Ninety-one days…

I once went out to lunch with a lady who had recently announced the pregnancy of her third baby.  I could not have been happier for this woman.  Unfortunately, she knew what it was to grieve.  She had lost her first born to a horrible illness.  After the death of her child, she became pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby.  Soon to follow was more wonderful news.  She was the most deserving of a happy, healthy family than anyone I could imagine.  She had been through hell on earth and survived.  Soon after lunch, we ran into someone we both knew who congratulated her on her pregnancy.  She waved the women away with a polite thank you as if it wasn’t any big deal.  The reason behind her behavior was me; I was standing there.  It had only been a year since I lost my own baby daughter to stillbirth just weeks before my due date.  It also was not a secret that I was having trouble conceiving since my loss.  She knew my pain and didn’t want to subject me to any more.  Considering what she had already been through, she should have been jumping for joy in front of this woman who wanted to share in celebrating her amazing announcement.  It was one of the most compassionate moments I have ever encountered, and I will never forget it.

Not long ago I spoke of the dreaded “egg shells.”  People were unable to be themselves around me.  You could almost read their thought bubbles, “Do I tell her I’m sorry?  Should I ignore the situation completely and pretend it didn’t happen?  Maybe I should pretend I don’t see her and run the other direction.”  I became highly aware of people’s facial expressions and body language.  There were times it was annoying, uncomfortable, or just plain hurtful, and then I experienced my moment with Candice.  When I had my “Candice moment,” I recognized something that gave me a better understanding of certain people and their seemingly bizarre behaviors.

Like Candice, there are some who have a gift at being aware and understanding of others feelings, and then there are people who just don’t have a clue.  This is not because they are not compassionate, wonderful people, but because maybe they haven’t grieved a common loss.  I wouldn’t dare try to pretend I experienced the same type of loss Candice did, but it was clear there was a bond between us.  We both lost someone precious, and grief wasn’t ever standing far enough away from either of us to interrupt our commonality.

If you’ve experienced grief and are having a difficult time dealing with people’s unusual and nervous behavior around you, take it as a compliment.  They mean well.  We can’t all have the same type of insight Candice has, and none of us would ever choose to go where she had to go to receive it.

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