Loss and that common refrain

July 26, 2013 § 2 Comments

clown feelings

If I had lost a leg… instead of a boy, no one would ever ask me if I was ‘over’ it. They would ask me how I was doing learning to walk without my leg. I was learning to walk and to breathe and to live… And what I was learning is that it was never going to be the life I had before.

–Elizabeth Edward

Those words snatched a covered thing and shook it so hard that my breath caught. I thought about the various aspects of loss and how people react differently based on the reason a person is in mourning. When a loved one dies either of old age, illness, or tragically, most people are willing to mourn with that person for as long as they are grieving. If a member of their body is amputated, there is concern for that lost limb and the individual’s well-being until they have come to grips, gotten over, and/or learned to live beyond the pain. But when a woman miscarries, there is a brief understanding, then an almost sudden growing impatience for her to hurry up and get over it.

“You can always have another,” is a common refrain. She is expected to mourn quickly as if a family member didn’t die, or as if she hasn’t lost a member of her body. Most times, even those closest to her fail to understand the depth of her despair; the many ‘firsts’ she thinks of that will never be, and the hurt that looms thick like fog. Or worse, as she vainly laments the changes her body has made that were bound to be buffered by that bundle. More so, the violent ways the body reminds her that it was made for this; breasts that fail to realize that there is no baby in need of nourishment. Surely, she will get over it, will lose the weight and her mammary glands will stop lactating. Maybe she will have another, but like the family member or that arm or leg, from time to time, she’ll have bouts of lows. But above all else, she will appreciate your consolation, some space, a tremendous amount of understanding, and definitely no deadline on her mourning process/period.

*Sadly, I don’t remember who did the painting; apologies to the artist.

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