Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The lost tribe of Thanksgiving

Last Thanksgiving, I shared with my family the happy news that Shannon was on her way. Well, we all know how that turned out. So, I was particularly worried about going home this Thanksgiving, because it was like returning to the scene of a crime, except that all of the bodies were missing. And it was particularly weird because I was supposed to see my sister, who I hadn't heard from since Shannon died. (there's an earlier blog post about this, but I am too lazy to link right now - I'll do it later). She never called, never wrote, nothing... Then, about a week before Thanksgiving, I get a "sorry I was a thoughtless shit" e-mail apology from her. Ok......

So, what do you do with that? After 9 months, I am supposed to respond with something. So, following the advice of people much more sage than I, I responded with a vanilla "thanks for letting me know. See you next week." What else could I possibly say? After 9 months, I don't think that anyone is entitled to show up when I am doing better and expect me to go back to those deep, dark early days after my loss and revisit my pain for (or with) them because they were too thoughtless to have been there when those dark days were all too real. So, the public face is that I am fine, everything is fine, yes, how sad, Shannon died, yes, it sucks... No, nothing is new with me. Quite a complicated public face, I must say.

But, the true bottom line showed itself at the very end of the day, when goodbyes were being said for my sister's long trip back to the far away place from whence they came. The bombshell, the coup de grace, the true turkey of Thanksgiving and the justification for my belief that I really was hatched from a different family and placed with this one as a joke - my sister is pregnant. Yep, when they were basically walking out the door, this little nugget of *information* was pitched onto my plate. No eye contact, no cushioning, no prefatory language - just there you go. My overbalanced, tenuously stacked, complicated public face had to absorb that one too. And everyone in the house knew it except for me and my husband. Yep, guess the joke was on us. I guess that if I had been wearing anything other than my "everything is fine" poker face, they wouldn't have told me at all. (maybe I would get another e-mail) I get the impression that they waited until the end of the day so they wouldn't have to witness what they assumed would be my super-spectacular nuclear meltdown or blowup, depending on which side of the wall you live on.

No one should ever wonder why parents who have lost a child feel like they don't belong anywhere.

4 comments:

Never forgetting Gregory said...

Oh my goodness. I'm so sorry. That sounds just terrible. What the heck are you supposed to do with that? That is so isolating and I'm sorry you were left out of the news and told like that. Hugs.

Bmarie99 said...

Oh Liz~ I'm so sorry, about well all of it, that just really stinks that she felt it was ok to treat you that way from beginning to end!

Erica said...

Wow! I don't even know what else to say, but wow. That is some BS if I ever heard it. I'm a little perturbed at that mysself so I can only imagine how you must have felt. I totally agree with your final line. It really is hard to feel like we "belong" anywhere but with others who have gone through the same thing. I am so sorry. I am sending )))HUGS(((

Lynne said...

Holy cow, I can't believe how that played out. The absolute lack of respect for you and M is amazing.