Tuesday, March 2, 2010

If I had a rap name, it would be Sir Rant-A-Lot

I always thought stories with adversity ended with redemption and growth. Enlightenment and kindness. Until my daughter died. I stare off into my future, I just see bitterness and anger. The losses. The piles of fucking losses. I blame my love of the sports movie for that bullshit belief.

I am so sad today. These weeks of overwhelming housework, mostly single parenting, running around despite my extreme pregnant-ness, must have caught up with me. And how it has caught up with me is that I lie in a hot bath crying about the fact that last year the first person who called after Lucy died called me when I was in a hot sitz bath recovering from birth with cabbages over each breast. I cried then because I couldn't process that my daughter died, and I cried because I was also thankful that this person was listening to me, that this person loved me, and cried over Lucy's death, and that this person was my friend.

I haven't seen her since last June, or even heard a peep in months. I have learned to live with this grief. I have learned to live without my daughter. But without friends? I am still getting used to that. People constantly throw these platitiudes--you need to forgive. You need to let go. "They don't understand daughter death," people rationalize. "They don't know what to say." Perhaps one day, many months from now, I will wake up and realize I have forgiven people who walked away, but I cannot pretend that there isn't another hole in my heart where my friends once lived. A hole that collects dust, and scraps, and burnt out shells of compassion bubbles I had deep within my soul.

I have immensely appreciated my on-line community of grieving women, and my other friends who keep up with me via this blog, who still send me emails and cards, wishing they were closer. That means so much to me. Truly. But I miss the human interaction. My sister is always here. I should preface the post with that. She is always here to watch Beatrice, or help me go shopping, even if I don't take her up on it, or as we did this weekend, go to the hair salon for a good scalping. But it is different to miss friendships outside of the realm of family. People choose you for their friends. And that feels awesome to connect, until they don't. And then you feel more lost than when you didn't have them at all. Unfortunately, KellyAnn is stuck with me. As she often says, "I am the scratchy undersweater in an otherwise cute twinset." Except, you know, I am the scratchy one, and she is the awesome cardigan. Now, more than ever.

A lot of people sent a condolence card, or email, after Lucy died and then never wrote again. One woman recently emailed me: "Oh, you are pregnant, so am I! We should totally get together." Yeah, totally. I totally want to reconnect with someone who chose to ignore the death of my child completely and the subsequent grieving/mourning/cavorting with the abyss for a year. I somehow doubt pregnant lady who cannot handle stillbirth really wants to enter the kind of realm pregnant-after-loss women inhabit. The we-won't-discuss-breastfeeding-sleeping arrangements-birthing options-car seats-pregnancy symptoms world where we only use qualifiers like if, perhaps, maybe, we'll see and completely avoid speaking of due dates, or any planning that takes into consideration that an actual baby might live in our house.

I had other friends who called often in the beginning, who cried with me, who I didn't think would disappear, who told me they wanted to see the good, bad and ugly of my grief, who were amazing and left me in awe...who I haven't heard from in months. Who may have made me a dinner or two when Sam had surgery, if they even knew Sam had surgery and that I was 33.5 weeks pregnant. Who ended up going away for a reason that is unknown to me. I miss some of those people. Actually, I miss all of them right now. A lot. And I guess it is those people that are making me cry today.

I started out early today to hit the market, mail out a jizo commission. Beatrice woke on and off all night with a croup-like cough. She mysteriously says her cheeks hurt when she coughs. My beautiful daughter is a poet, like when she had the stomach flu and claimed that she couldn't yawn. Now that she is slowly losing her voice and barking like a seal, she is claiming her cheeks are sore. And when she says those things, I sit silently for a moment holding her, imagining the Mystery Diagnosis title--The Girl Who Couldn't Yawn.

The air was warm today, and I had a sweatshirt on (ONLY A SWEATSHIRT) and I grabbed a decaf non-fat cappuccino, because that is how I roll on early Spring mornings. And I felt light. The snow is ugly, but melting. There are green sprouts in my beds. And by the orange juice section of the market, my shoulders felt sore and weak, and I felt limp. I almost did that old lady thing where I lean wholly over the shopping cart, ass blocking the aisle. But I haven't quite given up yet. I haven't give up yet.

I guess that is when it sunk in. Have I? Have I given up yet? This is not what I imagined last year when I thought about a year later. I imagined I would have this shit figured out. I thought people would venture out again, become brave and be here, now that my grief isn't acute, and my mourning isn't so wet and sloppy. And I thought, perhaps, that I wouldn't be so disappointed in them because of their weakness. That perhaps I would come to understand why they couldn't be my friend.

I actually miss my friends. I miss a sense of community. I miss a sense of having people who want to laugh with me, who don't think of me as the burden of grief. I know this sounds strange, but there is something to be said for the people who didn't say anything to me after Lucy died. At least I knew where they stood. At least their actions said, "I'm not going to be here through this shitstorm. You are on your own, kid." And I knew that when I was 33 weeks pregnant, and freaking out, and needing someone to have coffee with me that they were not going to call me, and conversely, I was not going to call them. But this empty barren place of solitude, summoning all my strength, it is exhausting.

