"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Paradise Lost

"Never make a decision based on fear."

I can't remember which friend, family member, colleague, social worker or genetic counsellor told me that, but it's the best advice I've been given during these past four horrible weeks. You really do find out who your good friends are in a time of crisis. Not because they send you flowers or make the necessary phone calls - but because they know what to say, and what not to say.

Being pregnant and discovering there's no hope for your child to live outside your body once it is born is an indescribably difficult thing to face, let alone write about. So when it comes time to tell people what you're going through, the words congeal in your throat. I've resorted to email, and to having friends & family spread the news. Thank God for these people and their willingness to do my dirty work for me.

My good friends and family members wisely acknowledge the situation without offering saccharine platitudes or overdoses of pity. It is what it is; sometimes life sucks. Other responses have been supportive and kind for the most part; after all, I can't fault people for not knowing what the hell to say in a situation like this. But if one more person tells me that "God must have needed another angel," or "It's better this way," I am going to punch them in the snout.

People grieve in weird and wonderful ways. I remember when my first marriage was falling apart (and it fell apart spectacularly), I watched three movies that bruised my already damaged heart even more: Les Invasions Barbares (The Barbarian Invasions), Closer and The Notebook. These movies probably don't seem remotely related, and they're not - but they do share common threads of love denied, love lost, and love betrayed. Which was exactly what I was feeling at the time. And, brilliant idiot that I was, I watched them on purpose to make myself suffer. I don't know why people are driven to do silly things like that. I have a fuzzy theory that if I intensify my grief as much as possible initially, I can drive the bulk of it out of my system. We'll see.

Anyway, Les Invasions Barbares has a marvellous scene at the end between the yuppie son and the lovely drug addict that crushed my heart to pieces. Plus it's chock full of keen Quebecois insights into the complexity of relationships, and it showed me that death can be a graceful and beautiful thing. Denys Arcand deserved his Oscar.

Closer is all about lust, trust, betrayal and redemption. My sister warned me not to watch it so soon after my separation, but I plunged ahead, sniffled through it and felt richly rewarded for having done so. (My Lord, how I hate Jude Law!)

Finally, The Notebook was lent to me by a friend with dire warnings that I would bawl my eyes out, which I was skeptical about. I detest Nicolas Sparks, who was a favourite choice in my early Bookclub meetings. And prior to my marital breakdown, I wasn't much of a crier. I figured the movie would make me feel sad enough, but I have never cried during a movie like I did when watching this slightly cheesy story about a love so deep and lasting it made me grind my teeth in agony that I didn't have the same thing.

So there you have it. A recipe for grieving a marriage, in three parts. Now, to figure out cathartic ways to grieve my child...somehow, I don't think Disney is gonna cut it.


Susan said...

People mean well, but you're right, if they don't know what to say, they should "zip the lip". I hope no one has said, "Don't worry, dear, there'll be other babies." I heard of an occasion where that comment was made - as if another baby could take the place of the present one!

Have you ever seen those sympathy cards that say he/she "is just away"? Those ones really get me!

Well enough empathetic ranting. You know my prayers are with you...

Muffy St. Bernard said...

When I hear "God needed another angel," I can't help thinking "you're insane, don't speak to me for at least a month."

Since I have never known what to say in this situation, I too will wisely "button it." No platitude applies.

tanzi said...

Love ya, sis.
I bawled at the stupid Notebook in spite of myself, too. ARGH! Do you know how many student essays comparing the film and book I've had to read? Try telling adolescents that it's just ficition--not pretty.

There is no method. You'll just come through it somehow.