I'm struggling with how to share my life with the cyberworld.
When we lost Katherine, people we had known for years began sharing their own stories of loss. They cried with us, revealing their own pain over the years. They wrote letters detailing their own darkness.
And it has made me think why we don't have more opportunities to be transparent. Here I've known them for a while, to varying depths, and they've been keeping this hidden.
I think I can understand what happened, though. It's twofold.
There comes a time when people around are tired of hearing, are thinking it's time to be over the pain. I suspect these reactions are from those who haven't experienced a close loss. They are the ones trying to get us to some future state.
I'm not saying I've encountered much of this, but I'm sensitive to the potential, and so I'm just as likely to keep my own counsel as I am to bring up some emotional experience.
Also, I think we deserve some of the blame. We fear they don't want to hear about more of the same and we don't give ourselves the opportunity to take the time needed to heal. Or we don't give our friends the credit that they do want us to be honest with them.
In this, I realize I'm ignoring the fact that we don't often open up and share the most pivotal moments of our life with those around us every day, for whatever reasons.
So I guess the conclusion I'm coming to is that I will try to be authentic. Sometimes all I have in me to write about is what we're experiencing in the aftermath, and other times I might return to what I'm knitting or my love of coffee. I'm still balancing how much detail to go into and what I should just keep private in my own writings. But much of life is finding a balance.
So I'll share two stories, the first shocked me, and the second was a comfort.
It's customary that when a child is born to someone in our department, a birth notice is posted around the building. This happened for Katherine, but they were promptly pulled a week later. An email wasn't sent, but the word spread throughout most of the building that we had lost our daughter.
However, a couple weeks back I was in a common room at work when another employee, grabbing some coffee, asked me, "How's your little one?" This is someone I've rarely talked to and don't often see, so I was surprised that those were the words that came out of his mouth. He hung his head and froze when I told him she had died in August, and then I retreated to my office. I assumed I had broken the news to the last person, so this revelation six months later caught me off-guard. I took a couple deep breaths, but I couldn't still the shaking until I cried it out. I remained jittery for much of the day.
On the final note, over Christmas a friend's father shared that his parents had lost their firstborn, a daughter. He said that while he had never met his older sister, he felt that she was a part of the family growing up. I hope for the same with us. I'm not sure how this is implemented, but I'm grateful for the photos and reminders we have around us, and I know those will play a role.