Saturday, December 26, 2009

What to do.

A bunch of people have asked me what they SHOULD do when something tragic happens. I don't really know if I have all of the answers, even for someone who reacts EXACTLY as I do.

Don't ask what you can do. Just do it. Someone actually gave me that tip for another friend when her mother died. They told me to say - I'm bringing dinner on Weds night... instead of asking 'What can I do?". Because when someone asks me what they can do, in the back of my mind I always think 'can you bring back Nora?' or 'make the pain stop?' because that is honestly what I really want. But I know that I need the day to day things done too. My friends are bringing over dinner every weeknight until January sometime. The firefighters just came over and put up our Christmas lights. Out neighbors have been shoveling our driveway for us when it snows. I would have never thought to ask for those things, but when they were done, it was really nice.

Don't EVER ask what happened. I don't want to relive that night over and over. IF I feel like talking about it I will... but the chances are low. Also do NOT ask if they found out what was 'wrong' with her. In our case, they found nothing. Which is more upsetting to think about.

Don't tell me she went to a better place. I think my home and my family is a pretty wonderful place and I think she should be here with us.

Don't judge my grief. Don't think I'm acting too happy or too sad and then tell me so. I will probably tell you to fuck off. Many people told us not to celebrate Hulk's first birthday. To my, celebrating life was the only way to make it through that day. If that isn't what you would do, I'm sorry. But it isn't your family and you didn't have to come.

Leave people alone when they ask to be left alone. We've had overnight visitors since the day this all happened. By the time my stepmother left, we wanted to be alone. My MIL insisted on staying because 'she needed to be with us'. We needed to be alone, and we told her so. But she didn't listen, so we just dealt with it.

If they have twins, don't ever say, well, at least you still have Maggie. First, it's just an asshole thing to say... and guess what? We are a little freaked out now about both Maggie and Hulk and their health and safety.

I know I could probably write a million more things, but the Great and All Powerful is waking up and needs attention (3 week growth spurt, I think!).


HereWeGoAJen said...

But you have some of the answers. Thank you, I will remember this.

Michele said...

Amen. I especially felt drawn to the wanting to be alone. We knew that when Bobby & Maya were born, we would need to be alone to work through our grief and memories and whatever else happened over Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander. We begged people to stay the hell away so that we could do this. My MIL refused and came to the hospital even after we both told her not to and ended up staying the night. We had a talk with her afterwards about how this really ruined our trust in our relationship with her and how much it impacted us. I dont think she realized just how much it hurt us. Some people can only think of their needs in grief and, while I think that we too have to understand that and try to be lenient, at the same time, we have to have our time and go through our grief too. I am so sorry that you were unable to have time that you so desperately needed.

Sending big hugs (and hoping that people realize everyone deals with grief in their own way and that that should be respected...)

nancy said...

Just a billion ~hugs~ to you. I hope people listen to your needs.

Sara said...

Definitely - just DO whatever kind thing you can think of - that's really good advice. I'd add to the list - don't sink into the background and pretend nothing is wrong and avoid the topic altogether.

That said - you're (of course) still in my thoughts as you weather this grieving process. You'll never be "over" losing her - she's a part of you ingrained at such a deep and cellular level at this point. The grief will get less painful with time - but in the end, you're forever the mom of three kids now, one who you lost without warning, and inexplicably.

It's an impossible thing to grapple with really - you're doing the best you can do, which is living each moment, minute, hour, day - with a pretty strong hold on what's really important in life (loving the ones dear and near to you, and not losing that in the mess).

The Boncoddo's Blog said...

Thank you for writing this...

ferfischer said...

You don't know me. I have twins and something very tragic (but very different - both are still alive, but we have lifelong consequences, and one has a limited lifespan) happened to one of mine. It's been one year since the accident, and we are just getting to a point of having our feet on the ground, but it depends on the day. I've felt many of the things you say here, even if our situation is very different.

Carrie27 said...

People truly don't understand that when you want to be alone you truly do want to be alone.

Katie said...

This is a good list for me to keep in mind. I always "try" to help and fear that I fail miserably.

Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Cece you are truly an amazing woman, please continue to do whatever is working for you, and know that there are lots of us out here praying/rooting for you and your family!

lots of hugs!!!

zach05kate95 said...

Thank you for sharing that information with us. It's important to know. I am sorry some people have been asses to you.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever think people get sick of walking on egg shells?

Steph said...

I found your blog through Nancy's. My heart aches for you and your family. What a trying time. So much to be thankful for, yet at the same time, you have to deal with the devastation of losing your sweet baby.

I don't think anyone has ANY right to judge you for how you feel on any given day. Of course you're going to have horrible days, better days, even some good days, but it's not for anyone else to tell you how you "should" feel at a time like this.

My prayers are with you. Even though I don't know you, I've thought of you and your family often. You just continue to do what you need to do for yourself and your family. Everyone else needs to butt out and let you have some space when you ask for it.



MyLifeMyWorld & Growing Families said...

What a great post, thank you for writing it. I have to say that I'm just catching up and have floundered in one my earlier comments. Please please don't take it to being rude, I just wanted to understand a bit. If I could go back and edit it, I would...hmmm, maybe I will try. Here's my thoughts on your post and where I floundered:

"Don't ask what you can do. Just do it."
Love it and if you lived closer, I'd be at your doorstep bring food, even though I don't really know you at all.

"Don't EVER ask what happened. Also do NOT ask if they found out what was 'wrong' with her."

Here I floundered, and I'm sorry. Please ignore the comment a few posts back, I understand what your saying.

"Don't tell me she went to a better place."

I can see how that would bother you.

"Don't judge my grief. Don't think I'm acting too happy or too sad and then tell me so."

Here here, nuf said!

"Leave people alone when they ask to be left alone."
Do you think some 'think' they want to be alone but really that's the last thing they should do? I mean I can see respecting those wishes for the short term, but sometimes people have a hard time being able to move past the grief and need an extra push? Is there a point where there is a line to be drawn?

"If they have twins, don't ever say, well, at least you still have Maggie."

I agree, a totally stupid and rude thing to say.

It was a great post and I think helps a lot for those of us who have never been through such tradegy. But even for those who have since everyone deals with it so differently and all is okay. I'm sorry about my earlier comment, again it was in no way meant to offend.

Hugs and prayers for peace, joy and love.

Nearlydawn said...

No, my situation isn't the same, but damn the feelings appear to be. I got so freakin' tired of cards, angels, and mis-guided cliches. Ugh. I really just wanted people to stop asking me about it, but it was after Thanksgiving before people finally got a clue.

You know, I like the "just do something" idea. It really was the thing that worked the best for me. My favorite was a coupon for a Jr. Frosty - this person included it in a card that said "have a frosty on me, anytime. Feel free to call me if you want me to join you.". It was nice - left the door open for me talk, and also allowed me to wallow in some ice cream if I didn't. I actually ended up eating frosties with hubby on a bright and sunny day - it was fun.

Anyway, point is - I understand, totally agree with, and appreciate your comments.

Camille said...

So agree!!

sarah said...

This is so right on. The best thing that happened to me after my m/c was a colluege who just walked up to me and held me in a very long hug. I would have never ever ssaid taht was what I wanted or needed, but honestly, it was the thing that made me feel the most see and 'held'. So I'm not recommending that people start walking up and hugging people, but rather the 'do' rather than 'say' approach.

Anonymous said...

I can so see where you are coming from on that. Good on you for saying it and so articulately.

And so on a positive note: I am thrilled that Maggie is doing so well.