Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dark Humor

I'm sarcastic, sometimes cynical, and most recently, I enjoy dark humor.

Because when something this earth-shattering and tragic happens to you, there are only so many tears you can cry on a daily basis. Don't get me wrong; I cry all-the-time as any woman with a dead baby would do. But I also laugh. I laugh about the circumstances of this being my life and not just some other lady in that sad book or in that TV show. I laugh because if I don't, I might go clinically insane. I laugh because sometimes I want to forget that my life and all its "perfection" has now, essentially, ended and started anew without seeds or the newness we associate with something positive. It just plain started in the middle of someone else's sad, dreary existence.

Lucky for me (and unlucky for them), I've met some other people out in technology land who I can converse snidely with about our dead babies. It's not in the least bit funny, but we still laugh. {which then reminds me of that song from Brad Paisley, Online}

I finished reading Elizabeth McCracken's memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination and noticed she's pretty snide and cynical herself. An aside, I was emailing with a fellow BLM and referred to McCracken's book as "An Exact Figment" instead of "An Exact Replica" and then realized that "An Exact Figment" would just be the title of my stupid, unwritten memoir. {please laugh}

In An Exact Replica, McCracken relives the life and death of her son to stillbirth, and then her subsequent pregnancy. In speaking of her subsequent pregnancy, she writes...

"All the while, all I could think was: Dead baby dead baby dead baby."

"I wanted a separate waiting room for people like me with different magazines. No  Parenting or Wondertime or Pregnancy, no ads with pink or tawny or pearly smiling infants. I wanted Hold Your Horses Magazine. Don't Count Your Chickens for Women. Pregnant for a Time Being Monthly... I wanted scrawled across my chart in shaky physician's cursive: NOTE: do not blow sunshine up patient's ---."

I tend to avoid the books that are soft, sweet, and gentle to mothers of dead babies. I just don't want to hear another person utter soft condolences and heartfelt suggestions about journaling my feelings or finding my inner chi.

In an email today with a few of my BLM friends, I said something to the extent of, "Ray is going to die when I tell him that." I was talking about something really funny and used that figure of speech that I wouldn't have batted an eye at pre-December. But now, I typed it but also added a disclaimer. My other friend commented about saying, "I'm gonna kill myself" as a figure of speech in the hospital. After losing your baby, health professionals are (justly) worried about such things as suicide. But really, we've been stripped of the ability to use these figures of speech-- though they are pretty rotten, aren't they? My other friend commented on how she's become more careful because though superstitions are potentially false, there's always a chance. After all, there was less than a 1% chance our babies would die and they all did. Percentages are just numbers. They mean nothing to someone who has lost a baby.

So maybe I will be re-thinking this whole system of middle-school hyperboles we learn and mutter so nonchalantly. But not because I don't want stares from people when I talk about death, but because I just can't begin to imagine if muttering that stupid phrase would dig me deeper into griefdom.

Griefdom, a new location. Hm. Do you think anyone would want to book their next vacation there? Kind of like Disneyworld, but not at all. Maybe it'll be a Groupon someday for half-price. Who's buying?

p.s. Ohhh. I used "utter" and "mutter" in this post. Gold star.


Keleen said... [Reply to comment]

So true! I have to laugh at things that I am sure make others cringe. I say "dead baby" and people look horrified, but that is just a part of my vocabulary now. The other day I was saying how I wanted my mom to do something and she didn't want to. I was like don't make me play the dead baby card...what a thing to say, but I had to laugh. I hate this Griefdom, too bad we have an all expense paid trip with no refunds. Boo! Dark humor...gotta love it, it's what we have left!

Emily said... [Reply to comment]

Dark humour has been my saving grace through this journey. I agree completely with this post.

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

I was telling Scott about the whole,
Q: "hey, wanna come to dinner?",
A"no. Dead baby and such".

I love that he laughed, if he hadn't, he might have tried to have me admitted..

Dark humour is when it's at ;)

Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

Absolutely, yes. We "joke" about the investigation piece of our ridiculous situation. I won't write here what we say in those conversations, but it is so NOT funny. We use dark humor cuz we have to. We'd all go bonkers if we didn't.

KrystalK said... [Reply to comment]

I love reding your blog much because of your "dark humor". I am the sad depression of the other side of Baby Loss, the depressive sad blog no one wants to read.(HA) I also loved Elizabeth's book. Maybe i need to read that one again and put down the book "They Were Still Born" sigh. Thank you for your humor in your blogging. I wish i had the gusto in me to feel even an ounce of anykind of humor, if it be lite or dark. ((HUGS))

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Elizabeth McCracken says in that book that if there is a God, dark humor would be proof of His existence. You're so right. We have to laugh because it's just impossible to cry ALL the time.