So in the spirit of the season, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the friends and family who have done sooo much or even the littlest bit to make this terrible nightmare just the tiniest of bits easier and try not to focus on all the other stuff that makes it worse.
1. The inspiration for my post: Today at my daughters ballet class (which if you've read my earlier posts you know I have been avoiding since September, but I have gone once before today) one of the moms who I know the "best", (i.e. she and my friend who I joined with and then the other mom who is pregnant and due 3 weeks after I was, have all hung out outside of ballet) but I haven't seen her since Caleb died, but she has sent her sympathy stuff my way, walked into the studio. I gave her my best rendition of the look I have come to know as the "We both know about the elephant in the room but I am okay and don't expect to make you uncomfortable by making you talk about "it" greeting, and she just walked up to where I was sitting, sat down next to me, looked me straight in the eye and said, I am so glad to see you, I am so glad your here, I missed you. And then she gave me the biggest hug. A tight squeezing and loving hug with just the tiniest bit of tears. And it was perfect. Sometimes no words are the best words.
2. My husband. Who when I called to give him the "news", said, "I'm coming, I'll be there." And those words meant more than anything either of us could have ever imagined in that moment.
3. My husband. Who has been there. Always. When you say your wedding vows and they talk about "better or worse" or "sickness and health" who stands there thinking "Will you be able to handle the funeral home, cremation and autopsy details when our son dies?".
4. My husband. Who has lost his son too and yet had the strength to pull both of us up and found a place where we could breathe.
5. My parents. Who I asked to watch my kids for 'about an hour" while I ran in to get the "routine" ultrasound. It's been 112 days now and they haven't stopped.
6. My Dad. Who "fixed" everything in our house he could get his hands on in those first few weeks. Because he wanted so desperately to fix this nightmare for his daughter.
7. My Mom. Who walked into my hospital room and just hugged me and said, "It's so awful. I don't even know what to say." And cried.
8. My parents. Who for the rest of their lives will always have to live with this horrible dual pain of losing their grandson and having their daughter have a stillborn child. As horrible and tragic as all of this is, the only worse thing I can imagine would be having to watch one of my children suffer through this night mare, how on earth do you parent a child through this? I don't know, but my parents do. They get it like I hope I never have to.
9. My sister. For just coming. She didn't call, email or anything. Just showed up and hugged me. And cried. And then apologized for crying. And cried some more. And then bought me a beautiful remembrance necklace with Caleb's' birthstone, and pink and blue crystals and a butterfly charm. And then bought key chains for my mom, me, my sister-in-law and herself, with baby footprints and a red gem for love, so we'd all have him with us where ever we go. She doesn't have kids herself, but she gets it.
10. My baby brother. He's 8 years younger than me and I swear to you, my son could be his son. They are so alike, and I soo love it. And then there is my daughter who just is so absolutely in love with him, I could go on and on but.....the point is: When he called, he said, "I just want to know how you are, how the kids are" and I of course started crying and he just waited. He didn't say a word. He just let me cry until I could talk. And then he said, "I'll come talk to C, make sure he is okay, let him have a place to talk that's safe"...his job takes him away for months at a time but I know, if my son needs to talk, he'll be there. He so gets it.
11. My older bro & sis-in-law. We were due a day apart. They were visiting her family in Europe when Caleb died. The first thing my sis-in-law said was "OMG, she'll never want to see me again." It sounds weird, maybe selfish to some, but to me it was my dear friend, and sis, crying for me and thinking I would somehow resent her because her baby was still alive. I swear, she is so kind that if she could hide her pregnant belly from me, she would. I hate that. She's had a miscarriage, then she and I were trying to get preggo at the same time, she was a year into it, me only 2 months when we both got the BFP and were due a day apart. I hate that this has taken even one seconds joy away from them. But thank God, they get it.
12. My dear friend M. I've known her the last 15 or so years. She's been there for the wedding, the babies, all the really good life stuff. She's the kind of friend who when she calls and I see her on caller ID, I can pick up the phone and say I'll call you later and she'll hang up. Not because she's mad, but because she knows I'll call her later. I love that about her. So when Caleb died, I had my mom call her. I didn't pick up the phone for WEEKS. But she called everyday, she left messages, she left jokes, she sent emails and she left HOPE. She would call my husband and my mom, just to make sure everything was ok. And one day I called back. And she let me talk about the stuff I wanted to talk about. The only outright thing she did about Caleb dying, was when I called and told her my OB had sent a bill for a "routine OB delivery" and charged me "full price" for a full term pregnancy ( I delivered at 23 weeks), she said "Throw it away and when the next one comes, I'll handle it for you." and she didn't mean she'd pay for it. She meant she'd tell them what she thought of them sending that kind of bill to a mom like me....Everyone needs a friend like my M. Cuz she gets it. Also, she begged me, in one of her millions of emails, that if anyone ever said to me "It's God's will", that I would tell them to "FUCK OFF", if not for me, then for her. She soooooooooo gets it.
