Friday, November 11, 2011

On Friendship and Making an Effort

The comments yesterday really got me thinking about the other side of the letter.  I (in my standard obstinate fashion that I swear everyone who knows me finds charming and endearing, no, seriously!) still stand by what I think the bereaved parent should be able to expect from her New Mom friend (namely, patience and conversation topics that move beyond babies--at least, I know this is what I personally need and expect from my friends), but what didn't get covered is what New Mom should be able to expect from her bereaved parent friend.

What went unspoken in the advice to New Mom is the expectation that bereaved parents should try to be open and honest with their friends about their grief.  Certainly, at least once the darkest fog of grief has lifted, New Mom should be able to expect kindness and sensitivity from her bereaved friend, just as her friend expects the same from her.  I mean, we all know that friendship requires mutual effort.

So what is our responsibility, as bereaved parents, in regard to maintaining friendships and getting back into the routine of everyday life?  Is it enough to say "My baby died and you need to be okay with whatever I feel/say/do (or don't) from now until I say so?"

We may WANT to say this (in fact, I may have actually said this to one of my friends when I felt like she was being insensitive), but we all know it doesn't work that way.  Not if we actually want to maintain our friendships.  I mean, I know that I wanted everyone's lives to come to a crashing halt, just like mine did.  STOP EVERYTHING.  No one can move forward, no one can get pregnant, no one's baby can have a birthday, NO ONE CAN DO ANYTHING until I say it's okay.

Yeah.  That didn't happen.  So given the shitty reality we find ourselves in, what do we do?

In both Ms. B's reply and my post yesterday, I made the argument that bereaved parents deserve special treatment from their friends.  Honestly, I kind of thought that was a no-brainer.  But I don't exactly know what that means or how long it can last.  How long can I expect my friend not to talk about her baby?  How long do I get a free pass from participating in family holidays?  At what point do I need to get my shit together and get back in the land of the living, even if I have to grit my teeth and make it look like a smile?  And would that timeline be different if I had a living child before I lost Eliza?

I have no idea.  But I *do* think there's a point where we just have to deal with it by confronting the issue head-on, and having open discussions with our friends.  And I didn't say this in the reply to New Mom, because I don't think it's New Mom's responsibility to start that conversation.  I think that's the one thing we really owe our friends--an honest assessment of our grief and how it has changed things and how we feel about that.  For me, it's usually an apologetic e-mail that says something like, "I hate the way I'm feeling right now and I'm sorry I can't be the kind of friend you deserve.  Please stick around.  Other people who've been there promise me it won't be like this forever."

And yes, there comes a point in time when we can't just continue to avoid every child  under the age of three who is of the same gender as our dead baby.  We can't get away with not knowing what's going on in our friends' lives.  We can't use our grief as an excuse to get out of every personal and professional obligation from now until infinity.  And most of us don't want to!  I think the vast majority of us want to reach the point where we can be a friend as well as have a friend.  In the meantime, we need to acknowledge it's a long road.

So I'm wondering what the time frame is?  When do we have to get over ourselves and remember that the world does not revolve around us and our grief?

Even as I ask these questions, and I know there aren't straightforward answers to them.  I think we all know that.  It's not about crossing a line and being ready to jump back into your old life.  It's not about some subjects being completely off limits, and others being okay.  Really, it's about the kindness and empathy and mutual understanding that every good friendship requires.

We do not have to put up with those friends who completely check out in our time of greatest need because their own lives are demanding.  We need to cut our losses and move on from those people, and those are personal decisions we may or may not have full control over.  But I would say that even with bold talk about weeding out friends from our gardens of life, most of us find ourselves continually tolerating insensitive remarks and quickly forgiving unintentionally hurtful comments.  We do this because it's what friends do, and I think that most of us understand, even in the depths of our grief, that we're asking our friends to tolerate a lot of crap from us as well.

So rather than declare what I think people SHOULD do (don't worry, we'll save that for another day!), I'll just write about my personal effort (meager, I'm afraid, but earnest) to maintain one particular friendship.

My best friend from high school is pregnant with a baby girl and due in January.  As she said in one conversation we had about it, "I know, the timing is SO not ideal."  We both laughed ruefully at this, because seriously.  I think the reason our friendship has not suffered, as it SO easily could have, is because we openly and directly talk about my grief, her pregnancy, and how hard it all is.  We acknowledge that her pregnancy is difficult for me, and my loss is scary for her.  She says Eliza's name every time we talk and I guessed exactly right what she was going to name her baby when she found out it was a girl (and if you want further proof of our mind-meld, you should challenge us to a game of Taboo, because we would STOMP you).

