Posted by: Louise | May 24, 2010


I could feel my brain speeding up as we approached Laura’s birthday and in the days since. I was braced against the pain of those days. I was numb. I’m alright. I’m alright. I’m alright. I’m alright. I’m alright. I’m not alright.

I was on the bus. There was not a baby, not a pregnant woman in sight. No obvious triggers. A woman got on with two little kids (a boy about four years and a girl about three). She spoke no english and gave someone a note with a request on it to tell her which stop to get off. She sat down. Her son sat behind her and she gestured to a seat a little further back for her daughter to sit. Her daughter wouldn’t let go of her. Unfamiliar country. Unfamiliar city. Everything unfamiliar. I had an empty seat beside me and I wanted her to know that I was safe, that she could sit with me…….

The thought was as far as I got before the longing to hold and protect and just share (with anybody) all this wasted/wasting love in me took over and the tears were spilling down my face on the no.8 bus with no babies. I am so not alright, just getting better at shoving the longing and the loss deep deep down inside of me.

I keep reading posts in other blogs about the effect of losing a child on your relationship. The odds aren’t good, if we believed in odds, and we don’t. We were at a support group for bereaved parents the other day and the guy talking at it, a bereavement therapist, mentioned the relationship thing and said, “It isn’t true, but if your relationship is already in trouble, then losing a child will show that up.” And yet, in the unending list of challenges that losing Laura has thrown in our face, one challenge has crept closer and closer to the forefront. K and I don’t speak the same language anymore. The words come out, but the meaning we each put on them is different. We can’t understand each other.

But we are good together. Meeting K was like ‘coming home.’ There was inevitability to our togetherness that we both felt from the start. We fit. We are soul mates. Fourteen years on and we still gave others hope. Then Laura died. And not immediately, but very gradually, things have changed.

“Keep talking to each other,” all the advisors say, but what if you do and you just can’t connect with or understand or feel what the other person is saying? It is a strange thing to be in this place with your soul mate – side by side, yet miles apart. Looking at each other across the kitchen table, recognizing each other, but it is like one of those dreams where you just can’t reach the other person – beside is an intangible space.

The other night he said that he had been reading about how our experience of the world is through our feelings first and foremost and we just put the words onto it afterwards. And yet, he said, paradoxically he needed to read those words to understand how unnecessary words are. I connected with that, felt it, understood it.

I need the consolation of words to come to terms with Laura’s death. I am drowning in the feelings and somehow the words help me breath in this place. K, on the other hand, does not need words. Words shrink/diminish what is overwhelming his heart. They do not add to it. The feelings are enough. And that is the beginning of our different languages.

K and I met in a nightclub. Our flirting was a battle of words and wit over the din of festivities and music. He loves words. He gets words. He matched me and bettered me and in him I found my rest. Following the ‘foodal chokage’ episode of Friends we were lost for years to ‘wordal playage’. Words are our thing. But K does not need words now and I need them more than ever.

Once we were pros at this three-legged race, bound together, we moved in near perfect sync, and what wasn’t perfect didn’t matter. Laura’s death tossed us into the air and, although we may have landed, we are out of sync pulling in different directions, unable to stop and listen to each other, to hear what the other is saying, to find a new rhythm in this strange new world.

I’m alright. I’m alright. I’m alright. I’m alright. I’m alright. I am so very very not alright.



  1. hey, every word you wrote makes sense to me.
    I’m not sure if that helps, but I get it.

    I don’t have any idea on how to write about what you’re writing but I find matches in my world with what you describe.

    I do find that over here we’re more in sync again these days and I am so grateful.

    sending you lots of love

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