Ok, all that to get down to the nitty gritty of today's throw down. Awkward moments. Oh, man. How do I narrow down a topic that pretty much encompasses the whole of my life's collective vignettes. Awkward is my middle name.
I do the wrong thing a lot. I think it may be a major reason why I retreat into myself so much. My introversion is somewhat of a defense mechanism. I am saving myself from myself, and potential harm to others. My intention with this post was to be funny and light, because so much of my awkwardness has been honed over the years into something that mostly passes for endearing or adorable, and I can totally live with that. After reading Juice Box Confession's post on today's topic, I felt compelled to go another direction entirely. This one is going to be bloody.
Juice Box Confession's link up shared a heart wrenching depiction showing a moment of hurt and betrayal she felt when a friend's unkind and insensitive words to her tragic news forever changed their friendship. It is gorgeously written and very raw.
For me, it struck a very painful nerve. I felt horrible for the pain she felt as a result of another woman's thoughtless words. I felt horrible for the loss she had endured, the sadness and grief of losing a beloved and celebrated pregnancy. I felt horrible also, for the friend, who may or may not have understood the enormity of her statement. I felt horrible for the absolute impossibility of turning back time, because, yes, I was that friend, and I am no longer. The power of a moment is one I am all to familiar with.
I am not one who has any place to comment on miscarriage. I feel guilty, somehow. I have been told that my thinking is common and it is something similar to survivor's guilt for wartime soldiers. I have 8 healthy happy children. I have never endured a miscarriage. I cannot possibly comprehend the loss.
A couple-friend of ours was expecting their fourth child. I love babies, pregnancies, and everything they entail. I kept general tabs on their progress through the periodic Facebook posts that went up. The husband of the couple was a notorious dry jokester who used uncomfortable pauses as an element of his humor. I had gone into work at our coffee shop, where a group of our guy friends went almost every morning before heading off to their various offices. My own husband was already there working. I had known by a Facebook post a week or so prior, that they had an ultrasound to find out about baby's sex, but assumed that I had missed the update with the news somewhere in the mix. When I saw the husband of the couple that morning, my face lit up immediately and I asked how the ultrasound went. He was uncomfortably silent...his standard M.O. for a joke set up. So I started laughing by default, waiting for the punch line. Glancing over at my other friends, however, I saw they were silently, violently shaking their heads 'no' at me. Then he dropped the boom. "We lost the baby." My heart sank. Nauseating dread swelled into a heavy ball in the pit of my stomach. I was heartbroken and devastated for my friends. Just the remembrance of the incident has me in tears now, again. His look of hollowness and loss will forever haunt me. Stunned, I looked over at my husband, who had known but forgotten to tell me in the craziness of our lives and schedules. In this man's mind, I knew this news and was mocking him. I was horrified to have hurt my friend by laughing, and had no idea how to rectify it. I said how truly sorry I was, with all the sincerity and regret that I felt, but have no idea if he received the sentiment the way I intended. I carried that numbing sadness around with me for the rest of the day, and still, more than a year later, have trouble processing it properly. I went over and over it mentally, trying to understand how I could have made that moment right, and never found a solution.
I will forever be sorry for my part my friend's pain that morning. The next time I saw his wife, while I wanted to show my genuine sympathy, instead I said nothing at all, for paralyzing fear of making some other hellish mistake. My words, prayers and good intentions became aching cotton in my head, never materializing. Some days I pray that the old saying "It's the thought that counts" really holds any truth. More likely, the phrase came into being as a result of some other moment of regret involving things said, or things left unsaid. That couple's view of me likely changed forever that day, I will never know. I do know that moment will forever live in my brain as one of the singular most distressing of my life.
I'm so very sorry. Words will never be enough. If I could take it back, in a heartbeat it would be gone. I have no excuse. If I am truthful, many more moments have since gone by silently in the aftermath.
To link up with all of the other amazing bloggers participating in this week's Sunday confessions, check out my girl over at More than Cheese and Beer.