Do we talk about her pregnancy a lot?  Um, no.  Not really.  Certainly not NEARLY as much as we would have if Eliza were alive (oh don't even get me started on how different this would all be if Eliza were alive...).  I don't think it's condescending or unreasonable to expect that she'll be able to think of other things to talk about when she talks to me, now and after her baby is born.  When I was pregnant with Eliza, she was trying to get pregnant, and I tried to be sensitive about her fertility issues and concerns, even though she made me feel like it was a non-issue for her in celebrating my pregnancy.  I may not have always done a stellar job, but I know I made a concerted effort.  I mean, I think that's what friends do.

Fortunately for us, subjects of conversation have never been in short supply.  But at this point in my grief, I'm capable of realizing that she also needs me to talk about her pregnancy at least sometimes because it's a huge thing in her life.  So we DO talk about it (in small doses).  To her credit, she almost always waits for me to bring it up first.  To my credit, I do.  Not because it's my favorite subject, but because she's my BFF, dudes.  And she's pregnant.  And I don't just want to drop out from her life.

I'm at a point in my grief--almost a year from Eliza's death, remember--where I can handle it (to a certain extent), and I can be honest with her about what's too much.  I can't be all "SQUEE!" with excitement, but I DO feel genuinely happy for her.  So I just try to be honest about how happy and sad and conflicted I feel, and she does the same.

I think for a while, even just a few months ago, I felt like I didn't need to do that because my friends who were new moms (or pregnant) didn't need my support.  They had everything that I wanted, and I had nothing.  They were happy and I was utterly bereft.  I had nothing to offer.  But my best friends have helped me feel something like myself again.  They've helped me remember that my identity extends beyond Bereaved Parent of One, even though that's obviously part of who I am.  And they let me know that even though my new self has changed, it doesn't totally suck.  I'm aware enough at this point to see that my friend has been making an enormous effort for me and I owe her the same, or, at least, the best I can offer, given where I am now.

So I asked her what she was going to name the baby (and then guessed correctly because I am a totally awesome psychic), and then I told her, surprised at the discovery, "It's actually easier for me to think about your baby now that I know her name and she's her own person, instead of a girl baby in January."

She has said to me, "I don't mind talking about Eliza, because that's your story and your baby, but it's hard for me to read your blog right now because it makes me think about all the other people you know and all the different kinds of losses."

It's not that either of us really likes hearing that stuff from the other person.  I'm sure she is sad about the fact that it's difficult for me to think about her baby sometimes, especially because she was so freaking excited about mine.  I hate that my blog makes her sad and scared.  But we survive this mess because we continue to be open and honest with each other about how shitty and complicated it is.  It's very meta, to have conversations about how we're handling loss and grief and pregnancy, in the middle of a conversation about loss and grief and pregnancy.  Fortunately, we try not to take ourselves too seriously.  I mean, we take the situation seriously, of course, but we can laugh (and cry) at the way we fumble through it.

But sometimes I don't want to have those touchy-feeling conversations, dammit.  I want to avoid my grief and their babies all together and just talk about the housing market, or Kim Kardashian's divorce, or what I'll want to pack for Mexico, because I don't want to acknowledge that I feel bitter or jealous or just plain sad.  I hate being the person who feels like that, and I'm so tired of processing how I'm feeling or thinking about my emotions, or just missing Eliza that I don't want to deal with it.  My friends and I had plenty to talk about before we had kids, and I think it's okay for us to talk about anything but kids, at least some of the time.

Most of our conversations involve lots of stuff besides babies--our parents and siblings, our jobs, our marriages, and all the things friends who have known each other forever talk about.  Sometimes we talk philosophically, sometimes we talk about our husbands' inexplicable bromances with Jamey Johnson.  Does this affect the closeness of our friendship, that I'm not all up on what's going down in her uterus?  Sure.  I mean, I'm unable to fully participate in a HUGE, life-changing event.  I hate that.  So I acknowledge it, and how much I hate it, and how sorry I am.  And so we stay friends and wait for things to get better and talk about superficial stuff in the meantime.  I mean what the hell else is there to do?

