Earlier this year, I got an advertisement that I thought was hilarious, in a nerd humor kind of way, and forwarded it to a friend I went to university with. His girlfriend had sent me some text messages after A & C died, so I knew they were thinking of us and trying to stay in touch. His reply included that he just found out he’d be in my city next week, and if there was a chance to meet up for breakfast on Thursday? There was. He wrote back:
Great! Looking forward to seeing you!
Such a common expression, and yet it meant so much to me. Because I’ve noticed that many people are apprehensive of meeting me, meeting us, now. We went to our favorite but rather famous coffee shop – the rule is, whoever arrives first gets in line, and then you still have a while to chat until you actually get to the counter. First we chatted about “normal” stuff – travel, work, etc. But once we sat down with our breakfast and coffee*, he asked how we were doing. If I wanted to talk about that. So I told him about going back to work, where 50% of my colleagues have never so much as said a word about our loss, the family visit for Christmas with its good and difficult sides, and the upcoming FET and our hopes and fears around that. He acknowledged that healing will take a long time, and wished us luck for the FET. And then we went back to talking about other things.
* in case you’re wondering, I had decaf – I’m not sure this actually makes a difference, but I will do the few things I have control over
My aunt and uncle write a yearly newsletter that goes out to friends and family, usually with the Christmas cards and presents. Both of them, as well as their grown children, write about the main events of their year. It goes to many people – they are wonderful and have many friends as well as extended family on both sides.
Last year, they included how very sad they were when they heard about the loss of our twins. I cannot even begin to describe how much this means to me, such a public recognition of their lives and the depth of our loss.
“I wanted to talk to you”, he said, “about your miscarriages”. I thought that this was actually called stillbirth but didn’t say anything. I was amazed this conversation was happening, months after our loss.
“It’s difficult to talk about this as a man… “ he said, and again I didn’t interrupt but tried to give him an encouraging look while thinking that it’s difficult to talk about this for just about anyone. He proceeded to share that they had had seven miscarriages, in different stages of pregnancy. I knew they have two living children, but seven losses sounds awful. The hidden pain you don’t see in a big, strong man that has drawings from his kid pinned to his office walls. “Of course it would have been more helpful to tell you this earlier, when you lost your babies, but then I got sick.” Then someone knocked on the door and he had to leave for another meeting. I got up and said “Thank you”, in a way that wouldn’t be out of place in a professional interaction, but tried to put my heartfelt appreciation for sharing his losses, for letting me know he had an idea of how we felt, and that he and his wife thought much about us, into those two words.