Doing Just Fine

First grandchild.

Seventh grandchild.

First son.

That is what I keep hearing since Bo’s birth.

Now, I do refer to Bo as my first son just because I don’t want to keep explaining Ethan, especially to strangers. Unless you’re a bereaved parent, you won’t be able to understand the feelings of sympathy pity you get. They mouth a silent, ‘I’m so sorry’ and then you get “the treatment.”

The handling of your poor self with kid gloves.

The hushed tones and sad eyes.

Each time they see you, they will look and point as they talked to other people about that thing that happened to you.

I’m used to it, but not by choice, but rather, force. It’s been my life for the past two years and I imagine it’ll be my life for the rest of it. What does bother me, though, is how people in my family choose not to acknowledge Ethan.

He was our first son.

I carried him for six months.

I fought labor for 15 hours, 13 of them natural.

I gave birth to him.

I held him as he passed away in my arms.

I picked out his burial outfit.

I chose his coffin.

I watched my husband/Ethan’s father carry his coffin.

We chose his final resting place.

He existed.

He existed.

He existed.

And it bothers me. M. refers to Bo as his first son, probably using as the same defense mechanism that I use. But our parents? They don’t acknowledge Ethan. At all. And it’s a strange thing. A part of me wants to think they’re still dealing with the pain of losing a grandchild (Ethan is my parents’ seventh out of eight total grandchildren), that they can’t bear to mention him.

But a big part of me is angry. A really big part. Our parents will talk about their deceased parents but they won’t talk about our son and I’m not quite sure what to make of that. At what point is it respect and at what point is it disrespect?

It’s an interesting thing when you’re a bereaved parent – people say they want you to call them, to talk to them, to consider them to be that shoulder to cry on and that ear to vent to but really….they don’t want you to. They don’t want to be burdened with your problems. They don’t want to hear how you were able to take a shower. They don’t want to hear about how your angel visits you in your dreams. They don’t want to hear how you managed to go one day without crying for the first time in months.

They don’t want to hear it. And they’re glad it’s not them.

I read a post tonight that really signifies what I go through on a regular basis and I encourage the bereaved parents to read it as well. It explains my life perfectly:

http://www.outrageousfortune.net/2011/09/dispatches-from-land-of-not-ok.html?m=1

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