For the most part, you build a sort of scar tissue. On Monday morning, you exhale.
Mother’s day is not for me. The only thing Mother’s day does for broken children, for the bereaved mother and the barren woman is to remind us of how we are not whole. Of how we are superfluous. I turn off social media, hide and simply endure. I used to say it was the second worst day of the year. This year I have decided it’s the worst, simply because it is so public.
This morning I went into the office on the exhale. The last of the statuses on social media were gone; I could return to my usually scheduled 2 cats, 1 dog, 0 houseplants workaholic persona. I wasn’t an abused child, I wasn’t a bereaved and barren woman. I was just me. My brokenness and tragedy were not on display.
The colleague is a bit of an imbecile. When I told him I don’t celebrate, he demanded to know why.
Let me step back. There were many things I hated about the tragedy of Gabriel’s death. One part, the part that stayed with me, was the visibility of it. I was the woman whose baby died. When your baby dies, I promise you, they whisper about you in hallways, in offices. Rooms go silent when you walk in them. Everyone knows and no one says anything. You are very visible and very ignored, all at once.
Time has passed and fewer people know. The 10th of December, it is a private remembrance. If I take the day off, I don’t tell you why. If I am sad in the days leading up, no one really notices. I mostly glide through the season now – stumbling over some of the larger waves of grief, knowing I will wind up under water on the 10th and on the 11th I will have survived.
No one is looking at me. No one wonders. No one knows there is a reason to wonder. I carry Gabe in my heart and share him with few. It is my private tragedy.
I excused myself from the conversation. I was polite and dignified. Just as I Always am.
This is what I did not say.
Dear Nosy Colleague –
My mother didn’t like me. She locked me in closets. Made me stand perfectly still in the so she could scream at me for hours. Broke rulers and wooden spoons over my hands for the crime of having a snack.
My son gasped for breath and died in my arms while I sang to him. My babies bled from my body and I was powerless to stop it.
I am broken, bereaved, barren.
It’s not precisely a day of celebration.