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Omission

April 9, 2009

Today I had an eye appointment.  My doctor asked me the usual opening questions about my health and then asked how my eyes were doing.  My response? “They’ve been kind of dry, probably because I’ve been crying a lot lately.”  I didn’t want to tell her why I’d been crying, and she made a sympathetic noise, but didn’t ask why.  The appointment went on from there.

I didn’t want to be Grief Girl, to be pitied, to have to tell Teddy’s story to this very nice woman whose job it was to make sure my eyes were healthy and to write a new prescription for contact lenses.  I thought I could be “normal.”

It partially worked. I didn’t break down, and no one looked at me as though I were a walking cautionary tale.  I’m always Grief Girl, of course, but sometimes it’s a relief when people around me don’t know that.

Now, though, in the spirit of Easter, I feel a little bit like Peter, who reputably denied Jesus three times.  And, like Peter, I feel guilty about it.  I denied my baby.  Only a little bit.  Only by omission.  But it feels like a betrayal. He had so little, and so few people were able to know him.  I want people to know about him, to remember and to care.

It hurts to bring him up.  It hurts not to bring him up, too, but in different ways.  I waffle between the two, never knowing which way I’ll turn.

I lie a lot now.  I’m turning down an invitation to an Easter brunch because the friend who invited us invited one other couple and their new baby.  I can’t tell her that it takes some effort for me to be around babies, so I’m telling her we’ll be glued to the television, watching the Cubs game.  Mom called tonight to tell me how worried she’s been about me and asked how I was doing.  I said “fine,” and I said it like I meant it, but fine is far from where I am.

Are these little lies also little betrayals?  They make getting through the day easier, but I worry about the cost of getting through the day like this.

Where is the balance between acknowledging Teddy and keeping him a part of my life, and not worrying people by baring the soft underbelly of my grief?

If you lie, how do you feel about it?

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5 comments

  1. I lie all the time and for the most part, I feel fine with it. I have years to make up for it and to apologise to people I figure.
    Thinking of you and little Teddy.


  2. The answer to this question changes as the days and months pass since Ezra left. In the beginning I had no choice but to let it all spill out – I told everyone and anyone about Ezra. Then I went through a phase of wanting to keep him to myself, to not share him with anyone. Now it depends on the day, my mood, who I’m talking to. For the most part, I share him with those who are loving and compassionate and would want to know For those that are not (or for whom it would be inappropriate to expect those emotions, like my clients) I keep him in my heart, not in my words.


  3. Well, like I said in my most recent post, my PT didn’t know I was 2 months post partum whn i started going. I don’t know if it has hurt my progress or if it has made it hard for him to undestand my slow progress.

    It bothers me when people don’t know, but so do their inappropriate responses and short memories (when it occurs, some are good about it).

    And now that my PT does know, I think he can kind of understand where I am at when I say “I hate rainy days”.

    But I don’t worry that I am denying my daughter. Not everyone wants to hear about my kids. And if it is not relevant (medically speaking) no need to bring it up. I guess that’s my way of treating Serenity like I would a living baby.


  4. We have to do what we have to do. I decline invites all the time. But luckily, now that it’s almost been two years, I can start accepting some, when I feel up to it.

    Do what’s right for you. We are so fragile. Talk about it when you feel like you need to, don’t bring it up, when you don’t feel like you need to.

    *big hugs* it’s not easy learning the new dance of the dbmoms


  5. Ah, yes. Constantly living with the option to bring up vs. not mention, to be completely truthful vs. partially truthful vs. lie, to include vs. omit. It is never-ending struggle for those of us with dead children. I am 2 and 1/2 years out from my son’s death, and I still fumble and falter when faced with these decisions. Rarely am I happy with my interaction. More and more, I lean on the side of inclusion/mention/bringing him up… b/c the person on the other end doesn’t have to LIVE my life. He/she probably feels bad for about 5 minutes and is able to get on with the day, whereas, if I deny my boy (or at least what I perceive as denying), I have to feel guilty for a while. And YES, I have lied plenty to get out of social gatherings/interactions — b/c of a pg woman or baby or just because I’m feeling sad and no one will understand. It’s hard to keep explaining over and over and over to friends and family that you just can’t “do it” — white lies are sometimes easier… Thinking of you.



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