Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Slap in the Face

"Therein lay the problem. Life had altered in the wildest possible way, but it was imperative that they act as if nothing at all had happened. Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it 24 hours a day" From The Book Thief, a novel by Markus Zusak This quote, which I came across in a book that I read recently, really resonates with me. I find myself constantly trying to "self-correct" and adapt myself to the "real" world so that I will seem "normal", like the old Kirsten. Isn't that the problem? Why should I have to do that? Something did happen, and it was awful and unimaginable, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Should I pretend like I have "moved on" and that I am "over it" to make everybody else feel better? I have always been a little bothered by people's nosiness. I know they mean well, but is it really necessary to know everybody else's shiz all the time? Since Boe's death, I am even more bothered by it. Don't get me wrong, strangers out in public usually don't bother me. They don't know me and they don't know any better, but sometimes they make really dumb remarks, or ask really probing questions. What really gets in my craw are family, friends, colleagues, who do know better. They always ask things like, "How are the boys?" How is everyone doing?" "Is everything OK?, and my personal favorite, "How are the TWINS?" WTF? If memory serves, I carried and delivered 3 babies on April 22, 2010. The fact that one is not here does NOT discount his existence. There is a part of me that always wants to save these idiots from themselves and say nothing; I should just smile politely and give the response expected. "The boys are fine" "We are fine" "Everything is OK" "The TWINS are just fine". I find myself willing to actually do this far less frequently than I once was. Perhaps it is because I am at a point in my journey through grief where the shock of what happened is wearing off, and I am becoming more aware of reality. Boe is dead, he existed, and now he doesn't. Perhaps it is because I want everyone to realize that babies do die. It sucks, but it happens and to try to deny it is to deny their little existences, no matter how fleeting. Perhaps it is because I am uncomfortable with what my life has become. In an instant my future, my hopes, dreams and aspirations, was ripped out from under me like a tablecloth being yanked from a table at a cheap magic show. I have to live with Boe's death, and the pain it has caused those I love the most, everyday. It has become a part of me. Some days I am much more aware that it exists than others. Some days I am hardly even aware that it is there. It is something that I will carry with me until the day I die. So, when you ask me if I have twins and I explain that they are surviving triplets, if you ask how many children I have and I say 4 even though I clearly only have 3 present, when you make a stupid remark referencing the fact that my loss would be so much more horrible if it had been my only child and I say until you've lost a child you'll never understand the depth of this pain, when you know my story and you brazenly refer to my boys as TWINS and I correct you in front of others and remind you that they are, in fact, triplets, I am not doing it to be rude. I am doing it to have someone else shoulder my burden, even if only for a second. If what I say or how I respond makes you uncomfortable for a little while, put yourself in my shoes. Remember that I have to live and breathe this until I leave this Earth. The bottom line is, don't ask a question to which you do not want the full, honest-to-God truth. For I have been slapped in the face, and now I must smile 24 hours a day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Remember when you were in high school and you would make your significant other a "mix tape" ( or CD) for special occasions? You could spend hours on end finding just the right songs and place them in just the right order. I did that for Boe. He has his very own playlist on my IPOD. It is a work in progress, but the songs I have so far are:

Mad World by Michael Andrews

Beautiful Boy by John Lennon

Lullabye by Billy Joel

Let it Be by the Beatles

I Grieve by Peter Gabriel

To Make you Feel My Love by Adele

So Small by Carrie Underwood

Jesus, Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood

Smile by Lyle Lovett

For Good by the Cast of Wicked

Brand New Wings by Peter Brandon

I listen to these songs when I want to feel close to Boe. Usually at night when I am working on the computer or the rare occasions when I am alone in the car. One or all of these songs make me cry EVERY time I listen. Why do I torture myself in this way you may ask?

Sometimes, it does feel like torture; the wound of Boe's passing being ripped open and salt being poured in the gaping hole his absence has left behind. But sometimes, it feels hopeful. Sometimes, I can listen to these songs and smile as I remember carrying and nurturing Boe for 229 days. Sometimes I can listen and know that even if he is not physically present he is always here and by remembering him, he always lives.

Sometimes. Today was a torturous, wound-ripping day. Today was a day that I listened to the lyrics and cried because he is gone, he is not coming back, and he feels so far away.