In Response

I did some serious thinking after reading Kelly's comment on yesterday's post. I want to thank her for writing it. It has really forced me to think deeper and figure out a little better who I am and what I believe. If you didn't read the comment, it might help to start there!

Firstly, I think we can edit our lives by tiptoeing around others, but I wouldn't call it tiptoeing. I would call it being caring and sensitive to those around us. I am not suggesting that you never talk about your husband with a widow, or your baby with someone who is lost theirs. This would be unreasonable. We need to be true to ourselves and part of who we are is who we surround ourselves with. I just want people to know that I have just really appreciated the awareness they have shown me in conversation, by not going on-and-on about their babies.

My dear friend Kerri's words two weeks ago, "I didn't have my best friend for a year." Here is where I was in the fall. Kerri wasn't mad, or upset when she told me this. She simply stated a fact. One that we both agreed with.

While Kerri was at home with her infant son, Drew, last year, I was at home without mine. Relationships can be fragile, especially when times are hard. It was a hard year for BOTH of us. Our relationship went from solid brick to a single pane of glass. Had Kerri not been caring and sensitive in her words and actions towards me I know that our friendship wouldn't have made it. In fact, this fall, when I was having an especially hard time, I was ready to choose no friends, because the pain I was feeling would have been lessened, momentarily, by isolating myself. I have read blog after blog of women who have lost infants. A common thread? Most have lost friends over the course of their grief. I haven't lost a single one. Why? I can only guess that it has to do with the fact that my friends have made a conscious decision to put me first for this period in our friendships. They have decided they would rather talk about their plans for the weekend than mention their child has cut their first tooth to save me a bit of pain. Were we putting up walls to avoid pain? Absolutely. I was feeling enough pain. But we all knew that those walls were temporary and so we did it. Being the mother of a dead baby is hard. My friends didn't want to make it any harder. They did EXACTLY what I needed them to do and they did it because they love me. Did they tiptoe? Yes. Whether all the tiptoeing was worth it is something I can't answer for them, but I know it was worth it for me.

In response to Glennis' post on Monastary.com, I totally agree with Kelly. I believe we should be able to share our triumphs and our children's triumphs with those around us, but I will not seek people out to share these things with them (unless they are in my inner circle) and I won't go on-and-on about any of these triumphs. I will also be sensitive to my audience. If sharing my triumph hurts someone else's feelings, it is not worth sharing for me. For the most part I like to share our families triumphs after being asked. "How's Calder doing?" "Good! He finally figured out how to work the pedals and loves cruising on his bike." Inside I scream with Mama pride! Hugh read Glennis' post last night and commented, "There is a big difference between bragging and sharing. Sharing is a conversation. Bragging isn't." WELL SAID.

I also disagree with Glennis when it comes to celebrating your life (kids, husbands, new houses, etc.) on Facebook. I think you can write whatever you want on that forum. I know this might sound contradictory to what I have just written, but I don't have to read Facebook, it is my choice. Just like you don't have to come here and read my blog if you don't like what I am saying. In person, it becomes a lot harder to just "close a window" of a conversation. Even if what you are telling me is making me sad, I don't want to hurt your feelings by walking away from the conversation or asking you to stop. You are happy. I don't want to be the one to make you upset. No one's feelings are hurt if I haven't read an updated status.

Kelly also posted this quote: "A real test of character is being able to see through your own pain to celebrate someone’s happiness, or through your own happiness, feeling someone’s pain."

I loved this quote and couldn't agree more. I think pain is much harder to see through than happiness, but I absolutely agree that all people (including myself) are better off when we try to feel compassion and empathy for other human beings (whether it be joy or sadness). I will continue to be a work in progress on this one.
 
Once again, thanks for getting me thinking, Kelly. I will miss reading your opinions and insight while you are on blogcation!

Comments

  1. Well said, friend. And from the perspective of a friend who has done some 'tiptoeing' around you, it has been done with love and with the feeling of necessity to protect you. You do what you have to do for your friends and sometimes that means being acutely aware of the how your actions affect others. And in the end, if it helped you out even in the slightest way then it is no longer a sacrifice of sharing information and becomes a bond that depends a friendship.
    That`s what I think anyway.

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  2. yes, certainly there are times to 'tiptoe', and your friends were good to use sensitivity with you. That is why I said "you can't ALWAYS tip toe", not that you never should:) That is definitively how a good friend protects and nurtures their friend.

    I love the fact that Kerri feels like she has her best friend back now:) That is healing:)It was a true test of friendship what the two of you went through, and you will always know what a good friend you have found in her:) She was able to see through her happiness to understand your pain after the birth of Drew. Not easy to do. That you are seeing through your own pain now to share in her happiness with Drew is amazing Jordan:) You should be proud of yourself for that.

    And I am just going to say WOW about Calder riding his bike! Emme is 8 and we still can't get her off the training wheels.lol (in her defense, she has a horrible crash onto a busy street in Montreal when she was three, and Kevin tried to catch her but instead fell on top of her!).

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  3. This conversation has held me captive all ... day? For the past two days? I also read Glennon's post, and was deeply... intrigued? Thank you for the thoughtprovoking material! :)

    I also love Kelly's quote about the real test of character. LOVE this. It has helped me to understand my own feelings of joy and anguish.

    I also love being able to share in people's joys online a lot... sometimes it's easier to share those, because I can laugh and post the wonderful messages from my heart with sad tears dripping down my face :)

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