I know that I owe it to my friends to be honest about what I'm feeling so they'll know how far I've come, and so they see how far I still have to go.  They owe it to me to be patient and kind and sensitive, and to keep showing up for me, even when things are way less fun than they used to be.  And I owe it to them to try to reach out and meet them where they are, just as I expect them to reach out to me.

We talk about grief and loss to the extent that she can handle it (and she will say "I can't talk about this anymore right now.")  And we adjust our conversations to accommodate whatever baby stuff I feel okay with (and I will say, "Oof.  Let's talk about something else.").  I can't talk about birth plans and doulas, but I find that I can ask about plans for maternity leave, work, and daycare.  I can't talk about baby clothes, but I do want to know what books she's gotten so far, and we can talk about that without my stomach twisting up in knots.  Everybody's limits are different, but you have to figure out what they are and, sometimes, you have to make an effort to push up against them.

My pregnant friend texted me one day, "Do you want to see pictures of me pregnant?"

I thought about it, and replied, "Yes, but no ultrasound pics, please."

Do pictures of my friend all pregnant and adorable make me jealous and wistful?   Mm-hmm.  Do they bring back with a jolt exactly how I felt a year ago at this same time?  Yes.  Could I have avoided all those complicated feelings if I'd just said I didn't want to see pictures?  Yes.

But do I want to completely miss out on my friend's experience of her first pregnancy?  Can I just pretend none of this is happening and expect that we'll always be the best friends we've been since high school?  Nope.  I'm already missing out on too much as it is.  She's kind and patient and understanding, but she's also pregnant and super excited.  I have to be able to look at those pictures and text her to tell her how adorable she looks.  As my friend, I think she deserves at least that.  Really she deserves much more (like me co-hosting her baby shower).  But I'm doing the best I can here, and I need to make sure she knows that.

Would this all be different if I were three months or six months out from my grief instead of almost a year?  Would it be different if I were five years out?  Would it be different if my friend weren't so totally amazing?  Yeah, it probably would.  In fact, my response to my friend is much less about my own ability to extend myself and more about me responding in kind to the love she has shown to me.  But all I can do (all any of us can do) is be honest about where I am in the moment and what I'm capable of doing, and what I want to try to do better in the future.  And I do think we owe that to our friends.

To be honest, sometimes talking to my best friend is uncomfortable.  Sometimes it seems like our conversations are tiptoeing through minefields, so then we acknowledge that and try to laugh about it, or I just cry about how I wish things were different.  She'll say, "I don't want to upset you," or I'll say, "I don't want to make you feel scared," and we'll move forward.  We both try to remember that it won't be like this forever.  Grief will soften, families will grow, friendships will evolve.  I try to be honest with her about how much I hate the limitations that my grief puts on me, and how grateful I am that she's sticking around.  And I don't obsess with guilt over being a bad friend, because I know that if our roles were reversed, I'd do the same for her.

In the end, did I attend her baby shower?  No.  I couldn't do it.  Do I feel bad about it?  Yes.  Did I call her crying and tell her how bad I felt about it?  Yes.  Did she make me feel guilty about it?  No.  Did she miss me at the shower?  Well, I like to think so. Even though that also makes me sad.  Things are hard right now.  We both get that.  But it's not worth losing a friend over.  So we both keep trying.

I'm lucky that I can say to her, "How was the baby shower?" and she will respond, "It was good.  Really nice."  And we each recognize the huge effort the other person has made--me to broach the subject, and her to not describe every detail of it.  And then, I either find it in me to ask a follow-up question (nope, I didn't, because I'm a sucky friend!), or we start talking about something else (her little sister was voted queen at the last high school dance!).

My grief made it impossible for me to handle the idea of shopping for a baby gift (which sucks, because normally shopping for gifts is my favorite), so I just contributed money to a big gift that the hostesses were getting her.  BUT I'm also working on a handmade baby gift.  (Maybe I'll have it finished by the time she's actually born...)

This is actually a big deal, because after Eliza died, I thought I'd never touch my sewing machine again.  For months I'd only used it to make baby things.  The thought of picking out cute fabric and cutting out the pattern and making a gift for a baby when my own baby couldn't use any of the things I'd made for her, it just ripped me up inside.  It still could, if I let myself dwell on it.  But this is my best friend, dammit, and she deserves a handmade gift for her sweet new baby, and I'm going to make that for her even if it makes me cry.  Could I have done that six months ago?  Honestly, I doubt it.  It's not super easy to do it now.  But I'm sure it's not easy for her to not blab about her pregnancy (as she likes to tell me, "Pregnant women are the most narcissistic people in the world."  She's probably referring specifically to me during my pregnancy.)

