It’s not about you

September 16, 2008

N and I used to watch Grey’s Anatomy together on Thursday nights, and one of our favorite lines was Christina Yang’s, “It’s not always about you, Meredith.” Yesterday I had to (very gently, I hope) explain to two of my favorite people that my recent behavior is not, in fact, about them. Not their fault, not because of anything they’d said or done, not because they’d been insensitive or neglectful or careless.

Here’s what I wish I had the energy and courage to tell the loved ones who surround me, who support me, and to whom I’m grateful: when I’m acting strange or distant, withdrawn or sad, it’s not about you.

It’s not about you, when I cry, really. It’s not about you when I’m mostly monosyllabic on the phone, when I have to leave the room, when I don’t respond to your phone calls or emails. It’s not about you unless I tell you it’s about you, and believe me, I will tell you.

It may be about baseball, about how N will never get to take Teddy to a new park every year to see the Cubs play, about the lonely little Cubs hat in the room upstairs.

It may be about my hand. Perhaps I’ve seen or thought or heard something I want to share with Teddy and my hand (foolish hand) moved to the place on my belly that I used to touch when I talked to him. Perhaps I’ve realized all over again that he’s not safe inside me any more, that he’s gone.

It may be about a stray thought running through my head, something like, “What perfect stroller weather,” or, “I wish he could have seen this moon.”

It may be about my anger at myself, about my frustration with my inability to negotiate the snack aisle (also the diaper and formula aisle) at the grocery store, about my irritation over my newfound spells of agoraphobia, about my guilt over not being a better daughter, friend, or coworker right now.

It may be about my memories of the days when I was hopeful and expectant – about the evening I spent watching the Olympics in the TV lounge at the Ronald McDonald house with Mom’s hand on one side of my belly and N’s hand on the other, feeling our Huckleberry kick and wiggle.

It is and always is about Teddy being gone, about how I love him, about how he is missed and about how his loss has yet to make any kind of sense to me. How I act and talk now is about how I’m trying to stay afloat in a sea of grief. Sometimes I need to use all of my energy for gasping for breath and for treading water. Sometimes I will not have enough resources to share with you, to make you feel better, to comfort you, to share my feelings with you.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love you, and it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. I do love you; you are important to me and I am grateful for your support and care. It’s just that, right now, it’s not about you.

One comment

  1. I sorrow along with you. Grief and loss are always hard to take. People who love you frequently do not understand that. If I told you one day a time just living and breathing, perhaps that would help. The grief never truly leaves, but it eventually becomes a hum in the background instead of the crashing noise you now hear.

    Perhaps you can benefit by some of the things I write about on my website at http://www.moonwomenspirituality.com. Visit the section on love. I also invite you to check out my blog on love and relationships at http://www.sherrieh.wordpress.com. Many blessings on Your Journey into yourself!

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