Make no mistake about it. I have been a terrible friend this past year too.
When Lucy first died, I used to visit a mothering board. In the loss section, someone posed a question about which loss and grief books were helpful and which weren't. I remember vaguely reading a review about one, I cannot even remember which one now, that someone said was more geared to counselors and therapists. And I do remember the review said, "It was upsetting to read things about the 'narcissism of grief,' especially because I am in the midst of it." That is when it first occurred to me that this grief was going to make everything about me. No matter how compassionate I wanted to be, I was going to see the world through my own lens of loss.
I think my last post sort of proves that researcher right, no? Everyone has their own shit with which to deal. I expected more at times. I expected people to do what I simply couldn't. So, here is a list of all the ways in which I have been a terrible friend this past year. I am hoping to purge my guilt a bit. And to acknowledge that I have not been perfect either. Feel free to add to this list in the comments.
I never sent out the memo that I had adopted Victorian mourning rituals.
I wore black crepe dresses and covered the mirrors.
I stopped my clocks at 5:40 pm.
I declined your invitation.
I didn't go to your party, shower or wedding.
I skipped joining the hundreds of people on Face.book to wish you a happy birthday.
I didn't want to make chit chat.
I forgot to ask you how you are doing.
I didn't call you back.
I wanted to go for a walk, but couldn't stop crying that day.
I know you would have understood if I had told you that, but I ignored you instead.
I didn't throw our annual Open House.
I didn't forget what happened between us in the past just because my daughter died.
I wasn't polite.
I knew what you meant, but I still was impatient with the way you said it.
I was grumpy when you asked me how I was doing.
I avoided you at the market.
I disagreed with you and never said anything.
I stopped waving when I drove down the street near your home.
I became too wrapped up in writing my blog and reading blogs that I didn't email you back.
I told you off, because you defended the people who never said "I'm sorry."
I wasn't there for you when you needed me.
I rejected your overtures to me, because we have never been close.
I waited for you to call me again.
I resented your pity and prayers.
I didn't make you a meal when your baby was born.
I hid all your activities on Face.book because they revolved around your pregnancy.
I missed your child's first birthday.
I punched a pillow when you said that your friend also had a miscarriage.
I forgot to send you a thank you card.
I made you feel like your problems weren't as big as mine.
I didn't go to your art opening.
I resented you saying you understood my loss.
I haven't looked at your children's pictures in a year.
I thought we were better friends than we were.
PS. Last night, I was sort of wracked with the guilt of leaving out the good friends. And there have been good friends. I have some left. I hope they know who they are. xo.