I guess I'm like the guilty divorced parent when it comes to my friends these days.  Because I've been emotionally and physically absent from my friend's lives, I try to make up for it by giving thoughtful, well-meaning gifts.

So I've been totally out of the loop for your whole pregnancy!  Please accept this handmade treasure as proof that I've been thinking about your baby in my own way, even while I'm forcing you to talk about Kate Middleton's shoes and this Penn State craziness instead.  *  I'm sorry I cannot bear to discuss your adorable son!  Here, please take these Puma tennis shoes and charming children books as an indication that I still love you and want to be your friend!  *  I'm sorry that the last time you mentioned your daughter, I made that weird face and awkwardly changed the subject!  Here, please accept this Crew Cuts dress as an apology and birthday gift for your toddler!  

I used to be the chatty phone friend, and I suck at that now.  In fact, I know I'm failing as a friend on a lot of fronts, so I look for other ways to show I still care.  Here, please take these coasters I made for you.  I know it's totally random, but I've entered the crafty phase of my grief.  It comes somewhere between anger and acceptance.  And these are the only way I can say I'm thinking of you because I suck at actual conversation!  So please, put your beer on this coaster and think of me.

I figure, if I can't be involved in the daily minutiae of their lives the way I used to be, I have to do something else to show I care.  My friends aren't saints, after all.  They deserve a little something.  Like a set of coasters!

At the end of the day, I think it's okay to expect (and sometimes demand) special treatment from our friends and family.  I really do.

But I also think at a certain point (one that's different for everyone, but for me it's happening around 10-11 months out), we have to force ourselves to do things that feel difficult, or maybe even totally shitty, in the midst of our grief.  We have to be really honest with ourselves (Is it impossibly hard?  Or just uncomfortable?  Do we owe it to our friends?  Is the dread of it worse than the reality?) and we have to be really honest with our friends.  I can be here for this, but not for that.  I want to know if your ultrasound was good and the baby looks healthy, but not if the baby was waving at you.  I'm here anytime you want to talk about the stress of your father-in-law's illness, but we're going to have to lay off your struggles with breastfeeding.  It's much easier for me to talk about your baby if you're willing to acknowledge that mine existed.

It sucks to have barriers and limitations, but I personally haven't found a way to avoid them.  So we have to recognize they exist, and then demonstrate that we're making an effort to overcome them.  The question is what kind of effort we can make when we're still swimming in grief.  For me, since I couldn't attend the baby shower, and the holidays (and her due date) will probably make it impossible for us to get to hang out, just the two of us, I'm hoping she'll see this gift (and the accompanying note) as a symbol of everything I wish I could have been for her during this pregnancy.  It certainly doesn't come close to making up for all I've missed, but I think I'm incredibly lucky to have a friend who will see it for what it is--a real effort on my part, and the best I can do right now.  She gets that grief makes me a crazy freak, but that's not ALL I am.  At least, not forever.

In the past eleven months, I have done a spectacularly TERRIBLE job of telling my friends what I need, but I'm VERY good at getting upset when I don't get it.  And I'm a total FAIL much of the time at expressing how much I love and appreciate them.

In fact, I've spent a lot of time thinking to myself that it's really NOT FAIR that my best friend has to pregnant on the EXACT timeline I was on last year.  It's NOT FAIR that she's having a GIRL when I wanted her to have a BOY.  It's NOT FAIR that her baby and Eliza won't be BFFs.  It's NOT FAIR that she gets to be so happy and my baby died.

I know she'd agree with every single one of those statements.  Because it's not about being fair.  None of this will ever be fair.

But you know what?  She's my best friend.  And she's pregnant.  And she's not taking it for granted.  And I've gotten better at handling my grief after eleven months of practice.  So I have to make a choice to do the best I can to celebrate her daughter (even if I can't attend her baby shower).  I have to make a conscious decision to make her pregnancy exactly that:  her pregnancy, and not a personal affront on me and my loss.  As a self-absorbed, grief-stricken, hypersensitive individual, this is not always easy for me--and it would have been impossible in the early days of my grief.  But just as my grief isn't about her, her pregnancy isn't about me.  It's about a sweet baby that I'm going to love just as my friend loves Eliza.

