The Butterfly Theory

I am thinking a lot about how small things can change our lives today. I am thinking about the unthinking, unwitting things that we do, that change the way our lives go from that point on. I am thinking that there are times that it is easier to just lie. I let the truth and depth of my present sorrow show in front of a friend. They were, and are uncomfortable with the sight of such personal pain.

I can see why our friends with children must be uncomfortable around us. We are filled with raw pain, lost, grasping, wishing that Gabriel was here with us and that we could join them in being parents. Grief hangs off us like tattered rags, filling our senses and theirs with the stale, musty and fetid aroma of heartbreak. I can imagine the sorrow and sadness and deep anguish that mark my face. I can imagine that we aren't fun people to be around, that we aren't cheerful or chipper or even organized enough to hold a conversation with. I can imagine that it must totally suck to spend a lot of time with two people who are so consumed by a lost love. I can imagine why you might not want to understand this level of pain, that it would be frightening.

I remember girlfriends I would sit with when they broke up with the love of their lives. I remember I would reach a point where I would want to say "look, at some point you need to stop wearing his shirts and listening to "It must have been love" obsessively, and get on with life. You don't have to enjoy it, but at some point, for the love God, put away the chocolate and go have a shower and go to your anthropology course before you flunk out of school. You will make it through this."

I imagine that people are reaching this point with us. And I imagine when I confess, that still, it hurts to see your children, I imagine that it is hard to not take this as a personal repudiation. I imagine that when you have kids, you take a slight to them as a slight to yourself.

I imagine it's really impossible for you to understand how I would hurt because you got pregnant and stayed pregnant and came home with a real live baby. I imagine that you might think that I am self absorbed and wallowing in my pain. And me trying to explain that it isn't that I hate you, but that you have something that I so desperately want, and you got it with such ease, and that hurts - I imagine that you get stuck on "you don't like my kids". I imagine that any explanation I might make for this pain of mine, any assurance that I might provide you that the pain is very common, I imagine that it rings hollow. And you think that I am being jealous and perhaps wishing that everyone could feel my pain.

I get all of this. I can see how other's might see my feelings. But I am tired. I cannot merely get over my grief, wash the mourning garments and pack them away, and be fine. Getting pregnant did not ease the pain of infertility. Having another baby will not replace Gabriel, will not negate these present days and months of sadness and sorrow. Time does not heal my pain, it merely allows me to become more familiar with it. And the familiar is good, it allows me to continue to function in this life. I can cope with most of the day to day. I hold out hope that eventually I will become so accustomed to this pain that I will only be surprised by it occasionally.

Our friends are not bad people. They aren't very good at this, but they have tried. It's just, I'm tired of seeing all sides of the story. I would like to just be the grieving parents. I would very much like to stop excusing their behaviour and validating their feelings and telling them it's ok. I want to demand that our friends get good at this and have someone explain my feelings to me. I would like to stop seeing their side of the story and start seeing the entire story. I want to participate in the pain olympics, just a bit.

Gabriel's death, it was the butterfly in Peking. It flapped it's wings, and it has changed so much. And I am just worn out from trying to see all sides of this story. Caught in the middle of the typhoon that Gabe's death caused, and I'd like to swim on my own, instead of tossing life preservers to my friends.

I'm tired today.