Thinking Woman

When I had coffee with one of my wise women last Friday, I commented that I’m learning to ask myself how I feel. I will see something, and my brain will begin to sound klaxons – whoop, whoop, this should hurt – and so it seems as if I feel the hurt, even though it doesn’t actually hurt.

To put it another way, it’s liking pulling off a band-aid, you flinch before hand, knowing it’s going to hurt, except it doesn’t. It’s painless.

I gave away my maternity clothes tonight. Lock, stock and 2 rubber maid totes full. I imagine I’ll offer the crib and mattress next. I offered the rocking chair on loan because it is a family piece. It’s not mine to give away, although heaven knows what anyone will do with it after Mr. Spit and I die.

And as I was hauling the totes upstairs, I kept asking myself, does this hurt? I was poking and prodding my psyche. I loaned out some clothes this time last year, and that was hard. Yet this time?

I cried a bit. I pulled out the same pieces, my favourite shirt, the pants and shirt I wore to the hospital and then home again. I leaned my forehead against the living room wall and my eyes filled up with tears.

I have taken the shirt I wore to the hospital and home out from the boxes. I will tuck it in my bottom drawer. I don’t need it and I cannot quite give it away. I cannot quite take this bit of cloth that is just a purple shirt and hand it away as if it is only a bit of cloth.

This time it feels more final. It has been almost a year since I was pregnant last. December will mark three years since Gabriel came and left us. We are not sure where we are on our fertility journey, but I don’t entirely know if it will involve maternity clothes. I suspect not.

And they are, well they are just clothes. They are no different than the clothes sitting in my office that are too large. They are extra, superfluous. They are going to a good home. When I think about it – when I get past the klaxons – the truth is this: I am tickled pink because Mel and I have very similar taste in clothing and I know that I am saving her a lot of money on clothes, and she will wear them and enjoy them. It will bring me joy to see her wearing them. I wish I could be there to watch her look through them, try them on.

I am learning the low level – the background noise of tragedy – it is always there. It does not change whether the clothes are in my basement or on someone’s body. Nothing changes what happened, and nothing changes how unfair it was, is, and always be. And yet, I’m not sad about this. I’m mostly just the same, wishing things could have been different, but knowing they aren’t. Slightly comforted by the fact that I can provide a good thing to someone else.

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20 Responses to Thinking Woman

  1. a says:

    The background noise of tragedy…what an apt way to describe grief.

    So glad you have gotten to the point where this part is not all-consuming.

  2. brown owl says:

    Rocking chairs offer comfort to the very young and the very old. I am glad your chair is only on loan and that you will enjoy it again on day.
    How great to give those garments to your friend to wear, knowing that she will enjoy them! You have a truly generous and caring spirit.

  3. loribeth says:

    I’m glad you can take some pleasure in giving these things to a friend, even with the pain as a backdrop. (((hugs)))

  4. Kristin says:

    The background noise of tragedy…what a brilliant turn of phrase. This captures the feelings perfectly. I’m glad you were able to take pleasure in passing the clothes on.

  5. I love that phrase, the background noise. I am happy that you are able to give the clothes to someone that will appreciate them.

  6. Sarah says:

    I don’t know what to say, other than that you are very dear (my grandmother always said that meaning rare and precious).

  7. WhiteStone says:

    No words of wisdom. Just listening to you think and thinking with you.

  8. HereWeGoAJen says:

    I’m glad it didn’t hurt as much as it seems like it should.

  9. Msfitzita says:

    People who have never had to do it can’t begin to fathom the enormity of what you’ve just done.

    I’m sending hugs across the ether.


  10. Virginia says:

    Oh yes. There are things I too cannot bear to give away, knowing I will never need them. I haven’t quite let go, but I haven’t quite no. If that makes any sense at all.

  11. Mr Spit says:

    This is indeed sad. Part of me is channeling my dad, i.e. keep it in case you need it later. Another part is sad that I’m not there with you as you make this heartwrenching gift to a good friend.

    We don’t know what the future holds, but sadly, the present has our son on a shelf in the dining room.

  12. Ya Chun says:

    Like you said, just clothes. In theory. You are a brave and strong woman.

    Whatever your future holds, I am sure that you and Mr Spit will be alright.

  13. Dawn says:

    I have thought and thought and not commented, as it is so personal. Yet, I feel that I must. One of my best friends, who lost her son at 7.5 weeks after birth, told me “it gets better. I can’t tell you when, or how, but it does. It doesn’t make things less sad, or tragic, or even happier, but things get better, but only under one’s own timeframe.” This was told to me after my own tragedy. She’s right. And you are right. Just clothes, but so much more. And things are alright. Not okay, but alright.

  14. debby says:

    You know, I’ve been trying to think of what to say. I can’t think of anything at all. No words of wisdom here. It’s because you’ve taken them all.

    Life moves on, doesn’t it? No matter what the loss, life goes on, and you’ve no choice but to travel along with it.

    I, too, am glad that you kept the rocking chair.

  15. anonymous says:

    You did a very brave thing.

  16. Heidi says:

    I burned the shirt I was wearing that day. I hated it before, and hated it even more after.

    All the rest is in a box. I had just purchased the clothes. Most were never worn.

    I don’t have the heart to let them go yet.

  17. m. says:

    The background noise of tragedy…what a beautiful way to express this. The omnipresence.

    And the prodding. So funny you mention this. Because this is something I’ve found myself doing lately – “so and so is pregnant how do you feel about THAT? hmm??” And I wait, and wait a little more for the waves to fold over me. But more often than not they don’t. And I go, huh, that’s strange. Maybe I’m “better.”

    And then, of course, inevitably, something unexpected completely slays me.

    My clothes are still stashed in the closet. What a wonderful thing you are doing by sharing your style and yourself with someone who will appreciate them.

  18. linds says:

    This post makes me sad. But you are so strong and I admire you. I really do.

  19. Seraphim says:

    I too was very sad to read this post. I wish this wasn’t the ending. But maybe I am looking at it wrong, it is a beginning. x

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