Friday, June 25, 2010

In which 'them' = 'us'

She was one of them.

She had other kids, both younger than mine and at the same time, the same age as mine. She was visibly pg with her third, when I was only hoping I might be pg with my fourth...after. She wore her pregnancy as a favorite old discarded t-shirt. She threw it on without any thought. It just was. She barked out orders to her other two kids, she was annoyed by their complaints, as much as she was committed, to her Turrets afflicted son's inclusion into all things 'normal'. She grew her hair long and then cut it off for kids with cancer, and no one really knew, unless you knew her. She wasn't overly friendly, in fact, to be honest, I never really got her. She seemed distant, and uninterested in anything or anyone other than her kids.


For the last four years, I saw her and her growing family, on a daily basis because her kids and mine, swim on the same team. We've never been introduced, we are not BFF's., but we know each other, if only for the hours we spend on 'deck', watching our kids swim. But, we don't talk. Beyond the regular "Hey," and "Hi" and "What's new?"...not a whole lot.


Then, she has a baby, a daughter, when I am half way through my pg with Cason. She literally delivers her daughter and then hours, maybe a day or two later, walks into a swim meet, baby Emily, tucked into a sling across her chest. I hated her. Because it all came too easily. For everything good she did, I would watch her with her kids and think, WTF!? She isn't a lifetime/Hallmark movie mom. She yells at them, she ignores them, she dismisses them. But, she mother's them. Her way. Her choice.


Months later, my mom fills in for me, taking kids to practice, after Cason is born. She comments on 'the mom'. I am so out of it, I can only tell mom, "Yeah, she's different.". My mom tells me that all the other moms are talking about how this mom and baby Emily are going to be on T.V. because she knows how to swim at less than a year old...


Come Spring, Cason tucked into his stroller, baby Emily is walking around the pool deck, un assisted. The collective group of moms help to watch her as her mom tends to her older brother and sister. I remember, so clearly, an afternoon last summer, when Emily had climbed underneath the bleachers beyond our eyesight, her mom, in a voice of sheer panic, screamed "Where is she?!" I knew where she was and told her, she's here, she's right here.

She scooped her up and took her away, never looking back at me.


And so our parallel lives continued. At the last swim meet I took all the kids to, end of last summer, Cason and Emily hung out together. It wasn't a love connection, but it was a peek into the world of, "hey, you(Cason) can have a play date while you are stuck in the middle of the aquatic hell your older sibs have rained down on you...) kind of moment.


My daughter, the one who required me to sit poolside, quit, swim, last September. So I no longer had to sit poolside. My son still swims. Swam all winter, all Spring. I am 'good' friends with many of the moms who sit poolside, but not good enough that we kept in contact with each other when my deck time was halted.

My daughter started up again last month. I am back on deck. Hanging out with the same moms, talking about what I did while away, what they did, what the kids are up to. Regular bull shit. Didn't see the other mom or her kids. Last week I did. Didn't really pay much attention. The other day her eldest(8 or 9) came stomping across the deck to yell at her mother that she was being put in a group with kids who DON"T KNOW HOW TO SWIM!! while yelling she also accidentally let some spit fly right into her mom's face. Mom yelled back. After it was over I told her, boy I see trouble in your future. I feel for you cuz I'll be there too. She kinda laughed, we did the casual chat thing and it was over.

She's been there all week, with just the older kids. Dad must be taking care of Emily now that summer is here. But it felt off to me. Yesterday, she was sitting next to me in a tube top like dress. She got up to go do something and I saw it. On her left shoulder blade, about the size of a greeting card, a precious moments angel tattoo, the angel is holding a banner that reads, "Emily".

What to do. What to do. What to do. I wish I could tell you that I manned up and asked her. But I didn't. I asked the one mom who I am friends with who was also there yesterday(everyone else is on vacation). I told her I hadn't seen the baby and now I saw this tattoo. Did she die? Yes. She. Died. Bathtub. Drowning. She doesn't know very much. I need to talk to my other friend when she gets back. She knows what happened and when.

I am lost. I am now one of 'them'. I have what she does not. Cason is a shadow baby. And I don't know what to do. I mean I know what to do, but I am afraid of it. I will do it. Because I know what it feels like when people ignore your dead baby. I know what it feels like to sit next to me and be forced to see what you no longer have. I know what it feels like to hate me. And I know what it feels like to lose your child.

