Friday, October 17, 2014

When worlds collide


I went to cover an event a couple of weeks ago for the paper, and ended up kind of failing on multiple accounts (although it all turned out okay -- that's why God gave us email and the telephone). It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes my professional life (I have a professional life! That's hilarious and also incredibly awesome) and personal life meet, and the result is uncomfortable. For me. And when my natural awkwardness kicks in, that makes it uncomfortable for everyone.

Well, I assume it does. I start rambling and saying things I don't mean to say and how can that be comfortable to witness? My awkwardness prevents me from even writing a decent opening paragraph about this damn event for my dumb ol' blog, and that makes me uncomfortable.

Okay, SHIT. Just write...

About a month ago, I was assigned a story for the newspaper about an upcoming memorial walk in recognition of October being National Awareness Month for Pregnancy and Infant Loss. There's a new support group forming in town and this walk was the kick-off event. You know, bringing awareness, shedding some light, nobody has to grieve alone.

So my first thought, of course, is that this is great. Having had a miscarriage almost 11 years ago, and feeling very isolated in the months that followed, any awareness or light or togetherness seems like a very good thing. I make my phone calls, I write my story, I'm feeling happy to have played a small part in getting the word out.

Then, at the weekly staff meeting, there it was, on the budget: A followup story on the walk with my name next to it. Which, okay, yes, I'm happy to do. More publicity for the cause. That's great. Except this also meant that maybe I was going to be walking, too. I did not mention that I had a reason to walk to anyone else on staff.

It may have been 11 years ago, but that wound isn't 100-percent healed. I can look at it positively: I had wonderful support from my husband and from other women who knew what I was going through. I now have Johanna. The grief I felt has naturally lessened with time. I made it through.

Well, I thought I had, but as I was standing there taking pictures of small groups of women, wearing their memorial walk t-shirts*, some talking openly, some keeping quietly to themselves, I couldn't help but wonder if maybe I wasn't going to be able to separate the Professional Trisha with the Personal Trisha after all.

As it turns out, I had to leave early because it was homecoming (the last football game of the season for my non-American friends, and it's kind of a big deal) and our nephew was on the court (they crown a king and queen at these events, non-American friends, which you have to admit is ironic, right?), and we'd planned all week to be at the game to support him (he's also a football player, but he injured his collarbone a few weeks ago, so he's still on the sidelines. Ah, well).

I was kind of torn. On one hand, I really wanted to walk and participate in the candle lighting ceremony so I could finally publically acknowledge my little peanut... that this kid existed and is still important, no matter for how little a time I carried him. On the other hand, I've buried all my grief and pain and bitterness, and that was all threatening to spill out. So I was glad to have an excuse to bail is what I'm saying.

I'd mentioned beforehand about homecoming, so the organizers wouldn't think I was being a jerk. They had their own photographer and she said she would send me pictures. Awesome. I'm out.

But then I made the mistake of saying that I had wanted to light my candle and I was sorry that I would be missing that part. I didn't mean to say that. It just slipped out. And then one of the organizers was like, it's okay, we'll light one for you.

I'm getting misty just typing that. I got a little misty as she said it.

I don't really know what the moral of this whole sad tale even is, except maybe time does not heal all wounds and that, while it sucks that there are so many of us who've experienced such a loss, at least there's a level of support there that is kind of overwhelmingly open and loving. And that maybe ripping off the bandaid and just feeling the feels is uncomfortable at best, but okay.

P.S. I came home and was telling Eric about the experience, and he was all, I knew this would be a tough one for you, which made me want to hug him tight because you know what? That boy knows me better than I know myself.

*I signed up and was offered a t-shirt, which I refused on the grounds of minimalism. But really it was that I just don't want to be confronted with that shirt every time I open my wardrobe. True story.

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