Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Same But Different

I got this in an email awhile back. I thought I would share it.

"The Same - But Different" from an article by Linda Moffatt St. Louis, Missouri, Chapter of Bereaved Parent of the USA She wrote: "Have you ever seen that commercial with the little girl and the Ritz Bits crackers? The announcer is trying to get her to say whether Ritz Bits are the same as regular Ritz crackers or different. The little girl tries various explanations. First, she tells him how they're alike. "So they're the same?" he asks. "No silly," she answers, "one's little and one's big." "So they're different," he says. She rolls her eyes. Finally, in frustration, she says, "Don't you get it?" What is obvious to her - but difficult to explain - is that they're the same, but different. The shock / disbelief / horror / anger is the same. The pain in the chest is the same. The void is the same. The ache and longing and despair hurt just as much, for just as long. The difference is nobody believes any of that. When Nicholas was diagnosed (shortly after birth) with a heart defect, he was given only a short time to live. We wanted to bring him home from the hospital, and we were met with some resistance from family and friends. Many thought that bringing Nicholas home was a terrible idea. "Oh, My, you'll get attached to him, and it will be much harder on you when he dies," was the common thread of their thoughts on the matter. I didn't know how they thought we had avoided attachment to this point - he was our child, he looked just like our other children, he was our son! (Can you envision a world where people have to be talked into taking their new baby home? "Don't worry, Dear, you'll like him once you get him home and get attached to him.") People honestly think you can carry a child through pregnancy (to whatever stage the pregnancy ends), and have no feelings toward or about your child or yourselves as parents unless the child is alive and healthy. When a baby is expected, we are told by everyone, including the media, that the birth of a baby is the most blessed of all life's events, that this new person, who is different from all other persons ever born, will change our lives forever. And yet when this most blessed and unique person dies, everybody acts like it's nothing. "Oh, well, better luck next time." "It's better he died before you got to know him." "You'll have more babies." These are some of the things that make grieving for an infant child complicated - different. There is no permission given to even feel bad, because you can't have feelings for someone you didn't know?" Do I wish Nicholas had died at birth instead of living six weeks? Of course not. It simply defies logic to think that any parent would want less time with their child instead of more. People will say that the grief over the death of an infant is nothing more than the loss of hopes and dreams for the future....But we also miss that unique individual who was our first-born or second child or only daughter or whatever. Even if I'd had another child, Nicholas would still be my only child starting kindergarten this year. He was his own person with his own place in our family. When we speak of the death of a child, age has no place in the discussion of grief. Don't you get it? It's the same."


Oh and the inlaws are coming NEXT weekend. Dh told me the wrong date.


At 5:37 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Thanks for that. It covers everything so well. Do you think it would be enough to convince the rest of the world though?

I mean everything sge says seems so obvious - if people don't automatically get it, maybe changing humanity is just a lost cause:(

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Catherine said...

Maybe people do understand...but they're afraid they're going to lose the person they love in the grief and they're trying to provide hope. (I feel a blog post of my own coming on)


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