My heart is broken for that family. For that beautiful little girl who did not live to see her 2nd birthday.

And now, her mother, she is one of us.

22 comments:

Hope's Mama said...

I felt a certain sense of dread the whole way through reading this. That poor, poor woman. I know when you see her next you'll say all the right things and you'll make her feel less alone. So awful that another one has joined the club in such tragic circumstances. But then, I guess when it is our kids the circumstances are always tragic. Give her my best from another member of this shitty club.

Sophie said...

Oh god, this is just awful. I am so sorry for her and precious Emily.

xx

angie said...

Man, I wish she was just them. The whole time, I was hoping she would stay a them. Forever. This is a stunning post. Drowning in a bathtub after learning to swim before a year old...so very cruel.

I found out someone lost their child much the same way I did. The daughter in law of the local shop owner, who I am friendly with. I decided to man up, be the person I wanted in those early days. And later the person that y'all were to me. The MIL said it would be so helpful to send her an email. I sent one to her with some links and some words, and she never responded. She didn't want to connect with other stillbirth mamas. She was moving on, according to her mother in law. But I tried. Not everyone needs what I think they need, but we never know unless we try.

xo

Mary Beth said...

Oh wow. So very sad for that family. Sending them warmth and, well, I don't know what. Just good energy.

Heather said...

There are far too many of "us".

I am so saddened by this story. Little Emily and her family are in my thoughts.

Shannon Ryan said...

so tragic :(

Reba said...

oh that's terrible. it's hard to remember this happens to the "regular" people, too. it's not just us...no one is immune. how awful. even a swimming prodigy can drown in a bathtub...b/s she was still just a baby.

CLC said...

God, I read this like I was watching a horrow flick. I hate horror flicks because they make me want to throw up. This story makes me so sad and nauseous. The poor Mom, the poor family. Poor Emily. When I hear things like this, my immediate response is "I can't even fathom the pain." But I guess I can to a degree. I know what it's like to see the horror of your child die before she lives, but I don't know what it's like if you see your child die after she lives. It all hurts like hell I suppose. It's weird that even when you have survived something similar, your mind can still go to that place of thinking that you can't imagine the horror.

I hope she receives you well when you talk to her. I know it will be tough, but hopefully she will gain something from talking to you. At least knowing that she's not alone and that not everyone is afraid to acknowledge death. Good luck K and keep us posted on how it goes.

Rivalen said...

wishing you and this newest member strength.

Aunt Becky said...

That just makes me want to throw up.

c. said...

Awful, K. Just f#cking awful. XO.

Michele said...

I feel sick. How awful.

As hard as it is... Talk to her. I cant imagine how alone she must feel.

Sue said...

This makes me anxious and panicky and teary. A lump in my throat.

I don't know what I would do. You'll do what seems right.

I wish we could put a note on the door that says, "No new members allowed."

loribeth said...

OMG. Please let us know how things go, if you approach her. She may or may not be receptive to talking, but at least you will have tried.

Reese said...

Reading that was a like watching a car accident about to happen....

If you do approach her, I find "I just found out about BLANK and I am so sorry" the best way to start awkward conversations. It will be up to her to continue or just say thanks and let it go....

Wishing you luck. Sorry that another one is in the club....

janis said...

I cannot imagine... how awful, what an ironic twist of fate.
I am so sorry.

Tash said...

This is gutwrenching. Horrible.

I think you simply say the truth: You heard what happened, and my god are you ever sorry. What a horrible loss. Do unto others -- use her name, ask how the family's doing, ask how she's doing.

And leave it out there for her to pick up or drop as she wishes. She's brave, IMO, to come back and face everyone even behind the shield of her new ink. I'm not sure in her shoes if I'd want to talk or not, but it beats being ignored and there's only one way to find out.

Sending her love, through you.

niobe said...

Not the point, but this is beautifully, perfectly written.

I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a child. I can't imagine what I'd say. I can't imagine what I'd feel. I can't begin to imagine it.

Luschka (Diary of a First Child) said...

Oh my word. It's not often that anything drives me to tears anymore. This did. How unbelievably horrible. Sitting watching my 9 month old half crawl half walk around the lounge, this ripped through me.

Fireflyforever said...

oh. I'm so, sorry for Emily's mum. It's strange how we can go through this yet still find the words so hard to come by.

Ashleigh said...

So heartbreaking. There really are no words.

Megan said...

Such a beautifully written, yet terribly tragic post.