Sunday, March 28, 2010

On not being a burden

This weekend was my nephew C's first birthday. It is a blessing that he has made it through his first year. He had heart surgery at 3 days old for transposition of the great arteries and an atrial septal defect. He had a cleft lip and palate that are also now repaired. The lip was repaired about 6 months ago. The cleft palate was repaired about two weeks ago. The doctor said even though he has another week until he can fully eat solids, he could eat his birthday cake.

It was great to see C so happy even though he is still healing. In fact he seems to enjoy eating more now, which makes sense since the cleft caused stuff to go up his nose. He is nearly walking and loved all the walking/riding toys he got for his birthday. Meg enjoyed playing with C and the other girl who was at the party.

The party was hard for my husband and I. There was the usual hardness of having to be social with people we don't know well from the other side of the family. There was the family was talking about how great it was for Meg and C to get to know each other when Drew never met C, since C was born after he died. There is my mom who is a put on a happy face person who doesn't really admit to grieving. There is a sadness that accompanies all major events where we wish Drew was there.

So we both tried to avoid grieving in public at the party. It is odd that I, who cry in public quite a lot, didn't feel comfortable crying in front of family. I ended up crying in the guest room after we put Meg to bed and then going to bed early. My husband had to take several breaks from the party to cry. Next year I think we'll get a hotel room, so we can escape.

My brother, C's father, has actually been really understanding during the whole grief process, since on top of losing his nephew he was really scared he'd lose his son. I mentioned to him that the party had been rough for me grief wise and he mentioned that he and dad had talked about that for them as well today. My dad didn't tell me because he didn't want to burden me. My brother and I suspect that our mom is only talking to my dad to avoid burdening us as well.

I wish we'd all stop avoiding burdening each other and talk.


  1. Wouldn't it be great to have everyone talk to each other without these barriers?
    It's hard when you feel you have to protect yourself from your family.
    I'm sorry it was hard and hope you can all find a way to comfort each other.
    Your nephew sounds like a fighter! Glad he got to eat his birthday cake!

  2. That would be nice, wouldn't it? I'm so angry with my mother in law because she has never said anything. Sometimes I wonder if she just thinks not mentioning Aiden is better for us, but how do I ask her about that? What if she just doesn't think about him at all?

    I'm glad your nephew is doing better, I hope these things get easier for you.