Monday, November 24, 2008

For Myles

Today I came home to find an email from a friend and fellow preeclampsia survivor, A. Attached to this email was the above picture. A took the time while on the beach this weekend to make this for me and for Myles. I think it is so beautiful and so sweet of A. Thank you, A, for your kindness and thoughtfulness! You have been and continue to be such a great supporter of me. I am lucky to call you my friend!

The email and picture from A brightened my not so great day. I spent the entire day at the district office in meetings trying to rewrite curriculum with the biology teachers from the other high school across town. We all agree to disagree, so you can imagine how well things went. As if the meeting itself wasn't bad enough one of the guys who I'll call Mr. Teacher asked me about Myles and things got uncomfortable for everyone ...

Mr. Teacher: So, Niki did you have a boy or girl?

Me: I had a boy.

Mr. Teacher: When was he born?

Me: January 21, 2008

Mr. Teacher: What's his name?

Me: Myles

Me: (thinking) Is he trying to be nice by asking about my dead baby? Does he honestly not know what happened? How am I going to deal with this without making him uncomfortable? How do I not draw anymore attention to myself?

Mr. Teacher: How exciting. Your little guy is almost a year old. You must be quite busy with your little one getting into everything.

Me: (thinking) Ouch, that's something I try to avoid thinking about and now he's shoved it in my face. If Myles had survived, he would be 10 months old. :( I immediately feel sick to my stomach and the hole in my heart starts to ache and throb. Clearly he doesn't know and now I've led him to believe that my son is living and now it's going to be even more weird when I blurt out that Myles died.

Me: (trying to avoid eye contact) Um, actually no. Myles died in February. I didn't say anything because I assumed you knew and then when I realized that you didn't know I was trying to avoid making you uncomfortable.

Mr. Teacher: (not even looking at me now) Oh, oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know.

Me: That's fine. You didn't know and were trying to be nice.

Mr. Teacher: What happened?

Me: Myles was born prematurely and developed pneumonia, which was too much for his tiny, immature lungs.

Mr. Teacher: I'm really sorry and I'm sorry that I brought it up.

Me: (thinking) As if you mentioning it just suddenly caused it to pop in my brain after having not thought about it?! Seriously, like Myles isn't always on my mind?! Why do people think that by not mentioning/asking I won't think about my son?

Me: (feeling offended) You don't need to apologize. Myles was an amazing little boy and I'm happy to talk about him. Yes, it's sad that he died, but he's still my son. I had him and enjoyed spending 26 days with him. Honestly I actually enjoy mentioning Myles's name.

Mr. Teacher: (very, very uncomfortable now) Again I'm sorry.

Me: Thank you. Okay, so what do you think about _____ (insert something/anything about the curriculum to make Mr. Teacher comfortable again).

I'm not sure why such conversations cause me such heartache, but I guess they just catch me by surprise. I presume that everyone already knows what happened and don't expect to be asked specific questions about my child who they assume is living. I hate it that I have to comfort others about my son's death. I hate it that I can't just talk about Myles and tell people how amazing he was. I hate it that I have to "hide" my son and the amazing, miracle who he was. I love Myles and wish that it was socially acceptable for me to express this without getting the puppy dog eyes and look of pity. I am a Mommy who loves her son just like every other mommy, but I can't beam and brag about him without feeling weird. Just another thing to grieve.


Mrs. Spit said...

It hurts because it does take our breathe away.

Lost in Space said...

Beautiful picture, Niki. What a touching honor for Myles.

Huge hugs for the conversation. I wish people weren't so scared to deal with the pain they know others are feeling. Thinking of you and your sweet Myles.

N said...

Oh wow, that is such a tough conversation. I'm so sorry. I'm glad you have a "safe" place here to talk about Myles. The picture in the sand is beautiful - how sweet. :)

Lisa said...

What a beautiful picture. Sorry for the pain that conversation caused. ((HUGS))

Dora said...

Oh, sweetie! I wish I had some answers for you. People generally just suck at dealing with other people's grief. Actually, I think most people suck at dealing with grief altogether.


Alicia said...

(((Big Hugs)))

Anonymous said...

That was soo sweet of your friend A. :) Oh dear... I am soo sorry you had to deal with that. ((HUGS))

Natalie said...

What I've noticed is that the telling hurts a lot.... when someone doesn't know and isn't prepared to be hit with it, it hurts ME to tell it. But if someone already knows then I'm totally fine talking about it. Maybe it's empathy for their shock, maybe it's the hurt of seeing what SHOULD be, instead of dead babies, but whatever it is... that first conversation is the worst.