Monday, May 18, 2009

Twenty Questions...Or Even Just One?

Lots of people read this blog. Not I'm-gonna-get-a-book-deal lots, but way more than ever post responses. I know this because you write to me about a particular post or I start to tell you something and you say 'I know...I saw that on your blog.' Which is fine, better than fine - it's great. I know you're out there and you know I'm over here and it is, as Britt would say, all good.

But, still, I'm over here sometimes wondering what it is you're not saying. What it is you're thinking about all these words I'm throwing out there. Is there something you want to know that I haven't talked about? If we call it 'free pass' day, is there something you want to say? I'd really love to hear. So, I'll make you a deal: if you can be brave enough to ask the question, I'll be brave enough to answer it. Or if want to tell me what it's like to live over there with me over here...go ahead. I'm all ears.

Anyone? Bueller?

And, because I've become addicted to posting pictures on the blog, here's a picture of Britt's 6th birthday party. She lived her whole life this way...surrounded by people she loved who loved her, too.


Kay said...

You know, I was just thinking the other day that I should chime in and let you know I'm here reading. And, as Cara said, how much better I'm getting to know Britt this month. How much better I'm getting to know you. It's wonderful and heartbreaking. I'm glad and amazed that you are so able to articulate what you're feeling so well.

A friend of a friend just lost a child and, in trying to help my friend understand, I passed along your recent post about that panicky, desperate, "OK this part can be over!" feeling of a missing child. That never goes away.

I'm so sorry that's true. But I thank you for writing about it. It helped my friend and also really struck me. There's something similar there about what it's like to lose a mother as a child. It's a kind of pervasive, life-long feeling of "My safe haven, home base, alwaysthere is gone... WTF am I supposed to do now?"

Because, seriously. WTF.

Anyway, don't have a question. But just wanted to say hello, I'm here. xoxo.

Kaethe said...

I want to tell you this: every day I read your posts and am reminded to cherish what I have, my kids, my Spouse, my mom, my in-laws, all my siblings and nieces and nephews.

Your loss touches me so much more than the loss of my own loved ones. Maybe it's just the realization that I will never love anyone else the way I love my kids.

If there is anything I can do or write that will help you, let me know. I'm afraid I don't comment more, because I'm aware how inadequate my words are in the enormity of your loss.

Debi said...

Oh, you guys are sweet. I do love knowing that you're out there, reading along.

Kay, I am glad to know that my words might have helped your friend to better understand her friend's loss. One of the things I've learned in the last few years is how hard it is to be my friend now (or the friend of anyone who lives with this loss) and how precious those of you who make the effort really are. And I've thought a lot about your loss, too. The flip-side to mine and I've often wondered about the ways in they might be the same. We are untethered at opposite ends...but both adrift, yes?

Kaethe, that my posts remind you to be grateful is a huge gift to me and I thank you for sharing that.

Jesse, I'm going to try to answer your question (left under the comments for Sunday's post for those who might not have read back, it was "How are you?") as honestly as I can. I am as variable as the weather. I get up every day. Most days, I stay up and I engage with the world. I go to work, I do my job, I talk to clients and co-workers and - if my latest review is any indication - I am doing an excellent job of at least impersonating a sane person. I take care of my house. I am tending my garden. I enjoy spending time with my nieces and nephews.

But, that crazed, panicky feeling I talked about a few days ago? It's always there, just below the surface. No matter where I am or what I'm doing, it never goes away. I take sleeping pills every night because if I don't the nightmares wake me up. Along with the nightmares, there are some other side-effects of PTSD that I am dealing with: my memory is shot, it's often hard to focus, and my metabolism has slammed into park. After a life time of being (sometimes dangerously) underweight I am astonished to look in the mirror and see someone who needs to lose 25 pounds. I have no idea how long these things are going to I am learning to take careful notes, learning to be grateful that the nature of my job is that I have 10 different balls in the air at all times, and I have an appointment to talk to my doctor about a diet-and-exercise overhaul.

I am hanging in, and getting by, and occasionally giving in and just letting it all wash over me.

I don't often get to answer that question honestly, so I thank you for asking.

Chris said...

