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Monday, July 12, 2010

True Friends

“A true friend is someone who sees the pain in your eyes when everyone else believes the fake smile.”

I don’t know that a truer statement could be said.

I am lucky enough to have a friend in my life that knows me well enough to see through my fake smile to my pain. I don’t always like it; sometimes I wish I could fool everyone. I sincerely wish that all loss mothers had someone in their life like this. It’s unfortunate that we feel the need to fake a smile, force a laugh or converse when all we want to do sometimes is run screaming from the room. We don’t necessarily do it for us; it’s also for the benefit for those around us. And sometimes it gets really, really tiring.

I’ve lost track of how many plastic smiles and mindless conversations I’ve had these last few months. Times I can’t recall what I’ve said because “auto pilot” me has taken over. It’s not as bad as it once was, but it’s still a battle.

I get resentful at times. I resent those people who are so happy that I’ve “moved on” or “gotten over it”. No one has put it in those terms, but I have gotten “I knew you’d be just fine” and “I told you time would take care of everything”. Same thing. Sometimes I half expect a pat on the back while being told I'm such a trooper.

On the flip side, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in about a year. I knew the instant I ran into her that she had heard our news…she gave me “the look”. All loss moms know what I’m talking about. The softening of the eyes, the pursing of the lips into a smile that’s not a smile, head tilted to the side and the hands that are held out, inviting a tight hug or a strong hand squeeze.

I gave her “the treatment”. Something I’ve used for this type of occasion to divert late condolences or people in general who don’t take a hint: tell some happy news, change the subject and then make a quick exit. I have no need for more pity at this point, and I sure wasn’t ready to have a break down at the grocery store. So, I instantly perked and greeted her. I told her we were expecting again (happy news), told her we were on our way camping (subject change) and acted like we were in a hurry to get to our destination (quick exit).

She kept opening her mouth to talk between my ramblings, but in the end I think she could see what I was doing. So sad, because she was someone I honestly enjoyed talking to in the past. One day, maybe I’ll get the chance to. I know, knowing her, that if we ever really get the chance we’ll have to have “the talk” so she can hear it all. That’s okay, but it won’t be today.

Now I feel like I’m in the in-between. I don’t want to wear my grief openly, but I can’t ignore it, either – it’s part of who I am. I have a very select few friends (for sure one, maybe two or three…maybe) that fall in the in-between with me on this journey. With that kind of friend, I have balance. I’m okay to be fine; I’m okay to have a bad day. I’m okay to talk about whatever it is that’s on my mind at any time without worry of bringing them down or feeling like I’m burdening them.

These friends, I’ll keep forever. I sincerely wish that others like me have at least one like them.


  1. Those freinds are truly a blessing!

  2. When I went back to work I felt like I was see-through with my emotions. I feel like I have built up the ability to put up that "strong" facade, and you are right...people think we are better, or moved on. What they don't know is how often the sadness or memories creep back in.

    Those friends are one in a million. :)