Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Coat

It was winter.
Cold.
He had left in the fall.
I was in a new season.

I felt I needed to pick myself up-
Face the world-
The world that needed to start spinning once again.

With the changing season, I needed a new coat- one that would fit the mother who had just delivered babies- full term twins- a mother of two-

I went to a nearby department store and quickly found a coat. It was a perfect fit and I smiled as I brought it to the cashier to pay.

"Will this be all today?"

"Yes" I replied, "I just had twins and was in desperate need to find a new coat that would fit me until I lose the rest of this dreaded baby-weight. This will work great." I said smiling.

"Congratulations!" The unsuspecting cashier replied, "What did you have?"

And that's when I said it- the door had been opened- and with such ease I said,
"I had two boys- but one DIED!"

I remember the look on her face. The horror. She was at a loss.
I remember watching her as she searched for her words- her mouth hung open- searching-
I didn't help her- I stood and watched her- so uncomfortable- I sat and watched-

"I'm so very sorry."

"Thank you." I took my coat and left the department store and as I walked to my car, a sinking feeling crept over me. That poor cashier- just doing her job- I had made her so uncomfortable- why had I done that- why had I felt the need to tell her-

The Coat was one of many trips. Trips to stores to talk about my babies- my baby that DIED- returning the many items that I had received 'doubles' of at showers- Trips for clothing items- casual trips to buy groceries-

I found myself talking about them to strangers- Anyone who would listen.

"I had twins, and one DIED!"

In that moment- as I would say those words- see the horror on their face- I felt good. Something about their reaction- made me feel good-

And then- as I walked away from my victims- I would feel remorse- Why? Why had I felt the need to share my grief with these people- these poor innocent people? Why?

It was in that season that I knew.
I knew I needed help.
And I wasn't sure if the Secret Society knew the answers-

And so I went-
I went to see a counselor-
Someone who spoke to people like me-
Crazy people-
Because... well... I felt crazy!

I didn't know what to do-
I hadn't ever seen a counselor before.
I knew I had an hour and I needed to talk.

I spoke to her-
said his name-
and cried-
I told her about my victims
about what I was doing-
and cried-

She sat and listened as I talked for my hour-
an hour I paid for-
and with each word some of the weight I brought in that room lifted-
But still I needed to know why?

I saw her pause as she pondered my question.
I wasn't sure if this was what was supposed to happen when people see counselors-
but this was what I needed.
I looked at the clock as it ticked-
my hour almost over-
Please- tell me why?
Why?

"When a woman is pregnant- it is work. Her body works hard. Her heart works hard. She feeds her baby- she breathes for her baby- she carries the weight of her baby- it is work.
When a woman has a baby- people see that- whether they acknowledge it or not- they know she did that- she went through all of that work to bring that baby into the world- she did that- they can see it.
People can't see what you did. They see your baby and they smile- but they don't know the whole story- they don't know because they can't see him- they don't see what you see.
Perhaps that's why- Perhaps you want them to see."

Yes.
I got it.
It made sense.
I paid my money and thanked her.
I didn't feel a connection to her and I knew I wouldn't be back.
But my money was well spent.
I had my answer.

I stopped telling strangers.
Stopped saying those words that stole their breath-
I saved them.
Saved them from me.

Yes. I had done that. I carried those babies. I loved them. I breathed for them. I ate for them. I prayed for them.

I had done that.
Been the best mother I could possibly be-
Even though it wasn't enough-
I had done that.
All I could.

And knowing that was enough.

9 comments:

  1. Wow! Speechless.
    Ronda

    ReplyDelete
  2. yep.

    love you Laura. You write so well my friend xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, you HAD done that, and knowing that WAS enough. I love this posting, Laura. I so remember hearing the story during our Secret Society meetings, and feel I could almost tell it for you. I also love what the counselor said at the end: "Perhaps you want them to see..." Yes, yes! We want them to see. Thank you for so eloquently expressing what we want them to see... Love you, my friend.

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  4. Yes, that disconnect that suddenly arrives between you and everyone else in the world. You don't seem able to be yourself anymore without invoking these extremely uncomfortable moments. Either wear a mask or cause tremmors of discomfort.

    I remember the day before Abigail's funeral going to buy a tie. Conversation went.

    Salesman - can i help you
    Me - just looking
    Salesman - is it for a special event?
    Me - yes
    Salesman - what is it
    Me - you don't want to know
    Salesman - it can help me to advice you
    Me [look at him with a kind of "really, you really want to do this"] - it is for my daughters funeral
    Salesman [why won't the ground swallow me up... if only I had listened] = eh, er, [cough] sorry
    Me - thanks

    end up buying cufflinks and tiepin extra just to make up for the conversation

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think that the counsellor you saw was right, I think sometimes we do just want people to see.

    I struggle with wanting to tell people about my other baby although I very rarely do in real life.

    But you are right, we did all we could and that's enough.

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  6. Yes, I know I want people to see. I want people to know that I had her but she isn't here.

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  7. Deja Vu... The same thing happened to me. I needed a new coat after I delivered the twins. A salesperson said oh that looks good with your coloring. I said "you mean next to my paleness because i just had twins and they are DEAD!!!/ I walked out. I did not feel bad. I wanted the world to know. I lost Amelia and Alexander. Sorry this was a sad post.

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  8. Hello, It is Lisa from Jasper, Forever our first born. I wanted to let
    you know that I wrote your angels name and took some pictures and wanted
    to give them to you. I am doing this for all the angels on the blogs that
    I follow. Here is the link. I hope you like them.
    http://waterfallangels.blogspot.com/2010/02/andrew.html
    ((HUGS))

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes, that disconnect that suddenly arrives between you and everyone else in the world. You don't seem able to be yourself anymore without invoking these extremely uncomfortable moments. Either wear a mask or cause tremmors of discomfort.

    I remember the day before Abigail's funeral going to buy a tie. Conversation went.

    Salesman - can i help you
    Me - just looking
    Salesman - is it for a special event?
    Me - yes
    Salesman - what is it
    Me - you don't want to know
    Salesman - it can help me to advice you
    Me [look at him with a kind of "really, you really want to do this"] - it is for my daughters funeral
    Salesman [why won't the ground swallow me up... if only I had listened] = eh, er, [cough] sorry
    Me - thanks

    end up buying cufflinks and tiepin extra just to make up for the conversation

    ReplyDelete

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