it and ultra concerned and conscious of what others are thinking about me and how I'm handling this.

I was so happy the kids didn't ask me where my son was-- especially the little girl I spent about 7 days straight with in October as her one-on-one aide. Thank goodness. It seems like they've all forgotten about who I was and my pregnancy. For once, I'm relieved.

Later on, as I was stocking books on the shelves, that same man approached me again and said, "You know, he's in heaven now. That's why I asked his name because it makes me happy to know that Andrew is there."

Yep, he's in heaven. But on days like today (sad), I just kind of wish he were here to comfort me.


e Liz said... [Reply to comment]

Beyond the hard to miss part... it speaks to who you are that many embraced and reached out. Great human kidness extensions for sure - but also to someone who has made an impact while there with the many people you reach in teaching. The man sounds especially kind. Grieving is so not linear - really good way to describe it. Continued thoughts and love in the zigs and zags friend.