Monday, March 05, 2007

Cut To The Heart

What do you say to a person grappling with her deepest, darkest personal pain?

I typically don't write about other people on this blog - it's a place where I prefer to expose my weaknesses and celebrate my triumphs for all who care to read. Today, though, I'm consumed with another person's burden of grief and heartache.

The latest Sunday paper featured a poignant newspaper column by one of my coworkers about the tender devastation of her son's stillbirth.

As a single, 30-year-old woman, I have no way to identify with the magnitude of that crossroads. Granted, I cried (twice) after reading her piece, but I dare say there's no such experience I have in my rocky past to compare with this tragedy.

I have my own moments of challenge, the most significant being the period when my father (and our entire family) coped and recovered from a benign brain tumor the size of a plum. The messy mass of nerves clung to the rear of his brain - just centimeters from my dad's brain stem.

The prospect of losing a parent can rattle your very perspective on the world. You quickly realize your heroes are not immortal. You discover you may soon be called up to duty to serve as the caregiver, not the cared for. You assume the responsibility that comes with rapid maturity.

Parents are supposed to precede us in death. That's the natural order of things and so a dying or aging parent isn't a real surprise, no matter how painful an experience that is.

But saying goodbye to a child - no matter how young - that's a tough pill to swallow.

And so I don't really know what to say after reading about my co-worker's piece.

Perhaps a prayer is the best, silent offering I can give.


Me! said...

Kate... we are eventually going to have to meet up. We have way too much in common that its almost eery. Right now, I am also dealing with the pain of someone close to me. My best friend's baby was born early and isn't doing all that well. She was so looking forward to having a healthy baby and joining the new mom club. Instead, she's going to Children's Hospital daily and praying for him to get better. His nursery just sits there waiting for him to get strong enough to come home. You never know what to say. What can you? I just try to be there when she needs me.

The other thing we have in common AGAIN is that my mother suffered from a benign brain tumur. God do I know that stress, anxiousness, fear etc. It was the most awful experience ever. I think the folks at the Mayfield Clinic knew my family by name when we walked through the doors. Unfortunately my mom passed away in 2004 but that fear always lingers. Brain tumors scare me. And you hear of it so often anymore I often wonder if there is something out there in this area making people sick.

We should plan another Girls Night Out when the weather gets nicer. I promise to come this damnit! :-)

Kate The Great said...

DeeDee, thanks for your website suggestion. I'm sure that page has helped many people coping with the loss of a child.

GAC- yes, we truly need to meet up. I am sorry about the loss of your mother. Brain tumors are so scary - in part because the brain is still a vast unknown to the medical community. I have another friend who had major struggles after her child was born several months ago - this baby is still hooked up to tubes, etc. and it is so sad - but this beautiful baby's mother is a tenacious fighter and I know she will make it her mission in life to help this baby overcome her challenges.