Wishing you courage

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Monday, May 26, 2008

Being strong

Again the thought runs through my head "I just can't do this".

I'm not cut out for a dead baby. I'm not strong enough, not stable enough, not creative enough to honor my son's memory in a positive way. I've heard some people talk about creating a legacy for their deceased loved one, or the valuable things learned from their grief. Compassion, empathy, love for human kind, a profound sense of what it means to be alive. I've just turned into a huge bitch.

Comparing me "before" to me "after", now I frown more, become angry more, smoke more, and drink much more. Empathy and compassion have increased but they are hard to see through the haze of cigarette smoke and my drunken ramblings. And my compassion has conditions! It is only given to people who have real sorrows, using my definition of sorrow. To illustrate how we can lean on God during times of trouble, a preacher at a retreat I attended told a personal story. After many years of marriage, four children, and one grandchild, the preachers wife is diagnosed with breast cancer. With eyes tearing up he describes the long period of tests and treatments until the day she enters remission. REMISSION! Suddenly this guy loses all credibility with me. I understand that it must have been several very difficult years of medical treatments and extreme worry. Empathy can be conjured up for that. But he and his family got what they prayed for, his wife recovered! Me "before" would have felt compassion and sorrow for his family's struggle. Me "after" wanted him to shut up and let me explain to him what sorrow is.

The loss of my son is not killing me but it isn't making me stronger either. Harder, yes... with sharper edges, but in terms of being gentler, wiser, and more supportive of people as they complain about stupid shit, not in the least. Friends have called me "strong"; my psychiatrist called me "resilient". Instead of feeling complimented, I feel offended. I don't feel strong, I am not exhibiting behaviors of a strong person. By saying "strong" and "resilient" it feels like people are telling me "you're doing great, keep up the good work". I am crumbling.

2 comments:

Sara said...

Hey now, I don't like to see more self-flagellation than is absolutely necessary!

I think we've all felt - at certain points on this awful journey - like this has turned us into worse people. The moments of clarity and learning and empathy will come poking through at some point. Don't rush them.

It's ok to be angry and bitchy and seething and unsympathetic to others. I know how unfun those feelings can be, but I promise that you (we!) won't be this way forever.

I'm sorry it's hard now.

Zil said...

Ann Marie - Thank you for visiting my blog.

I am so sorry for your loss. I see that your comments are based on a very personal and heart-breaking experience.

My heart goes out to you. I hope that we both find peace in time.