Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Thin Thin Line

On Monday as we left our acupuncture appointment, E and I went to the grocery store. Outside, there was a woman, obviously very down on her luck, who asked for spare change. E and I both gave her the change out of our pockets - a total of maybe a dollar. She went into the store - it's a natural foods market and produce stand, so I felt self-righteously okay that she'd be buying some whole grain bread or some organic clementines or something with her money; but I also didn't necessarily think too long about it.

When we were getting ready to check out, she was in front of us in line. Clearly agitated, like she was desperate for a fix. E looked at her purchase, and said to me, "That makes me so sad." She was buying a copper scrub sponge thing, something that is apparently used to smoke crack. Along with a bag of oranges. The woman in front of her in line made a very rude and judgy comment to the checker at the store about needing to pay by check because she refused to let the woman see that she had cash in her wallet. I was so angry with the judgy woman it just about made my blood boil, but I kind of couldn't figure it out. (At that time, I hadn't seen that the woman was buying crack paraphernalia, so I'm not sure if that would have changed my reaction or not.)

When we got out of the store, and we saw the woman panhandling again, E then relayed to me that he had seen she was buying crack accessories, and that is why he had said he was so sad about it.

It made me sad too. I had this realization, this phrase that I've heard so many times but never before had it had such a true feeling for me, "There but for the grace of god, go I."

Really.

E and I are so lucky to have the resources and support available to us that we do. Family close by. Thoughtful family, who talk about Otis and talk about missing him and talk about loving him, instead of pretending this is all just some horrible incident to forget about and move on from. Support professionals galore: we see three therapists - one just for me, one just for E, and one for the two of us. They all have given us reduced rates so that we can afford to go for as long as we need. My grandmother is our landlord, and we haven't paid rent for 4 months now, so that we could afford the therapy. Our acupuncturist has donated all of our sessions, for as long as we need. My hairdresser is going into the salon on Sunday, when they are closed, so she can give me a (no charge) haircut (my first since July, yikes) in a place where I don't have to deal with the crowds and the busy-ness and superficial chit chat of a bustling hair salon. We had meals delivered three times a week in September and October, and then twice a week through December.

Our friends have rallied around us. Made donations in Otis's name to keep his memory alive. Written his name in the sand, in the snow, on sidewalks with chalk, on refrigerators with magnets. Taught their own children about my boy, shown them his photograph, told them his name. Given us such incredible financial support that we can do the things that help us to heal without finances being a barrier. Sent us flowers, warm cozy heating pads, yummy lotions, lavender oils, "grief relief" flower essence spray, vitamins, bath salts, cards, board games, tea, fudge, organic produce deliveries (we have a dear friend who works on an organic farm and every sunday she has brought us a huge box of produce, for 3 months now.) Brought us a christmas tree and set up the lights on it. Sat with us while we sobbed. Taken us out and let us laugh, cry, or just be - without commenting that we haven't showered or aren't dressed for public...

And of course there is the amazing support of the community here, of my blm mama friends and my old bloggy friends. The comments on my blog posts often show up in the middle of the night, thank god I have friends who live all over the planet - because there are times that I wake up, scared, sad, shaking - and I check email on my phone and there in the middle of the night, I am reminded I'm not alone.

We are so blessed to have this support. Because honestly, it's a very very very thin line that separates me from the woman in the parking lot, doing whatever she can to block out her pain, to forget, to disappear.

Thank you for helping me not to disappear. Thank you for reminding me of me. Thank you for holding me up when I can't hold myself up.

Yes, you. Every single one of you.

14 comments:

katman110 said...

Delurking to say I love you, Sarah. And Otis, too. I think of you both every day...

Hope's Mama said...

If I can help you in some small way, I will.
xo

æ said...

it's quite wonderful to be part of your life, of otis' legacy.

and, me too. I work with someone so much like me I wonder once each week how that didn't happen to me too (another version of the copper sponge). I've heard it's "one caring person" that can make that difference. An army of them makes us all the more resilient. (classic ae sidetrack ramble)

Lovelove from another time zone.

My New Normal said...

I like that we are all here for each other. It is not an easy road we all find ourselves on, and it's not one I would want anyone to have to walk alone.

kate said...

sarah:

thank you for allowing us to be there for you - for opening your heart and letting us in.

thank you for allowing us grieve with you close up, not from a distance.

thank you for being so generous and gracious - for sharing yourself and otis with us.

with love & appreciation...

kate xx

hayley said...

you write really beautifully sarah. I'm glad you are feeling held by people, it is too sad to think of someone going through this alone. much love to you as ever.

h.x

brooke said...

Hell yeah. And where do I get some of this "grief relief" flower spray?

sarah said...

Brooke, the label says fesflowers.com - a friend left it on our doorstep two days after we returned from the hospital. We got a good laugh because the first ingredient is brandy and it made perfect sense. It has helped me, whether it's a placebo or not but I do think it takes the edge off the intensity sometimes (and brandy probably would too...)

Missy said...

yeah, blogger would not let me comment forever... There is a dangerously thin line. I lived on the other side of it for a while. If anything could break me again, losing my son would have been it. But I have awesome momma's like you out there loving me and showing me that it is possible to go on. Even in our darkest hours we give each other hope. So thanks to you too Sarah! P.s. We'll be in SD the weekend of Feb 4 and seeing a beautiful face is not a crash!

Sarah said...

Much love to you, Sarah. Now and always.

xoxo
Rodeo

still life angie said...

That is amazing. It always warms me to hear of women supported in their grief. We didn't get any meals at all. The other things, even phone calls were not there. It was hard to have all the additional losses after the huge loss of our daughter. Finding blogs and connecting with other babylost mamas, though, became so incredibly powerful, maybe because juxtaposed with the other people, everyone seemed so supportive. xo

cullensblessings said...

You are never alone Sarah....

zubeldia said...

you're so loved, Sarah. xx

Jenn said...

Wonderful that you've had such amazing support. Your friends must rock! xx