Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Days That Followed & The Wall I Built

I love poetry.  I read it every day and I find it mesmerizing
and beautiful.  This is by Erin Hanson.
The days that followed the loss of my child are dull, covered in a haze of depression.  All I remember is laying on the couch.  I don't think I bathed that often.  It seemed trivial.  Tom went to work.  I stayed home, I had to. I was losing tremendous amounts of blood, waiting for my body to dispel my baby... or "cancer" as the doctors had so gently put it. 

Every trip to the bathroom, I'd examine what resulted, searching for something... a blood clot, perhaps, that might have had arms and legs.  It was gruesome and morbid.  However, the thought of flushing my child down the toilet and sending it to decay inside the septic tank under the backyard was too much for me to bare.  Of course, I never found anything.  Only more signs that life was leaving my body.

The following week I returned to work.  I had been candid with my coworkers about what had happened and expected to be welcomed back with arms full of compassion and encouragement.  Much to my dismay, my experience was quite contrary.

A few acknowledged the loss.  I was grateful.  All others acted as if nothing had happened.  In fact, my boss (who I did not have a very good relationship with) had told everyone I had a cold.  I am still unsure as to his intentions, but what it produced was a lot of pain and awkward situations for me.  I was unaware that he had told people this.  I thought everyone knew the truth.  So when I started hearing, "Hey, glad you're feeling better! I can't believe you were out for that long!" or "everybody around here is dealing with that, too.  'So and so' only missed one day, you missed 5"... I thought I was surrounded by a bunch of self-centered, heartless jerks.  I was only partially wrong.

I had only been in the office a few hours.  My mood was understandably somber.  I did my job, though.  Right before lunch my boss asked me to join him in a conference room.  I had no idea what he was going to say, but what he did say, I certainly never would have expected.

"Shannon, I know you're going through something difficult, but we all have personal issues to deal with.  You need to leave it at home and not let it affect you here.  Nobody needs to see you moping around."

I felt sick.  I felt foolish.  I felt angry... full of rage... and then I felt shame. 

I felt as if my desperate need for support was uncalled for and selfish.  I felt embarrassed by everyone seeing my despair so openly, seeing me vulnerable.  I felt foolish for thinking my sadness was justified.

That was the day I turned everything off.  I built a wall of silence.  I reinforced it with bitterness and resentment and promised myself that no one would ever have the opportunity to find the "chink in my armor" ever again.  I'd be air tight. Protected. Safe.... Alone. Scared.

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