*A quick thank you, again, to all the ladies who commented on my last post. Your advice and support really does make a difference and I appreciate every word!*
I’m a little overdue on writing this post. It’s been brewing in me for a long time, but I think I needed time to sort through the grief and figure out what I wanted the post to say…
A short while ago, a dear friend of mine passed away after a long battle with a rarer type of cancer, Cholangiocarcinoma or cancer of the bile duct. She was young – my age – beautiful, smart, witty, kind, and an amazing friend and mother. Her death left a huge whole inside me which aches whenever I pass her name in my phone contact list (I haven’t felt right removing it), or sing Twinkle twinkle and Itsy Bitsy Spider to Simran, remembering Meg’s hand motions as she delighted her son with those same songs. I think of how she will never get to sing those songs to him again, or hold him when he’s crying, or see him grown and married with children of his own, and I tear up and hold Simran a little tighter.
The story of how I came to know about her death, is what brings me to include this post in what is meant to be a blog on parenting, babies and infertility…
It was a weekend morning when we learned she had passed. Shobhit and I were sipping coffee and playing with Simran in our sun soaked living room. He got on his computer, and there it was…the news…His words didn’t seem to make sense in my brain, and for several minutes I just fussed with the baby and grew increasingly angry – angry at him, at the swaddle blanket, at my coffee, at everything.
Simran, little as she was, could sense something was up and seemed distraught. The tears were coming, I could feel them…I didn’t want to be angry or cry in front of the baby, I didn’t want to scare her any more than I already had…my hands were working quickly and sloppily swaddling her up and snapping something at Shobhit about her needing a nap. I hurried her into the swing, pushed in her pacifier, turned away, and just like that the tidal wave hit. My legs turned to puddy and I sank to the floor beside Shobhit, sobbing while he stroked my back.
I would cry several more times over the next few days, and each time I worried how my tears would affect Simran. She seemed keenly aware that I wasn’t happy and it disturbed her in the same way that seeing me and Shobhit argue seems to disturb her. With arguments it is easier. They don’t happen so terribly often, and when they do we make up in front of her, assuring her that everything is okay with lots of smiles and cuddling. This was far more difficult. I was truly and completely sad, shocked and unsure of when the tears would come or how to convince her that it was all okay even if mommy cried.
I wanted and needed to mourn my friend and spend time putting together something for her eulogy, but Simran needed my attention too. I focused on dealing with it all after Simran was sleeping, but here and there the tears just flowed and I couldn’t stop them.
Now I’m wondering, was it wrong to weep and fall to pieces in front of my infant daughter? I always thought I would “handle” such situations like they do in the movies – carefully getting the children out of sight and earshot before breaking down – but there I was, just a few feet from Simran, shaking from the force of my emotions, gasping for air and sobbing like a child. Perhaps it is just teaching her that mourning is normal and natural. Perhaps I’m showing her that it is okay and safe to express her emotions. Then again, perhaps I’ve scarred her for life.
It’s been almost two months since Megha passed. I still cry easily thinking of her and her family. It may seem odd, but I wonder if Meg ever cried in front of her son — before she got sick or after. I guess it’s because I looked up to her – the amazing mother she was – so I wonder was she ever so stuck down that she shed tears in front of her little boy? I tend to doubt it – she was braver than I’ll ever be, even in the face of cancer and her own mortality – but I certainly wouldn’t judge her if she did.
Megha, I miss you.