Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pouring another's Pain with My Own

Somehow, it's comforting.

I asked a friend who had lost her mother, if I can expect to do this again. What is this? Pouring another's pain with my own. I don't know why, but it helps. I suppose because I feel less lonely. Perhaps, it dilutes my sorrow? Feels more like immersion, so that's not really it.

Well, it's no sleep night. I'm in a familiar, but different grief place. I watched all of Caitlin's videos and cried and stared and felt my heart hurt. The poetry has subsided, but what still helps is the community of other bereaved mothers (fathers too, but I know so few). I read the blogs of others, scattering a few comments, and then read some new blogs--a mother with a baby with DS who died, a mother who feels the pain of seeing a mother with her living child, a mother who expresses her anger for remarks that ignore the birth of her child, and so many more.

I read until I feel better? No, it's more than the comfort of knowing I'm not the only one whose baby died. Some comfort comes in being understood, but it's not a particularly warm comfort knowing others hurt this much. It's horrifying actually.

Let's see if I can describe this phenomena with an analogy. It's like I have a cup of liquid pain. I get another's cup and pour it into an already full vessel and then it happens, my cup expands and makes room. With each cup I pour, the vessel transforms into a boat to keep me safe and help me navigate this now ocean of grief. And the wind in the sails that moves me across this expanse, is the knowledge shared, and the expressions of love for our children in story, poetry, song, painting, and sculpture and photography.

And now, sweet sleep, as I have arrived on my home shore safely.

And, my friend? What was her answer? "No, expect something different." I'll be honest, even after Caitlin's death, I still have this sense that those I love will always be with me. Perhaps this irrationality is evidence of my "healing."


  1. I've been thinking about this too- this community of bereaved parents. When I posted on Facebook, I got the feeling that I spend so much time reading about and connecting other people in pain, that I forgot that most people aren't there- they don't realize that we are all walking in the valley of the shadow of death.And sometimes I forget too.

  2. I understand what you mean... I feel like connecting with others that have had some type of loss makes me feel normal in my now abnormal life. I don't have to explain my fears about future pregnancies to my friend who is a funeral director because she has buried so many babies that she herself is worried about potentially becoming pregnant herself. You aren't alone in this ocean of grief- I'm riding the waters with you. PS... I think it's great that you had the courage to speak up at the conference!

  3. hey, i've been a little absent minded lately and haven't commented on a blog in a couple weeks. Your last three posts are so powerful to me. I admire you for being intelligent enough to string the words together in a way that doesn't sound like whining or b*tching people out. I think that's usually how I come off on my "not so FB-friendly" posts. :) I LOVE The post about facebook. I feel the same way, it feels like every day on my "home" page i've got to see another person's message announcing a pregnancy or milestone that their child has reached. And I understand that, because that is their life and thats what they are experiencing. But what about what those of us with LOSS are experiencing? Those of us who haven't got this tangible child to cling to, just the memory of a few weeks together, a few months in utero, a couple of pink lines we saw so long ago....and for some, the only life they live in is trying to create another life. What about when WE want to put our status about the real STUFF we're living in every moment of every day. Can I post, "Laura still wonders if she could have done something to keep her baby alive?" no. nobody will respond to this. People will think, "wow, yikes." or those who aren't superclose to me knowing I lost a baby nearly 6 months in-utero almost seven years ago...with them it starts the gossip train that I've recently become pregnant and how rude of me to not share with them!! So i grieve and remember in silence. I can't share the happy days either, "Laura is living in the memory of feeling her daughter move inside her, and smiling." People just dont get it.

    anyway I've gone on and on about whatever. I think i tell you every time, i adore your blog. and you're pretty amazing, too. :) I'm so glad that this great big world, and my great big God has made a way that I can meet people like you and be encouraged by you!!!