Monday, March 15, 2010

I have a 75% Success Rate in Childhood Survival (and other inappropriate things parents of dead children say (oops, there's another one))

A few years after Emma died, I remember a friend commenting that I was so nonchalant about her death.  At the time I didn't see how she would think that.  I mean, true Emma was dead, and true I talked about her, but I didn't understand why she would say that I was nonchalant about her death.

Then, I heard what those who didn't know this life, this life of loss, pain and grief, heard.  I heard what I was saying and realized why they thought I was so matter-of-fact, morbid even, about her death.

A few examples of what I, and other bereaved parents, have said:
Yeah, I was doing pretty good until my kid kicked it.
All of my kids are still alive and well.  Well, all but one.
You might not want to take my advice seeing as I only have a 75% success rate in keeping my babies alive.
(When asked how many kids I have) 4, 3 are here and 1 got sick of me and up and died.
When given plants and flowers after the death of her baby, my friend said:
I don't know why people gave me plants I'm supposed to keep. I can't keep anything alive. Look at why we're all here today.

Parents who have lost children don't typically blink an eye at this kind of thing when I say it.  Sometimes (if enough time has passed) they even laugh.

You see, after you face something as big and ugly and hurtful as losing your child, you have to find a way to cope.  For some of us it is being very somber, for others it is being very gracious, and for a select few it is being completely and totally inappropriate about the death of our children.   I know that I have made more than one person uncomfortable with my candor about Emma.  But I have to laugh, I have to lighten the mood, I can't live with the constant soul crushing pain all the time.  I just can't.  I don't think anyone can.

So, if you come across someone who is completely and totally inappropriate about the death of their child, just follow their lead.  If they are laughing, you can too.  You can't walk around somber and sad all the time and honestly sometimes laughing is a heck of a lot easier than crying.

Trust me.

1 comment:

Heather Guymon said...

Kim this is so well put. I have a way of turning my grief into humor as well, no matter how "sick" it may come off to others. I grew up in a home where humor was important, laughter was always there, and even when we attended my grandfather's funeral and my mother was beside herself, my dad made sure to help us kids find the beauty and humor in this life no matter what. We still laugh about his rosery lol.

I have been wanting to say this for a while, but you are the most beautiful person to me. I am so glad I get the opportunity to get to know you now that you guys live here in Austin =)