13. My dear friend S. I've only known her since our 10 year olds were in 'kinder' together. We've done the Room Mom thing together for 6 years. She was the first new friend I made when my son started elementary school. At the end of first grade we stayed up almost all night building a video montage, (her idea and skill, NOT mine) and then I found out she was also a mom who wasn't afraid to say FUCK. That's when I knew she and I would be great friends...SO when Caleb died, she was who I had my husband call to "get the word out" to our other friends. She never called (Part of my husbands "protector" gene had him tell everyone who he told about Caleb to give me privacy and leave me be) but she did send me the best email. She wrote, "When you are ready, I am here with a latte, a shoulder, an ear or silence. Just tell me what you need." When she did come over, she helped me make the most beautiful and treasured remembrances for Caleb. I went to the mortuary, before he was cremated, and held him, put pictures of his brother and sister with him, and then left him with a blanket (that wrapped his big brother when he was born) to be cremated in, and then I made, 12, individual cards, (they are birth announcement cards each with a cute little blue baby bonnet at the top), each with his original tiny and perfect little footprint and hand print (my mom went and bought me an ink pad like you buy when your baby is born healthy..see, thanks again mom). I brought the cards home and my friend S, made individual name plates for every card and then sat at my dining room table and affixed each name plate to each card with some crafting tool and these beautiful little metal rings ( I am not crafty mom, so I have no idea what she did but she had a whole kit for it.) She easily spent an hour doing it. And all she said was, "It is so good to sit with you again. I miss you.". See. She gets it.
14. My friend D. She just started taking my son to his swimming practices after Caleb died. Every day. She has five kids in her blended marriage, her ex is in jail, her step daughters are so desperate for a mommy but give her so much shit, all the time, her new husband, their dad, is trying to build his own business, they have no $$, she has barely any time to herself or otherwise and still, when we got back from the hospital, she just showed up in our driveway to take C. to swimming. Everyday. For and hour and a half. Everyday. And she brought him home too. And then, when I started back to mommy swimming duty, she'd sit with me for the whole hour and a half, she's the one who asked "How are you?" and really meant it. She is the one whose mom had a stillborn son, her brother, 40 years ago. She still asks me, "How are you?" and then asks about the autopsy, the funeral we still haven't had, if we think we might try again, if I think I want to, how the kids are....she's just there, and she gets it.
15. My "non-conforming" PTA friends. I know, everyone sees or hears PTA and thinks, AHHH, Stepford wives, psycho, sorority moms..But no. Not my PTA. Not these spitfires. I could blog forever about why they/we are not that, but it doesn't matter. My family received meals, and I mean meals like breakfast, lunch and dinner type meals for WEEKS, and I often didn't even know who they were from. Those moms, just get it. I never even went grocery shopping until more than almost two months had passed since Caleb died and even then it was only for cat food and toilet paper.
16. The "stranger" mom. I've known her casually in this last year before Caleb died b/c of PTA at school, but she's always been a sort of lurking in the shadows type mom. I'd seen her a few brief moments in the immediate weeks after Caleb died but I think she was operating under the whole "husbands' directive of not saying anything to me. Then one day we were in a "workroom" cutting out something incredibly vital to our children's education and she just stopped and said, "Is it okay now for me to say how sad I am for you and your baby?" "Can I just, at least, hug you?" And we did. And I knew. She gets it.
17. The even "stranger"moms or dads or friends.... They knew I was pregnant. They are my neighbors, grocery clerks or even a mail carrier. They shared our joy when we were visibly pregnant, one even shared it when I bought the pregnancy test, and then saw me after my isolation and I didn't have a baby and I wasn't pregnant and they just let it be. They get it. Thank God they get it. And they didn't ask. Because they get it. I mean really, what else do they need to know anyway????
18. My blogger friends...those who post and those who don't...obviously. You get it...as much as it sucks...thank God, you are all here to get it. Enough said. Except. I am so, so, sorry that you get it.