In my tale of two children, my tale of two griefs, something happened to me a few weeks ago which I had not yet experienced and I was so completely unprepared to face. In fact, I not only was so unprepared, I did not even recognize what was happening in the situation right away.
Last year while pregnant with Eli I taught kindergarten classes at church. It was my second year teaching and I had made the commitment before finding out about Eli's Potter's diagnosis. After the diagnosis I was determined to live life as much as normal for myself and our children so I continued to teach. This was made especially challenging by a very difficult class in terms of getting and holding their attention each week. I soldiered on until signs of labor appeared a few weeks before my c-section date. Then I freaked out and notified the head of our program that I would not be able to teach effective that day forward. I had already sent a letter to the parents of my kindergartners indicating that I would not be finishing up the year as their teacher and explained briefly about Wyatt and Eli and that I would need some time after Eli's birth. I never got to explain it to my class or to say goodbye and wish them a good year. It was all so abrupt and panicky on my part.
After Eli's birth I took an absence from church for many many weeks. I needed to not see those faces, the ones who knew about my loss and the ones who may not have known about my loss and could have asked about my baby. When I felt comfortable I began going again and aside from a few babies here and there (thankfully we go to early Mass which is not attended by many children) things went pretty well. Which would explain why I gave attending the faith class yearly kickoff celebration not a thought in the world. But as we were walking around I began getting a feeling. Almost out of place. Some people smiled and acknowledged me while so many more it seemed just looked away. Yet it took me the better part of an hour to even put this together, to place what I was feeling. It was new and it was hauntingly awful. A memory I won't soon forget.
I have always assumed that some past experiences have been negatively influenced by my anticipation of the situation and all that could wrong. But on that day I had anticipated only fun with my girls. I was so unprepared.