Friday, July 29, 2011

And Out of Nowhere

It creeps up, taps me on the shoulder, and fells me in one quick and easy little touch.

I miss him so much.  I just started sobbing, the kind of geyser-like sobs that emerge seemingly out of nowhere.   It crept up and bowled me over.  I want him here.  Otis.  I want that head full of hair to nuzzle my nose into, I want to feel his soft baby skin, I want to hear him cry and look into his eyes.  I want to know my son as a ten month old child, not as a ten month old memory.


My stepsister is an aspiring writer.  She's had several novel excerpts and short stories published in some journals and magazines, and has "won" contests or become a finalist, or whatever it is that aspiring writers enter themselves in.

Today she posted a link, on her FB page, to a short story she has written and is in an online magazine.

I clicked through.  I don't always, I often mean to, but then forget.

This story was about a couple who lose their baby 20 weeks into the pregnancy, due to an incompetent cervix.

And it angered me that she had written it.

She's had two first trimester losses, so she is not immune to the grief, I know.  But I read through her story searching for flaws, thinking "How dare she..."

I know this isn't "right," for me to feel this way.  Of course she has every right to write about whatever she wants.  And there are plenty of authors out there who write about things they haven't personally experienced.  And Otis didn't die due to my having an incompetent cervix, and he didn't die at 20 weeks.  And my husband's name isn't Mitch, like the husband in the story.  And our experience is not the one she wrote about.

And yet I still feel sort of betrayed.  Because she and I don't talk about Otis often, she doesn't ask, we haven't ever been super close and the last year has been no different in that just feels odd.  But who knows, maybe she based her character on a friend who suffered a loss like the one she wrote about. Maybe she didn't even think of me or of Otis at all while writing that story.


And maybe that was what triggered the sudden eruption of grief.  Maybe.  Who knows.  It doesn't even matter.  I just miss him.  So fucking much.  I want to go smash something right now. I haven't had this urge to smash since maybe January.  I've got a basement full of old dishes for this explicit purpose, but I worry that I'd hurt myself or I'd start and be unable to stop, and then neighbors would start coming home from work and I'd be "that woman" in her garage, smashing dishes and screaming and crying and nobody would know what to do with me.  And I don't think that violently smashing dishes is allowed on my "limited activity" restriction either.


æ said...

I miss him too. For you, and selfishly for me (if I can have that). I wish he were here. I have been thinking of him so very much lately. It's very much like he's here in ways he hasn't been for a few months. He's everywhere but in your arms. It's so unfair.

Missy said...

I am so sorry Sarah. I would say to hell with the neighbors and smash the dishes anyways. Do it from a chair with your feet propped up and clean the mess up tomorrow. Anything you can do to let that emotion go. Sending you lots of love my friend~

B. Wilson said...

You have dishes meant for smashing? That's brilliant.

I don't know your SIL and I'm offended. There's just something so personal about baby loss. I really am the person that is not offended by ANYTHING. Except now, I am. My son. That's the only person I feel to defend in my life. He's sacred and although I like the idea of exposure equaling acceptance and understanding, I hate that it's so close to home.

Those tears. I hate them, but they feel so good to let go. I've never cried like a Geyser until December. Actually, I was still in shock then. Maybe January. The shock was wearing and I was crying geysers. And still am.

I'm sorry. Your Otis is just beautiful and should be here.

B. Wilson said...

I meant stepsister, not SIL. Correction.

Hope's Mama said...

For reasons I haven't really discussed with anyone, I'm right there with you. Had a big week with a lot of shit going down, all of which has triggered a bit of a grief meltdown. Being weeks out from another anniversary and another birth, it has all got a bit much. I'd love to come and break things with you and miss your little boy, by your side.
This is all so unfair. I'm so sorry, dear Sarah.

Tess said...

'I want to know my son as a ten month old child, not a ten month old memory.'
I want that for myself too. I am sorry you've had the wind completely knocked out of your sail, I hope there can be a bridge for your stepsister to cross to get to you on a kinder, more thoughtful level.

The lure of all those dishes to smash must be great, wish I was there to help you do that! Sending much love Sarah

Roccie said...

Rips the scab right off.

I hate those things. It hurts when it comes off and it take the wound deeper than you remember. Take a while to heal it back up to even get back to where you were before - which sometimes wasnt all that great to begin with.

I can see how that story affected you. I cannot get my head around why the fuck she would want to write such a story. Was it to remind her that her actual experience was harder or easier? I know you have no choice but to get around it, but that is a tall order. I feel for you and I wouldnt touch it w a 10 foot pole. No matter what she says it would very likely piss me off.

He is a loved little man, that Otis. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to have the ability to project... what would it be like right now if he was still here with us? It rips me to the core. I have never really allowed myself to think those thoughts for some reason. I cannot imagine the intensity of the pain.

Smash those dishes, go for a walk, expel that energy. Let them talk.

Brooke said...

Oh, Sarah, I hate that story. And it's hard to believe she could write it without thinking of you and Otis. Ick. I can see how it's especially frustrating because it's not an argument you can win, or even a fight that you can start because it's fictional! The story's not about "you"! She'd be so sorry that you were offended--that was not her intention at all! But all that stuff makes no different. I'm sorry you had to read that story. I'm sorry she wrote it. But most of all, I'm sorry that such a sad story feels like your story. And while I haven't read it, I'm going to privately believe that the prose style is mediocre at best and the characters underdeveloped and unbelievable.

I've had some geyser tears of my own this week. I miss Eliza and I miss Otis, too.

Anonymous said...

I think I would be feeling much the same if I read such a story. It just seems a bit too close.. too personal.. too wrong. All of it.
I wish you could just chuck a few of those plates.. fuck the neighbors.. mine all probably think I'm crazy already so what's the difference? ;o)
Sending you love across the miles...

Sarah said...

I miss Otis, too. I just wanted to tell you that I love you.

brianna said...

I'm with Leslie, fuck the neighbors and smash a few of those plates. Who cares if they think you're crazy. We are all a little crazy anyway.

Sarah said...

Thinking of you. Right. Now.