Hi Debi -
Your blog posts are so open I feel like I could sit with you for hours (over wine, of course) and talk about anything. Kay's right about getting to know you and Britt so much more through your writing. I wasn't lucky enough to ever meet Britt, but her pictures and your memories show me a beautiful young woman. My Lizzy loved ladybugs as a toddler, so that entry really opened a wider view of the engulfing loss you've had.

Like Kay, a friend from my kids' school just lost their 19-year-old son suddenly (undiagnosed heart issue.) Your writing has given me the strength to talk with him about his son and let him talk or not, depending on how he's feeling in that moment. I haven't shared your blog with him, but may do so, if it's alright with you.

So, here's a question, if and when you want to answer: when people look to you as a source of advice when they or another of their friends experience the loss of a child, is that okay?

I may not be a friend who calls or even checks in daily, but you're in my thoughts, Debi. Dave, too.

Kay said...

It's true, Debi. The mother-child (and -daughter maybe especially) relationship is unique. And somehow has "forever" built into it. The ideas of its permanence, consistency, and dependability are all wrapped up in what that relationship just means. And so when it turns out to be all too fleeting... well, it's awful hard to get a handle on. All the "understoods," the things you're supposed to take for granted, all wind up suspect. Which, you know, actually explains a lot about me, I guess. It's been 26 years since the rug got pulled out from under me and I'm still trying to figure out what's what.

I often think about a conversation you and I had a few years ago about the words for loss. That there are orphans and widows and widowers... but there's no name for a mother who's lost her child. It's telling.

Debi said...

Chris, honey, my heart goes out to your friend. The short answer to your question is Yes. It's absolutely okay. Because if you're asking that means you are trying and that's such a huge, unusual thing. Beyond that, it's an ever bigger yes because the whole point of doing this (as I was just saying to my own mom today) is to help people get more comfortable with talking about THIS. More comfortable acknowledging the reality of THIS. So, ask away. Email me or call me or post here. Anytime. And, by all means, when the time is right offer the blog address (or my email) to your friend.

Kay, I hear you 'hard to get a handle on.' I'm beginning to think that's a life-long proposition.

Lisa said...

You know, I've been trying to come up with a question, but I just don't have any. I guess we're in close enough touch that I don't save 'em up.

But I did want to say, in the spirit of what's being talked about here, that you've given me a real gift in letting me know that whatever meager words I have to offer are OK, that they can be helpful or healing in the offering alone. I tend to speak first and think second a lot of the time, and although I don't spend a lot of energy worrying about what I'm going to say, I certainly second-guess myself on what I've already said.

So it really is a kindness on your part -- how you've always reassured me that whatever I have to offer up is OK. I appreciate that, both because it makes me feel a little less helpless in the face of your loss and because it keeps me speaking up to other people as well. You give me faith in my own honesty -- even the bravest people in the world still need reaffirmation of that from time to time, I think.

Debi said...

Honey, have I told you lately how much I love you? Because I do. I really truly do.

Lisa said...

Thank you for that. I love you too.

Mary Catherine said...

Which one of those girlies is Britt?

Ever since the girls moved on from their parochial grade school, I haven't had a parish or church that was just the ticket. I find myself depending upon my online community for that place to bring my questions, for that place to seek support, approval and belonging.

Thank you for being so open and accepting.

Debi said...

Mary Catherine, Britt is sitting in the front row, on the left...grinning like The Cheshire Cat.

And, I know exactly what you mean. I have struggled for years with finding a community of like-minded people, a place where I am comfortable. The internet has become my go-to place for those things as well. As my niece Amanda says - "I love the internet; all my friends live there!"

Jesse Wiedinmyer said...

So here's another question for you... I'll ask it hear since the blog has moved forward and this might be a bit less front and center (You can feel free to disregard this one if you'd like...)

Those dreams that you can't allow yourself to have, what do they consist of?

Debi said...

Well, I imagine I still have them, jesse....I'm just sleeping hard enough not to a)be awakened by them or b) remember them when I do wake up. But, to answer your question, what I dream about is the accident that killed Britt.

Jesse Wiedinmyer said...

Yeah. I can't really say that I dream much anymore. Or mayhap I merely don't remember them when I do.