I grew up in a place where people brought you a fucking casserole. Now, my neighbors see me pulling a ripping garbage bag out my front door, and give me the nod. And I nod back, "Hey, dude. Nothing happening here. Just a gigantically pregnant woman dripping rotting liquid across the driveway. Don't offer to help or anything, big strong dude."

I'll be honest. I don't want a bunch of pity. No comments saying "I'm sorry." Or how lucky you were to have good friends. Give me the best convoluted cuss you got, or a really good joke. I am massively pregnant so incontinent jokes crack me up, also smart religious jokes do too. So, lay it on me. Give me the best joke you got. Oh, and Here we go AJen won the needle-felted thing from a few posts ago. So, dear lovely Jen, let me know what you want and if it shall be a pin or a magnet. (Smooches to you.)


  1. I got nothing but plans to dress my Sikh friend up in a turban made from quilting cotton printed with the easter bunny.

  2. The only joke that ever comes to mind (because it is the best joke I have ever heard, though no one else agrees with me) is: Why do penguins sit on marshmallows?

    To keep from falling into the hot chocolate!

    Felted thing! I cannot tell you how excited I am! What do I get to pick from? Do I remember sushi? Can it be neither a pin or a magnet so Elizabeth can use it to "cook" with?

  3. i'm so not funny, so just sitting here and reading and nodding along.

  4. Why was 6 afraid of 7?
    Because 789.

    What did the teddy bear say after dinner?
    I'm stuffed!

    Sorry, Angie. Not because of how you're feeling (I'm with you, tho), but because all the jokes I know come from my kids. I used to know some Yo' Mama jokes, but they got purged in childbirth. Because I became that poor woman...

    And yes, tonight for dinner, I'm putting my feet on the table and serving...[wait for it]... corn.

  5. I don't have a joke, but I have a comic strip. This cracks me up everytime I read it, it never gets old. I keep picturing the guy's face when he opens the box. And the mild response at the end - hilarious. I have no idea if you share my cracked geek sense of humor or not, but I thought I'd try.


  6. I've got nothing. BUT.. I'm sorry (yeah, I know) that I've mostly been a social and blog recluse and I want you to know that although I'm lame, I do read all of your posts and keep tabs on how you are doing and I'm hoping for the best of course for you and little Thor.
    Try to let your sister help you and try to get some rest.
    This is a lonely time and I don't quite get why. It shouldn't be. I know you miss your friend(s)...

  7. No jokes but as always, I can relate to this soooooooooo much. I wish less "friends" read my blog so I could write a post like this myself. Maybe I just should. I am sick of worrying what people will think.
    Love to you Angie, as you slowly but surely make your way to the finish line. Quietly cheering you on from my corner of the world.

  8. I'm having trouble letting things go. People tell me too 'they don't understand and they're trying to say the right thing'. I just think 'my baby died - why I am the one that needs to cut people slack'. Shouldn't it be the other way round?

  9. Yep, yep and yep. I hear ya, I gotcha, I agree.

    Having exactly these same feelings this week..like an island that's unreachable. Meh.

    And I have a mo-fo nosebleed right now. SERIOUSLY. Your blog gave me a nosebleed Ang!

  10. Sorry Angie, no jokes. Though I did want to tell you how timely this post was for me. I feel the same way.


  11. Thanks for posting this. I can relate. You would think that after such a terrible loss your friendships would only get stronger...nope. I think you learn to figure out who your true friends are. I have no jokes, but I do have a couple of friends I'm no longer friends with because of insensitive comments and I kind of told them where to go. Hopefully that cheers you up some. I don't want to lace your blog with profanity, so I'll just leave it at that. :) XO

  12. Totally crude joke coming atcha -

    What is the difference between Santa Claus and Tiger Woods?

    Santa stops after 3 ho's.

    I hope that it at least made you laugh :)

    Sending you much love...

  13. My mom's favorite joke of all time:

    How are an elephant and a plum alike?

    They're both purple, except for the elephant.

    Let's get together. If that joke didn't just make you want to *mysteriously* lose my e-mail address. :)

  14. Would you settle for a dirty limerick? Because for some reason, this particular round of grief has made me write really filthy limericks that scan all wrong, make me cackle, and make Alan wonder what vulgar space alien has replaced his wife.

    And yes, I miss my friends, too.

  15. your friend - what a f*king b*tch. there, i'll say it about your friends, and you can say it about mine. :)

    if i lived down the street from you i would bring over lasagne and meet you for coffee. but instead i'll just say that i am thinking of you and sorry that you feel so stuck and alone. xo

  16. no jokes.... JUST PIES!


  17. Hola Angie!
    Okay- so I don't know any religious jokes and I went to a site to find them. Yes, I am posting the first one I read because I thought it was really funny- and the other jokes I read- they could get me into a lot of trouble- :)
    thinking of you and sending you lots of love-

    Four Catholic ladies are having coffee together. The first one tells her friends, "My son is a priest. When he walks into a room, everyone calls him 'Father'."

