When you’re young, your parents tend to spend the first few years of your life instilling in you that lying is wrong.
It didn’t matter if it was a great big fabrication of the truth, or a little white sentiment of it. It was just wrong. And you were not, under any circumstances, supposed to do it.
So then they told us that telling the truth would always produce a better outcome. And that even if the truth might possibly upset them, they’d be even more pissed if they caught us in the lie.
As we grew up we all learned the difference between our lies, as well as the outcome of how we would incorporate them into our truths.
Sometimes we lied to save our own asses.
You know, avoid our inevitable punishment or God forbid having the car keys taken away again. Of course we knew that coming home 3 hours after curfew was wrong, but could our parents really blame us if it was because we were making sure one of our best friends wasn’t left somewhere, alone and drunk? Because in the story we told, that’s what happened. We of course were not drinking ourselves, because ya know, we “know better than that.” And in all reality, we were only being the good friend and responsible young adult that they had spent the last 16 years training us to be. So really, they couldn’t possibly be mad that we ignored a very clear expectation they set for us before heading out that Friday night.
And as we would so proudly tout our story, they would go along for the ride and pretend like they believed us just long enough to make us think that we actually had a chance. We never did.
Other times we’d learn to lie to protect someone else. To not hurt their feelings, or attempt to save what was left of them.
Of course he was an idiot for cheating on you with that slut from Organic Chemistry. Obviously he’d be back once he realized what a mistake he’s made. And even though we knew that he probably wasn’t going to end up with big boobs McGee, we also knew that he was never gonna come riding back on that white horse to rescue our best friend either.
But that didn’t matter. Because there you were for her. You and your little untruths, perfectly packaged to cushion the fall of hers.
Then we finally grow up, and real life happens to us. So we find ourselves reverting to our lies again.
Except this time it’s different. This time it’s for our own protection.
We use it to save ourself, from ourself.
After I lost Kamren, I found myself lying a lot. And not in the sense that I was lying about anything that happened. But that despite what did happen, I was okay.
That was my standard response, to everyone.
When anyone would see me for the first time, with that look of sheer pity plastered across their face, it was the only thing that I had to save me.
To say it was okay. To say I was okay.
I remember when the doctors were still trying to save Kam, and we weren’t supposed to be back there with him, but honestly nothing in those moments could keep Kam’s daddy away from him. And for that I’m so grateful. I’m so grateful that he pushed past everyone that tried to stop us, to give us every possible second that we had left with our son.
But I remember when I began to really understand that my son, our son, was not going to be going home with us that night, so I just laid my head on his belly and I told him it was okay to go. I told him it was okay for him to give up. To stop fighting and just go be the angels. That I didn’t want him to hurt anymore.
But I didn’t mean it.
I never meant it. It wasn’t okay.
It’s still not okay. It’s not okay that he isn’t here with me. With us. It’s not okay that he should be turning 1 in 6 days, and he’s not. None of it is okay.
But in that moment, I didn’t want my son to think that I was ever disappointed in him. Because I never was. I never will be. I just wanted him to know how much I loved him and how proud I was of him. So I told him it was okay. And so it was.
Then when I was getting ready to go back to work, 5 weeks later, I had so much anxiety about it. I didn’t know how I was going to survive being around this group of people that I’d spent the last almost 3 years with, and be able to make it 8 hours with them when I knew everyone would have that same look.
Look at her.
Her baby died.
I was so anxious about losing my identity as Melissa, and everything I’d worked my ass off for in my career, being nothing but the poor girl who’s baby died.
Luckily, I had the very best group of people supporting me everyday, and this was never the case. Thats the beauty of working with a very close-knit group of people, especially when you work for a billion dollar organization. But I couldn’t stay confined to my department forever. Or at least not deal with outsiders at some point.
I will never forget the day when one of our IT guys Calvin saw me for the first time, and welcomed me back from maternity leave. He asked how the baby was, because he didn’t know what happened. Or I should say, he had heard what happened, he just didn’t know it was me that it happened too.
So he asked. And before I knew it, the words just came spilling out.
That was it. That was my answer. Those two words were deafening. But they were my truth.
Watching his face drop, and his look change into the one that made me want to saw my own wrist off to escape the situation, I quickly followed that by saying, it’s okay.
In what realm of reality could that even make sense? For me to utter the words that my son died, and follow that by saying it was okay.
But that was my protection.
To be okay.
Even if I wasn’t okay, because I absolutely wasn’t. I absolutely never will be.
He stopped me and told me that it wasn’t okay, and of course gave all of the standard condolences that one can typically think of in that awkward moment.
I took what was left of self amputated soul and excused myself from the conversation, blaming it on my need to get back to my work, but finding the closest empty conference room instead. I sat there in that quiet darkness, and replayed the words that spewed out of me like projectile vomit.
I hated myself in that moment. In that cold, cushioned chair. I hated the way the words came out. The crassness of it all. The harsh reality of my truth for someone outside of my over protected circle of trust. And the fact that it was more than obvious that I absolutely was not okay.
10 months later, and I’ve gotten to a point where I can now easily explain that yes, I have a son. And yes, he has passed away. It took a really long time to get her. It took a really long time to be able to say that to someone in a way that actually self projects that I just might be okay. Or at least at peace.
Because even though the truth of my situation will never actually be okay, I have somehow managed to find myself living in a place of peace with it.
That hasn’t been easy. And it doesn’t mean that I still don’t have moments daily where I question if I am actually okay. Or if I ever will be. I don’t know that it’ll ever be a question that I can answer truthfully.
And I’m okay with that.
That’s my truth.
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