Sunday, February 17, 2013
I had to interview for a month long jury trial several weeks ago. The attorneys asked we all fill out a 10 page questionnaire. Normally, I knock these things out of the park. I'm the kind of person you want on your jury and I love jury service. I breezed through the first half and then stumbled upon...
"Have you ever been accused of a crime?"
More than 10 years ago, my mother, brothers, and I were accused of vandalism, racist vandalism, and terrorist acts. My name was dropped off in the very early stages but my brothers and mother had to fight it out in court. The case was thrown out, we were innocent and the accuser was a complete nut job (my parents later sued and won for malicious litigation)... BUT... there's this little thing called 'public record' that demands I answer this question honestly.
I answered the question, making sure to point out that we were found not-guilty, but I wasn't selected to serve.
Disappointed, I called my mom who also was called to jury service this month, "Hey mom, I didn't get selected on the jury. I think it's the fact that I was asked if I've been accused of a crime and I can't avoid the fact that we were accused of racism and terrorism. What do you answer to that question?"
My mother was silent.
"Ummmm" she says.
"You say 'No' don't you? Mom! It's ACCUSED, not convicted. The answer is YES!" I yell.
"ACCUSATIONS OF RACISM!?!? TERRORISM!?!?!?!"
"OK, so, next time I'll remember" she says.
Mother. Mother. Mother.
Friday, February 15, 2013
I've started this post a hundred times. Not sure what I was willing to share with perfect strangers. My delete key has been overused. But writing has always been cathartic for me. My own personal therapy. It's an itch I've got to scratch. So here it is...
Something that happens to other people.
I took a pregnancy test before we left for vacation. I didn't think I was pregnant but I was bored and have an industrial supply of tests in my nightstand.
And there it was.
Two bright pink lines.
Chris walked around the house with a perma-grin. We radiated excitement. This would be our secret. We didn't want to tell anyone for a few weeks. Just enjoy the moment together.
Four days into our camping vacation, at 4:30 am in the quiet of our rented trailer, I woke up. Something was off. Something was wrong. I stood up and felt warmth trickle down my leg. I clicked on the light and a pool of blood had formed on the floor.
Cash woke from the glare of the light and started crying. I picked him up, gave him to my sleeping husband and whispered, "I'm having a miscarriage. Will you walk me to the bathroom?"
He pulled on his shirt and we walked. He kept saying, "It's OK hon. Everything will be OK." I was silent except for the grainy shuffle of my flip-flops against the walking path.
I knew it wasn't OK.
I cried in the dirty stall. The kind of crying so deep, you can't seem to catch a breath.
I cleaned up and met Chris, who had been waiting outside, Cash sleeping in his arms. I see the hopeful look on his face. The look that says, "You were mistaken right? Everything is OK?" But even in the darkness, he can see the puffiness of my eyes, and his expression changes to sadness.
We changed Cash into his swim trunks and walked barefoot in the sand, watching the sun come up. We walked until my feet ached, then sat down to watch the waves crash. Chris gently rubbed my back while Cash shoved handfuls of sand in his mouth. He smiled and spit the sand out, his teeth covered in sticky brown goo. He was pleased with himself and Chris and I couldn't help but chuckle through our tears.
I struggled through the rest of the camping trip, and continued to struggle after we came home. Was I grieving too much for this whisper of a life? When so many women have passed through this door of loss, my sisters included, why did I feel so alone? And the most haunting, the thought that maybe, somehow, I had caused it. Did I eat the wrong thing? Did I lift something wrong?
I've discovered that grief exposes the person you never thought you were capable of being. I became the ugliest version of myself.
Chris' grief exposed a man I didn't know I married. We've been through tough times, bad finances, and job loss. But those things can be worked at and fixed. Grief. Well. That's different.
He became the best version of himself. It was as if he was patiently, with quiet strength, picking up every piece of our shattered hearts and gluing them back together.
He let me parade the ugly version of myself around the house for over a month then told me I needed to stop. We needed to move on. I can grieve, but I can't be mean anymore. And he was right.
Five months later, I struggle now and then. Something will remind me and I get knocked off my feet for a moment but the old me is back. I know it still bothers Chris at times too. He'll mention something, get quiet, then move on. But he never went back to being himself. He came through a little stronger. A little shinier. Turns out, he weathers storms well.
Not long after we lost our little one, we got two more pink lines but... that's another story for a different day.