There are a few things that have just completely amazed me since Otis passed away. I’m sure a lot of, if not all, stillbirth parents can relate to this …
1.) The number of friends I thought I had rapidly diminishing.
2.) The number of people pretending to be my friend to get information about Otis and his death.
3.) The number of people who haven’t made effort or spoken to me for years before Otis passed away suddenly wanting to ‘meet up soon.’
4.) People making up their own stories surrounding what happened to my little boy and sharing that with their friends, like they’re involved personally in this shit situation.
Here’s my reasoning …
1.) I understand, completely, that a lot of people just don’t know what to say. I understand that it’s difficult to find the words to say to a parent who has just lost their child. I understand that it’s not something most people have dealt with and therefore is a difficult subject to talk about … But I would rather my friends – the people who are supposed to know me more than most – to say the wrong thing with good intentions, than say nothing at all. I would rather they show that they care than just ignore me. Right now, I’m selfish. I’m selfish and I have every right to be. I’m just coming to terms with the fact that I gave birth to my dead child, his funeral, and life thereafter without him. I’m finding ‘myself’; I’m finding my new ‘normal’ and I need those around me to be patient with me, not just disappear.
2.) I cannot count on both hands and feet the number of people trying to befriend me, solely for the purpose of asking questions about Otis. The conversations tend to go along the lines of:
Them: Hi, I know you don’t know me but I just wanted to send a message saying I’ve been thinking about you
Me: Thank you, I appreciate that.
Them: So how are you doing?
Them: Do you mind me asking what happened? How did Otis die?
Me: His heart stopped beating; the same as everyone else when they die.
Them: Yeah but why? Do you know?
—- End of conversation —-
I know that game. I know when I receive a message and read it what that person’s intentions are. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had a few very meaningful and helpful messages off friends of friends, but I can easily separate those from the people who are just sending a message to be nosey. These people who are genuinely concerned or sending their sincere condolences do NOT ask how my little boy died – they ask how we’re all coping; they ask if there’s anything they can do to help raise money in Otis’ memory; they simply say they are thinking of us. No questions. Those people, I am thankful for. The others; not so much.
3.) Ha … this one is quite possibly my favourite. I have had SO many people who were a part of my past suddenly reappear in my life. I cannot count on both hands and both feet the number of old ‘friends’ who have messaged me telling me they will see me soon, or asking when I’m free to meet up. These same people only turn up in my life when something happens. They only make contact when something ‘big’ happens; like they want to be a part of it or be nosey. These people showed up when my little girl was in hospital in a coma in May of last year after a 2 hour long seizure. These people showed up when I got pregnant with Otis and again when he passed away. Were they trying to be a part of my life between those events? No. So don’t appear now. I have everyone I need in my personal life; I know who my real friends are. My REAL friends knew that Otis was poorly before he passed away. My REAL friends knew the day Otis died ON the day he died. My REAL friends knew Otis was born before I made it public. My REAL friends were invited to my son’s funeral.
4.) This one is pretty self-explanatory. This is downright disgusting. There are 11 people walking the Earth who know EVERYTHING about what happened to my boy – my dad, my sister, my stepmum, Chris’ parents, Chris’ brother, Richard, Mel, Jodie, Abby and Josh. I’m fed up of hearing things about my own dead child that AREN’T TRUE! People talk! Before anyone tells me that this is a risk I take sharing my son’s story; this being public does not give ANYONE the right to make up barefaced LIES about him. Before anyone tells me I shouldn’t share if I don’t want people to talk – I DO want people to talk! I DO want people to share Otis’ story (the REAL one). I DO want people to talk about stillbirth because it shouldn’t be such a taboo subject. I DON’T want people to make things up and spin their own story then tell people that version instead.