Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On Being "Young"

"You're young.  You can try again," people say.  As if the fact that I am young makes the fact that my kid is dead acceptable.  Like he can be replaced, like a goldfish or something, like I can just get another one.  I know I'm young; If all goes according to plan and I live to be 100, that means at 30 years old I'm not even 1/3 of the way through.  I have 70 years, the rest of my life to miss my baby.

I come from a world where people marry their high school sweethearts.  I have friends my age who have been married for ten years, while I anticipate ringing in my third year of marriage with a divorce.  When I think about that, I feel old.

Sitting at Amestoys at one in the morning I feel both young and old.  I know that I'm walking that line between being a girl who likes to hang out in the bar, and just being a bar slag.  The clock is ticking. 

When Sean died, his mom invited me to "talk" with her, and our talk turned into an assault of accusations.  "Why didn't you guys just break up?  You were no good together."  "Why didn't you check on him?"  "Why didn't you see this coming?" I stood there and let her pelt me with her words, knowing my grief couldn't compare to hers as a mother.  Even then, before I'd ever experienced what it's like to carry a child, I knew her love for Sean was deeper than mine could ever be and I shuddered at the thought of ever having to lose a child.  I would be her battering-ram because it was all I could do, the only way I could say I was sorry.

It's no surprise that the most valued, most honest "I'm sorry" I ever received post-anencephaly diagnosis came from Sean's mom.  I know she never meant to blame me, she was just in pain.  And now I understand her pain.

Losing a child ages you.  You wear the grief like a coat you can't shrug.  At times it is a welcome disguise - you're just another person wearing bulk.  Other times you stand out in a crowd wearing it.  Anyone can see it on you. 

I am young.  But as Willie says, "45 will be here next week."  I suppose that's one of the downfalls of befriending brutally honest, elderly people.  The plus side is that they give me hope, that maybe. . . maybe my life isn't over after all. 

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