Monday, January 28, 2013

Lesson from the past

So, a woman I respect a great deal posted this thought on her facebook page yesterday: When we judge someone, we don't know their story or their path. We instantly shut down the possibility to spread peace and love and make a difference in the lives of others. When we can look beyond the surface, we may see ourselves in others. We have all been at our worst at times and it hurts to have the eyes of judgment on us when we are needing support and connection.  It really struck a nerve with me.  See, over the past 6 years, I have lost some of my closest and dearest friends--not from illness and death (though I did lose one that way), but through distance and judgment.  In 2007, at a time in our life when we needed support and connection, we got a lot of comments about how to deal with the tragic loss of our child.  People who were not us and who were not living our nightmare told us how to move forward.  Instead of quiet hand-holding and reassuring words, we were told to "get over it" to "move on" and that "at least we had our girls" or "at least we could have another baby."  People who were friends with both Chris and I seemed completely unprepared for the depth of our grief and the intensity of our love for our baby girl.  Of course we quickly learned who we could talk to about these things and who would prefer we didn't mention the fairly large and obvious elephant in the room.  And know what happened with those who couldn't or wouldn't talk about it?  We aren't really all that close to them now.  Sure, we may chat occasionally or follow each other on Facebook, but we don't have a real relationship anymore.  At times, this fact makes me deeply and horribly sad.  I miss these friends who were so much a part of my life who now seem too far away, either physically or emotionally, to try to bring back to my circle.  I'm sad that Sophie had this effect on some of the important people in my life.  Of course, with the work I do with grieving couples and families, I have learned that this is far, far, far from unusual.  So many people I know have lost friends and family members over the death of a baby and the intense hurt that follows.  It is a second loss in many ways--not only do we lose a child, we lose some very important people in our lives.
As January wraps up and I begin hauling my very-well-hidden-yet-definitely-still-present grief around for a 7th year, I just want to put the above quote "out there" in the hopes that it will resonate with some and you will make an effort to open to peace and love instead of shutting down with judgement.  Sophie taught me that--it is a lesson I will forever be thankful for, despite the cost of learning it. 

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