I have read several blog posts from other baby loss mamas who have lost several friends, friends of many years, and I have thought how crazy and ironic it was that this would happen. But it just takes a tragedy, more specifically a loss, and even more specifically than that, the loss of a child to quickly separate you from the rest. And this weekend, I joined my fellow baby loss family as my circle of IRL "friends" narrowed considerably.
My situation, though, is severly complicated. And I must also add that I use the term "circle" and "friends" lightly because I am not big into "the" social scene or any social scene, for that matter. I wasn't even before Chase died. But the by the nature of what happened to me and my family, my perspective on a lot of things changed. When my perspective changed, so did my friendships and my definition of friendships. And when my definition of friendship changed, so did the number. It got smaller, like many other baby loss mamas who are on my journey.
The complications come from several aspects. A.) I live in a small town. B.) I am pursuing some relentless litigation against my doctor for several things that happened under his care. C.) That doctor was, at one time, one of my closer friends in this town; so much that he is my kids' godparent. and D.) We are in the same "social circle" and have many common friends.
I am blessed for the friends that are not in the same social circle but the friends that made a choice this weekend certainly hurt. I have specifically explained the sordid details of this doctor's actions and behavior that have led me to taking action and I was under the false impression that this was enough "evidence" to lead these friends away, on their own accord, from any socialization with him. I didn't feel it necessary to verbally request this of them because remember.....my son is dead. My healthy, beautiful baby boy is gone and I will never get to see him play with his brother, read me a book, play a soccer game....nothing. His precious life was taken.
So I thought these friends realized this. I thought they understood the magnitude of my loss, or at least a fraction of it. These were not friends that I saw or even talked to every week. But they were friends that I could see and pickup where we left off without skipping a beat. My favorite kind of friend. Some of them have been friends of Patric for over 3 decades. And then I received a text from one saying that since we were planning on coming over, she wanted us to know that my doctor and his family might very well be there. That she didn't want anyone to feel uncomfortable or awkward.
Uncomfortable? Really? Why, because my son is dead and the doctor, your friend is, in my well-stated opinion, responsible for it? Why? Because he knows that we feel this way and our presense would be unsettling? Because our baby, his patient, died and it would make things awkward for him to be in the same social setting? Or is it because we are accusing him of something so absurd and the doctor that they all know and trust (for a total of 4 years now) would never do something like that or act that way; therefore, we must be crazy, looking for someone to blame for our grief?
I have to share a short story to help me understand all this so please bare with me. Patric & I had a very good friend years ago in Florida who is now in the state pen with over 30 counts of convicted rape. When Patric & I knew him, he was a cool guy, a great friend, fun to be around, someone I would have entrusted our kids, had we had any. We received a phone call about 3 years after moving to Ruidoso that our old roommate had been caught on an attempted rape and is being investigated for several rapes throughout the 10 years leading up to that. We were shocked. Not Dave. No way, no how. He would never have hurt anyone. I couldn't believe it. We were in denial. I kept telling myself, at least he didn't kill anyone. But I also thought at the time that if I knew any of victims, I would be forced into reality and I would have more empathy for them because without knowing any of those girls personally, I could not relate and moreover, I could not believe that our very good friend would be capable of something so awful and violent, while we were living with him. How could he lead a double life and we live so close to him and not know it?
So, back to my post..... I can understand, having trusted someone so dearly, how hard it is to believe that something bad has happened. I am not relating the viciousness or the violence of that story to this, but I am trying to understand why some people can go on like nothing ever happened. Where is the accountability? What about the consequences....you know....that which we talk to our kids about practically every day? Just because mistakes happen, doesn't mean you don't have to be accountable for them. Or that you don't have to own up to them. Even if you're a doctor.
And besides, the difference is that they know me. They know us. And yet their friendship with the doctor has not changed, apparently. Where is the empathy for us? All I can sense is them protecting him. This didn't happen to him. It happened to US. In fact, He. Is. What. Happened. I wouldn't normally say I know what I would do in someone else's shoes, but I know in my heart that if this happened to anyone of them, I would have no problem telling this doctor to go take a hike--that he was not invited to my parties, that I will not be coming over to his house, that I would have nothing to do with him because of what happened. That is the kind of support we need. Not tiptoeing around the subject like we are fighting over something trivial. This is about the death of my son. The support I need is that of the undying kind. The I-got-your-back kind of support that we are on your side. Because when people that we have known for years and years and years have to text me with a message that we might not want to come over because so-and-so is going to be there and they wouldn't want things to be uncomfortable for anyone, that tells me that they have completely dismissed Chase. That tells me that they have disregarded the trauma that I went through and they have forgotten and moved on. And so should I. Seriuosly, do you realize you are talking about the death of my son? I know if you really wanted us to come, and you were supporting us, you would have no problem calling the doctor up and telling him that he better not show up. You would warn him that we are going to be there. Not the other way around.
But no, it didn't happen that way. In fact, it all happened via text messages. That's the funny part. And I am guilty. But I wished I woulda twittered instead of texted because the message I sent could have gone to a broader audience. More should have experienced the "fit" I threw. But it's my son who died. Not theirs. And my nightmare continues on. I keep hoping I wake up some day. It is all so unreal.
So my circle is now quite small. It consists of five people and one angel baby (...and a few real friends) And that's all I really need.