In my first life (as in, life before my loss), I was what you might call a social butterfly.
At church, my husband was constantly bewildered by my need to talk with one more person. “Honey, we are the very last people here. Who else could you possibly need to talk to?”
I always kept my calendar full of coffee dates, play dates, business dates, and so on. A day spent to myself was a day wasted. But that was in my first life. The life before I became a misfit.
Don’t worry — no one else has ever called me a misfit, a wall flower, or anything demeaning. But I have to tell you that no other word best describes how I feel most of the time. Like I just don’t FIT . . . . anywhere!
When I’m with friends, my small talk always turns to grief talk . . . . and I don’t know how comfortable people are with that. When I mention Olivia by name, I imagine my friends are thinking, “That’s so weird — she named her pregnancy. How many weeks was she again? She doesn’t even know if it was a girl! I think she’s gone off the deep-end just a little . . . “
When we talk about normal, everyday things — I don’t really know how to relate. A girl at my support group said everything just sounds “silly” after losing her son. Not that I don’t care about my friends’ news, but it’s hard to really feel deeply about seemingly normal things when your life has so intimately been touched by death.
A death that took place inside my body, claiming the life of my child while I could only look on.
The result, I’m finding, is that no matter where I am, I want to leave. I want to escape and get away . . . But the next place is never any better. Being around others feels stiffling at times. So does being at home. I am constantly restless. I never feel like I belong.
This weekend, it was painful. I had a great playdate scheduled with two girlfriends and their children. Both of them are supportive and I value their friendships VERY MUCH. Both of them have only been kind and loving to me.
So why this incredible sadness, this inability to just let go and enjoy their company? Why can’t I be the old me? Who is this socially awkward girl that, to everyone else, can’t accept her loss? Why is it that I am surrounded by people that love me and my family, and yet I only feel alone?
It’s not the loneliness you had when you were a teen and and craved love. Not the loneliness of moving away and starting all over in a new place.
This loneliness is deeper. Scarier.
A friend who has lost two of her children told me it’s like being in a room full of people and screaming on the inside, and no one notices.
It’s a feeling that speaks lies to my heart. Lies like, “You will never feel right again in this world. Why don’t you give up?” Or, “People think you are just being drama, so get over yourself already.” But the worst lies — the ones that are hardest to ignore — are “You don’t belong anywhere or with anyone. You should hurt on the outside as much as you hurt on the inside. Maybe you should just disappear . . . . No one will really notice anyway.”
On the hard days, my soul feels empty. And disappearing sounds like the only solution.
Yesterday at church, I didn’t want to see anyone. I could not relate to the people around me singing, “Hungry, I come to you for I know you satisfy . . . “ They looked bored. Do they know hunger? I know that I cannot judge their lives just by how they sing. But I couldn’t be half-hearted about singing about my hunger. Because my hunger is deep inside, and incredibly painful to visit.
The next verse is . . . “Empty, I run to you for your love does not run dry.” Do those around me know emptiness? If they did, would they run to God — or run away from Him? Do they know what it feels like to feel like God’s love had run dry — at least toward them?
Even during worship, I felt so alone. I simply couldn’t sing the words. My heart was not there.
After church, I went to brunch for my support group. If I belong anywhere, surely it is with other women who have lost a child as well. But I also found myself shying away. I assumed women with a stillbirth, late miscarriage, or neonatal death wouldn’t want to talk with me. I know a loss is a loss . . . But their loss feels big and mine feels small.
Every woman I talked to really did welcome me and, in so many ways, let me know I was wanted. So why again could I not shake this feeling of being a misfit?
I suppose my feelings are based mostly on lies. More lies. Lies that my grief is not strong enough, or will last long enough, to count. That if my circumstances were different, my grief would matter. If I lost my first child, or my last child, I would belong. If I were further along and had more time to bond to my baby, I could relate to their loss. If only . . .
The only times I feel settled are when I am writing on this blog, working on Arbonne, or am engrossed in playing with Maddy. All other times, I am aware of that this new me really doesn’t fit the mold of her first life.
I’ve got a new life. The life of a misfit. And it’s a really weird life to try to fit into.
Note: I just want to be sure everyone knows that:
1) I would never hurt myself, run away, or doing anything terrible. I do, however, hear those lies a lot, and they can be difficult to battle at times and recognize that they are only lies.
2) I am going through a hard time with my relationship with God right now. I will never turn my back on Jesus. I do love Him, and I love His people. But I feel like I’ve got more questions than answers. If I could relate my experience to Job, I definitely feel like I’m somewhere lost in the middle — questioning everything with no resolution in sight. But please don’t feel like you need to give me answers — I’m trusting God that He will redeem this time in my life and I’ll be closer to Him than ever before.
3) Just because I might act different around you, it doesn’t mean that I love you less, or don’t value the effort you are putting into our relationship. It also doesn’t mean that I feel like spending time with you was a mistake. Please do not take my actions personally! I value all of my friendships, and I still want to talk with people and be with people. I just might not act like it at the time. Please take me however you get me . . . I’m doing the best I can.