So instead of being angry about the unfairness of it all, I think about our friendship, and how much I admire her, and how funny she is, and how well she knows me, and how much we've both changed and grown since high school, and how much I love her family, and how we laugh at the same stuff, and how I am absolutely going to adore and treasure her daughter, even though I'll be perfectly honest that I don't know when I'll feel ready to meet her baby for the first time.  So then I pick up the phone, or I send a quick e-mail, or I sit down in front of the sewing machine, and I do what I can do to be a good friend to her, even if it doesn't seem like much right now, even if it's not the way things "should" have been.  I do the best I can to accommodate my grief and our friendship. Not because it's easy, and certainly not because I'm an amazing super awesome martyr of a friend, but because she's my BFF and I love her, so I have to (and want to) make some kind of effort.  I mean, I already lost my daughter.  I don't want to lose my best friend, too.


  1. Lot of good thoughts here, but I just wanted to pick up one point.

    I had a friend who was due a month and a half before me (so I ended up delivering a month before her) who I actually became much better friends with during our time in the hospital. It takes some strength to visit a friend who has suffered a fetal demise and is living on a maternity floor while 7 or 8 months pregnant, but she did. Regularly.

    I bring her up because I asked in passing what the name was and she immediately told me. Then it came up that they actually weren't telling anyone, but she just couldn't imagine not telling me anything that I asked. And it was good for me.

    I remember holding their daughter and my son at the same time when they were a few months old (first time our son was around another baby other than the NICU) and being strengthened for it. But I have to admit, it was hard as well.

  2. Brooke, it sounds like you and your friend will muddle through and make it and that makes me happy for you both. Sending love.

  3. Brooke, Thank you for the discussion and for the sharing! And for letting us help each other. Jill A.

  4. Love you, friend. This one made me cry in a different way.

  5. So well put.

    OK, Ms. B. I've had something eating at my brain for a long time, and if you're really taking questions, I've got one for you:

    In spring 2010, my friend lost her baby. She had one girl, who was about 3, and she was expecting another little girl that April. I was also due with my second girl, in March. Oh, and to add insult to injury, her best friend was due with her second girl in April.

    Let me explain our friendship a bit. We were really good friends all throughout middle and high school. Once college started, we naturally drifted apart, but we tried to see each other about once a year.

    So unless we see each other on the very odd occasion, we’re like twice-a-year email buddies. But – we’re old friends. And we’re bonded. I feel like, even though we rarely talk, we’re still friends for life. If that makes sense.

    Anyway, we had met each other’s first children in 2008, when she came to town to visit her parents. Her daughter was 2, and mine was a newborn. It was great catching up.
    We emailed pictures of our kids over the next year or so.

    And when I sent her an email to tell her I was pregnant with my second, I just KNEW she was pregnant too. And with a girl. Sure enough, she sent me a response telling me so.

    OK, so both of us – and her best friend, who I’m also friends with – are all pregnant at the same time with our second girls. Isn’t life grand?

    Fast forward to March 2010. I email her to say I had my baby. I send a picture. I explain how my daughter got sick at 2 days old and we were in the hospital for 3 days in a row. It was the worst days of my life. Blah blah blah. Poor me.

    No response. Whatever – no big deal. In mid-April or so I email her, sure she’s had her baby by now. No response.

    And just as I just KNEW she was pregnant…I knew something was wrong.

    She finally responded and told me they had lost the baby a couple months back. I’m guessing the pregnancy was about 7 months along.

    I of course extended all my condolences and apologize for going on and on about my baby and how rough it was for me, when clearly she was going through the worst pain ever. We exchanged a few more emails, and she was actually (oddly) upbeat. She tells me the other friend had her baby and is really excited.

    So that’s how it goes. Emails drop off. But I’ve sent her probably three emails over the months. Just wanting to know how she’s doing. Letting her know that I remember her baby. Saying if she ever wants to talk, I’m here.

    And I have never heard back. I talked to our mutual friend, who said that apparently she just really doesn’t want to talk about it.

    So now I feel bad, that I’ve pushed her and bugged her. That’s fine if she doesn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted her to know she COULD. I figured that mentioning it isn’t going to make her pain worse – it’s already as bad as it can be!

    Did I send one too many emails and push her away?

    I don’t want to be that friend who abandons their grieving friend.