    The second Catholic woman chirps, "My son is a Bishop. Whenever he walks into a room, people say, 'Your Grace'."

    The third Catholic woman says smugly, "My son is a Cardinal. Whenever he walks into a room, people say, 'Your Eminence'."

    The fourth Catholic woman sips her coffee in silence. The first three women give her this subtle "Well.....?"

    She replies, "My son is a gorgeous, 6'2", hard bodied stripper. When he walks into a room, people say, 'Oh my God...'."

  18. Why did the bereaved chickens cross the road?

    To get away from all the fucking assholes who will just never fucking get it because they skipped the line where your heart gets the dose of compassion.

    My friend E has a saying for moments like these: They are all selfish sluts. I am the only generous one. (preferably said very loudly, followed by a long raspberry :P)

    Repeat as necessary.

  19. Did you hear about the dyslexic devil worshipper?

    He sold his soul to Santa.

  20. I love you, Ang. I am going to tell you a joke that I told you years ago...

    Three men arrive at the gates of heaven. St. Peter asks the first man,"Religion?"
    The first man replies, "Episcopalian."

    St. Peter looks down his list and says, "go to room 24. But be very quiet as you pass room 8."To the second man St. Peter asks, "Religion."
    The second man replies "Methodist."

    St. Peter looks down his list and says, "Go to room 14. But be very quiet as you pass room 8."To the third man St. Peter asks. "Religion."
    The third man replies, "Baptist."

    St. Peter looks down his list and says. "Go to room 21. But be very quiet as you pass room 8."

    The third man then says to St. Peter, "I can understand there being different rooms for different religions, but why must we be quiet when we pass room 8?"

    St. Peter tells him, "Well the catholics are in room 8, and they think they're the only ones here.

  21. OH and this one I remember making coffee come out your nose...

    A Jew, a Catholic, and an Episcopalian are in the waiting room in Hell. The Catholic and the Episcopalian turn to the Jew and say, “What are you in for?” The Jew says, “I ate pork.” The other two nod their heads knowingly. The Jew says to the Catholic, “Why are you here?” The Catholic says, “I also ate pork.” The Jew and the Episcopalian furrow their brows and say, “So?” The Catholic says, “I ate it on a Friday.” The other two nod knowingly. There’s a moment of silence, and the Jew and the Catholic turn to the Episcopalian. “So why are you here?” The Episcopalian says, “Well, I also ate pork.” The other two are bewildered. “What’s wrong with that?!?” The Episcopalian shrugs. “I used the salad fork.”

  22. I'm realizing reading this that my "friend" group as it was, was virtual by way of location: my good grad friends were all spread out, but we did a lot of email and visiting when someone was in town, and one isn't *that* far away. And they've completely dried up, to the bone. I miss them, too. It's odd to think of people out there with your backstory -- who are intimate parts of your backstory -- who are just holding that information for some reason. Are they waiting for me?

    I'm lucky I have the most amazing neighbors ever, because they're keeping my footsteps a bit lighter as I get a bit heavier. Them and my dogs.

    I'm lousy at jokes when put on the spot. Though yesterday I made a passing comment to Julia about how when this bugger sits breech he really messes up my runs. I meant on the treadmill, but I'm pretty sure she read that the other way. xo

  23. oh, Ange... those friends, those so-called friends. Those people who *chose* to walk away and be silent and pretend to not know or rmemember. I so hate that.
    I'm sorry you're tired. i wish you were closer. Then you could come to my house and fold my mountain of laundry while I cook and bake to fatten you up.
    As for a joke.... I think those friends are a joke.

  24. Scott has a cousin who had a baby boy the same day as Cayden and didn't acknowledge his birth or death. She's pregnant again and now wants to "chat". Guess whose call remains NOT returned?

    People really suck sometimes. And unfortunately I suck at jokes. I'll work on that;) Love to you, Angie.

  25. Why is six afraid of seven?

    because seven ate nine!

  26. your rants are an encouragement to me. And this is my funny for you: http://www.toothpastefordinner.com/090203/thank-you-bumper-stickers.gif

  27. Angie- no jokes, just saying yes it sucks. I hope you can come to meet up with us in Lancaster. Hopefully you got the word you do not need to be a member of SHARE- just need to feel supportive of the cause. ((hugs))

  28. I am fresh out of jokes. But I sympathize, and would like to give every last one of them a shake and ask them if they know better. My friend group has gotten extremely small too. Like you I miss them. No pity here. Just saying I hear you.

  29. Ok- back with a song. Not a funny one- just one I haven't stopped playing in 3 days.


    Since this is not a funny song at all and is, in fact, by the Weepies, here's the beginning of my favorite joke of all time:

    A string walks into a bar, and says, "bartender, give me a whiskey."

    Stop me if you've heard this one...

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. I usually laugh at the corny obvious jokes. such as the one about the plum and the elephant. love it. silly and hilarious, if you ask me.

    i like this one because you can use the clean or the dirty version, depending on the audience. you asked for cussing!

    what did the farmer say when he lost his tractor?

    "where the fuck is my tractor?!"

  32. No "sorry" or apologies, just thank you.



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