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This is HARD

I’ve commented on the links between birth and death before, but here’s a new one. Getting the news that my best friend had gone into labor was oddly reminiscent of the night my father died. As on that night, my husband was out of town and I was feeling wildly emotional. I was looking through my photo albums and reliving all the things PBF and I have been through together. I have one whole album devoted to our trips to the goth clubs of San Francisco. And because our fields overlap, we’ve traveled together to conferences many times–Canada, Spain, Poland, Italy, various places in the US… I met my husband at her wedding. (The photo below is from the wedding–there happened to be a black and white photo booth in the place where she got married. I figure it’s overexposed enough that no one could possibly recognize her [on the left], but if you happen to know her, um…don’t rat me out.) A few years later, her husband was the officiant at my wedding.

So there I was, thinking about how it’s totally Bunny + PBF 4 evah, and I got her text. Just like the night I got the phone call telling me my father had died, I was absolutely overwhelmed with the most complicated brew of emotion. Just like that night, the most noticeable component was grief. I feel like it has two distinct flavors, though. The first stems from my situation, my fear that I’ll never have this experience. The sense of being left behind because she’s gone somewhere I may never be able to follow. The misery of watching life pass by while I stand still. But the second stems from the loss of our friendship as it was. I know I have a big reaction to major transitions both in my own life and the lives of those around me, so it’s partly just that I don’t like change and get quite upset when it happens. But I also had an acute sense that while I may fantasize about hanging out with them and being part of their lives, they are now a family in an all new way, and I am an outsider in an all new way.

When my father died, I also felt happiness. He’d been suffering, and I was able to feel joy in the thought of his release, and in the recollection of his amazing life. I bet there’s a lot of joy to come if I can accept this change and adapt to my new role. I’m just a bit broken at the moment.

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ah, Bunny. You're dealing with so much, it's only natural to feel a bit broken. It'll be all okay. Good times are coming, you'll see.I send you lots of good thoughts from Ireland.

    March 2, 2010
  2. What a beautiful post. How complicated and distressing and joyful…all in one instant. I do know that "standstill" feeling you described, that fear of never ever experiencing what you want so much. It is a horribly dark place, and when you're in it while you're best friend is basking in sunlight, it is no wonder you feel broken. I just want to fold you up into a hug, Bunny. I think time will help heal this wound, but know that you are not alone, and we will help you carry on. You WILL join your friend in motherhood, I believe it with all of my heart.

    March 2, 2010
  3. I try to tell myself that I'm NOT standing still, that I AM moving toward parenthood. But, the standing-still is a hard feeling to shake. It sounds like you're in great shape with this, though. Here's hoping the joy comes swiftly and grandly.

    March 2, 2010
  4. Sounds like you have an absolutely wonderful friendship. I can imagine the array of emotions you're dealing with now that she has entered a new phase of life, and one that you want so badly. I really believe that the strength and depth of your friendship will remain strong, no matter how it may evolve. And soon you will be joining her and basking in the glow of motherhood.

    March 2, 2010
  5. The birth-death jump is one that makes utter sense to me. As you said, it's all about things changing (and I don't deal well with that either). Even with a 9 month warning, it is still very, very hard and for all the reasons that you point out. I could write that your friendship, clearly strong and loving, will be able to take it. That perhaps it will reach a new level. Or that it is only a matter of time before you join her in that club. I think that all of these things are true. But it doesn't make it a whit easier for now.

    March 2, 2010
  6. I know how you feel. My best friend gave birth in January and I cried when I got the e-mail. I hate that my first reaction was grief (even if my second was joy). I hate that she's a "Mommy" while I'm just me–it's not the two of us in synch any longer.

    March 2, 2010
  7. Al #

    Ah, bunny, it's so hard. I hate that feeling of being stuck and watching life just pass you by and no matter how hard you work you can't seem to move, your feet are just stuck in the ground.I hope that with this new phase, your friendship evolves more and you feel comfortable and natural in the new role. It really sounds like you two have a great relationship that will change with these new circumstances. Thinking of you.

    March 2, 2010
  8. Today I am just sad and angry for all of us who can't have a child within a reasonable amount of time. Maybe you'd also feel a little left out even if your friend got pregnant at a time when you weren't ready for kids. But the fact that we have to watch basically 99% of females on the planet (I don't know what the real number is) have kids whenever they damn well please, makes all of our relationships with the women in our lives so much harder!Ultimately I am sure you will enjoy getting to know and love her child, but that doesn't help right now. I am sorry you feel broken and stagnant, I am sorry I feel broken and stagnant, sigh.Some days, like today 9I think it's the PMS) I just want to wallow in stagnation and stop trying to move forwards. "Let's see how far this stagnation thing can go" I secretly think, as I drift downwards through the murky pond-water to the ooze at the bottom, and down through the ooze to the cold, hard mud. Maybe Wonderland IS down there?!Sorry that wasn't cheerful.

    March 2, 2010
  9. JB #

    Sorry, bunny. That is all.

    March 2, 2010
  10. This is a great post. Very complicated. I don't like things to change either.

    March 2, 2010
  11. JC #

    I'm so sorry bunny! Those feelings suck, and IF sucks!! You girls sound like you have an amazing friendship and I think you will continue to have one and you'll be a special person in their lives. And I'm really hoping your day comes very very soon. ((hugs))

    March 2, 2010
  12. I'm so sorry bunny! It's one thing to feel like an outsider, but another to feel like you are left alone when someone takes a step ahead or moves on. I often wonder how much I mourn the fact that I'm just not changing with everyone else. I get more bitter, they get babies. That seems fair, right?You are extremely fortunate to have such a close BF as those snapshots seem like incredible memories. These first few weeks are going to be pretty shitty, but I expect that once she emerges from the lack-of-sleep why-the-hell-does-this-thing-cry-all-the-time period, your friendship will evolve accordingly. It's going to be different, but not over (even if it feels a lot like that now). I'm hoping all those broken bits come back together for you. Hang in there.

    March 3, 2010
  13. Aw, Bunny. You have such an amazing friendship with PBF. I think it's totally natural to feel the way you do, even though it feels complicated and crappy. I think that even if you do drift apart, that you'll find your way together again. I'm sorry you're feeling so broken.

    March 3, 2010
  14. Bunny, what a gorgeous picture and a gorgeously heartrending post. I'm not sure that I have anything unique to add to what our other friends have said…but I'm abiding this with you. Feeling broken is okay–and don't let anyone make you feel bad for having these feelings. XXX

    March 3, 2010

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