    I’m not a BLM, but I’ve read many BLM blogs and have taken everything to heart. Your pain is palpable. Hers must be to. I know from reading these blogs that BLMs need their friends to stick by them and talk about their baby and acknowledge what happened – not just ignore it.

    But I guess I’m not sure what to do next. Thoughts?

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  7. I lost all my three children over a space of 3-4 years.

    None of my friendships survived that period. None.

    All of my friends from before my losses are now parents. All of them. And none of them want me and my losses in their lives.

    I understand it completely. They want the me I was before. The me they liked and loved. They don't want this me. The sad me. The angry me. The grieving me. They do not understand that my children will always be my children. That my loss is not something I will "get over". They want me to "get on" with my life, but only if my life is the same as it was.

    It is much easier to be friends with someone who does not have those expectations.

    Those old friends, they expected something which is no longer possible. New friends accept me as I am - a woman who has suffered tremendous losses, and whose life is forever changed.

  8. Just got through reading your last three posts and all the comments. You initiated a great discussion about an important aspect of all this grief and sadness.

    I think there is a limit to the amount of time a friendship can exist with such a serious limitation on it (meaning, the exclusion of speaking about a child/pregnancy). I don't know how long it is and I am sure it must be different for every relationship but there certainly is one. I also agree that at some point the grieving parent needs to take steps to join the living world again. It hurts so much but if relationships are to be saved it has to be done.

    Within the year that George died my best friend had a baby boy and my sister-in-law had a baby boy. I've missed out on much of their lives because I was too hurt to participate in hearing their stories and seeing their photographs. I literally could not get involved for a period of time because it hurt so badly. Yet now I regret everyday that I removed myself from their lives for so long. Especially my best friend as she was alone and living in a foreign country. She was scared and lonely and had very few people to talk to about these things. I wasn't there for her and she was quite understanding about that.

    You can't get those days back and now I always try to think about which will hurt less; hearing about these babies and being sad for a bit afterwards or missing out on my friends' lives. Missing out on my friends' lives almost always is the sadder choice to me.

  9. In response to Lainie, I know everyone is different, but I think one of the big fears in the beginning for babyloss mamas is everyone else moving on and forgetting.

    There are MANY times when I don't respond, but I have always felt good when someone writes to tell me they are thinking about me and Bear. I think you should keep reaching out and make sure to mention her baby by name. She probably won't call or want to get together, but she'll know that her baby is remembered and cared about.

    I am so appreciative of my friends (and acquaintances) who continue to reach out even when I don't have the energy to respond. Thank you for being a good friend!

  10. Where do I start, there is so much in here. Yes. Yes. And more yes. So much of this was me and my best friend, but we didn't make it. This post makes me think "should I pick up the phone and try and fix things, two years on" but I'm not sure. But at least you've got me thinking about it.
    You're a wonderful writer and you've captured so much here. It really was like reading my own thought process from a few years back.
    What I will say is this, it is all very gradual. There was not one exact moment where I felt better or more able to cope with certain things or situations, it was always evolving. Eventually I could see babies, do baby talk, go to parties (though baby showers are still a no-go for me). I think also getting pregnant again and having a living child of my own helped a lot as well, so I'm of course always wishing that becomes part of your story as well.
    Much love to you, Brooke. This is wonderful.

  11. You've obviously found a topic which has struck a chord with a lot of people. I think, in reality, we all face things different. Something you can handle addressing may be something I can not, and vice-a-versa.

    A lot of my ability to handle other people's happiness stems back to whether I felt jilted in how they handled my grief. I may have no new stories to tell of my boy but I can assure you he is a topic which will be high on my priority list long after his brother or sister arrives in May (please, please, please).

    I want him acknowledged, I want to know people love him. I may not reply to every email people send me because what more is there to say? But I appreciate it, and over time I hope I can start giving back to some of the relationships which have faulted during this tremendously difficult time.

    With all those niceties out of the way, there are certain people who will never be welcome in my home or heart again. People who have said things (or not said things) which have left our relationship irreparably changed. There are some people who just will never get it, and never try to show compassion beyond what they believe society expects of them. Those people aren't good enough for me.

    You are an excellent writer, and I would let you speak on my behalf any day.


  12. I agree with LJ - you can speak on my behalf any day and the fact that a lot of my happiness (or lack thereof) stems from how people handled my grief.

    I don't really have much more to add other than "ditto" . . . to pretty much everything you ever write.