A couple weeks ago, Dad and I got into a pretty big fight. We were in the car, driving home from Chipotle, when he got a phone call from an old friend from college that he hadn't seen or talked to in a couple of years. I was playing around on my phone, not really paying attention, when I heard him say it:
"I'm doing really good actually."
I felt my jaw drop open, my eyes well up with tears. I shot him The Glare (you know the one, the look that says, "I'm super pissed and you need to get off the phone right NOW!"), and he wrapped up his conversation and hung up the phone. Then the following exchange took place:
Him: "What's your problem?"
Me: "Are you serious??"
Awkward silence while he tries to figure out what he did wrong.
Me: "Good to know your daughter dying has been such a positive experience in your life."
Him (getting defensive): "Whoa. What are you talking about?"
Me (practically shouting): "Your friend asked you how you've been and you said 'really good.' How can you be 'really good' when your baby just died??"
Him: "You need to chill out. Just because I don't feel the need to tell everyone in the world about Stevie, doesn't mean I'm not sad or that I don't care."
Me: "You didn't have to tell him the whole story. You could have said 'I'm doing alright,' or 'I've been fine,' but 'REALLY good, actually??' Like, this has been a particularly wonderful time in your life or something??"
Him: "You're being ridiculous."
Me (staring out the window): "Whatever."
We got home. I stomped into the house and up the stairs, then proceeded to cry into my pillow for the next 20 minutes or so. Eventually, of course, we talked and patched things up, and had a fine rest of the evening watching "Rescue Me" on the laptop or something. But slight variations of this exact same fight keep popping up all over the place lately. He isn't sad enough. He doesn't cry enough. He doesn't bring you up in conversation enough. And it's not just Dad. Our families aren't sad enough. Our parents don't cry enough. Our friends don't bring you up in conversation enough.
I get mad at people for not grieving as "hard" as I am or whatever, but I totally understand why they're not. It's hard, because as sad as Dad, our families, and our friends are about you dying, they didn't know you like I did. I am literally the only person in the world who really knew you. Everyone else knew all about you, but everything they knew, they knew because I told them. They knew you liked spicy food...because I told them. They knew you liked dancing to Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder...because I told them. They never got the chance to "experience you" for themselves.
To them, you were an idea; to me, you were flesh and blood.
They loved what you were to become; I loved what you already were.
They never held you while you were alive; I held you in my tummy for 6 and a half months.
They mainly grieve for your unfulfilled future; I also grieve for the time we did share together.
I am the only one who knows you as more than a sort of abstract thought, really. We had a physical connection, you and I, that magical bond only a mother can have with her unborn child.
It's lonely, just lonely, being the mother of a stillborn baby. Being alone on your own little island of grief has to be one of the worst feelings in the world. I wish you would have lived, even just for a moment. Long enough for your Daddy and the rest of our family and friends to have "experienced" your beautiful soul that way I did.
I miss you, baby. I miss who you were and I miss what you would have become. I am so thankful for those 181 days I got to bond with you and get to know you, my little girl. I've never looked into your eyes, or heard the sound of your voice, but I feel like I know you, the way only a mother can know her daughter.
And, dear daughter, I love who you are so much.
Makes the Missing Lighter
1 hour ago